While not the pressing need for the Montreal Canadiens during this year's free agency period, Marc Bergevin made steps to shore up the Canadiens blue line as well. Signing former Colorado Avalanche defenceman Zach Redmond shows that Bergevin knows that he needed to bolster a blue line that was made up of AHL players for long stretches last season.
Primarily known as a defensive player, Redmond was Colorado's leader on defence in possession statistics last year in 37 games played. While it's not the biggest bragging point being able to stand out on that team, it did include Tyson Barrie, and that's worth taking note of.
Relative to his teammates, Redmond is a solid option on defence, particularly at suppressing shots against his goaltenders; an area where the Habs have struggled mightily in recent years. While his overall Corsi-for percentage doesn't look good, it's important to remember that Colorado was among the worst possession teams in the NHL last season. Also, his linemates without him fared even worse on the ice as opposed to when he was out there with them.
In Montreal he won't be counted on to to carry linemates like he was in Colorado. It's highly likely he'll be a useful depth option for back-to-back games, or should injuries arise in the lineup. This signing could be seen in the same vein of Mark Barberio's from last season: a potential diamond in the rough who can provide outstanding value for his team.
While he doesn't put up a ton of points, he still creates plenty for his role and on the third pairing, and that's an added bonus for the Canadiens who didn't get a ton of points from their bottom pairing last season.
This also creates a healthy competition for the fifth and sixth spots in the defensive lineup between Redmond, Barberio and Greg Pateryn. Stability will be a huge step forward for the Canadiens with multiple NHL level players ready to step in if one of the others is injured or falters for a few games. It also creates the speculation that a player could be shipped out as there are now eight defencemen on the Habs roster, which Bergevin is happy to do if the deal is right.
Overall, this isn't a blockbuster trade, but the Canadiens didn't need that sort of signing on defence. Redmond represents a low-risk value with potential for a solid return, which fits Bergevin's MO as a general manager. He has also spent time in the AHL with the Avalanche as well, meaning he could be a veteran presence for the St. John's IceCaps should he clear waivers. It's been a rough few weeks for Montreal fans, but this signing should be seen as nothing but a positive, as cheap, productive depth is always at a premium in the NHL.