Canadiens summer situation

Hi there and welcome to what may be a regular “reality check” to Montreal Canadien fans. This will basically depend on the fury that will strike their heart next season when Brière/Drury/Any UFA who will sign will have a bad two week period.

Now, don’t get me wrong! I am a rabid Montreal Canadiens fan, i live in Montreal and i enjoy life so it’s probably better that way. With that in mind, let’s jump right into our subject at hand, the contractual situation of the Montreal Canadiens and what will happen, or need to happen, this summer. First off, the contract the Habs have to live with:

MARKOV: 5,750,000 KOIVU: 4,750,000
KOVALEV: 4,500,000 HUET: 2,875,000
BOUILLON: 1,875,000 DANDENAULT: 1,725,000
HIGGINS: 1,700,000 KOMISAREK: 1,700,000
BEGIN: 1,057,000 LATENDRESSE: 850,000
KOSTSITSYN: 785,333 MURRAY: 600,000
STREIT: 600,000 LAPIERRE: 583,333
HALAK: 491,667
Total: 30,482,000$ approximately.

Those numbers aren’t the sum of money a player is slated to receive this year but rather how his salary will impact the salary cap of the team (there are numerous websites on how to calculate those numbers and I’m way too lazy to explain this).

Also Halak was the chosen goalie in this scenario because Timmins and Gainey said they wanted to be patient with him… and also since the Habs have a long history of taking their time with goaltenders. They have seen first hand how big of an ego can be created by a rookie goaltender and they don’t want to repeat that mistake again… and again… and… you get my drift. Nobody want to see Carey Price play in Colorado. Well Pierre Lacroix probably does.

The only 3 RFA’s who are pretty much garanteed to start the season in Montreal are Ryder, Plecanek and Gorges (probably as 7th defensemen). My predictions are approximately as follow:

RYDER: 2,700,000
PLEKANEC: 1,400,000
GORGES: 600,000

And of course you add that contract of Cullimore for 640,000 (still better than if it was Samsonov) making it for a grand total of 35,957,000$ With the previsions for 2007-2008 salary cap around 48 and 50, we’ll settle for the lowest number. Barely over 12M$ left and 5 spots to fill (4 in offense and 1 in defense)

For the spot on Defense, there is only few who can really fit the spot left by Souray. Himself (less and less likely as the days to UFA market are closing fast) and maybe a handful of guys could prove to be capable. Some of these names may surprise you.

Poti: Only ended up with 44 pts but a -1 (to Souray 64 pts -28).
Sandis Ozolinsh: Bring him as a PP specialist and make him play with Komisarek. the kid as been doing a good job covering offensive minded players such as Markov and Souray last year.
Hamerlik: Yeah, long shot but why not?

Of course the list could go on and on but I don’t think any of those players can really ask outside of the 4M range, probably even a good chunk under.

On offense now, let’s try to fill the Center position

Brière: Logical choice but i doubt he will sign in Montreal for much less than other teams offer. And with the reported 7.5M$ some team are just waiting to give him, i HOPE he won’t sign here. We,ll never leave the poor guy alone.

….: No seriously I’m not sure we will even sign a player. I mean Yashin at highly reduced price could be interesting but doubtful. Drury? Gomez? Do I want 7M$ on one player when the Habs have only 12M$ left for 5 positions? And we probably have to pay at least 3.2M$ even for a Poti which, let’s be honest, is not Souray by any stretch of the imagination.

So unless Brière finds it in his heart to be underpaid just to please us fans (which wouldn’t stop us from ripping him a new one if he is late to practice after two bad games) I highly doubt we can sign A first liner W, a second line C (reverse those as needed) and a top notch D let alone two more players. But for me, I can still foresee three signings happening.

Poti: Or any other good defensemen. This will probably cost around 3.2M$ even though I think it’s overpaid. But I don’t think we can get much better than these players.

Brière: With some good persuasion skills, Gainey could still sign Brière for a little less than 7M$. I wouldn’t expect much less than 6.5$ though. Otherwise, the Habs can get one of several +/- 5M$ players who will flood the market this year (Selane, Kariya, Shanahan again, Forsberg, Blake, Bertuzzi and so on…

I would love to see them make a move for a really good 3rd line player. Bonk was good and at 2M$ I would LOVE to have him back. More likely would be the arrival of someone like, let’s say Martin Gelinas or even a Chris Simon (after all, it would be fun to see 8 rounds of Simon-Tucker next year). Any of those players for more or less 1.5M$ would make sense (they both made way less last year).

Leaving us with 3.2+5+1.5= 9.7 and two spots to fill.

The only way to spend those 2 M$ left (not much as you can see) is on two “Camp Winners” as I call them. Call them Grabovski, Milroy, Aubin or Lambert, it will be their job to fight to get these spots. And you know what, I’m sure the Habs will be just fine this way. A lot of internal competition can only bring the best in those young guns. Let’s take a look at some mock up lines.

