Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free Agent Frenzy; What Will We Do?

by Willey

Wow; what an exciting time of year!

I have just spent a day bombarded with texts, emails, tweets, forum posts with a little twist of dirty diapers; welcome to the world of Free Agent Fatherhood Frenzy.

That’s right Kamal; congratulations on the birth of your baby boy. Although I am eternally hurt from your refusal to name him Willey, a wound that runs deep but is beginning to heal, welcome to the club man.

You are officially introduced to the world of juggling work, the game of hockey, your online community and of course fatherhood. It is a journey, it is troubling and difficult but there is no greater gift in life. Enjoy every minute of it my friend.

----

Here I am sitting in front of my computer with just 36 hours away from arguably the most exciting part of any NHL fans season.

Come on guys; I’m not talking about Canada Day, and no I’m not talking about the premier of Transformers 3; Dark Side of Moon - or whatever the heck it’s called. I’m talking about Free Agent Frenzy.

That time of year where we all find ourselves glued to our computers and phones hoping to get the latest scoop as our beloved teams adds those missing building blocks to what surely promises to be a Stanley Cup winning season.

OMG why did I just mention the Stanley Cup? I just felt an overwhelming nauseating feeling as the image of Zdeno Chara and the Boston Bruins hoisting the Stanley Cup just swept through my mind.

Come on Willey, think happy thoughts; think 24 Cups, think Jean Beliveau and Chris Nilan, think PK Subban and Jarred Tinordi. OK I’m better now, where was I?

Oh yes; Free Agent Frenzy. You know that can only mean one thing; Willey’s Wish List, a look at the forwards, Defense and goaltending.

Goaltending

Realistically what is there to say? The doubts that many of us had going into last season have been answered and it is obvious more than ever that Carey Price is the man.

So if we know that he is going to “Carey” the majority of the work load then the only possible question that remains is who will be his back-up?

Um….how about anyone? Mathieu Garon, Jose Theodore, Martin Biron, Marty Turco, Johan Hedberg; I mean really, take your pick?

Ok, Ok stop harassing me. If you want a name that badly then I will give you one, I say bring back Auld. I mean for a million dollars or less we have a guy who was above .500 with a more than respectable GAA and save percentage so what's wrong with that?

Besides, I need another year of: “he’s big he’s bald, he’s Alex Auld” to digest.

Defense

Today we received confirmation that Roman Hamrlik would not be returning, that James Wisniewski was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a seventh round pick and that Yannick Weber has been signed for two additional years; translation; our defense is pretty much set.

Je suis Andrei Markov, je suis Alexei Emelin, je suis PK Subban, je suis Hal Gill, je suis Josh Gorges, je suis Jaroslav Spacek and je suis Yannick Weber; ladies and gentleman your 2011-12 Montreal Canadiens defense core!

Whoa, whoa, whoa lady, pump the breaks! Do you really think I would just sit by and accept this as status quo? Do you really think my years of bitching and moaning about the lack of toughness would simply be tossed to the sideline just because we have seven guys already on the roster?

I’m sorry but four Europeans? Only three players taller than 6’0? This is just not going to happen.

So let the bitching begin.

First things first, is grandpa Spacek really still on this team? He was old when we signed him, so I figured he’d be collecting his pension by now, not anchoring our third D pairing. I mean seriously why not just bring back Butch Bouchard or something.

I have no problem with Markov, Emelin, Subban, Gill and Gorges; in fact I think these five men form what may in fact be one of the best units in the Eastern Conference. Add in a guy like Yannick Weber who is still young and improving and truth be told I like this team. But I’m sorry but where is the depth my friends?


One little injury and we are once again having to part ways with picks and prospects to wait for it, fix our leaking roof. Come on guys, enough with the patching let’s just start replacing the bloody thing.


So who exactly is on my radar? Apparently he is on the radar of the Chicago Blackhawks as well because his negotiating rights were traded last night; Steve Montador.


Montador is not overly big at just 6’1 and 215lbs but he is a right handed shot, is tough as nails and can play any situation be it five on five, on the PK or on the PP.

Take a quick look at his career and you’ll also notice that his stats are truly not far behind that of James Wisniewski, with the exception of one thing; his cost.

So what am I willing to offer Mr. Montador. Hmmm let’s see, how about a two-year contract at $2.25 million per season.


What Next

Believe it or not I am happy going with 8 Defensemen on this team. One little tweak of adding a right handed depth defenseman and am ready to go.

Sure I would still like to see the salary of Spacek find its way to a team like Florida or Phoenix but as we discovered last season injuries can occur at any moment. And as my philosophy dictates, a team is only as good as the depth in the organization.

Andrei Markov-Alexei Emelin
Hal Gill-PK Subban
Josh Gorges-Steve Montador

Spacek/Weber

The Forwards

Here is the biggie and despite the chastising I am sure to get from my fellow Habs fans, Scott Gomez is part of my roster for the upcoming season. I agree with you that he is not worth what he is paid. I know that he did not perform and in many ways hurt us out there, I get that but let’s look at this in a different way.

