May 31, 2011, 6:54 PM EDT
He’s one of the biggest, most imposing-looking defensemen in the NHL and he’s going to call Montreal home for one more season. According to RDS and TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Hal Gill has re-signed with the Montreal Canadiens for one year reportedly worth $2.25 million.
Last season, Gill had two goals and seven assists while putting up a -9 plus/minus rating and averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game. While he may not have been apparent on the stat sheets, his help in making rookie P.K. Subban into a better, more well-rounded defenseman might be his most underrated quality. Subban and Gill teamed up as a sort of “thunder and lightning” pairing, something that didn’t go unnoticed by the likes of The Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey.
The Canadiens are expected to retain unrestricted free agent Andrei Markov and restricted free agent Josh Gorges, and they will form the No. 1 pair, while Gill will continue to serve as a mentor and steadying influence on P.K. Subban.
Montreal has a potentially bumpy offseason ahead with so many defensive free agents in their midst, but getting Gill locked up is good for them defensively and great for them developmentally for Subban. For all the numbers Gill lacked offensively, Subban made up for by scoring 14 goals and adding 24 assists in his first full NHL season. If Subban can improve upon those numbers and become more of a defensive force, the $2.25 million for Gill will be more than well worth it.
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