After losing Victor Mete on waivers today, the Habs turned to the trade market to add another blueliner, acquiring Erik Gustafsson from Philadelphia in exchange for a 2022 seventh-round draft pick, previously acquired from St. Louis in the Jake Allen trade. The Flyers are retaining 50% of Gustafsson’s $3M salary.
The 29-year-old made a name for himself in 2018-19 when he came out of nowhere to post a 17-goal, 60-point season. However, his numbers have dipped considerably since then. He dropped to 29 points a year ago between Chicago and Calgary before signing as a free agent with the Flyers this fall to replace Matt Niskanen.
The move didn’t quite work out as either side had hoped. Gustafsson has just a goal and nine assists in 24 games and also has been a healthy scratch at times this season. That’s why Montreal was able to acquire him for next to nothing.
It’s hard to see Gustafsson landing a regular spot in the lineup for the Habs but as more of a mobile, offence-oriented blueliner, he gives them a different type of player that could be subbed in when a change of pace is needed or if injuries arise.
Like yesterday’s addition of Jon Merrill, Gustafsson will have to go through a seven-day quarantine before he can join the Canadiens. Merrill is heading out West to serve that period before catching up with the team before next week’s road trip and their newest blueliner will likely do the same.