The Montreal Canadiens have reached a deal with another pending free agent, signing Jake Evans to a two-year contract. Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports that the deal will carry an average annual value of $750K, and is a two-way contract in the first season. Evans was set to become a restricted free agent next month but will now remain under contract through the 2021-22 season.
Evans, 24, has developed nicely since being a seventh-round selection in 2014. Picked out of the OJHL, Evans ended up going to Notre Dame where he became one of the best offensive weapons in the country, recording 88 points in 80 games over his last two years in college. That production continued when he hit the pro circuit, with 45 points as a rookie in the AHL.
This year, Evans received his first NHL opportunity and ran with it, scoring three points in 13 regular season games and suiting up for six postseason appearances. Moving forward he looks like a legitimate option for the fourth-line center role, if not carving out a spot even higher up in the lineup.
At a near-minimum cost, Evans represents an extremely cheap option for the Canadiens to plug in next season, giving them even more to spend elsewhere. Amazingly, he is also still waiver-exempt, meaning he could move to the minors to start the year if the team wants to keep someone else on the roster.