The Montreal Canadiens have re-signed free agent defenseman Rinat Valiev to a one-year contract worth $650,000. It is a two-way contract with an AHL salary of $105,000 guaranteed. Valiev was acquired by the Canadiens at the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline, in a move that sent Tomas Plekanec to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team announced the move on their twitter account and official website.
Canadiens agree to terms with Rinat Valiev.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) May 31, 2018
Rinat Valiev Signs With the Montreal Canadiens
Valiev has spent parts of two seasons in the NHL, playing 10 games for the Leafs in 2015-16, and two games for the Canadiens last year, before his season was cut short by injury. He is still looking for his first career NHL point but has only taken one minor penalty. His possession numbers are a 51.8 percent Corsi For, and a -1.4 Relative Corsi. He was originally drafted in the third round, 68th overall of the 2014 NHL Entry draft by the Maple Leafs.
Last season he scored six goals and 12 assists for 15 points in 45 AHL games split between the Toronto Marlies and Laval Rocket. He also added 28 minutes in penalties and was a +12. Valiev has 13 goals and 41 assists for 54 points in 154 career AHL games.
What This Means for the Future
One of the Canadiens biggest organizational weaknesses is at left defence. While they have a number of players at the position, there is depth but a lack of quality. Finding left-defencemen for the top two pairings last year was a struggle. Valiev will be given an opportunity to earn his way on to the team in training camp, but it is unclear if he can lock down one of the top spots. There will certainly be plenty of competition for depth roles at the position.
The Habs hope he can translate his offensive ability, skating, and puck-moving skills from the AHL level, up to the big club.
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