MONTREAL - When the Canadiens cleaned out their lockers on April 9, Christian Folin expressed a desire to return for the 2019-20 campaign.
And it didn't take general manager Marc Bergevin and his staff long to grant his wish, agreeing to terms with the 28-year-old Swedish defenseman on a one-year, one-way contract on Thursday.
Folin, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, clearly impressed the Canadiens' brass over the course of his 19 outings on the blueline after being acquired in a trade with Philadelphia in early February.
The six-year NHL veteran threw his 6-foot-3, 204-pound frame around to the tune of 65 hits, while averaging 15:49 of ice time per game. He also collected four assists, too.
"I think I did fairly well. I was in a tough situation in Philadelphia. I didn't play for quite a while before I got here. But, I thought I brought that physical element to the team," said Folin, shortly before returning home to Scandinavia. "At the same time, I came in and I wanted to play my game, move the puck quick and try to join the offense when there was a chance. As a defenseman in this League, you kind of need to start from your own end and build from that. That's something I take a lot of pride in."
While the transition to any new club late in a season can be tough, that wasn't the case for Folin.
He is adamant that being surrounded by good people in a good environment made his stint with Montreal an enjoyable one.
"The guys were unbelievable. It's a tight group. Everyone really mixes well together. It's a lot of fun on the road, being on the bus and there are a lot of jokes. There's a lot of guys that bring different elements to the team that makes it a fun place to be every day and show up every day," said Folin. "We had some tough losses down the stretch, but guys just show up the next day with a smile on their face and get right back at it."
One of the wins Folin will always remember, though, is the Canadiens' 4-2 triumph over the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 2 at the Bell Centre.
"The fans were singing "Olé, Olé, Olé" when there was about a minute left and I actually got goosebumps on the bench. I was looking around and I was like - "What is going here? Can it get any louder than this?" because it was so loud," recalled Folin with a smile. "It was a great experience for both me and my girlfriend, Hanna. I think we enjoyed every second of it. It's a nice city to be in."
Admittedly, the Kungsbacka native found that out rather quickly.
"I'd been here before, but for only like two days at a time, maximum like six or seven nights total. It felt like home right away," praised Folin. "I think the guys on the team helped with that, too. I felt like I was brought into the city and I loved it right away."
Folin will spend his summer in Sweden where training alongside fellow Frölunda HC grads John Klingberg and Henrik Lundqvist, among others, is on tap.
And he's hoping to be a difference-maker upon his return.
"I know I have a few things to work on, but I'll come back ready to play in October and ready for a big season and to make the playoffs," concluded Folin. "We want to give the city what it deserves, a good playoff run."