Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Buying In Bulk

It's been almost two weeks since the free agent market opened its gates and our beloved Habs made the biggest splash only after Minnesota's cannonball that landed them both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Marc Bergevin had obviously recognized this team's lack of size and grit and did not hesitate to remedy the situation.
Late last season "The Ghost" claimed Brad Staubitz off waivers from Minnesota who made an immediate impact. It had become blatantly clear that this kind of player was necessary to have on the roster in order to be successful in this division and conference. Ryan White, who plays two inches and fifteen pounds bigger than his actual frame, had been injured for almost the entire season with a sports hernia. His return confirmed the size matters theory but unfortunately this all came far too late in the season to save it.
Staubitz signed on almost immediately with Anaheim which raises the question if Bergevin already had his sights set on someone else to fill that role all along. Brandon Prust, like White, plays the game larger than his 6'00" 192lbs and tied for the league's lead last year in fighting majors with Shawn Thornton. He's gone toe to toe with the likes of Carrillo, Lucic and Gaustad and will defend his teammates without a moment’s hesitation. At $2.5 million dollars a year for the next four years he's a bargain.
Bergevin also added Colby Armstrong who had just been bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is another winger who plays a tough game but has some impressive offensive skills as well. He's also a Habs fan who's his favorite player growing up was Kirk Muller. He signed a one year $1 million dollar deal but the Leafs will be paying him an additional million to fulfill the buyout agreement. Thanks Burkie!!!
The final piece of Bergevin's free agent frenzy brings back Francis Bouillon, or Frankie the Bull if you prefer, a small but strong Dman who also moves the puck well and brings some much needed depth to the blue line.
The Canadiens currently have a little over eight million dollars left in cap space but there is still one major RFA contract to be signed with PK Subban. It is uncertain how long or how much he is willing to sign for but it is safe to say that an agreement will be reached in the very near future.
Even after all of this it would seem that Bergevin isn't close to being finished for the summer yet. There is word that Yannick Weber will be a member of the Detroit Red Wings in return for a draft pick but not until Bergevin pulls the trigger on a different deal that will bring in another Dman. It is being said that Montreal has put two offers on the table for Jay Bouwmeester but are in competition with St. Louis. Bouwmeester has been the subject of trade rumors in Calgary since they acquired Denis Wideman from Washington just before July 1st and signed him to a five year contract worth $5.25 annually. Bouwmeester has two years remaining on his contract with a capital hit of $6.6 million per year.

Contributing Editor - Robert Alan Ford @RAFord77

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In Timmins We Trust

In Timmins we trust
So the man of 2012 in Habs land is Mr. Alex Galchenyuk Jr., eh? Well I am honestly convinced that this young gun could have given his Sarnia teammate Nail Yakupov a run for first overall at the entry draft had he not been injured for the entire OHL season, save two games and a playoff round.  In comparison, Alex has two inches and ten pounds on Nail despite being almost a year younger. The on ice stats are tipped slightly in Nail’s favour during the regular season but almost identical in the 2012 playoffs. That being said, a season missed is a season missed and the Canadiens’ new top prospect will only benefit by returning to the Sarnia Sting for another season and help fuel the debate. Not that he showed any signs of missing a step when he returned in time for the playoffs and but there is still room for his development at that level. Another year in the O would help him learn to dominate and to win at his own level and more importantly pick up some leadership qualities along the way as he will undoubtedly be looked up to by his teammates next year. Also, as far as the current CBA states, if he does not make the NHL after training camp this spring then he can only return to his CHL team. So realistically speaking, Habs fans will have to wait at least another year before they get to see Alex Jr. playing for the Canadiens. And that’s only the bad news……