Gomez cannot possibly have a worse season meaning we can pretty much assure we are going to get better numbers from him. Secondly I am a firm believer that the most important element of a team is the character and locker room. From what I understand Gomez is the glue that holds a lot of the pieces together. I do not want to mess with that chemistry. So with that said I see only minor changes needed.

Sure we can offer huge money to Raffi Torres or Jamie Langenbrunner or heck even Brad Richards, but it is not the root I want to travel. I do not see the need to go out and offer huge money to a player when I think we have the necessary players already in the organization.

In order to take a step forward we simply need to address one missing component, toughness.

New Additions

Anthony Stewart; Stewart is a 6’2 inch, 220 lbs power forward from Lasalle, Qc. He was a highly touted prospect who excelled for Canada at the WJC but who has not quite lived up to expectations at the NHL level.

What he provides however is a smooth skating, big bodied winger who plays a North-south game; finishes his checks, will drop the gloves if the situation presents itself and can play any of the three forward positions.

What I like best is the fact that Stewart has the body to play on a fourth line, has the defensive awareness to play on the third line and the skill set to substitute on the second line as a short term solution. Stewart signed on a 3 year $6 million contract

Mike Rupp. Rupp is a 6’5 , 230lbs beast. He will never be anything more than a fourth line player with the odd shift on the third line however Rupp is the type of guy the fans and coaches love.

He is a great skater, and by all accounts tremendous in the locker room. Rupp always finishes his checks, sticks up for teammates whenever called upon, plays with his heart on his sleeve and can be used regularly five on five or on the PK.

Rupp signed on a 2 year $2.5 million contract

Next on my list is; well actually nobody. Perhaps I am of the minority but I do not see the need to go out and sign a big ticket item for the same of signing a big ticket item.

If a name like Jaromir Jagr or Jason Arnott joins the team to complete that top line duo of Cammalleri and Plekanec then I will surely welcome them with open arms as it it make our club that much better, but I firmly believe that we have a good team that can do some serious damage in this league.


--------

So that's it folks. One move on defense and two simple depth moves with the forwards. Moves that can assure us that players like Travis Moen and Mathieu Darche never has to see first or second line ice duty.


Simply put, moves that allow Gauthier to start renovating other parts of the house instead of investing more time and energy in that damn leaking roof.

Who installed that roof anyway?

----

Willey was the shinning light among the wicked growing up as the lone Habs fan in Toronto. Pray to Holy Ghosts of the old forum and all shall be answered I was told, and just like that my family was transferred back to Montreal and away from the damned. Olé Olé Olé.

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Habs wait for Hamrlik, Cops to question Chara, Sharks, Avs, Richards, HHOF and more...

Habs News
Hockey Inside/Out - Habs wait on Hamrlik; Pens wait on Jagr
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/canadiens-waiting-on-hamrlik-pens-wait-on-jagr

Cops to question Chara on Pacioretty hit
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/cops-to-question-chara-on-pacioretty-hit

Canadiens make offer to Hamrlik
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/canadiens-make-offer-to-hamrlik

RDS - R. Hamrlik aurait reçu une offre du CH
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321924.html

CH : Muller parti, Cunneyworth le favori
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321947.html

Habsworld.net - Moving Forwards
http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=2519


NHL News
TSN - LAICH SIGNS SIX-YEAR, $27M DEAL TO STAY WITH CAPITALS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370216

HURRICANES RE-SIGN PITKANEN TO THREE-YEAR, $13.5M DEAL
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370275

AVALANCHE INTRODUCE TOP PICKS LANDESKOG AND SIEMENS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370273

DREGER: RICHARDS EAGER TO PUT FREE AGENCY STRESS BEHIND HIM
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370311

NEWEST FLYERS READY TO MAKE AN INSTANT IMPACT
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370271

BERGERON INKS TWO-YEAR DEAL WITH LIGHTNING
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370220

BELFOUR, GILMOUR, NIEUWENDYK, HOWE ELECTED TO HALL OF FAME
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370270

ESPN.com - Hall selection process needs overhaul
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=burnside_scott&id=6713459

THN.com - Costello: Hockey Hall of Fame inducts worthy 2011 class
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41095-Costello-Hockey-Hall-of-Fame-inducts-worthy-2011-class.html

Year in Photos brings back fond memories
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41084-Year-in-Photos-brings-back-fond-memories.html

VIDEO: One-on-one with San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41081-VIDEO-Oneonone-with-San-Jose-Sharks-GM-Doug-Wilson.html

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Habs and Gomez, Pouliot not qualified, Hamrlik offer, Leafs, Flames, Rumours and more

Habs News
Hockey Inside/Out - Alex Auld playing the waiting game
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/alex-auld-playing-the-waiting-game

Pouliot, Pyatt, Picard aren’t qualified
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/picard-wont-receive-qualifying-offer

