When the Montreal Canadiens were working to improve their club last summer, looking at what needed to be fixed after finishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, it was pretty clear that they wanted to improve that “grit” aspect of their team. It’s probably safe to say that they did so.
They paid Brandon Prust a nice chunk of change to leave New York and come to Montreal, signing the enforcer the a four year deal with a cap hit worth $2.5 million, probably more than anyone would have been willing to pay. But Prust did exactly what the Habs needed him to do.
While he’s a bit more skilled than some tough guys throughout the league, the Habs weren’t bringing Prust in to score goals and put up points. They were bringing him in the mix it up. Getting under opponents’ skin and dropping the gloves when he has to are his specialties, which he provided for Montreal.
Prust finished the regular season with 14 points, nearly eclipsing his total from last season, which was just 17. His five goals matched his total from 2011-12. Of course, what was more important is what he did in the physical game. Prust finished the season with 110 penalty minutes and 87 hits.
He used his words off the ice, including in their first round series, when he had a bit of a war of words away from the arena with the Ottawa Senators, though of course it was to no avail, as the Habs were bounced in five games.
Prust tis the type of guy that you know what you’re getting at this point. He’s going to provide a touch of offense from a bottom six role, but will be there for the physical game and to drop the gloves when needed. The Habs paid him $2.5 million to do that this year, and he filled that role about as well as you could have asked.