The Montreal Canadiens made their first splash early into the annual NHL free agency frenzy, signing former Washington Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner to a five-year deal.

The Habs verified the deal on Twitter.

In 591 career NHL games with the Caps, Alzner has posted 19 goals and 98 assists with 177 penalty minutes. Last year, he played all 82 games, marking three goals and 10 assists. 

In 64 playoff games, he notched three goals and eight assists. 

Alzner says joining the Montreal Canadiens gives him a better chance to win a Stanley Cup than he had with the Capitals in Washington.

 "I'd love to go to the promised land with this team," Alzner said of the Canadiens. 

"I see potential. There's a lot of good players, good young guys and one of the best goaltenders (Carey Price) and defencemen (Weber) in the league." Alzner said.

His five-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens is reportedly worth $23.125 million USD.

Late in the afternoon, the club picked up another defenceman, this time on a one-year deal. Joe Morrow played parts of the last three seasons for the Boston Bruins, racking up two goals and seven assists in 65 NHL games. He added a solitary assist during the Bruins' 2015-16 playoff run while playing in five games. 


The Canadiens also signed forward Peter Holland to a two-year, two-way deal. In 243 career games split between the Anaheim Ducks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Arizona Coyotes, Holland scored 35 goals and 46 assists.

The club signed free agent forward Byron Froese to a two year contract. The first year of the contract is two-way while the second year is one-way. Froese has played 62 NHL games for the Leafs, putting up two goals and three assists. 

Defenceman Matt Taormina also signed a two-year, two-way deal with the Habs. Last year, Taormina posted 15 goals and 45 assists with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch. In 59 NHL games with the New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning, Taormina has scored four goals and eight assists. 

Two prominent Canadiens officially entered the free agency market. Defenceman Andrei Markov and forward Alexander Radulov were both without new deals at noon, when NHL contracts expired. 

Forward Brian Flynn, who was traded to the Canadiens during the 2014-15 season, bid Montreal adieu, signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars. 


With files from the Canadian Press.