No one knew quite what to make of the Brandon Baddock deal at the start of free agency last year. His stats pointed to a player whose only significant contribution was fighting in the minor leagues, and with so many new forward prospects coming to the Montreal Canadiens’ AHL team it didn’t seem to make sense.
While still accumulating plenty of penalty minutes for the Laval Rocket this season and just five points, he also showed some very strong forechecking and defensive skills for Joël Bouchard’s team, part of a dominant formation that often handily outshot the opposition. As a result of his hard work, Baddock has received a one-year extension on his contract with the organization.
There isn’t expected to be such an influx of prospect talent for the 2021-22 season, and there’s also a new ECHL affiliate in Trois-Rivières where the Canadiens can find more playing time for players with a longer-term development, so it will be important to have as many players as possible in the minor-league system. Even this year with a handful of players forced to sit as healthy scratches with nowhere to play in the opening weeks, the depth had run out by the end of the season with injuries at both the NHL and AHL levels.
The Canadiens are in a position to be competitive at all pro levels for the next few seasons. The Habs and Rocket have found success with an aggressive style of play at both ends of the ice, and Baddock will be a key player in maintaining that type of play in Laval next year.