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Instant Analysis: Steve Ott brings grit to an overstuffed Habs bottom-six

Ott brings a physical presence to a skill-oriented Montreal team.

Detroit Red Wings v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Marc Beregvin’s busy deadline week continued following the Habs 1-0 win over Columbus, when he acquired veteran grinder Steve Ott from the Detroit Red Wings.

We previously covered the rumors involving Ott, and why acquiring him is a bad idea for the Habs. But it’s clear that Bergevin still wanted to add a bit of grit to his team, despite their recent run of great play under Claude Julien.

It’s an unimpressive HERO chart above. Ott doesn’t generate much of anything in terms of offence, and quite frankly despite a decent shot suppression metric there isn’t much there in terms of overall play. In 42 games this year he has three goals and three assists with 63 penalty minutes to his name, while playing primarily fourth-line minutes.

Possession wise Ott clocks in at a 44.9 Corsi-for percentage which isn’t pretty, even if he is taking harsh deployments in Detroit. Ott 27.8% Goals-for percentage is 399th our of 409 forwards with 200+ minutes this year. That’s not something that can be dressed up in any way to look good. He might win faceoffs (about 11 of every 20 he takes), but once that puck is won there isn’t much else he brings to the table tangibly.

Perhaps the biggest issue with the trade is the roster spot Ott now occupies, which is one they could be better served by allowing Michael McCarron or Charles Hudon to play in on a regular basis.

It’s not hard to see why Bergevin may have gone out to grab the veteran forward as he’s known for his physical play on the ice. In this season we’ve seen some Habs players get roughed up on the ice without consequence, including Carey Price taking matters into his own hands. With teams like Toronto loading up on size with recent trades and Ottawa acquiring a pest extraordinaire in Alex Burrows, Bergevin may have thought it wise to have a plan for those divisional opponents.

Steve Ott will be a free agent at the end of the year, and the sixth-round pick could be of little consequence in the end, so it’s not the end of the world. It’s more that the Habs prospects now have another fourth-liner to work around to get a look in the NHL this season. It’s not as bad as the other midnight trade tonight, but it still comes pretty close to it.