Higgins – Brière – Kovalez (If this line doesn’t produce, have Kovalez killed. A lot cheaper and blame some “insane fans”. Everyboy is so gollubile these days).

Ryder – Koivu – Latendresse (Latendresse was able to do well when Higgins got injured last year. Time to put pressure on him getting to that coveted second line spot. Worse case scenation, a lot of players are more than willing to fill in)

Gelinas – Plecanek – Begin (Plecanek impressed me with his defensive play last year. I like this line a lot)

Kostsitsyn – Lapierre – Grabovski (this could be good. Or this could bomb. But what if instead of having some body checkers to fatigue the opposition we use a fast line with 1 checker. Could be really dangerous and used in some key situations.

Extras: Murray + Camp Winner

On Defense:

Markov – Dandenault

Komisarek – Poti

Bouillon – Streit

Extra : Gorges

I can’t remember who plays which side so… I won’t make comments since my pairaings are slightly randoms. But it looks Fine to me.

So this is it. This is my prediction for next season. Not necessarily the players themselves. Brière could be replaced by Kariya and I would still be happy. Selane could come play with his Finn friend and I would probably piss my pants. Point is, Don’t expect much this off season. The Habs can, with a little bit of luck, land 3 very decent players to help their team. Gelinas could even be left in Florida if Carbo prefer to keep Streit as a third liner in which case an Hamilton callup is in order.

But 3 players is the maximum the cap can allow up.

IF we are lucky…

9 Responses to Canadiens summer situation

  1. openclose says:

    i too would love to have bonk back.  in fact i already discussed naming  my son lebonk mitchell. Him and johnson together are great defensively.  I say, avoid signing an expensive forward and try to sign a few good big D. hannan instead of bouillion or dandy. keep the kostisyn/plek/higgins line together.

     go habs!

  2. habsrock99 says:

    man trust me when i say this, Poti is NOT coming to Montreal. If anything, he'll go to Washington or the Rangers again. And, why tke Poti when the Habs can get Preissing, who isn't the defensive reliability and can still put pucks in the net? Ozolinsh won't be coming to Montreal, that'd be adding to the problem. He's injury prone and has had some substance abuse problems in his career, not an image Montreal wants. and signing Gelinas now, is way too redicualous. I love Martin Gelinas and if this was 5 years ago, i say go for it. but its 2007 and hes gonna be 39, no way in hell Gainey is stupid enough to do this. I say Pascal Dupuis instead because he's like 10 years younger and he can net 15-30 goals while still being a decent defensive player.

  3. ferron says:

    Mtl needs deffenseman(men) but the one showing above looks pretty weak how about Rafalski,Markov, Hannan and Preissing, we just have to spend around 2.5 mil/year on a third or fourth line player and invest the rest on two reliable D-men who will not finish the year with  a -28 rating(Souray).Bob please get rid of Murray and Dandenault, please!We also have three huge D-Men that could make it this year Cote, Archer but the one with the biggest chance is O'Byrne, this guy is a Monster and i believe will be with the habs next year .This is more like what its gonna look like next year.

    Lahti-Chipchura-  UFA or Streit/ Grabovski/Milroy


    Huet/Halak/Price ect…

    Thinking that Presing would make 3 and Markov 4 that leaves us with around $4 mil left to spend on a foward or wait till the deadline to make move with a lot of cap space comes a lot of possibilities!

    PS; package Danis ,Dandenault, Gorges and Locke to somewhere for some 3rd rounders!

  4. BigBrother2 says:

    I don't know where you take your informations but get real. The world of "this guy will NEVER" sign with X team is pretty much over today. Players and General Managers have to make their money within the confines of the salary cap and as you probably know, money is the greatest equalizer. Any player can sign with any team if the team think they are having the right price and vice versa. Do I want Yashin in Montreal? No. At 2M$? Ish… even if he shows up only 1 night out of 2 it's still a good bargain. And just imagine if it was the same game as Kovalev. This would get ugly!

    But my main gripe with your argument in over Martin Gelinas. First off he barely turned 37 this month and would be adding tremendous depth, experience and could be a good influence in the locker-room at very little cost. We are talking about a guy who was paid about a million last year who made the finals of the Stanley Cup 4 times with 4 different teams (won with Oilers and lost with Vancouver, Carolina & Calgary) two of those in the past 5 seasons alone. If you add to this that he scored 14 goals and 30 ass. and +7 with the Florida Panther's last year I'd be interested how this package of a player doesn't look interesting to have around young players like Higgins, Plecanek, Ryder, Koststytsttsst… **** it! The epileptic guy, Latendresse, Lapierre and the other rookies we're going to have this year. Yeah, Dupuis could be an interesting option but I think Gelinas being at the end of his career he can't really hope for a huge increase in salary. Dupuis will probably get paid more than Gelinas next year even though I don't think he brings nearly as much as Gelinas.

