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Instant Analysis: Mathieu Perreault should fill the role vacated by Corey Perry

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A smart winger with solid two-way numbers is always a good piece to add.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Bergevin continued his low-cost run of depth signings as free agency marches on with the signing of Drummondville native Mathieu Perreault to a one-year, $950,000 contract. The forward is an immediate replacement for the departed Corey Perry in the Montreal Canadiens’ bottom six, bringing some offensive upside and veteran savvy while being responsible defensively.

With nine goals and 10 assists in 56 games last year, Perreault put together a solid season on the Winnipeg Jets’ fourth line. With better linemates in Montreal, he can likely improve upon those numbers in a full 82-game season.

He saw a good chunk of his time on the ice dedicated to carrying around Nate Thompson and Trevor Lewis, neither of whom contribute much when they’re on the ice. Despite that, Perreault managed a respectable season.

Evolving-Hockey

There’s a lot to like from Perreault’s chart above, but it should be noted that despite being listed as a centre in some places, he has primarily been playing on the wing in recent years. Even with that in mind, he has plenty to offer in terms of even-strength play, and on the second power-play unit as well. Out of his 19 points last year, 17 were primary points, all while playing around 11 minutes on any given night in a struggling Winnipeg scheme.

It wasn’t just last season that he played a solid defensive style. Across the majority of his career, Perreault has shown to be a solid piece for whatever team he’s playing on when it comes to defence, and in generating offence as well.

HockeyViz.com

Even with a decline in play due to age, he is a smart play by the Canadiens. He won’t help the reduced centre depth at this stage, but he should mitigate the on-ice loss of Perry.

Perreault was a good add for the Canadiens, even more so at his sub-million dollar cost for the upcoming season. He isn’t the top-six star he was a few years ago, but he’s the type of player the Canadiens can replenish their lineup with.

All in all, the Canadiens haven’t quite plugged all the spots in their lineup yet, and this signing adds yet another winger to a very full set of wings in Montreal, but it’s a low-risk move that provides a safety net if the team wants to make a splash in the trade market to add a centre.