Can Canadiens trade Gomez?
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/can-canadiens-trade-gomez

RDS - R. Hamrlik aurait reçu une offre du CH
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321924.html

Benoît Pouliot sera libre comme l'air
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321899.html

Le CH invite Étienne Brodeur au camp
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321912.html

NHL News
TSN - JOHN LU: IMPRESSIONS OF WINNIPEG'S DRAFT PARTY
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370174

PANTHERS LAND FORWARD KOPECKY FOR SEVENTH-ROUND PICK
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370186

FLYERS TRADE AGAIN; SEND POWE TO WILD FOR THIRD-ROUND PICK
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370175

BROUWER NEXT IN CAPITALS' ONGOING SEARCH FOR LEADERSHIP
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370182

BIEKSA SIGNS FIVE-YEAR, $23M DEAL WITH CANUCKS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370169

MULLER LEAVES HABS TO TAKE HEAD COACHING JOB WITH MILWAUKEE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370150

Costello: Robyn Regehr trade makes no sense for Calgary Flames
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41064-Costello-Robyn-Regehr-trade-makes-no-sense-for-Calgary-Flames.html

VIDEO: Toronto Maple Leafs first round picks Tyler Biggs, Stuart Percy react to being drafted
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41062-VIDEO-Toronto-Maple-Leafs-first-round-picks-Tyler-Biggs-Stuart-Percy-react-to-being-drafted.html

Spector's Hockey - NHL Trade & Free Agent Rumors – June 28, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/28/nhl-trade-free-agent-rumors-june-28-2011/

Latest on Flyers, Penguins, Capitals & Panthers
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/28/latest-on-flyers-penguins-capitals-panthers/

(Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images North America)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Oilers acquire Ryan Smyth, New Sunday Shinny, Preds to name Muller, Rumours and more

NHL News
HabsAddict.com - New Sunday Shinny podcast - June 26, 2011
http://pc.habsaddict.com/2011/06/franchise-weekend-morning-shows-sunday_26.html

TSN - OILERS ACQUIRE SMYTH FROM KINGS FOR FRASER, 7TH ROUND PICK
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370077

NHL'S ECONOMIC LANDSCAPE CHANGES AGAIN WITH RISING CAP
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370098

PREDATORS EXPECTED TO NAME MULLER COACH OF AHL AFFILIATE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=370080

ESPN.com - The draft is done, so what's next?
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/draft/2011/columns/story?columnist=burnside_scott&id=6704405

Photos: 2011 NHL entry draft
http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/tag/_/name/2011-nhl-entry-draft

Spector's Hockey - Sunday NHL Post-Draft Rumor Roundup – June 26, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/26/sunday-nhl-post-draft-rumor-roundup-june-26-2011/

NHL Post-Draft Rumors – June 26, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/26/nhl-post-draft-rumors-june-26-2011/

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Franchise Weekend Morning Show's Sunday Shinny - June 26, 2011

In this episode of the Sunday Shinny, Gary Whittaker, Nick Murdocco and Kamal Panesar welcome Rick Springhetti—who has been QJMHL scout for Mckeen’s hockey for the last 3 seasons and has also contributed scouting reports for prospects all over the world—to the studio.

Gary, Nick and Amanda Stein interview Ian Laperriere on his the 2011 Bill Masterton Trophy, being part of the ownership group of the team formerly known as the Montreal Juniors, and the recent changes made by the Flyers.

Sunday Shinny topics include:
Overall Habs draft report card, should the Habs have drafted big forwards for the future?

Markov contract
- good, bad?
- why extend offer to Hamrlik?

The NHL changed wording to rule 48...
- will this change everything?
- will Shanahan era plus rule 48 see drop in head shots?

Click play below to listen in (listing time 59:47):

NHL Draft Day 2, Habs, Oilers, Sens, Flames, Wisniewski, Richards, Rumours and more...

NHL News
Hockey Inside/Out - Audio: Gauthier loads up on the blue line at NHL draft
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/gauthier-loads-up-on-the-blue-line-at-nhl-draft

No shortage of news from draft
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/no-shortage-of-news-from-draft

TSN - CANADIENS CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON DEFENCE ON DAY 2 OF NHL DRAFT
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369985

SMYTH'S RETURN TO EDMONTON HELD UP BY HEALTH OF BRULE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369983

OILERS OPEN SECOND ROUND BY SELECTING DEFENCEMAN MUSIL
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369976

JETS HAPPY WITH FIRST NHL DRAFT, START CROSSING ITEMS OFF LIST
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369984

FLAMES SIGN TANGUAY TO 5-YEAR, $17.5 MILLION EXTENSION
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369972

SENATORS ACQUIRE FILATOV FROM BLUE JACKETS FOR 3RD ROUND PICK
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369973

