Hickey on Hockey: Changes coming for Canadiens in 2014

Change.

That’s what the Canadiens can look forward to in 2014.

But there won’t be any immediate changes and fans who are concerned that Max Pacioretty will be traded can rest assured that a team short on size and scoring punch isn’t about to trade one of the few players on the team who supplies both.

Most of the changes will be geared to improving for the 2014-15 season and beyond, but general manager Marc Bergevin is constantly looking at moves that could improve the current roster as long as they don’t take away from the core talent or mortgage the team’s future.

With the Canadiens holding their own in the Eastern Conference, Bergevin is in position to go shopping for a missing piece or two. The Canadiens have enough room under the salary cap to add around $9 million at the trade deadline and that would be enough to bring in a beefy winger for the playoff push.

But Bergevin’s major task will be to put together the roster for next season, and that starts with determining which players will be on the blue line in 2014-15. The only two regular defenceman currently signed are Josh Gorges and Alexei Emelin, which means Bergevin has some heavy lifting to do. P.K. Subban is a priority and the talks have already started on what will be the richest contract in the club’s history.

And then there’s Andrei Markov. He has been the Canadiens’ best defenceman for most of the past decade, and as good as Subban has been this year Markov has been a tad better. Markov has always been easy to deal with and the key this time will be to find a contract that is fair to both sides in terms of money and length.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/hockey/montreal-canadiens/Hickey+Hockey+Changes+coming/9328421/story.html


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