Habs Signs F Jeff Halpern

According to a team press release, the Montreal Canadiens have signed free agent forward Jeff Halpern to a one year contract (terms to be announced... which really grinds my gears. We're going to find out sooner rather than later, so what's the point in making us wait for it? Damn you team policy. But I digest).

UPDATE: I got the number before I even hit the post button. He's making $550,000. Was that so Hard, Mr. Molson? In any case, it's a great price and it speaks for itself, frankly.

Halpern, 34, split 71 games between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Los Angeles Kings last season, scoring 9 goals (all with the Bolts before the trade deadline) and adding 10 assists for 19 points and a -14 rating.

The native of Potomac, Maryland has played 10 seasons in the NHL. The undrafted center and right winger was signed by the Washington Capitals in 1999, where he had his best years, scoring 18 goals in his rookie year, 21 goals in 2000-01, and 19 goals in 2003-04. In the year after the lockout, he reached the 20 goal plateau again, splitting the season between Dallas and Tampa Bay. Last season was arguably one of the worst, statistically, for the forward, as he fell completely off the depth chart once traded to Los Angeles and was a non factor. . He's only missed considerable time once due to injury, in 2008, when he had knee surgery.

Still, at 6'0'' and 203lbs, with a right handed shot, Halpern is a welcome addition to a Canadiens' team missing grit and size, and will fit in well on the 3rd or 4th line, in the same role that Glen Metropolit or Dominic Moore held last season.

Why Gauthier didn't re-sign Moore or Metropolit is fairly simple. Moore was probably asking for too much / too long, and while Metro had a great season, he spent most of it in Jacques Martin's doghouse, and probably wasn't in the plans from the very beginning.

Where Halpern fits in exactly is still anyone's guess, but you can play around with the line combos I made here, in one of my off-season analyses.

What are your thoughts on Halpern, and where does he fit into the line-up? Will he help the team this season?

Tune back in in the next couple of days as the final off-season analysis, for the management (including the Price signing and this one) will be presented in anticipation for Habs training camp.