The new executive vice president of hockey operations of the Montreal Canadiens has many difficult decisions to contemplate, but there's no fence to sit on for this one.
Just a day after arriving in the new city he's been signed to be in for the next five years, and with just one viewing of his new team under his belt, Jeff Gorton assuredly already knows what he needs to do with Ben Chiarot.
The six-foot-three, 234-pound defenceman has been Montreal's steadiest player this season, and he was their best one in Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche — producing his team's only goal, playing over 25 minutes and offering more evidence as to why he's one of Gorton's best trade chips.
All Gorton needs to do is pick up his phone when it rings and it's going to be ringing a lot for this player.
Chiarot is a defenceman who will draw interest from many playoff hopefuls and every Stanley Cup contender. The 30-year-old, who's right in the heart of his prime, has averaged close to 23 minutes per game, blocked 233 shots and thrown 283 hits since arriving in Montreal in 2019.
In 135 games with the Canadiens, he's proven he's more than just a stay-at-home type by scoring 15 goals and 34 points, and he’s displayed a versatility he said Wednesday is due to the confidence former GM Marc Bergevin and the team’s coaching staff has shown in him.
“(They’ve) given me a lot of ice time and just instilled a lot of confidence in me as a player, and it was just something that was kind of new to me in my career in getting that type of opportunity, and I just tried to take advantage of it,” Chiarot said. “And they really helped me become kind of the player I am today, and the player I am today is a lot different than the one that got here and signed here a couple of years ago.”