Salut, Cube: Francis Bouillon Signs with Montreal

NASHVILLE TN - OCTOBER 14: Defenseman Francis Bouillon #51 of the Nashville Predators celebrates a goal scored against the St. Louis Blues on October 14 2010 in Nashville Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Per Bob McKenzie, Francis Bouillon has returned to the Canadiens for 1 year, at $1.25 million. This move likely means "Cube" will get to retire with the team with which he started and played the majority of his career.

Bouillon, a training camp tryout for the Predators in 2009, ended up playing 81 games in his first season in Nashville. He signed an extension with the Predators after that year and in 2010-2012 played 110 games, missing a long span recovering from a concussion.

Over the course of those three years, Bouillon's tenacity and on-ice leadership made him a swiss army knife of the defense-corps, playing all three pairings. When Ryan Suter missed time in 2010, Bouillon got the call to be Shea Weber's partner, a testament to how well the coaching staff regarded him, and a marker of how far he had come since his tryout contract.

Cube was a standout playoff performer and, along with Shea Weber, one of the few truly physical players on the Predators. Like fellow training-camp tryout Joel Ward before him, Bouillon endeared himself to the fanbase by overcoming his lack of physical tools on the ice, while maintaining a friendly, unassuming demeanor off it.

My two favorite Cube memories are his hit on Colin Fraser in the 2010 playoffs:

And his subtle "atta boy" moment with fellow undersized defenseman and protegé Ryan Ellis, after a similarly big hit.

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