LIGHTNING ACQUIRE D GERVAIS FROM ISLANDERS FOR FUTURES
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369975

RANGERS SEND GRACHEV TO BLUES FOR 3RD-ROUND PICK
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369981

THN.com - Campbell: NHL contracts, salary cap will lead to CBA issues in 2012
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41055-Campbell-NHL-contracts-salary-cap-will-lead-to-CBA-issues-in-2012.html

VIDEO: THN Puck Panel – Day 2 wrap-up
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41054-VIDEO-THN-Puck-Panel-Day-2-wrapup.html

Kennedy: NHL draft Day 2 full of Minnesota storylines
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41050-Kennedy-NHL-draft-Day-2-full-of-Minnesota-storylines.html

Spector's Hockey - The Brad Richards Watch – June 25, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/25/the-brad-richards-watch-june-25-2011/

Latest on the Penguins, Habs, Blackhawks & Lightning
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/25/latest-on-the-penguins-habs-blackhawks-lightning/

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

NHL Draft, Habs grab Beaulieu, Canadiens season, Flames, Sharks, Trades and more...

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - Montreal Canadiens: The Season That Almost Was... by HfxHabby
http://aa.habsaddict.com/2011/06/montreal-canadiens-season-that-almost.html

Hockey Inside/Out - Saturday update: Habs take Sea Dogs D Beaulieu with 17th pick in draft
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/and-the-canadiens-draft

Multimedia: Habs’ Markov in fine spirits – and why not?
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/habs-markov-in-fine-spirits-%E2%80%93-and-why-not

RDS - Le Canadien se tourne vers la LHJMQ
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321784.html

Markov vise un retour pour l'ouverture
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321750.html

À qui sera jumelé Markov cet automne?
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321773.html


NHL News
TSN - NUGENT-HOPKINS GOES FIRST, JETS TAKE SCHEIFELE IN NHL DRAFT
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369895

MAPLE LEAFS ACQUIRE DEFENCEMAN LILES FROM AVALANCHE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369879

CAMPBELL WAIVES NO-TRADE CLAUSE, DEALT TO PANTHERS FOR OLESZ
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369913

SHARKS TRADE SETOGUCHI, FIRST-ROUNDER TO WILD FOR BURNS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369904

NUMBERS GAME: SHARKS BRING IN BURNS, SHIP OUT SETOGUCHI
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369924

BLACKHAWKS TRADE BROUWER TO CAPITALS FOR FIRST-ROUNDER
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369903

SABRES ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT TO PURCHASE AMERICANS OF THE AHL
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369885

MAPLE LEAFS ADD FORMER THRASHERS GM DUDLEY TO FRONT OFFICE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369876

ESPN.com - More Day 1 notes: Hawks avoiding cap woes with trades; fitting tributes by NHL
http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/tag/_/name/2011-nhl-entry-draft

THN.com - Campbell: Brent Burns trade moves Sharks closer to Stanley Cup
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41032-Campbell-Brent-Burns-trade-moves-Sharks-closer-to-Stanley-Cup.html

Kennedy: NHL draft first round winners and losers
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41030-Kennedy-NHL-draft-first-round-winners-and-losers.html

Spector's Hockey - Report: Regehr Going To Buffalo
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/25/report-regehr-going-to-buffalo/

Report: Smyth could be headed to Flames
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/24/report-smyth-could-be-headed-to-flames/

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images North America)

Montreal Canadiens: The Season That Almost Was...

by HfxHabby


I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Kamal for giving me a shot at being a big-time writer on HabsAddict.com. I look forward to the many comments and insults which are sure to follow me on here!

Now that the formalities are out of the way, lets get down to business.

With Round One of the draft in the books writing about it seems like a logical choice for my first post. However, since it's pretty well covered on the Interweb, I thought I would pick a different topic.

So instead I give you "The Season That Almost Was".

As the entire hockey world knows, the 2010-2011 Habs made an early exit from the playoffs this year, losing in a heart-wrenching series against their long-standing nemesis, the Boston Bruins. While some say that they were outplayed, I have a few problems with that, given how good the Canadiens were this year.

Don't forget that the Montreal Canadiens won their season series against the Bruins this year, four games to two. Forget the so called Beatdown in Boston. The Habs only lost that game by two goals, remember?

They also won their games against Vancouver, two games to none. Oh and they also won their season series versus San Jose and Tampa Bay. The Canadiens really only had problems with the powerhouses in the West, and that's sort of forgivable since they hardly get to play them anymore.

I also think they would have had a fantastic shot against Philadelphia, what with the Flyers' goaltending woes and the probable return of Max Pacioretty.

When you compare the team's numbers to the Vancouver Canucks, Montreal actually looks very good.

Montreal was in a tight divisional race all season, with three teams in the Northeast making it into the post season. Vancouver, on the other hand, walked away with their division, setting the bar so high—no other team in the Northwest made the playoffs.

Montreal won 14 of their divisional games and Vancouver won 18. Not too bad considering Montreal was in a much more skilled division.

