The move comes just days after Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes told reporters that he planned to move DeSmith, citing that the team had four NHL-ready netminding options and was seeking to alleviate its logjam.
In exchange, the Canadiens acquired a veteran forward in Pearson. Pearson missed the bulk of last season with a hand injury and ultimately saw his relationship with the club sour due to the club reportedly handling his recovery poorly.
Pearson, who turned 31 this offseason, played just 14 games last season, registering a single goal and five points before his season ended prematurely in November — somewhat ironically in a game against the Canadiens.
The forward's injury was reportedly mishandled so poorly by the Canucks that an NHLPA inquiry was eventually opened into the matter, though a Canucks internal investigation ultimately found no concerns.
“I’m not going to share my personal opinions,” Pearson said at the time of how he felt the injury had been handled. “Look, I’m just trying to get my hand back. I’m just trying to go home and be a dad and be with my kids and be able to play.”
As for DeSmith, the netminder will get the opportunity to compete with returning Canucks goalie Spencer Martin for the club's backup role, with starter Thatcher Demko firmly entrenched as the cub's go-to option.
DeSmith posted a .905 save percentage and a 3.17 goals-against average last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins before being dealt to Montreal this summer as part of the three-way Erik Karlsson trade with San Jose. Both numbers marked career worsts for the 32-year-old American keeper.