Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Canadiens Sign RFA Brock Trotter to 1-year Deal

UPDATE 04/07/2011, 9:22 AM EST - The signing has been confirmed by the Canadiens this morning. Contrary to earlier reports, the deal is 1-year, 2-way.

Rumours online over the past few days had the Montreal Canadiens signing winger Brock Trotter back out of the KHL, and the news was finally confirmed by his KHL team this morning.

Trotter, now 24, was a star for the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2009-10 when he registered 36 goals and 77 points in 75 games. The 5'10" Manitoba native turned some heads when he was called up for 2 games along with David Desharnais and Ryan White during a period of bad inuries for the Habs, and the trio performed admirably in a surprising 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. A hard loss the following game, however, ended Trotter's shot at the bigs, and he signed with Dynamo Riga for the following season.

Rumour has the deal to be one-way (confirmed later to be two-way, with NHL salary at $550,000, and AHL salary at $105,000), which simply means that Trotter will earn his full NHL salary (likely in the area of $600,000) whether he plays for the Canadiens or Bulldogs. It is most likely that he is seen as a replacement for guys like Nigel Dawes and Dustin Boyd down in Hamilton, both of whom have signed in Russia for next season. Still, Trotter's offensive abilities are evident, and he provides further organizational depth if needed. It will be interesting to see if his former Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher has any interest in acquiring his services off the waiver wire should the Canadiens send him down following training camp.

If Trotter is to make the Habs (and I have no doubt he'll at least be given a look during training camp), he would fit best on a line with some bigger bodies, perhaps Lars Eller and Andrei Kostitsyn. This may put some pressure on a winger like Benoit Pouliot as there is now increase competition for his secondary scoring role. Brock's biggest strengths are his shiftiness and his shot, though his strength and work ethic are at times questionable.

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