Today was a very busy day for the Habs, trading away Mikhail Sergachev for Jonathan Drouin. With all the hype around the trade, you may have missed one of the other moves the Habs made. Young forward prospect Charles Hudon was signed to a 2-year contract at $650,000 per year. The 1st year of the contract will be a 2-way deal, and the 2nd year will be a 1-way deal. The 22-year-old was selected in the 5th round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Habs. He was set to become an RFA this summer.
Hudon is a very talented player with a ton of offensive upside. Hudon has been very good in the AHL for the past few years now. After 28 goals in 2015-16, Hudon upped his play even further with 27 goals in 11 fewer games played. His 27 goals put him tied for 7th in the AHL, with most of the players above him playing far more games than him. Hudon also has 4 points in 6 NHL games with Habs.
Many were hoping Hudon would get a chance to play in the NHL last season, but the Habs management never gave him a fair chance to showcase his talents. This year, Hudon will most likely be playing full time with the Habs. Hudon can add some much needing scoring to the bottom 6 that will benefit Montreal greatly. Also at only $650,000 a year, Hudon will provide a very good and cheap option to a Habs team that will most likely be dealing with cap issues for most of the year.
One thing to keep in mind is that Hudon may be left unprotected in the NHL Expansion Draft by Montreal due to the Jonathan Drouin trade. Barring a trade, the Habs will need to choose one of Hudon, Andrew Shaw, or Paul Byron to be left unprotected. Hopefully, the Habs will do the right thing and protect Hudon as he has the potential to become much better than Byron and Shaw if he is not already.
Despite this, Habs fans should be very excited as all signs point towards Hudon playing in the NHL next season. As we have recently seen, young players are taking over the NHL. Hudon has the potential to be one of these game breaking players for Montreal next season and help the team succeed and make a push for the Stanley Cup.