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Instant Analysis: Mike Reilly is a low risk option for the Canadiens

In true Bergevin fashion, the Habs added a young low risk option on defence.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

As the last minute deals poured into the NHL Registry at the end of the day the Canadiens added another piece on the blue line after sending Joe Morrow and Jakub Jerabek out in other trades. Mike Reilly comes over from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for the 2019 fifth-round pick that Montreal had acquired in the Jakub Jerabek trade with the Washington Capitals.

The cost is almost absolutely nothing, Washington is normally drafting late in rounds, so the pick has a minuscule chance of becoming an NHL quality player. So adding a tangible asset in Reilly is a decent move, especially when factoring in that he is just 24 years old.

In 84 games, the puck-moving defender has four goals and 14 assists in 84 career games, while playing primarily bottom pairing minutes for the Wild. In the AHL his offensive numbers are a bit more gaudy, with 10 goals, 43 assists in 103 games for Iowa, meaning at the NHL level there’s likely untapped production potential there. His NCAA numbers are extremely impressive as a defenceman, and during his amateur career he captured a World Juniors gold medal in 2013 with Team USA.

He possess good skating to move the puck up ice and has a solid shot to get the puck on net with efficiency. It’s a good sign to see that Bergevin recognizes he needed some puck moving help on the blue line, and made a low risk move to go out and get it.

Coming into Montreal he isn’t likely to be playing a much different role than he did in Minnesota, as Montreal has a solid top four locked in place, but he can help generate a bit of offensive on a bottom pairing that has lacked punch in recent years.

He isn’t going to be a shutdown, heavy defence player in Montreal. His game is based around moving the puck up ice and generating offensive pressure. Defensively he could leak shots against in his own end, especially in the high danger areas. Claude Julien would be wise to shelter him with offensive zone starts to maximize his talents on the ice.

It’s not a crippling blow by any means, but it’s clear where Reilly’s strength’s lie and they aren’t on the defensive side of the puck, and at 24 years old it’s highly unlikely that changes any time soon. Julien is a smart enough coach that he will be to utilize him in a way that suits his style of play.

As for the fifth-round pick in 2019, it’s not a giant loss for the Habs, as a fifth-round pick has an extremely slim chance of becoming an NHL quality player. Habs fans will of course point to the success of Brendan Gallagher and Charles Hudon in recent years, but they’re the exception to the rule.

Overall it’s a low risk move for the Canadiens to add Reilly to the roster, and at just $725,000 per year, with one year left he barely puts any sort of dent in Montreal’s burgeoning cap situation. He’ll also be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights when his contract is over, meaning he’ll possibly stick around if he performs well for the Canadiens.

In short, it’s a deal that doesn’t really have a downside,and can prove to have moderate upside if it all goes well, perfect for a team looking to retool parts of it’s roster.