Montreal's Offseason Goals
The Montreal Canadiens will likely re-sign Jose Theodore to a incentive-based contract, or just give what he wants. But what other needs does Andre Savard have to fill this offseason?I personally believe the Habs’ goals this offseason (other than re-signing Theodore) should be these:
Grit: The Habs showed a lot of character in the playoffs, except for the now-departed Sergei Berezin. Their emotional leader was of course Saku Koivu, but Doug Gilmour played a huge role as well. Whether Gilmour leaves or not, the Habs desperately need a big forward who can hit and score. They already have Bill Lindsay and Chad Kilger, 2 forwards who can hit, but you probably won’t seem them on the top 2 lines. As Guy Carbonneau said during the playoffs, the Canadiens need a shotblocker.
Scoring: The Habs have a lot of smallish forwards who can knock in 40-50 points, but not many accomplished scorers. Koivu and Audette should benefit from playing full seasons, but without another scorer on the line they probably would only score 50-60 points. If the Habs can bring someone like Teemu Selanne in, he’d be a guarenteed 70 points each year because he would get loads of ice time. Selanne only struggled in San Jose because of limited ice time (14 minutes each game).
Defense: The defense will benefit next year from having Komisarek and Hainsey, which will make the Habs (in my opinion) well positioned at D with these possible pairings: Brisebois and Dykhuis, Quintal and Markov, Komisarek and Hainsey, 7th D: Sheldon Souray. There really aren’t any holes to plug on the defense. It wouldn’t hurt to pick a solid defenseman though. Francois Bouliion, Stephane Robidas and Patrick Traverse probably will be trade bait.
Coaching: Michel Therrien will probably have to win the back the confidence on his players after his rookie mistakes during the playoffs, such as sending out left wing Bill Lindsay to take an important faceoff in the Habs end against Brindamour (league’s 2nd best faceoff man), instead of sending out Yanic Perreault the league’s best faceoff man. If the Habs start poorly, Therrien could be on his way out. I feel they should have promoted Carbonneau to head coach, and if Therrien falters Carbonneau just might become the coach.
If the Habs want to contend next season, this is probably the way to do it: sign some good solid forwards who can score and add some grit. If I was Savard, I’d be interested in signing these forwards:
Teemu Selanne (Scorer and Grit)
Andrew Cassels (Scorer)
Randy McKay (Grit, Leader, Shotblocker)
Scott Young (Grit and Scorer)
Pat Verbeek (Grit, Leader, Shotblocker)