The Montreal Canadiens have ticked another restricted free agent off their to-do list, agreeing to terms with Charles Hudon on a one-year contract. The deal is one-way and will pay Hudon $800K for the 2019-20 season.
Signing Hudon leaves the Canadiens with only Michael McCarron as an unsigned restricted free agent, and also means the team won’t have any arbitration hearings this year. However, because they had at least two players file they will now be granted a short buyout window in three days. Any player they wanted to buy out would need to have at least a $3.45MM cap hit and been on their reserve list at the trade deadline. That does not rule out Karl Alzner, who figures as the only real candidate on the roster but is definitely not guaranteed to be bought out next week.
For the 25-year old Hudon, last season was one to forget. The minor league star played in 32 games with the Canadiens and scored just five points, spending long stretches as a healthy scratch. It’s hard to see how he’ll change that this year given that he currently projects as something like the 15th or 16th forward, depending on how head coach Claude Julien feels about Ryan Poehling and some of the other newcomers.
Hudon has plenty of offensive talent, shown through his three outstanding AHL seasons where he totaled 159 points in 198 games. What he doesn’t seem to have at this point is the trust of the coaching staff, which could make him an afterthought again this year. Training camp and roster health will be extremely important for Hudon this fall as he tries to battle his way onto the club. If he can’t, he’ll be a candidate on waivers for a desperate club looking for a little more punch.