In inter-conference play, Montreal won eight games and Vancouver won 11. Again, very comparable numbers.

However, in their own respective conference Montreal not only looks good with 35 wins versus 45 for Vancouver, but if you factor in the goals-for and goals-against Montreal—had they scored maybe 20 more goals in the regular season—would have been a top shelf team.

After all, the Habs had one player over 50 points in the regular season and only three over 40.

Vancouver had five players at 50 points or more, three of them were over 70 and they even had a 104-point season from a Daniel Sedin.

A few more goals goes a long way. So does an offensive coaching style and if not offensive, then at least a little more balanced.

If Montreal had a healthier blueline—a la Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov—and a slightly bigger set of forwards—a la Pacioretty—then there is no doubt in my mind they would have gone to the big show.

But, unfortunately, the title of this piece is not "The Season that is."

So that's the way I see it but what do you think? Did Montreal have nearly all the pieces in place to drink from the Cup?

---
HfxHabby grew up just outside of Montreal and learned early on to love the Habs. His earliest hockey memory is seeing Steve Penney play in nets. Hfxhabby is currently training his young son to be a Habs fan, to his wife's dismay, and he can still name every player on the '93 Cup winning Canadiens.

(Photo by None/Getty Images North America)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Montreal Canadiens Roundup: Andrei Markov Signs, Habs Prepare for Draft

by Kamal Panesar

You've got to hand it to that Pierre Gauthier guy. He sure doesn't mess around.

With news yesterday evening that the Habs GM had inked Andrei Markov to a three-year deal, Gauthier continues to plow through his offseason duties.

Since May 17, 2011 Gauthier has signed Alexei Emelin, Joonas Nattinen, Hal Gill, Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and now Andrei Markov. Busy indeed!

But I guess that's to be expected for a team that had a combined total of 16 UFA/RFA players when the season ended. Despite Gauthier progress, he still has six RFA's and six UFA's to make decisions on.

What's important, however, is the order in which Gauthier has gone about signing his players.

Starting with long coveted Russian prospect Alexei Emelin and culminating with his countryman, Andrei Markov, Gauthier is taking dead aim at the players that are his top priorities. The guys who he likely feels are no-brainers to re-sign.

So while the Habs wise old GM still has the likes of Ryan White, Yannick Weber, Roman Hamrlik, James Wisniewski and Benoit Pouliot to make decisions on, my bet is that Josh Gorges is the next to sign.

Signing Gorges would follow the priority path so far laid out by Gauthier. Then again, with word leaking this week that Gauthier fully intends on making Hamrlik an offer, he could be the next player to sign.

The good news for Gauthier is that Hamrlik and Wisniewski are only two remaining UFA's that he really needs to worry about. The rest are pretty much replaceable. There is a distinct possibility that neither player will be with the team next year and, for me, I think the loss of the Wiz would be truly unfortunate.


The Cap Game

With official word coming out yesterday that the 2011-2012 salary cap ceiling will climb to $64.3 million, Gauthier and all of his NHL GM counterparts will have nearly $5 million more dollars to play with.

That's no chump change and, in fact, is about the right price to land any team a pretty significant player.

So does this mean that Gauthier will go fishing on the open market come July first?

It's possible, but unlikely.

If you listen to Gauthier's pre-draft press conference yesterday and if you read between the lines, he wants to build from within more than from without.

Gauthier indicated that the Habs have been very active on the trade market in recent seasons with the additions of Scott Gomez, Michael Cammalleri, James Wisniewski and more. In addition, he stated that last year the Habs were the 23rd ranked team in terms of overall player longevity with the team.

All this to say that in his estimation the Habs are a new team, as a result of all the turnover in recent seasons.

Gauthier went on to intimate that he wants this team to continue gaining experience and growing as a group.

To me, that says that he will of course look at the possibility of adding a player via trade or free agency, but it certainly doesn't sound like it will be his focus.


On the draft

Gauthier also explained that his scouting department feels like this is a very deep draft, especially in the first round. As such, the Habs feel that, picking at 17th overall, they will still be able to choose a player with top-10 abilities.

That's a pretty bold states but if you look at differing opinion as to who could be available come the Habs' pick, there certainly seem to be possibilities.

For me, I've got my eye on Tyler Biggs, if he's still available, or hulking defenseman Jamie Oleksiak. Biggs is exactly the type of hard-nosed, in-your-face scoring forward that the Habs could use but, given his abilities, I'd be surprised if he was still around for Montreal come the 17th spot.

Oleksiak, on the other hand, seems to be ranked in the 15th to 19th spot for most scouts and, as such, could be available when Gauthier steps to the podium.

At 6'7 and 244 lbs, the hulking 19-year-old defenseman is still filling out his considerable frame. This is a kid who is projected to play in the NHL at around 260 lbs! Can you imagine him slotting in next to Jared Tinordi in a few years?

Tantalizing, I know.

There are others who think that the Habs should trade down to grab some later round pick instead, and that too in an intriguing possibility.

