HabsWorld.net -- 

While the Habs haven’t been too busy as expected at the start of free agency, Laval has been quite busy.  The team has announced the signings of seven players to one-year, one-way AHL agreements.

The signings are as follows:

Forwards: Vincent Arseneau, Laurent Dauphin, Jakov Novak (re-signing)
Defencemen: Josh Jacobs, Vincent Sevigny, Tyler Wotherspoon
Goaltender: Hunter Jones

Among the forwards, Dauphin is the most notable.  He spent parts of three seasons in Montreal’s system, getting into 38 games with the Habs while being a valuable two-way centre for the Rocket.  He moved to Phoenix in 2022 and then after spending most of the year in the minors with them, he played with Ambri-Piotta in Switzerland last season, recording 16 goals and 22 assists in 42 games.  The 29-year-old is likely to once again play a key role for the Rocket and will count against their veteran limit next season.

Arseneau, meanwhile, has a dozen years of AHL experience under his belt, albeit in a limited role as he has just 256 games in that time; that means the 32-year-old won’t count against the veteran limit.  Last season, he played in 44 games with AHL Providence, notching six goals and three assists along with 89 penalty minutes.  He’ll provide the Rocket with some physicality on the fourth line when he’s in the lineup.

As for Novak, he signed a contract with Laval last summer with Montreal subsequently acquiring his NHL rights (which were released a few months later).  The 25-year-old only played in two games with the Rocket but was productive with ECHL Trois-Rivieres, leading the Lions in scoring with 30 goals and 26 assists in 66 regular season games while adding six more tallies in six playoff contests.  He’s someone that’s likely earmarked to play in the ECHL once again where he should be a top recall option.

On the back end, Wotherspoon is the most experienced of the group.  The 31-year-old has over 600 games of AHL experience along with 30 NHL appearances so he’ll also be one of Laval’s veterans next season.  Wotherspoon played in 65 games for Utica in 2023-24, picking up six goals and 18 assists.  He should be in line for a regular role on the third pairing and should be a steadying influence on a relatively inexperienced back end.

Jacobs, meanwhile, is a 10-year AHL veteran, spanning 341 games (meaning he also counts against the veteran limit) while also getting into three NHL contests.  The 28-year-old is a right-shot rearguard who will give Laval a veteran to play behind Logan Mailloux and David Reinbacher on that side of the ice.  Jacobs didn’t play last season due to injury but was under contract with Springfield.

As for Sevigny, he spent the last two seasons on an AHL contract with Bridgeport.  The 23-year-old played in 33 games last year, picking up a goal and four assists.  He’s more likely to fill a depth role and could be an option to start in Trois-Rivieres depending on how Montreal’s defensive situation shakes out.

Jones was a second-round pick by Minnesota back in 2019 but has not progressed, spending most of his four-year professional career at the AHL level.  He played in 18 games with ECHL Iowa last season, posting a 3.61 GAA and a .890 SV%.  The 23-year-old is likely to be with Trois-Rivieres to start next season.

As a refresher on the veteran rule, teams can only have five skaters with at least 320 career professional games (NHL, AHL, high-end European leagues) in the lineup plus one other between 261 and 320.  With Dauphin, Wotherspoon, and Jacobs taking up three of those, plus potentially Alex Barre-Boulet who signed with Montreal earlier today, it’s safe to suggest that the heavy lifting on the veteran front is likely to being close to finished already.