    As for younr point with Poti and/or Ozolinsh… I'm going to agree… to a certain extent. Maybe you are right and they aren't coming to Montreal. Replace him with any other offensive minded "QB style" defensemen but I can't find many that will be unexpensive. Let's be honest, if Bob doesn't want to pay more than 5M$ for Souray, what are the odds he'll give more to someone else? None. So you can forget the top of the line D-Men and we'll probably end up with Poti or… Numminen… Sarich… Okay I won't continue down the list cause things get ugly. Basically I don't know who they'll sign… but someone has to be that offensive threat on PP.

    Which means we can't sign two top ofensive players to fill the two holes we have on the 1st and 2nd line.

    It's a shame but for now we'll have to deal with it.

  5. Milohabs says:

    nice article.

    I agree with most. My "WISH LIST" is for MOntreal to sign both Briere & Yashin (YES YASHIN). I think that both he & Kovalev have lots to prove and have the skill to light the lamp. Yashin's skill is much higher than Samsonov. He's a center & he's big.

    This is my dream line up.

    Latendresse   Koivu     Briere(play him on the wing)

    Kostitsyn     Yashin      Kovalev (WOW!!)

    Higgins       Plekanec   Ryder (how's that for depth?)

    Lapierre      Begin        Chipchura/Murray   

              Markov      Komisarek

             Streit          UFA (just an average player – Poti etc)

             Bouillion     Dandenault        (Gorges is 7th)


    This is the type of line up Carbo needs next year. With 3 offensive lines, it should help with the 5 on 5 goals scoring. Higgins & Pleks are solid in their opwn end, and hoprfully teach Ryder a thing or 2 in that capacity.
    Ryder will still have PP time as a sniper.

    PP #1

    Ryder     Koivu    Briere

           Markov    Kovalev (on the point)

    PP# 2

    Kostitsyn    Yashin   Kovalev

           Streit     UFA D-man

    This si not a cup-contention team, but this line up should hands down make the playoffs. If this line up fails, then Carbo needs to go at the end of the season.

  6. RealisticNick says:

    I always hate when people post hypothetical "what if we signed or traded for…" rosters.  Why not take a look at what the team has signed and coming up in prospects.  Everyone says we need another center, last time I check Plekanec led or was close to having the most points in the second half and he can also kill penalties.  I know he is more likely an above average 3rd line center but why not leave him on the second line where he played well last season.  As for the new top line winger, remember Kostitsyn?  That is like adding  a cheap top line winger for free, he stepped in and played well last year and doesn't have anything left to develope in the AHL, look at his +/- and point improvements over the last couple seasons.  Chipchura and Milroy look for that adequate to fill in the vaccant positions left by Bonk and Johnson (who were one nice shut down unit), they may not be as effective yet, but they are cheaper, put up good point and +/- numbers last year.  Heck Milroy could be the next Ryder for all we know (or not, just throwing that one out there).  As for defence, Streit will take over if Souray leaves, the power play appears to be one of the reasons he was even brought over.  Gorges saw some NHL action in SJ last year and O'Byrne could fill a lower level defence pairing next season.  He is huge at 6'5" and has a mean streak, he took the college route like Komisarek and could develope similarily as from the information I have read on him they are both big and mobile.  He also stepped it up huge come play-off time, slowed late in the season but he wasn't used to playing that many games, should now know what he has to do to keep up for a full season.

    So here's what I've got, if the Canadiens sign someone then so be it, until then the roster (barring a trade) would look like:

    (Lines in no particular order)

    Higgins  Plekanec  Kostitsyn – This line was productive last year, that and 2/3 of the line killed penalties in Montreal, could line up against the other teams top line without fear.

    Kovalev – Koivu – Ryder – Koivu and Ryder have played well the last few years, Kovalev (although I have heard doesn't get along with Koivu, though  unconfirrmed) played his best when lined up with Saku.  He is a left handed shot and I know he's listed as a RW, but most wingers can play both sides.  This line would be more apt to allow a goal as the defensive concept is non-existent.

    The rest is a little more debatable with combinations.  Begin, Lapierre, Murray and to an extent Latendresse are energy players.  Murray did not have a great season last year but is the most likely of all to drop the gloves with anyone.  I'm guessing he would be more of an "inserted into the line up tonight" player.

    Grabovski would likely have to play on one of the top two lines to be effective with his vision, he could be useful anywhere with his speed but would be best suited with more offensive players. 

