The Montreal Canadiens’ plans on defence are becoming clearer after signing defenceman Corey Schueneman to a one-year, two-way deal on Monday.
Corey Schueneman‘s new contract clocks in at $750,000 at the NHL level, but also guarantees the defenceman $350,000 should he be sent to the AHL. He is set to make $275,000 at the AHL level. The 26-year-old put up two goals and four assists in 24 games with the Montreal Canadiens during the 2021-2022 season and looked to be gaining in confidence as the season went on.
Schueneman is facing some stiff competition on the left side of the Montreal Canadiens’ defensive depth chart. However, he showed he could play in the NHL if needed, and looked very capable in a bottom-pairing role under St. Louis down the stretch. The Montreal Canadiens feel he could make the squad on a third pair or as a 7th defenceman to allow younger defencemen more time to develop in Laval.
The other thing to consider is that Schueneman is waiver-eligible, meaning that, if the Canadiens do ever need to send him down in favour of calling up a younger guy, they could potentially lose Schueneman to a less fortunate club who needs help on their blueline. That is where the high AHL salary, the guaranteed $350,000, might benefit the Montreal Canadiens, as it may scare off other teams who would be interested in Schueneman, but not in his minor league salary.
Montreal Canadiens’ Defence Shaping Up
The trading of Alexander Romanov opened up the door for some significant competition at camp on the left side of the defensive brigade. The likes of Schueneman, Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Mattias Norlinder, Arber Xhekaj and more will be vying for spots at camp, but general manager Kent Hughes isn’t loving the idea of playing all these rookies at the same time in Montreal next season. This is where the signing of Schueneman comes in handy, as he provides the club with a good stopgap for the time being, all while allowing the 26-year-old rearguard to prove he belongs in the NHL full time.
It now remains to be seen if the Canadiens will be looking to add an experienced defenceman on the left side to help the process or even possibly consider bringing back Brett Kulak, who has stated he’d be open to returning, to fill the veteran role. Needless to say, the Canadiens seem intent on letting their youngsters develop at their own pace, and Schueneman will provide them with the luxury of patience as they try to get all these youngsters some valuable ice time throughout the season.