There have been calls for awhile now for the Montreal Canadiens to re-sign Peter Budaj, and it seems like Marc Bergevin fully agrees with those, as the Habs announced today that they've signed Budaj to a two year contract extension worth $1.4M per season.
Budaj has put up an excellent season for a backup goaltender, including beating the Boston Bruins twice in dramatic fashion. He is a more than capable backup, and has proved it for the last two seasons. When Carey Price went down with an injury last year, Budaj was extremely effective in relief.
What I don't understand about this deal, is why it has to be done now. Much like the Francis Bouillon deal, there is simply no advantage to getting this done now. Giving non-core players extensions during the season makes very little sense.
It's possible that Bergevin felt that Budaj's price would go up in the summer, but with looming amnesty buyouts and a large decrease in cap space coming, I don't believe this is the case.
You also lose flexibility in the offseason. To take the Francis Bouillon contract as an example, what if there's a better player than Bouillon available (not a stretch) that wants to sign in Montreal, but the Canadiens no longer have cap space for him? These extensions are not consistent with Bergevin's stated goal of taking the long view.
It's highly unlikely that an extension for Budaj will come back to bite the Habs, because he's pretty good and probably relatively cheap, but this kind of asset management is not as shrewd as the rest of what Bergevin has done.
MONTREAL - Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced Wednesday a two-year contract extension for goaltender Peter Budaj (2013-14 and 2014-15). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
This season, Budaj played eight games with the Canadiens. In his eight NHL season, his second as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, he has a record of six wins, one loss and one overtime/shootout loss. The 30-year old netminder displays a 2.17 goals against average. Budaj blocked 187 of the 204 shots he faced so far this season for a .917 saving percentage and blanked his opponents once.
Since making his NHL debut, the 6'1'' and 195 lbs goaltender shows a record of 112 wins, 99 losses and 33 losses in overtime/shootout. Budaj totals 10 shutouts, displaying a career 2.79 goals against average and a .903 save percentage.
Budaj joined the Canadiens organization as a free agent on July 1, 2011.