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Instant Analysis: Getting to know Jakub Jerabek

What can the Habs newest signing bring to the table?

Czech Republic v USA - 2016 IIHF World Championship Ice Hockey: Quarter Final Photo by Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens will probably have a different looking defence next season. The Canadiens have five NHL defencemen signed for next season, and that doesn’t even include restricted free-agents Nathan Beaulieu and Nikita Nesterov, unrestricted free-agent Andrei Markov, and players under contract like Mikhail Sergachev and Zach Redmond.

Add Jakub Jeřábek to the mix, plus the expansion draft where the Habs could only protect three defencemen, and the ingredients for change are on the table.

Jeřábek is coming from the KHL, but previously played in the top Czech league. He won the Czech Extraliga with Plzen in 2013, and spent last season in KHL’s Vityaz Podolsk a team that made the KHL playoffs, for the first time, this season.

Jeřábek scored 34 points (5G, 29A) in 59 games this season, his first in the KHL. The 34 points were good enough for fifth among KHL defenders. To put it into some perspective, last season, Nikita Zaitsev had 26 points (8G, 18A) in 46 games.

Zaitsev had 36 points in the NHL this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jeřábek is solid power play quarterback, something that Montreal does need. He brings a good passing game with some offensive instincts that comes from his exceptional vision and his "feel" for the game. Watching him, he does remind you of Andrei Markov who, ironically, played for Vityaz during the 2012-13 NHL lockout.

He backs this up with solid skating but he isn’t very physical. He does have some issues in his own zone.

As we can see from the graphs, Jeřábek is quite good offensively. He gets a lot of shots at the net, and his points give an NHL equivalency of 39 points over an 82 game season. Obviously we can’t expect that, necessarily, but he brings elements that the Canadiens can certainly use.

I reached out to friend of EOTP HockeyNinja who gave this short description: "[He] was one of the best defencemen last season in Czech league. He has a very solid game with offensive uptick, can handle QB role on the power play.”

I also reached out to Michal Belšán, a local sports reporter from Plzen that has followed Jeřábek for a long time and he gave us this report: "Jeřábek is great. He doesn't have the hardest shot, but he is a very good passer. Reliable in defence, simliar playing style to Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins. He has no problems with hitting, nor blocking shots. He can ride the power plays and also play on penalty kills. He is not afraid of holding the puck and making a play. He can create some offensive rushes and it's not just about dumping the puck out of the zone".

This is what Belšán describes as a typical play from the newest addition to the Montreal Canadiens blue line. Jeřábek is wearing No. 5.

That kind of dynamic ability from the blue line is something that the Habs have missed. Like Alexander Radulov last season, Jeřábek is a low-risk addition that could really help the team in a key area of weakness next season.