The Canadiens added a little bit more defensive depth on Monday morning, as they announced the signing of unrestricted free agent defender Jeff Woywitka, signing him to a 1-year deal. The deal is a two-way contract, which gives the club a little bit more payroll flexibility and lowers the expectations of the 27-year old blueliner. The salary number was not announced, but I would assume it would be in the $525,000 to $550,000 range.
Woywitka spent the 2011 season with the Dallas Stars, his second season in Texas, playing in 63 games and scoring 2 goals and adding 9 assists. That was good enough for 143rd among all defensemen in scoring and is surprisingly good enough to rank 3rd among all Canadiens defensemen in scoring last season.
With Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges having some injury-shortened numbers on the Habs roster this off-season, you can immediately see why Woywitka will be challenging for the sixth spot on the blueline, likely giving Yannick Weber a good run for his money in training camp.
Woywitka has played in parts of six NHL seasons between St. Louis and Dallas, but has not yet played a full 82-game season in the big leagues, topping out at 65 games in 2009. He should be bringing a level of experience to the last pairing, possibly seventh defenseman position, which likely won't generate too much offense for us poolies, unless there is some magic found with one of the current roster defensemen.