Whatever the Canadiens do and despite his critics, Pierre Gauthier has shown that he is a man with a plan. Love him or hate him you've got to respect his ability to stick to his guns and get things done.

Will Gauthier trade up or down tonight? Will he pick at 17? Will he put together a package and make a blockbuster trade like the Flyers did yesterday?

Tune in, starting tonight at 7 p.m., to find out.

---
Kamal is a freelance Habs writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com and Habs writer on TheFranchise.ca. Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny on The Team 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 8 - 9 AM. Listen live at http://www.team990.com/

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images North America)

Habs sign Markov, Flyers clean house, Regher, Setoguchi, Stars, Winnipeg and more...

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - Montreal Canadiens Roundup: Andrei Markov Signs, Habs Prepare for Draft
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/06/montreal-canadiens-roundup-andrei.html

Press Release - Habs Sign Andrei Markov to Three-Year Contract
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/06/press-release-habs-sign-andrei-markov.html

Hockey Inside/Out - Flyers, Canadiens in news ahead of draft
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/flyers-canadiens-in-news-ahead-of-draft

Audio: GM Gauthier addresses Habs plans pre-draft
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/gm-gauthier-to-address-habs-plans-pre-draft

Canadiens open 2011-12 season in Toronto
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/canadiens-open-season-in-toronto

RDS - Trois ans pour Markov
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321726.html

Un joueur «calibre top 10» pour le CH
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321729.html

La saison du CH s'amorcera à Toronto
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321706.html


NHL News
TSN - FLYERS SHIP OUT RICHARDS AND CARTER, SIGN BRYZGALOV
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369796

FLAMES' REGEHR ASKED TO WAIVE NO-MOVE CLAUSE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369789

SHARKS RE-SIGN SETOGUCHI TO THREE-YEAR, $9 MILLION CONTRACT
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369817

RICHARDS DECLINES STARS' REQUEST TO WAIVE NO-MOVEMENT CLAUSE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369820

WINNIPEG'S NHL TEAM TO NAME NOEL HEAD COACH
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369782

WINNIPEG TEAM OPENS NHL SEASON AGAINST THE CANADIENS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369788

NHL SALARY CAP OFFICIALLY SET AT $64.3M FOR 2011-12 SEASON
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369800

CAMERON NAMED TO SENATORS COACHING STAFF
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369777

REPORT: DEVILS NOT INTERESTED IN SIGNING JAGR
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369768

THN.com - Campbell: Flyers change philosophy, Kings load up at center
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41004-Campbell-Flyers-change-philosophy-Kings-load-up-at-center.html

VIDEO: Draft experience for elite prospects wraps up in Minnesota
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41001-VIDEO-Draft-experience-for-elite-prospects-wraps-up-in-Minnesota.html

Spector's Hockey - Updates on Jagr, Kaberle and B. Richards
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/24/updates-on-jagr-kaberle-and-b-richards/

Flyers Sign Bryzgalov
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/23/flyers-sign-bryzgalov/

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Press Release - Habs Sign Andrei Markov to Three-Year Contract

MONTREAL (June 23, 2011) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced tonight the signing of defenseman Andrei Markov to a three-year contract (2011-12 to 2013-14). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We are very pleased that Andrei has made the decision to pursue his career with the Montreal Canadiens. A player drafted and developed by our organization, Andrei brings a high level of talent and leadership to our team. We look forward to having him back in our lineup for the start of the upcoming season,” said Canadiens general
manager Pierre Gauthier.

Markov, 32, completed in 2010-11 his 10th season with the Canadiens in the NHL. The defenseman registered three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in seven games. He served four penalty minutes and maintained a +2 plus/minus differential, while averaging 22:54 seconds of ice time per game. Markov suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee on November 13 against Carolina.

Since 2000-01, Markov has registered 366 points (81 goals, 285 assists) in 623 NHL regular-season games. The 6’0’’, 209 lbs defenseman has recorded 361 penalty minutes and maintained a +31 plus/minus differential. Markov has scored 41 of his goals on the powerplay and two on the penalty kill. He has accumulated 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists) in 49 career NHL playoff contests.

A native of Voskresensk, Russia, Markov was the Canadiens’ sixth pick (third round, 162nd overall) at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He was part of the Russian team at the 2006 Torino and 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Team 990 gets Habs, Winnipeg, NHL awards, NHL draft, Rumours and more...

