If it seemed the Canadiens weren't keen on resigning Alexandre Picard, they confirmed that today by signing journeyman defenceman Jeff Woywitka to a one-year two-way deal. As per club policy, we will have to wait until capgeek tells us the contract value later today to find out.
This signing looks good, OK, on most fronts.
Woywitka played in the NHL last season for a start. He was a plus player on a team that wasn't terrible defensively. He averaged a lot of ice and didn't make too much of a mess by letting up way more chances than he was on for.
In other words he did an adequate job for an adequate team.
He may no longer be the prized trade chip that he once was, or the prospect he looked when he came out of junior an all-star. But he has made his place in the league it seems -- or half a place.
The two-way contract is probably the key consideration of this contract. I would imagine that at this point of the summer Gauthier has had the chance to speak with a few free agent defencemen who might have filled an 8th man in role. Sopel probably, Picard maybe. Gauthier probably had the two-way contract as the stipulation, and in Woywitka it seems he found a taker.
From the team's perspective this provides the flexibility to go with the youngsters they're hoping will come through, but the insurance of an NHL body on the AHL team. It's a good insurance policy and one that could be quite fruitful if the relationship is productive at the AHL or NHL level.
I don't know that much about Woywitka's play, and given his days of player profiles are long behind him, I thought I'd share with you something I came across from another blog that was making the case to sign him earlier in the summer.