One Step Forward and Two Steps Back!

For the most part, the frenzy of free agent signings has come and gone.  And once again the Montreal Canadiens have nothing to show for it.  However,  I sincerely believe the organization made every effort to sign quality players to improve the club.  For various reasons they were not able to land any big name free agents.   This is not the end of the world. 

I think it would be a mistake to overpay or sign players like they did with Samsonov. Now I was under the assumption that the Canadiens were entering into year 4 of a 5 year rebuilding process and the players that they signed, for the most part make no sense if this is indeed the case. Now it is a no-brainer that Gainey, Carbonneau and Co. understand this game much better than myself but to me the likes of Smolinski and Kostopolous are not upgrades, they are fillers.

I would think Smolinski is the type of player that a team might want to add for depth for the playoffs. I keep hearing that Smolinski provides offence and size. Last time I checked, the most points he has amassed was 64 in 1995/96 playing on an offensive powerhouse with Lemieux, Jagr, Francis, Nedved, Sandstrom and Zubov. And I don’t care how big he is, he is another soft player. Arguments will be made that he is a more versatile, cheaper replacement for Radek Bonk. He definitely is a cheaper version. To me that says that Kyle Chipchura is either not ready or not good enough to make the transition to the parent club.

As for Tom Kostopolous, this is even more mind boggling. I’m not quite sure what he brings to the table as far as strengths. He is a career minus 29 joining a team full of minus players. Unless he is going to play in Hamilton for $900,000 a season I’m not quite sure what his role is.

Perhaps I will eat my words and the reason they signed these players was that they are looking to make a trade and will need bodies.

I still don’t understand as Hamilton was the Calder Cup Champions and Gainey has mentioned the names of Chipchura, Grabovski and OByrne possibly being able to make the transition to the parent club.

To me Hamrlik wasn’t the worst acquisition. I believe they overpaid but apparently that was the market value. On the upside he is a defensive upgrade and can help mentor the younger defencemen.

At this point I don’t see the Canadiens as an improved club from last season. They will struggle to make the playoffs, especially with rival teams improving.

If the Habs are indeed behind schedule I would rather see them go with youth and see if some of their prospects are NHL capable. Save the cap money for next year or for a trade.


6 Responses to One Step Forward and Two Steps Back!

  1. Komic-J says:

    I kinda agree with you about Smolinski…he's the type of player you usually go for to add some depth for the playoffs. We're not quite there yet. But…he signed a 1-year deal, so I don't really mind. He's a right-handed center, which we've been lacking, so I guess that for one season, it's not bad. Gives time to Chipchura and Grabovski to adjust, next year, they'll both be full-timers.

    I'm actually happy about Kostopoulos. Now let's face it, he's not bringing much to the table in terms of production, but he's the kind of hard-worker I want on the fourth line. I think this was a pretty reasonnable signing too…

    One of the many reasons why I don't like the signing of Hamrlik is because he was our Plan B…or Plan C. I just get that feling that, eventually, there will be a player outhere that we really want, and we won't be able to get him because we already spent too much money. I also think some of our prospects on defense should be ready to join the team by year 3 of his contract, and that he "could" because of that become a very expensive third pair defenseman.

  2. habsrock99 says:

    What everyone says about Smolinski is wrong. The real reason they brought him in was to mentor and smooth the transition to the NHL for players such as Andrei Kostitsyn and Mikael Grabovski, both of whom will play with Smolinski on the 3rd line. As for Tom Kostopoulos, he's gonna play a checking role on the 4th line with Begin and Lapierre. What this does, is give the Habs a speedy but incredibly agitating 4th line that will grind the top lines of other clubs. Just look what Lapierre did to Crosby when Pens played the Habs. He pissed him off. If Lapierre had 2 grinding wingers with him, Habs would have had a shut down line to reduce scoring from other teams top lines. Hamrlik was brought in to mentor Markov, who took steps back last season as shown when he would hold on to the puck during powerplays for up to a minute and a half, when he had Souray wide open for a shot. Hamrlik will also mentor the young guys like Andrew Archer and Ryan O'Byrne. Jamie Rivers was brought in as an insurance policy in case a rash of injuries hit the blueline. Rivers is a steady and reliable stay-at-home-defenceman who knows his way around the ice. He has minimal talent which is why he plays so much in the AHL.

  3. nychabfan says:

    I find all signings so far as big costly mistakes, Smolinski is not going to add scoring,he did not do anything for Senators or Canucs.There are Koivu,Plecs,Lapierre, and there is time to see if someone steps in in the camp or a trade could be made at the right time.To pay Kostopulos this much is ridicullous, if there is a need for grit, bring up Ferland for half the money and let your pick play.Hamrlik is hugely overpaid,his good years are far behind,aand for 4 years he takes a spot of a younger player as Cote or Carle.Ditto for Rivers.All that shows  that Geaney is in a cmplete disarray and panicking that if he doesn't do anysthing, he would be accused for lack of actions,Now,he has done much worse.   

  4. habsrock99 says:

    Gainey's signings are actually decent. Smolinski will score his usual 15-25 goals and 35-50 points, pretty good for a 3rd liner. Hamrlik is over paid yes, but Cote, who was brutal last year, is probably not gonna make the Habs at all and would be better off traded. Rivers is their as an insurance policy if the Habs blueline hits a rash of injuries. Kostopoulos is gonna team with Begin and Lapierre to form a 4th line that has the potential to be the best in the East. What Hamrlik will do is work with Montreals current blueline and get them into shape. He's a quieter Souray, not outspoken but is a great leader in the dressing room. Also, Gainey is far from done. Habs blue line is a bit crowded so expect Dandeneault or Bouillon or maybe both to be traded by training camp.

  5. passionch says:

    Of all the work Gainey did, I am satisfied with the minor changes but Hamrlik long-term deal might hurt us as Bob had fallen into the tendancy this season's GMs has been doing…  1-3 years would have been satisfactory until our young crop of defencemen matures to the NHL level.  At least, most contracts ends in a few seasons and we'll be able to re-evaluate all our players and see who is in the Habs plans or not for the big showdown.

  6. habsoverserver says:

    the off season could best be summed up as "no harm, no foul."  the team is neither better nor worse.  improvement will have to come from the existing players stepping up their game.

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