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - Press Release - The Team 990 Becomes Official Habs Radio Broadcaster
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/06/press-release-team-990-becomes-official.html

2011 NHL Draft: Why the Montreal Canadiens Need to Trade Down by Willey
http://aa.habsaddict.com/2011/06/2011-nhl-draft-why-montreal-canadiens.html

Press Release - The Team 990 Becomes Official Habs Radio Broadcaster
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/06/press-release-team-990-becomes-official.html

Hockey Inside/Out - Canadiens’ draft record better than you think
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/canadiens-draft-record-better-than-you-think

Habs face Winnipeg in new team’s home opener Oct. 9; Price earns three first-place award votes
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/winnipegs-home-opener-vs-habs-on-oct-9-report

Hamrlik to get contract offer: report
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/hamrlik-to-get-contract-offer-report

RDS - Subban sur l'équipe étoile des recrues
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321681.html

Le CH sera du 1er match à Winnipeg
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321677.html

Hamrlik recevrait bientôt une offre
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321649.html


NHL News
PERRY PICKS UP HART, THOMAS TAKES HOME VEZINA AT NHL AWARDS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369715

WINNIPEG NICKNAME AND HEAD COACH EXPECTED THIS WEEKEND
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369713

LIGHTNING FORWARD STAMKOS BECOMES FACE OF NHL 12
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369724

ISLANDERS ANNOUNCE LEASE AGREEMENT TO REPLACE AGING ARENA
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369722

THN.com - Proteau: Recap of the NHL Awards Show
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40980-Proteau-Recap-of-the-NHL-Awards-Show.html

Adam Larsson: THN’s No. 2-ranked draft prospect
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40942-Adam-Larsson-THNs-No-2ranked-draft-prospect.html

VIDEO: One-on-one with NHL draft prospect Dougie Hamilton
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40963-VIDEO-Oneonone-with-NHL-draft-prospect-Dougie-Hamilton.html

Latest Habs, Leafs, Sens & Winnipeg News – June 22, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/22/latest-habs-leafs-sens-winnipeg-news-june-22-2011/

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)

2011 NHL Draft: Why the Montreal Canadiens Need to Trade Down

by Willey

Guess who’s back? Back again. Willey’s back. Tell your friends. Guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back?

Sorry, got carried away there.

I know, I know, it has truly been a while and I apologize but life has thrown me a few curve balls of late. It’s tough to sit down and contemplate the hockey season when your 8-month-old son faces health problems which give you a scare. But fortunately we appear to finally have things under control.

So with that enormous weight lifted off my shoulders I sit back, put my feet up and get back to one of those true passions in my life; Le Bleu Blanc Rouge.

I realize that the timing of this is horrific. A passion restored despite the Habs being eliminated at the hands of our arch rival Boston Bruins—who eventually went on to hoist the Stanley Cup.

Yes the pain is there, and yes there is a lot of bitterness and anger towards some of the players on this roster. But despite the hostility, my thoughts are focused on a simple question; what next?


The Draft

"Le Club de Hockey Canadiens est fier de selectionner..."

With the elimination of the Habs in the first round of the playoffs Montreal will sit in the 17th spot come this week's draft.

The 17th spot is never a bad position to be in. Although right in the middle of the pack, there have been some true impact players chosen in later spots from guys like Ryan Getzlaf to Claude Giroux. The key is to do your due diligence and determine what player will ultimately fit the best.

Like any fan I'd love to see GM Pierre Gauthier pull a rabbit out of his hat by trading up to secure a top-10 pick, drafting a potential franchise player. But the Habs are simply not in a position to move up.

With the loss of Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges in the 2010-11 season, Gauthier was obliged to part ways with a second round pick for James Wizniewski, a third round pick for Brent Sopel and a fifth round pick for Paul Mara. With a team already thin in organizational depth there is a major need to hang onto every pick that we have.

So what will Gauthier do? Oh the questions I have!

Will the team ultimately decide to stay put and take the best player on the board with the 17th choice? Will Gauthier part ways with one or more players currently on the roster to secure some of these lost picks? Is this the year we finally watch our scouting staff acquire that perpetually elusive big center?

So many questions and so many possibilities, it makes for great television and much debate until a name is ultimately called at the drafting podium.

So I ask you a simple question: are you more interested in what happens at the draft table on June 24th or are you nervous with anticipation wondering what I would do?

I think I know the answer.


GM for a day

Forget about the draft and forget about the pending RFA and UFA players, this is my world people. I am fed up of watching every single team in the NHL draft big bodied players while we sit back and take what we perpetually hear as “the best player on the board”.

I mean really? Does this organization really think we are just cattle who take all the BS that is thrown our way when year after year the best player on the board isn’t even tall enough to sit on the big rides at LaRonde?

Why is it that every single hockey player characterized as somewhere between legal dwarf and just vertically challenged finds his way to the Bleu Blanc Rouge?

Come on already, let’s start getting bigger. Forget the “best player on the board”, let’s get the biggest, the meanest, the dirtiest; you know the type of guy we have all wanted since Chris Nilan hung up his skates so many moons ago?

So this is my world now people and in my world I am the one running the show. And in my world I am sliding down in the draft to select……Ok wait sorry, let me back this up a little bit because I am getting ahead of myself.

If Jamie Oleksiak or Tyler Biggs are available at 17 then you can absolutely forget what I am about to say. I am taking either one of these guys in a heartbeat but let’s be honest here for a second, I know that you know, that I know that you know, that Jamie Oleksiak and Tyler Biggs are not going to be available at 17 so why am I even wasting your time with this?

