Defenseman Jordie Benn was traded to the Montreal Canadiens by the Dallas Stars for defenseman Greg Pateryn and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft on Monday.
"It's just an exciting time to be a Montreal Canadien and to put on that jersey," Benn told the Canadiens website. "It's a new start in an amazing city. We had a bit of a tough start in Dallas here, but to get thrown right back in the thick of things, it's kind of nice. I'm excited to do it."
Benn, 29, had 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in 58 games with the Stars this season while playing 18:36 per game, fourth among Stars defensemen.
He's in the first season of a three-year, $3.3 million with an average annual value of $1.1 million according to CapFriendly.com.
"In Jordie Benn, we get an experienced NHL defenseman, and a player who will solidify our defensive group. While providing stability in our end, he can also contribute offensively." Canadiens general manager Mark Bergevin said. "Greg Pateryn has been a good contributor to our team and I wish him the best of luck with the Stars' organization."
Benn will play without his brother, Stars captain Jamie Benn, for the first time in his five-year NHL career.
"Obviously, I have personal ties with my brother being there, but we're big boys now and we know what could happen. If it does, we go our way and play hockey," Benn said. "Hopefully I can help the team win and hopefully I can play 300 or 400 games in Montreal. I'm just a kid living a dream and obviously to play in Montreal is pretty exciting."
Canadiens coach Claude Julien said no decision has been made on whether or not Benn will make his Canadiens debut when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SNE, RDS, FS-O).
"He's a defenseman that can play both sides; he's a left shot but can play the right or left," Julien said after the Canadiens defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in overtime on Monday. "He's a shot blocker, he's a hard-nosed defenseman who moves the puck fairly well and I had an opportunity to chat with [Stars coach] Lindy Ruff and he really liked him.
"In his estimation he surpassed his expectations and really thought a lot about Jordie, so we're looking forward to having him."
Video: Canadiens acquire Jordie Benn from Stars for Pateryn
Pateryn, 26, had six points (one goal, five assists) in 24 games this season. He had trouble cracking the Canadiens lineup the past two seasons, but at 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, he plays a rugged game with a big right-handed shot from the point.
"I got a call from Montreal [Monday]," Stars general manager Jim Nill said. "They've been watching our team for a while. I sat down with our whole staff; it was a pretty big move. So we sat down and we talked about it. Lots of different factors that come into play with expansion, and this was the best move from our team moving forward. We hope the best for Jordie and hope he can go win a Stanley Cup."
The Canadiens have been seeking a puck-moving defenseman to play on the left side on one of their top two defense pairs. The acquisition of Benn could allow coach Claude Julien to keep Andrei Markov on the left side of the top pair with Shea Weber and put Benn on the left side with Jeff Petry on the second pair.
That would leave Alexei Emelin, who has played the majority of the season on the top pair with Weber, competing for ice time on the third pair with Nathan Beaulieu and Nikita Nesterov. All three are left-shot defensemen, but Nesterov has been playing on the right side. That would leave Beaulieu and Emelin to compete for ice time on the left side.
Benn also should help the Canadiens' penalty kill, which is perfect in 11 opportunities since Julien was hired Feb. 14 but which went into its game at the New Jersey Devils on Monday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, SNE, RDS, NHL.TV) 19th in the NHL at 80.5 percent. Benn was tied for the Stars lead in average shorthanded ice time per game at 2:30, and also played 1:12 per game on the power play.
Pateryn is in the first season of a two-year, $1.6 million contract with an average annual value of $800,000 according to CapFriendly.com. He's played parts of the past four seasons in the NHL but never more than 38 games in one season. In 82 career NHL games with Montreal he has 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) and 59 penalty minutes.