By Marc-André Breault – Ben Chiarot arrived in Montreal via the free agent market in the summer of 2019. He was previously playing in Winnipeg. As soon as he arrived, fans realized that he’s a robust and reliable defender defensively. Some qualified him as a third pairing defenseman capable of perhaps finding a place in the top 4. After a slow start to the season, adapting to the style in the Eastern Conference, a new system and new teammates, he continued to progress. He showed us his sturdiness both along the boards and in front of the net. He even had his best season offensively with 9 goals and 12 assists for a total of 21 points in 2019-2020 when he arrived.
Chiarot is now playing the final year of his contract. He is one of the few who always gives his full effort in every game. He surprised everyone at the start of the season with 5 early goals and he was even the NHL’s top scorer among defensemen at some point this season. While his offensive production has cooled off, he remains the team’s most consistent and reliable defender. Most people were hoping to see Jeff Petry have another 40-points season and lead this team after losing its captain to injuries. Chiarot seems to show more leadership than him.
Rumours have been circulating since the start of the season in his case. With each goal scored, people saw his value increase, a bit like Artturi Lehkonen is doing currently. Many see him leaving by the trade deadline with the possibility of getting a first round pick in return. A few people have talked about the option of keeping him. He is a good veteran and does the required job within his limits. I agree with this idea but it all depends on the price to pay. Much like Tomas Plekanec has done before, he could also be traded and come back by signing him as a free agent. Which could give the Canadiens one or more draft picks.
In my opinion, Kent Hughes will take the time to discuss with his veteran defenseman and see the options available to him to make an informed decision that is most advantageous for the team. In your opinion, will he be at the next training camp in Montreal or was this his last season in the red, white and blue uniform?
Go Habs Go!
The Art Of Sweetening The Pot by Bob Trask