The Montreal Canadiens have added some forward depth, agreeing to terms with unrestricted free agent Nick Cousins to a one-year, $1MM contract. Cousins spent the last two seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, but failed to receive a qualifying offer from them this summer.
Cousins, 25, played in 81 games last season for the Coyotes, moving all over the lineup and generating seven goals and 27 points. That total includes just three powerplay points, and actually should have likely been a lot higher. Cousins had an almost unbelievably low shooting percentage of just 4.9%, much lower than league average and his previous rate of 9.1%. He also had relatively solid possession statistics, and recorded 115 hits in the best season of his short career.
The Canadiens are betting he can replicate those numbers with them, and give them a little more depth in their bottom-six. Cousins can play both center and wing, versatility that will be valuable as the team decides how to deploy their group this season. The question will be how much playing time can he get, as Montreal already has ten other forwards on one-way contracts plus three restricted free agents and at least two entry-level players penciled in. It should be a battle for playing time at training camp this year, something that is hardly ever a bad thing for a team looking to climb back into the playoff picture.