The ideal situation for any team in any sport is healthy job competition. On defence the Canadiens have that in spades in not only the long term but short term as well.
The club announced the signing of Frederic St. Denis to a one year contract Thursday bringing the number of legitimate contenders for the sixth and seventh spots on the defense to six.
Assuming the Canadiens don’t make a move on the contract of Tomas Kaberle (and that assumption is not a slam dunk), the group includes St. Denis, Francis Bouillon, Yannick Weber, Brendon Nash, Raphael Diaz, St. Denis and perhaps even Jarred Tinordi who is at least physically, if not technically ready to play in the NHL.
St. Denis, Nash and Tinordi all have two-way contracts. The Raphael Diaz contract has yet to be completed.
Who knows how Michel Therrien will line up his defense but at this point we can speculate it will be Markov/Emelin – Subban/Gorges – Kaberle/Bouillon. After that, it’s a tossup. Can you smell a trade in the works?
The St. Denis story is one of perserverence. He was undrafted coming out of junior. He was spotted by Canadiens scouts playing for the University of Quebec-Trois Rivieres. He was first signed to an AHL-Hamilton contract and sent to ECHL-Cincinnati before being promoted to the Bulldogs. He got his chance with the Canadiens late last season and did not look out of place averaging over 14 minutes a game.
St. Denis Signing Announcement From Canadiens Communications
MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced Thursday the signing of defenseman Frédéric St-Denis to a one-year, two-way contract (2012-13). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
St-Denis, 26, completed his fourth season in professional hockey in 2011-12. The defenseman notched three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in 17 games with the Canadiens, including his first NHL game on November 16 against the Carolina Hurricanes. He recorded 11 shots on goal, seven hits, 21 blocked shots and served 10 penalty minutes. St-Denis maintained a +3 plus/minus differential while averaging 14:31 of ice time per game.
The 5’11’’, 182lbs defenseman finished tied for first among Bulldogs’ defensemen with 28 points (3 goals, 25 assists) in 58 games with Hamilton during the 2011-12 regular season. Two if his goals were scored on the powerplay. St-Denis led the Bulldogs’ defensemen in assists (25). He also collected 114 shots on goal and served 18 penalty minutes.
A native of Greenfield Park, Quebec, St-Denis signed with the Canadiens as a free agent on July 1, 2010.