    Chipchura and Milroy appear to be in the molds of Bonk and Johnson.  Milroy had a career year last year, he led the team in scoring.  He appears to be a cheaper version of Johnson, can play defence and chip in with goals.  Let us hope he does not follow Jason Ward going from leading the farm team to a career 4th liner or scratch.  He was picked in the second round in 2001 for a reason, possible took just a little longer to develope.  Chipchura is responsible in both ends, his point production may not have been outstandind in the AHL, but he is defence first.  As long as he doesn't alow any it's not really hurting the team to wait while his offensive numbers improve.

    Lahit – I have not seen him play, numbers from another league are not always accurate and don't always translate.  He plays LW and has decent size, my guess would be if he is good enough to make the team he would be 3rd line or better.  Most would say put him on with Koivu as he is a Finn…but that doesn't mean they will play well together.  It's like having Samsonov and Kovalev, oh ya they are both Russian, who cares, it didn't work and doesn't always mean it will or won't.


    As for the defence:

    Markov & Komisarek – Why mess with a good thing?
    Bouillion & Dandenault – Makes sense as again they are used to each other.
    Streit & ? – Gorges, O'Byrne and Cote could all be options here.  Streit is a good two-way player and could help compensate for the weaker partner.  I like O'Byrne with his size, strength and mobility, but I'm not an NHL GM and I have no idea if he is NHL ready or not.

    And the goalies, lets be honest, no real use speculating until we see what happens at training camp and who has stepped it up over the summer.  Turns out Danis was a RFA so there are 4 possible goalies to throw into the combinations assuming none are traded and Desjardins spends the year or beginning in the ECHL.

    If you actually made it this far I am surprised as I likely would have stop writing a long time ago.  I know that roster would not likely win us the cup this year, but with large portion of the team being 1,2,3 year players it would be key in development as they are realistically the future of the team, not a UFA in their 30's.  I'm not saying don't sign any, but the Canadiens have not been piling up prospects and ranked #2 by HF because they are not quality prospects.  The team apppers to be building from within, and for those players to play in the NHL they have to start somewhere, with many roster openings this year could be the right time to start not having to move anyone to open a spot.

  7. BigBrother2 says:

    There is no way I wouldn't read the entirety of a reply to any of my articles/comments. Thanks for the reply by the way. I only have one small problem with it. You didn't really read my comments, obviously. They were never intended to be as a "this will be the lineup" type of post. It was the overall situation.

    Also, i didn't mention it but there will be action on the UFA. Bob cannot move. In his off season press conference, Pierre Boivin said that it was time the CH get that top Free Agent the fans keep asking for. He did this press conference one day before Bob Gainey press conference. talk about puttin pressure on your GM hun?

    And i agree that we need to fill some of our 5 available spots with products from our farm team. But we can't the risk to fill all of our spots with those. Why not? Because injuries happen in the course of the season. If we keep the top 5 players from our farm team on the main club, what will we do when Higgins and Koivu get injured? Bring two more?

    Also, as much as Souray could be a liability on defense, we can'T afford not to somewhat replace his of offensive contribution and let's be honest, none of our farm team d-men can fill those shoes.

    Also, even though i would love to see our team only buid from within, I think we will need some experience to balance the flow of young guns from the past couple of years. Higgins, Ryder, Latendresse, Lapierre, Epileptic guy, Murray, Grabovski and so many more could benifit from the presence of two or three more experienced players.

    Oh and one thing i continue to think about, we may very well sign only two players. Another C to back up Koivu (I would love a good Face-off wizard) and a D. I can easily see Gainey just put Streit as a permanent forward and not sign a Gelinas-type of player. I would love to have a guy of this experience but I can see how this free up space for Coté or Archer… whoever wins his spot.

    I agree with most of your evaluations for our future stars. FYI Ducan Milroy was named CHL player of the year in 02 (i think) and i remember watching a CHL game on "The Score" and hearing the commentator say "Don't worry about this guy. He has 20 points in the first 16 games this season
     but when he'll find his grove he'll be a force to be reckoned with." 20 pts in 16 games? When he WILL find his grove? Wow.

    Sadly enough he wasn't able to shine in the AHL but who knows. Maybe he'll find himself and be a real threat again soon.

    And for the rest, I agree that Epileptic and Plecanek played well this year. But it doesn't change the fact that even with those two guys in the lineup, we have 5 spots to fill. I don't think anyone can honestly say that hiring 2 or 3 free agents will slow down the developpement of our players.

    But then again, the question remains: Will Bob even interest enough a player to bring him to Montreal?

  8. RealisticNick says:

    Oh mine wasn't really directed at your article, it was more jus what I had been thinking for the last while and seemed like an appropriate thread.  I know the team has room for a UFA, especially on D if Souray doesn't resign, I figured I'd do what no one else did and put out a roster in where I don't have a UFA as we don't know 100% who or what position one would be if the team signed one.  There are obvious needs but no guarantees.

  9. passionch says:

    Kovalev playing on both PP units? 

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