For question number four, I asked how you would make the Habs a bigger team for the upcoming season. Below is a sampling of the responses I received. You'll notice that some of these options no longer hold water as some of the players mentioned have already been moved.
That being said, you Habs addicts out there put your thinking caps on and came up with some some very creative ideas. So here goes:
1. Size at forward is nice but the Habs need a big skater on the blueline. I was hoping for Carl Gudbarnson but then we made the darned playoffs. Dan Hamhuis would be a nice pick-up. Raffi Torres will be cheap. He's not the answer but he'll be cheap.
2. AK46 and Pouliot gotta go. Neither are fit wingers for the top 2 lines, and there has to be some dealing done to get at least 2 solid wingers who will go into the corners to get the pucks for the skilled smurf players, and also protect them from the bullies. Dustin Byfuglien is money in the bank for the Hawks, and they're facing cap issues, so I doubt they'll deal him. But I would look for something similar for sure. No idea who though.
3. How we get bigger...Well it's not about getting bigger but getting more physical. Habs need people to open up space for their smaller players. Bang and crashers with some skill.
Colby Armstrong is a UFA and scored 15 goals last season, he would be a perfect fit for Gionta and Gomez.
Trade for Andrew Ladd from Chicago, they are in so much cap problems they are going to want a draft pick or cheaper talent (or both) in return...but it wouldn't cost the Habs much to pry him away.
Eric Belanger (a UFA) isn't that big but scored 15 goals and isn't afraid of the physical stuff and he's awesome on faceoffs, something that the Habs lack.
The above acquisitions would make the Habs tougher to play against and increase their size and toughness. What's more it wouldn't cost the Habs much as only Ladd would require a trade.
If that doesn't float your boat, then go after Horton from Florida, as the management there doesn't like his work ethic (I don't think he wants to play in Florida and could use a change of scenery)
Trade a goalie for David Backes from St Louis as they don't have a young goalie in their system and could use Price or Halak. Although I would hate to see either go.
4. Trade for David Backes. Let Pleck go and sign Brooks Laich (UFA) and sign Todd Bertuzzi (UFA). He's cheap and likes to park his rear in front of goalies. Bring up Pacioretty/white.
5. Trade Jaro Halak for David Backes, Sign Colby Armstrong. Promote Ryan White (More so for grit than size). Bring over Alexei Emelin. And Ryan O’Byrne doesn't sit in the press box.
6. Markov and the Habs 1st for Horton and the Panthers 1st? (I LIKE THIS ONE!)
7. Doesn't every team look for size every year? Best of luck to the Habs at finding a guy with size that is good. Teams don't normally give up those guys so easily so let's hope the "video scouting" proves effective in locating that big winger.
Consensus: There truly is none, although the name of David Backes, of the St. Louis Blues, keeps rearing its head. Ryan Clowe would be another good pick up for the Habs.
The Habs have already moved one of their biggest trading assets—Jaroslav Halak—and have signed center Tomas Plekanec long term. This means that they now have approximately $9 million left to sign eight players.
That's pretty tight so if GM Pierre Gauthier is going to make this team bigger this summer he will have to get creative.
If he can somehow move Roman Hamrlik's contract that would give him another $5.5 million to go shopping with. That being said, I think that with one more year on his contract, Hamrlik can be an important figure in helping P.K. Subban become a bonafide NHLer this year.
Gauthier's best bet is to try and move the Kostitsyn brothers who collectively make approximately $4 million a year. That is money he can use to try and sign a free agent winger like Alexander Frolov.
At 6"2' and 216 lbs, Frolov would be a welcome addition up front and his past history with Michael Cammalleri makes him all the more likely to be targeted by GM Gauthier.
So what do you think? How would you make this team bigger?
POLL RESULTS - How would you make the Habs bigger?
Move players/sign Frolov - 73%
Via trade - 15%
Via free agency - 10%
They're big enough! - 0%