Jakub Jerabek hasn’t found a fit in Montreal, and with his unrestricted free agency pending the team has decided to move on. The defenseman has been traded to the Washington Capitals for a 2019 fifth-round draft pick.
Jerabek, 26, was signed last offseason to a one-year entry-level contract out of the KHL. After starting off with the Laval Rocket of the AHL, and finding early success, the Czech defenseman was recalled and has played 25 games for the Canadiens. Unfortunately, that run came to an end recently as Jerabek has been held out of the lineup since the beginning of the month. It still didn’t seem like he was going anywhere, even telling reporters that he would be interested in re-signing with Montreal.
Speaking to Arpon Basu of The Athletic recently about the potential to get moved at the deadline, Jerabek reiterated his focus on just getting back into the lineup:
My agent spoke with guys here, but I don’t want to talk about it right now and just focus on my job here and my chance. I hope if I get it, I take it, I show what I can bring to this team to the end of the season, and hopefully for next year.
He’ll likely get that chance to prove himself in Washington, who are headed to the playoffs once again with an unsettled defense group. The team just recently acquired Michal Kempny from the Chicago Blackhawks, and lost Taylor Chorney on waivers today. Jerabek will immediately jump into the mix for a potential bottom pairing spot, and will almost certainly be used at some point down the stretch.
Like any team expecting a long playoff run, the Capitals are trying to add depth on defense in case of injury. Jerabek carries just a $925K cap hit, and has shown some good versatility in his short time in Montreal. Though he likely won’t be asked to log big minutes, he can do a little bit of everything including penalty killing in a pinch.
For Montreal, if they weren’t going to re-sign Jerabek (or even if they still plan on trying), they turned a lost season into another asset for the future. They actually didn’t have a fifth-round pick for 2019, which has now been replaced and gives the team a chance, depending on conditions, to select 15 times in the next two years. Expect the Canadiens to add at least a couple more selections over the next few days.