With the team battling several injuries up front, the Habs decided to add some forward depth on Thursday, announcing that they’ve claimed centre Chris Tierney off waivers from Florida.
The 28-year-old has considerable NHL experience, suiting up in 574 career games over parts of nine seasons. In 2022-23, he has split the season between the Panthers and their AHL affiliate in Charlotte. In 13 games with Florida, Tierney has two goals and an assist, decent numbers when you consider he’s only averaging 8:28 per game, well below his career average of 14:44. In the minors, he has been considerably more productive as expected, collecting 16 points in 20 contests.
Tierney isn’t being brought in as a potential late-bloomer prospect but he’ll serve as serviceable depth in the midst of more injuries. Joel Armia is questionable to play Friday in Philadelphia while the team revealed that Kirby Dach’s non-COVID illness is actually a lower-body injury. As a result, there were just 12 forwards on the roster including Armia so they were in a spot where they’d need to call up a player or play shorthanded if Armia couldn’t go tomorrow. Instead of recalling someone else from Laval and further decimating their roster with the team in the midst of a playoff battle, they’ve opted instead to claim Tierney.
Tierney is on a one-year, two-way contract that pays $750,000 in the NHL and $450,000 in the AHL. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season so there won’t be any long-term roster effects from this move. With the claim, Montreal now is at 47 contracts, three shy of the maximum of 50. With the team believed to be wanting to sign Sean Farrell and likely Jayden Struble at the end of their college seasons, two of those three remaining slots are probably earmarked for those two players so this isn’t the type of move the Canadiens will be able to do much more of unless they’re able to clear out some other players first.