On Wednesday afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens re-signed forward Jacob de La Rose to a one-year contract worth $725,000. The terms of the contract also state that it is one-way. Although, it is a one-way contract, it has no impact on where de La Rose will play next season. The implication is that De La Rose will make $725,000 no matter where he plays.
This deal is beneficial for both the Montreal Canadiens and Jacob de La Rose. It allows de La Rose another to show what he can do it at the NHL level. For the Canadiens, it allows them to analyze de La Rose, in order to decide whether or not he deserves a spot in the team’s bottom six on a long-term basis.
Jacob de La Rose’s Defensive Presence
Jacob de La Rose brings to the table a great defensive presence to the Canadiens. He has proven this at both the NHL and AHL level. With Claude Julien as head coach, who is known to have defensive first mentality, this could help de La Rose’s chances of making the NHL.
During his first full season in North America, de La Rose seemed that he found a full-time spot in Montreal. After having played 37 games and all of the playoffs in 2014-15, he became a staple for the Canadiens fourth line. However, in training camp he lost his spot when the Canadiens acquired speedy winger Paul Byron. After he was sent down, de La Rose’s game suffered. His already weak offensive game, got even weaker during his second season. His defensive game was still strong most nights but his overall game took a step back.
While, it seems that multiple prospects have passed de La Rose on the depth chart, he seems to still have purpose in the organization. This is mainly due to his skating and defensive ability. Both of these qualities nearly got him a full-time spot on the Canadiens in 2015-16.
With the future of the NHL seeming to focus more on a player’s speed, De La Rose could be the default fourth line centre for years to come.
De La Rose`s Offensive game
The Habs organization knows that De La Rose lacks offensive skill to play within the top nine forwards. However in his last 28 games in the AHL, he has scored 12 goals. This output nearly matches his 15 goals from his first 105 games in the AHL. While, it has been over a small sample of games, it could mean that De La Rose’s offensive game is finally developing. An encouraging sign has been that he has taken over 25% more shots per game during that 18 game stretch.
He won’t be expected to chip in a lot in the NHL, but if his offensive game can continue to develop a little bit, he could make for a strong fourth line forward. If De La Rose can reach his full potential it could give the Habs an extra 10 goals to their lineup. It isn’t very likely that it will happen but De La Rose being only 22, he has more upside than Torrey Mitchell.
Also with the way the NHL is going he could also prove to be more valuable than Michael McCarron in the long run. However, both players could find potential roster spots this upcoming season. Only time will tell if De La Rose will continue to find his offensive game. His new career-high 31 points from a previous high of 14 is a great step forward. His improvements earned the Swedish forward a chance to show the Habs what he can do next year.
The contract proves to be a great deal for both as it will determine Jacob De La Rose’s future with the Habs following next season.