The Montreal Canadiens made a few minor moves on Thursday, signing forward Brian Willsie to a one-year, two way contract. Habs GM Pierre Gauthier later traded the restricted free agent Ryan Russel to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Michael Blunden.
Willsie is expected to make $600,000 with the big club, and $225K if he is with the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL). Blunden would pull in $100 to $600K, depending ho his season goes.
Willsie is a veteran of 381 NHL games over the last decade, but has never had much offensive success. His most productive season came in a full 82 games with the Washington Capitals in 2005-06, where he had 19 goals His time in the AHL has been far more productive, especially in the last two seasons with the Hershey Bears.
Tim Leone, of the the Patriot-News, notes that Willsie is looking forward to playing in the Habs organization, and has a home in Guelph, ON, which is less than an hour from Hamilton. The 33-year-old knows his roll, but remains optimistic of getting some NHL ice time.
Willsie's contract does come with one glitch, as noted by HabsWorld today on Twitter. His AHL salary means he needs to clear re-entry waivers unless injuries arise.
As for Blunden, he never has really peaked in either the AHL or the NHL since being drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2005.
Our SBNation colleagues at The Cannon, gave exit intervies on the Sprinfiled Falcons forwards back in April. They had this to report on the 25-year old Blunden.
What we expected:
Blunden joined the Falcons when the Jackets re-upped him for another one year deal. Mike played 40 games for the Jackets in 2009-10 and had an opportunity to join them out of camp. After scoring 84 points in his last year of juniors (Erie Otters - OHL), his highest point output in the pros was 37 for the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL in 2007-08.
What we got:
Blunden started the season on what was the Falcons' #1 line and quickly established himself as a presence on the wing with Tom Sestito and Chad Kolarik. As the roster evolved, he became less of a factor and ultimately was injured in January and missed the remainder of the season.
What we need to see:
Like with Kyle Wilson, Blunden's info no longer appears on the Blue Jackets website. The team may be done with him.
Subban is home: P.K. Subban returned home after a successful WorldVision trip to Haiti. A great photo gallery from his visit is on the Canadiens website.
Subban is headed to Belleville to play in the Medigas Celebrity Classic on Tuesday. Yours truly forked over the dough to play in the event, so hopefully I'll bring back some talk time with him and former Habs Stephane Richer, Peter Mahovlich and tournament host Rick Meagher.
Nathan Beaulieau talks to the media, during day two of the Habs rookie development camp.