Montreal Canadiens claim Jeff Halpern off of Waivers

Claus Andersen

A former Hab is a Hab again.

The Montreal Canadiens have claimed former Hab Jeff Halpern off of waivers from the New York Rangers.

Jeff Halpern was an excellent defensive forward for the Habs two years ago, although the lasting memory most Habs fans have of him is him playing while possibly concussed in the playoffs and tipping Nathan Horton's shot past Carey Price in overtime of game 7, helping the Bruins eliminate the Canadiens in the first round in 2011 en route to a Stanley Cup victory.

Halpern has been used an extreme defensive role, taking just 26.3% of his faceoffs in the offensive zone, yet he's still only being outshot by 3.52 shot attempts per 60 minutes of ice time at even strength.

Halpern is a versatile faceoff specialist who even at the age of 36 is still winning an impressive 56.7% of his faceoffs.

Don't be thrown by Halpern's one point in 30 games, he's not here to score goals or generate offense, he'll be used in the same way the 4th line has been used all year. However his 2.47 on-ice shooting percentage likely means he will produce significantly more offense than he has been thus far.

This pick up may signify that Ryan White is more seriously injured than previously thought, or just that the Canadiens wanted to improve their depth with a veteran defensive center, which isn't a bad thing. It could also mean that Brandon Prust's injury could keep him out longer than originally thought.

Halpern is making just $700K against the cap, which this far into the season makes him absurdly cost efficient.

This is a shrewd move by Marc Bergevin, and I can not find a single way to view this in a negative light. The fact that Petteri Nokelainen was waived and sent to the Bulldogs and Halpern was claimed says to me that Bergevin knows what he's looking for in bottom six players, and it's not all about fisticuffs like many would have you believe.


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