HabsWorld.net -- 

The Habs have added an interesting youngster in free agency as they announced on Sunday that they’ve signed centre Lias Andersson to a one-year, two-way contract.  The deal pays $775,000 in the NHL and $450,000 at the AHL level.

The 24-year-old is well-known to Jeff Gorton and Nick Bobrov as they’re the ones that drafted Andersson seventh overall back in 2017 while he was with the Rangers.  Unfortunately for everyone involved, that selection hasn’t panned out too well since then as he has failed to establish himself as a full-time NHL player, let alone an impact one.

Andersson has spent the last three seasons with Los Angeles, primarily with their farm team in AHL Ontario.  Last year, he had his best campaign in the minors, notching 31 goals and 28 assists in 67 games.  However, he only saw a single game with the Kings.

Between the two organizations, Andersson has played in 110 games over parts of six NHL seasons, picking up just seven goals and ten assists while averaging a little under 11 minutes a night.  But in the minors, he has been much more productive, putting up 58 goals and 63 helpers in 160 contests.

Assuming the Canadiens can get him through waivers (he cleared last October in training camp), Andersson should become Laval’s top centre.  That was a big area of need last year with wingers often having to shift over to play down the middle when injuries struck so assuming he makes it to the minors, Andersson should be a key piece for the Rocket next season.

While the Habs signed Andersson as an unrestricted free agent (after being non-tendered on Friday), he is technically still RFA-eligible through the 2024-25 campaign.  If things go well with Laval next season, he could be someone that sticks around for a little while.

This puts Montreal at 39 committed contracts with six restricted free agents to re-sign.  However, Filip Mesar told Jean-Francois Chaumont of the Journal de Montréal today that the plan is for him to play in Laval next season instead of junior.  As a result, while his contract is still eligible to slide, his contract will no longer be exempt from the limit.  Thus, by the time their RFAs sign, Montreal will be up to 46 out of the limit of 50.

Teams generally want to carry a few open slots for in-season movement so at this point, there might not be much more UFA activity from the Canadiens unless they’re able to trade a player or two first.

Andersson’s Stats: