The Montreal Canadiens took a chance when they traded a fifth-round pick for the negotiating rights of Joel Edmundson, but it has worked out the way they hoped. Today, the Canadiens have signed Edmundson to a four-year contract that will carry a $3.5MM average annual value. Edmunson will also receive a 10-team no-trade clause in the deal, according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.
Edmundson, 27, is coming off the best offensive season of his career, scoring 20 points in 68 games with the Carolina Hurricanes. That followed his arrival from the St. Louis Blues as part of the package that landed Justin Faulk, just a few months after Edmundson won the Stanley Cup. While he certainly should not be considered an offensive defenseman, he has logged big minutes in the past and was a big contributor to Carolina’s penalty kill. That defensive acumen was obviously coveted enough by Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin for him to go out and use an asset to acquire Edmundson before he hit the open market, while also handing out a long-term contract.
Montreal of course has star defensemen Shea Weber and Jeff Petry manning the blueline, but the latter is heading into his final year under contract. The team has now shored up the group with another capable defender, though it’s unclear exactly how the playing time will now shake out. Alexander Romanov was expected to challenge for a spot on the NHL roster immediately, but Edmundson’s addition actually gives the Canadiens a glut of left-handed options. Still, having defensive depth was always going to be required for the Canadiens to compete in the Eastern Conference and the team had plenty of cap space to work with this offseason.
For Edmundson, this contract represents the first real long-term stability he has had in his NHL career. He’d previously been playing on short-term deals, including just a one-year $3.1MM contract awarded through arbitration in 2019-20. While this doesn’t represent much of a salary increase on his last two contracts, he does get some financial security and is now locked in through the 2023-24 season.