Draft day stupidity or genious??? FA still in question

Ok, Draft day has come and gone and as everyone now knows, Patrick Kane is a Blackhawk. But, what did Montreal do? Well, for what seems like a long run of “terrible” drafting, the Habs, yet again, took a defencemen in the first round. Well, the Habs may have pulled off a huge mistake, as they passed up on a highly coveted Russian (who blames them?) and possibly the missing right winger for Crosby and Malkin in Esposito. Well, Ryan McDonagh is going to have to prove his worth one way or another. I almost cried when i heard McDonagh’s name because I wanted the Habs to take Esposito but after i pulled myself together, i thought about this pick. This is what I came up with. Souray is walking this year, more then likely, McDonagh is 18, and in 23 games last year, he scored 10 goals and added 23 assists and 44 penalty minutes. Well, Souray is 31 and scored 26 goals and 38 assists for 64 points as well as 135 penalty minutes, all in 81 games. To put things in perspective, had McDonagh played 81 games, he would have scored 35 goals, 81 assists for 116 points as well as 154 penalty minutes. Now I know its terrible to compare players, but in McDonagh, I see a younger but smaller Souray (McDonagh is 6’1, 195 lbs and Souray is 6’4, 223). By the time McDonagh is ready to go, it’ll be about the 2008-09 season and I believe that he can win the Calder because I believe that if Carbonneau is still at the helm of Montreal, McDonagh will QB the PP. And by then, the Habs will have Emelin hopefully and Pavel Vetarenko as well as Markov, and Komisarek and quite possibly Fisher as well.

For the Habs 2nd first round pick, I’m ecstatic. Max Pacioretty was an incredible pick by the Habs. he’s 6’2, 205 lbs and by the time he hits the NHL, he’ll be a good 215-220. He scored 21 goals and 63 points last year in 60 games and added over 100 PIM. It’ll be a long shot but, who does he remind you of? A player the Habs drafted in the late 80’s, he won the cup with them in 93, scoring a few OT winners and was later apart of the LOD line in Philly? Still don’t know? Well, he reminds me of John LeClair and hopefully the Habs learn from past mistakes and ride this kid out because I feel he’ll be one of the premier power forwards in the NHL by 2008-09. I doubt he’ll score 50 goals but an easy 30 could be on the horizon and maybe a cool 40. If I was at the helm in Montreal, I probably would have taken Esposito at 12 and a guy named Brett MacLean at 22. MacLean scored 47 goals and 100 points last year but as Habs fans know, 100 point scorers in the minors doesn’t translate to 100 point scorers in the AHL or NHL (Corey Locke). But, at first, I was disappointed with McDonagh and happy with Pacioretty but after careful thinking, I’m ecstatic to see both in Habs uni’s by 08-09.

Now, onto FA. In an interview during Draft Day, Bob Gainey said that he and Souray had yet to engage in serious contract talks. I believe Gainey because Buffalo has yet to negotiate with Briere or Drury seriously. I’m an optimistic person and I believe Souray may re-sign for 4 years at 5 million a year. Now, in the event that Souray walks, a perfect replacement would be Schneider. Not only is a PP QB, he could also help with the development of some of Montreals young Americans like Komisarek and McDonagh. Take it McDonagh probably won’t be at training camp this year but hey, you never know. Yes, Schneider is a quick fix but he’s a perfect quick fix because as McDonagh develops, Schneider can help keep the Habs competitive through a builing process. Now, if Habs fans don’t want a quick fix, why not sign D-man Mike Mottau or Micki DuPont? DuPont is a proven AHL scorer and if given the proper ice time, I believe he could excel in Montreal. Mottau is a proven set-up man in the AHL and I believe that if he were given decent ice time in the NHL, he could be an effective set-up man on the Habs 2nd PP line. Both players could sign at 500K each and at that price, I’d be willing to gamble on proven D-man scorers. Here’s a list I have made of who I believe the Habs can get and at a low cost:

Name-Pos. Salary for 07-08 Age Role
Mike Mottau-D $500 000 29 PP set-up man
Micki DuPont-D $500 000 27 PP point man
Matt Schneider-D $3.5 million 38 PP point man
Junior Lessard-RW $450 000 27 Decent 3rd line scorer
Jan Hejda-D $450 000 29 Decent 3rd line D-man
Pavel Brendl-W $400 000 28 Potential 2nd line scorer
Jani Rita-LW $400 000 28 Potential 2nd line scorer
Karel Pilar-D $500 000 30 Decent 3rd line D-man
Ric Jackman-D $800 000 29 Potential PP QB
Eric Belanger-C $1.2 million 30 3rd line checker/PK
Andy Sutton-D $1.5 million 32 3rd line checking D-man
Wayne Primeau-C $1.3 million 31 3rd line checking C/PK
David Tanabe-D $900 000 27 3rd line D-man/Potential 2nd PP
Michal Handzus-C $1.5 million 30 2nd line big Centre/FO specialist
Ossi Vaananen-D $1.2 million 27 2nd line D-man/PK
Daniel Tjarnqvist-D $950 000 31 3rd line D-man
Tom Poti-D $3 million 30 PP QB/set up
Pascal Dupuis-LW $1 million 28 Potential 2nd line goal scorer
Tom Preissing-D $1.2 million 29 2nd line D-man/PP set up
Scott Hannad-D $2.2 million 28 Proven top-4 D-man
Yannick Tremblay-D $800 000 32 Proven PP QB
Joe DiPenta-D $750 000 28 Solid top 6 D-man

And last but definitely not least, I would take a chance on a former Chicago Blackhawk winger, Eric Daze. Ya, ya, he hasn’t played in over 3 years but, truth be told, he has been playing. In beer leagues in Quebec. He’s been doing this to stengthen his back and he is a proven 30 goal scorer and hes huge (6’6, 230 pounds) and hes quick. You could easily get him for 500 000 or less. Fill the contract with inscentives, and the Habs got themselves a 40 goial scorer.

Now, I’m not saying to go after every single one of these guys but go after and sign a few of them. Though they may not be house-hold names, they are hard working players with a fewscores to settle with the teams that drafted them and let them go. They will be hungry for NHL action and would be a perfect fit with a young and coming hungry Habs team. I have also seen some of these players play in Europe and they did really well and their exists an even bigger trap system in places like Europe. I would like to see Daze, Schneider, Jackman, Sutton, Handzus and Dupuis in a Habs uni next year. This is just my thoughts and it would make sense to take small gambles on hungry players then a big gamble on big time players who just might not play up to Montreal expectations.