The Hamilton native Ben Chiarot was traded to the Florida Panthers by the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League (NHL) on Wednesday. He was earlier associated with the Winnipeg Jets before his previous stint at the AHL.
Chiarot, who is in the final season of a three-year contract of $10.5 million ($3.5 million average annual value), signed with the Canadiens on July 4, 2019. He can even become an unrestricted free agent after the season while the Montreal team agreed to retain 50 per cent of Chiarot’s remaining salary.
“I find it exciting. I’m going to a team that has a chance to go a long way in the playoffs,” the defenseman told Le Journal de Montreal. “The Panthers have been at the top of their division practically since the first day of the season.”
“Nothing but good things to say about Montreal”
The 30-year-old Canadian ice hockey player has scored 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 54 games this season.
“From when I got here to now, I think I’m really a way better player defensively and offensively,” Chiarot had told Sportsnet. “A big credit of that goes to (Canadiens assistant) Luke Richardson, who really believed in me and got me to play a certain way. Probably also brought out some of the really nasty parts of my game. A lot of the credit goes to him.”
The defenceman also expressed his will to return to the Canadiens as a free agent.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’ve loved my time in Montreal. Nothing but good things to say about the team and the city. It’s been everything I thought it would be. With all the highs and lows that come with being in a market like this, it fits my personality and I love it. I’d come back here in a heartbeat.”