Three Forwards Who Could Receive A Canadiens PTO

Alex Chiasson (Photo by Sergei Belski / USA TODAY Sports)

by Matt Smith, Staff Writer/Social Media Specialist, All Habs Hockey Magazine

Eric Gelinas was the first, and so far the only player presented a PTO by the Montreal Canadiens this off-season. The 6-4, 215 pound defender will look to earn a spot on the Canadiens blue line out of training camp, or conceivably be offered a contract but start the season with the Laval Rocket of the AHL. Read more about Gelinas here.

The last player to find success with the Canadiens on a PTO was Tomas Fleischmann, who was signed to a one-year $750,000 deal after a strong showing at training camp.

Fleischmann was traded along with Dale Weise to the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2018 2nd round pick and centre Phillip Danault. It’s safe to say the Canadiens won that deal as Fleischmann had only five points for the Blackhawks in 19 games, being held pointless in the playoffs and is no longer playing in the NHL. Dale Weise had just one assist in 15 games, with one goal scored during the playoffs.

Although a rarity, it’s a possibility that a PTO can earn a team a valued asset for an inexpensive price, or flip that bargain for more at the trade deadline like the Canadiens did with Tomas Fleischmann. With that being said, the following three forwards have yet to be signed to a contract, and could be offered a PTO by the Montreal Canadiens.

Stéphane Da Costa, Centre/Right Wing, CSKA Moscow (KHL)
July 11, 1989 | Paris, France
5-11, 181 lbs. | Shoots Right

The 28-year-old, Da Costa is currently a free agent after spending the past three seasons with CSKA Moscow of the KHL, scoring 46 goals and 50 assists in 94 games. He scored nine goals and 11 assists this past season in 24 games, adding four goals and four assists in 10 playoff games. Da Costa scored a career high 30 goals and added 32 assists in 46 games with CSKA Moscow during his first season playing in the KHL.

Undrafted, Da Costa last played in the NHL during the 2013-2014 season, scoring three goals, and one assist in 12 games. Throughout his NHL career, all with the Ottawa Senators, Da Costa has scored seven goals, with four assists in 47 games.

Da Costa scored six goals, assisting on four in just six games at the World Hockey Championship this past May for Team France, outscoring players such as Ryan O’Reilly, Jeff Skinner, Mark Scheifele and Claude Giroux all who played four more games than Da Costa. After this strong showing internationally, a PTO could be a great opportunity to prove he belongs in the NHL.

Alex Chiasson, Right Wing, Calgary Flames (NHL)
October 1, 1990 | Montreal, Quebec, Canada
6-4, 208 lbs. | Shoots Right

Chiasson was included in the trade that sent Jason Spezza from the Ottawa Senators to the Dallas Stars back in 2014. After two seasons with the Senators, scoring 19 goals and 40 points in 153 games, Chiasson was once again traded, this time to the Calgary Flames, for defenceman Patrick Sieloff (who then gave Clarke MacArthur another concussion during training camp).

This season, Chiasson scored 12 goals and had 12 assists in 81 games with the Calgary Flames, 10 points higher than his total a season before in Ottawa. Chiasson’s NHL career at this point has been quite consistent, other than his 2015-2016 season with the Ottawa Senators, Chiasson has scored at least 24 points each season, so a prediction of 25+ points playing a bottom six role, killing penalties seems very likely.  These numbers could also be enhanced when you see that Chiasson was born in Montreal. Given the opportunity to suit up for his hometown Canadiens could be a great boost to his overall performance.

A PTO at this point would be a low risk – high reward for the Montreal Canadiens, they would add another French speaking player to the organization, and one who could play physical, kill penalties and contribute on the scoresheet here and there for a discounted price.

Brian Gionta, Right Wing, Buffalo Sabres (NHL)
January. 18, 1979 | Rochester, New York, USA
5-7, 178 lbs. | Shoots Right

Brian Gionta served as captain of the Montreal Canadiens from 2010-2014, he then signed a three year contract with the Buffalo Sabres, again being named team captain. Now an unrestricted free agent, Gionta is eager to continue his 15-year, 1006 game, 588 point NHL career next season. Nevertheless, the chances seem very slim at this point that Gionta will return to the Buffalo Sabres, who will start the season with a new head coach, GM, and in all likelihood, a new captain as well.

After spending five seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, four of them as captain, the chances of Brian Gionta accepting a PTO, if offered one by the Canadiens are high. With 15 goals and 20 assists this past season with the Buffalo Sabres, Gionta may not be the biggest player on the ice, but he can still contribute offensively, kill penalties and play up and down the lineup if required. 

Even though his 48 goal, 41 assist, 89 point career high season back in 2005-2006 is a thing of the past, Gionta didn’t miss a single game this past season and can still be relied upon for his leadership, experience and depth scoring.

In closing, I’m well aware that many fans would love Jaromir Jagr to suit up for the Montreal Canadiens next season, but I doubt you’d see him accept a PTO at this point in his career, so that is why I did not include him in this particular article.

Is there a player I did not list that you’d invite to the Canadiens training camp on a PTO? Please leave a comment below!







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