When Charles Hudon didn’t file for arbitration last Saturday, it seemed a little strange. However, the decision makes sense now as he has signed a one-year deal with Lausanne of the Swiss NLA.
Hudon spent this past season on the fringes of the roster with Montreal and actually cleared waivers to get to Laval. He was quite productive with Laval with 27 goals in just 46 games but he didn’t do much with the Habs, scoring just once in 15 contests.
The 26-year-old is at a bit of a career crossroads. He’s too good to play full-time in the AHL – his season with the Rocket showed that. But he also hasn’t shown enough to be considered an NHL regular either and while he has been hoping for a trade, his value only would have improved upon clearing waivers which is counter-intuitive from his perspective. Generally speaking, teams aren’t trading for a fringe guy that they could have had for free a year ago.
Accordingly, heading overseas makes some sense for Hudon even if it goes against his original intention. Barring COVID-19-related shutdowns, their season should end in late March with the playoffs starting April 1st. By the time those are done, there will still be time left in the NHL season; it’s possible that it could come before the trade deadline even depending on his team makes the playoffs. If he has a good season, the Habs could then sign him or flip his rights if someone wants to take a look at him at that time.
In the meantime, he’ll remain unsigned and not count against Montreal’s contract limit which currently sits at 45 out of 50. If he doesn’t wind up signing after his NLA season ends, Hudon will be eligible for unrestricted free agency next offseason.