Montreal Canadiens: Fourth Line Additions

Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin didn’t wait until the trade deadline to revamp and as most seem to agree, upgrade his fourth line. Whether more changes are still to come or not remains to be seen but for now, Bergevin has held true to his word in not trading away any of his valuable younger assets, as both moves cost the organization next to nothing.

The first transaction saw a familiar face return to Montreal when forward Dale Weise made his way back in a four player swap with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Canadiens also received 26-year old Swedish defenseman Christian Folin in the deal. A big, strong, right-handed blue liner with 209 games under his belt in the National Hockey League, who will be an unrestricted free agent at year’s end. It’s no secret that Weise was at his best playing for the franchise he grew up cheering for but it hasn’t been easy for him since his departure. His 5 goals and 6 assists in 42 games this season for the Flyers are still better stats than all 5 players who have been rotating fourth line duties for the Canadiens this season. Going to Philadelphia was underused and often injured defenseman David Schlemko who had been playing down in Laval for the last couple of weeks. Just eliminating Schlemko’s contract for next season should be considered a positive, although Weise’s deal is very similar with another year remaining; here’s hoping the latter finds more success and the Habs get more bang for the buck. Rocket’s captain Byron Froese was also sent to the Flyers, he was in his second season with the organization but clearly was not in the team’s future plans.

Bergevin was at it again just two days later, in another minor move that saw him acquire veteran center Nate Thompson from the Los Angels Kings. With the two draft picks exchanged between the teams in this transaction, the cost to acquire Thompson was virtually nothing. He’s an experienced center with decent size who can be relied upon to take defensive face offs; a task that had been solely left to Phillip Danault. At 34, Thompson had accumulated 134 points in 672 career games prior to joining the Canadiens.

Both players made their debuts, or in Weise’s case his return, on Thursday night in a 3-1 loss against the Nashville Predators. The two newest acquisitions found themselves on what should be an improved 4th line for the Canadiens alongside Nicolas Deslauriers. The fight for a playoff spot is on and the Habs will need contributions from all in order to be one of the 16 teams still standing after the 82nd game played.

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