Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin got a head start on his free agent shopping on Saturday afternoon by acquiring the FA rights to veteran defenseman Joel Edmundson from the Carolina Hurricanes.
In exchange for Edmundson’s rights, the Canadiens are sending a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft to Carolina.
That pick will give eight selections in the 2020 class.
The 2020 NHL draft will take place virtually on October 6 and 7. The NHL free agent signing period will open on October 9 at 12 p.m. ET.
Edmundson, 27, is eligible for unrestricted free agency this offseason. He spent the 2019-20 season with Carolina after being acquired from the St. Louis Blues before the season in the Justin Faulk trade.
He appeared in 68 games for the Hurricanes, scoring seven goals to go with 13 assists while play around 18 minutes per game.
He joins a Canadiens’ defense that already has Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot, Karl Alzner, Brett Kulak, and Alexander Romanov under contract for this upcoming season. Victor Mete and Xaviier Ouellet are also restricted free agents. He is not going to play a bigger role than Weber or Petry, but he would certainly be in the mix to compete with Mete, Chiarot, Kulak, and Romanov for a role somewhere in the top-four.
This is already Montreal’s second move of the offseason.
They had previous acquired goalie Jack Allen from the Blues to improve their depth behind starter Carey Price.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile are at least able to get a pick for a player they were probably going to lose anyway in a few weeks.
They already have Dougie Hamilton, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei, Jake Gardiner all signed for this season, while the latter four are all locked in on long-term deals. Hamilton will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2020-21 season, while Hadyn Fleury is a restricted free agent. Those financial commitments would have made signing Edmundson to a new deal a challenge. Veterans Sami Vatanen and Trevor van Riemsdyk are also unrestricted free agents after this season.
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