5 Free Agents the Montreal Canadiens Should Target This Offseason

5 Free Agents the Montreal Canadiens Should Target This Offseason

Paul Stastny
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With over twenty-six million dollars in cap space, and plenty of expiring contracts, Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin will have his work cut out for him this offseason. There will be voids to fill prior to the start of the 2014-15 season, but with plenty of big fish in the free-agency pool, the Habs should not only be able to find replacements, but make upgrades before training camp. Here are five free agents Montreal should target in 2014.

5. Brooks Orpik

Brooks Orpik
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

5. Brooks Orpik

Brooks Orpik
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Brooks Orpik is a solid stay-at-home defenseman capable of logging 20-plus minutes per game. The 33-year-old veteran plays a physical style and possesses excellent recovery speed. He is a leader both on and off the ice and would be a significant upgrade from Douglas Murray, who is not expected to re-sign with the Canadiens. At the right price tag and term, Orpik could add some much-needed size and quickness to the back end.

4. Matt Niskanen

Matt Niskanen
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

4. Matt Niskanen

Matt Niskanen
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Niskanen is just entering his prime. Coming off a 46-point season, the 27-year-old American is touted as being an incredible skater and terrific athlete; assets that fit the mold and profile of a Montreal Canadien. He is capable of playing a sound two-way game and has a very high offensive ceiling. At times, Niskanen can be inconsistent defensively, but his overall ability would add a different dynamic to Montreal's defense core.

3. Matt Moulson

Matt Moulson
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

3. Matt Moulson

Matt Moulson
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Moulson is a potential top-line winger who has a skill set Montreal is in dire need of. The 30-year-old Ontario native has a remarkable work ethic and wicked shot. Moulson is known for his work along the boards and is strong on the puck; resulting in superb puck possession stats. The left winger isn't exactly a great skater, but makes up for it with his no-quit attitude. He would be an excellent potential long-term piece.

2. Matt Greene

Matt Greene
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. Matt Greene

Matt Greene
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Like Orpik, Matt Greene is another reliable defensive defenseman. The 31-year-old American is not the fastest skater, but is hard-hitting and gives no free passes. The veteran is extremely underrated and has eye-opening puck possession stats in Los Angeles. Greene is the type of player that can easily miss many general managers' radars and, with the lack of bidding competition, Bergevin and the Canadiens could land him at a cheap price.

1. Paul Stastny

Paul Stastny
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

1. Paul Stastny

Paul Stastny
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With Paul Stastny likely on the move, the bidding competition is expected to be fierce and the price tag high. However, what Stastny can bring makes reaching out to him worth it for Montreal. Not only is the 28-year-old one of the best playmakers in the league, but is also dependable in his own end. Stastny fits the profile of a coach's dream. He thrives in all game situations and is a full-fledged, proven top-line center at the NHL level.

Ryan is an NHL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @rtskilton, or add him to your network on Google

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