The Montreal Canadiens have signed RFA Jacob De La Rose to a one-year, one-way contract. The Swedish forward will have a cap hit of $750,000 this season. De La Rose is one of Montreal’s top prospects at the moment and adds some upside to a fairly weak prospect pool. The 22-year-old had just finished the 3rd year of his entry-level deal signed in 2014-15.
After splitting time in the NHL and AHL for two years, De La Rose spent most of the year with the St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL. Despite always being a very good defensive forward, the concern with De La Rose was that he would never be able to produce offensively. De La Rose put this concern to bed, as he really strengthened his offensive game this past season. In 62 games with the IceCaps, De La Rose scored 14 goals and added 17 assists for 31 points on the year. He also added a goal and 3 points during the IceCaps 4 game playoff run. In addition to his time in the AHL, De La Rose also spent 9 games with the Habs this year, where he was unfortunately held without a point.
Still only 22-years-old, De La Rose has plenty of time to continue to develop his offensive game and add on to his already very strong defensive game. De La Rose also has a legitimate shot at making the Habs full time during this upcoming season. He will be in the running for a fourth line position alongside Mike McCarron, Torrey Mitchell, Andreas Martinsen, and Charles Hudon.
De La Rose is already able to shut down the opposition on the 4th line with his strong defensive play. If he is also able to continue his offensive improvements and chip a few goals here and there, De La Rose will be a very good, and cheap, option for the Habs. Only time will tell if Claude Julien and the rest of the coaching staff will trust De La Rose in a full-time position, and finally allow him to crack the NHL roster for good.