The Habs didn’t waste much time in getting their newest defenceman signed as on Wednesday, they announced that they inked Joel Edmundson to a four-year, $14 million contract. The deal contains a 10-team no-trade clause, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. It represents a small bump in pay on the $3.1 million he made this season.
Montreal somewhat surprisingly acquired his negotiating rights on Saturday while sending a fifth-round pick to Carolina for the right to talk to him early. That move made it clear that the 27-year-old was high on GM Marc Bergevin’s wish list this offseason.
Edmundson was part of the Justin Faulk trade a year ago that saw him move from St. Louis to Carolina. He fit in well offensively with his new team, matching his career high in goals with seven and setting a new career mark in points with 20 while logging over 18 minutes a night. That number jumped to nearly 24 minutes per contest in the playoffs although he was limited to just four games after being injured in the series opener against Boston which they went on to lose. He also played in 22 games in the Blues’ Stanley Cup run in 2019.
While he had an improved offensive season, he’s not a big threat on that side of the ice. Instead, he’ll bring Montreal some physicality (he has had at least 118 hits in each of his five NHL seasons), a willingness to block shots, and an ability to play the penalty kill. During the playoffs, the Canadiens were limited in their options shorthanded with one of Xavier Ouellet, Brett Kulak, and Victor Mete having to kill penalties. Edmundson should be able to step in there while also giving them another option to log some minutes.
Now, the question becomes where he fits in. Ben Chiarot is still in the mix while Alexander Romanov is believed to have a spot to lose heading into training camp. Kulak certainly played well with Jeff Petry in the playoffs which will have him in the mix as well; those three are left-shot players like Edmundson. On the surface, one of those would have to shift to the right side or be a scratch (unless they wanted to start Romanov in the minors). It also calls into some question Mete’s future with the team as the pending restricted free agent has been knocked down another peg on the depth chart.
Montreal now has a little over $70 million in commitments for next season (assuming Karl Alzner is sent back to Laval) with Max Domi and Mete the only free agents of note. That means that the Canadiens should have a little bit of money at their disposal this offseason after those deals get done but after adding Edmundson and Jake Allen, it appears they’ve gotten a decent-sized chunk of their work done already.