So where was I?

Oh yes, as I was saying, in the 2011 NHL entry draft I am sliding down to somewhere in the 22-30 range. Heck I might even consider sliding to the 2nd round if it means securing the guy I want.

Am I nuts? I think we all know that I am but remember this is my world and in my world I run the show. Quite frankly, there are some great players available later in the draft who can all help this club going forward.

By trading away our first round pick Gauthier, errr or should I say Willey, would be able to acquire as high as an additional second round choice (which we currently do not have) or something like a third and fifth round selection. In other words, continue to get the guy you want but equally secure some additional picks.

So who is that man that would facilitate a slide?

Put it this way, “With our first pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft Le Club de Hockey Canadiens est fier de selectionner Boone Jenner of the Oshawa Generals”.

TSN has Jenner ranked 26th, ISS has him ranked 38th and the Hockey News 40th. Regardless of his ranking he is exactly the type of player that fits the Gauthier and Jacques martin mold.

Jenner is a 6’1 and 195lbs center from the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He has great vision, a keen hockey sense and has some fantastic offensive abilities. He also scored at a point-per-game pace in both the regular season and playoffs.

But what sets him apart is his work ethic, leadership qualities and ability to play a gritty two-way game.

Jenner may not be the offensive savior of this club going forward and he is not the next Milan Lucic, but he can easily become a fan favorite. In my opinion, with time he would form a fantastic one-two punch as a line mate of the much anticipated Louis Leblanc.

And there it is. Boone Jenner is a member of the Montreal Canadiens and I can go to sleep knowing that in my world, we got “the best player on the board”.

At least in my mind we did. But what do you think?

---
Willey was the shining light among the wicked growing up as the lone Habs fan in Toronto. Pray to Holy Ghosts of the old forum and all shall be answered I was told, and just like that my family was transferred back to Montreal and away from the damned. Olé, Olé, Olé!

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Press Release - The Team 990 Becomes Official Habs Radio Broadcaster

Bell Media’s THE TEAM 990 Becomes Official Radio Broadcaster of the Montreal Canadiens in New Seven-Year Deal

–Landmark deal includes all 82 regular season games, playoff games
and pre-season games

–THE TEAM 990 to feature extensive pre- and post-game shows

Montreal, QC (June 22, 2011) –THE TEAM 990 is now the official voice of the Montreal Canadiens with exclusive English radio broadcast rights to all of the team’s games over the next seven seasons.

The new deal makes THE TEAM 990 home to all 82 regular season games, all Canadiens playoff games and all pre-season games.

This marks the first time THE TEAM 990 will have radio broadcast rights to Montreal Canadiens games. In addition to the radio broadcasts, THE TEAM 990 also confirmed the station will complement its game broadcasts by producing extensive pre- and post-game shows.

THE TEAM 990 will also make live and on-demand audio available online at www.team990.com.

“It’s truly something special for everyone here at THE TEAM 990 to become the new radio home of the Montreal Canadiens,” said Wayne Bews, General Manager of THE TEAM 990. “As a proud member of the Montreal community, the Habs have always dominated our airwaves. This new partnership with the Canadiens organization will enable us to give hockey fans even more coverage of our city’s team.”

“We are very pleased to have entered a new partnership with THE TEAM 990 to become the Canadiens English radio broadcaster,” stated Geoff Molson, Chairman of the Board of Directors and owner of the Montreal Canadiens. “This long term agreement with THE TEAM 990 is a testament to our commitment to provide our fans with the most comprehensive and reliable broadcast on English radio for the foreseeable future.”

THE TEAM 990 and the Montreal Canadiens will announce its game play-by-play team later this summer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sunday Shinny, Markov to sign, Desharnais, Jagr, Winnipeg, Canucks, NHL draft and more

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - New Sunday Shinny Podcast - June 19, 2011
http://pc.habsaddict.com/2011/06/franchise-weekend-morning-shows-sunday_22.html

Hockey Inside/Out - Markov rumour stirs frenzy
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/markov-rumour-stirs-frenzy

Charting NHL’s 2010-11 trades
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/charting-nhls-2010-11-trades

Markov soon to sign for two years: report
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/markov-re-signs-for-two-years-report

Desharnais comments on new contract
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/desharnais-comments-on-new-contract

RDS - A. Markov près d'un retour avec le CH?
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321623.html

CH : Desharnais entend saisir sa chance
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321597.html


NHL News
TSN - NHL BOARD OF GOVERNORS APPROVES THRASHERS' SALE TO WINNIPEG
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369585

OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN: WINNIPEG
http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/scott_cullen/?id=367435

CHEVELDAYOFF PREPARES WINNIPEG STAFF FOR FIRST NHL DRAFT
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369514

TSN RE-DRAFT: DUCHENE AHEAD OF TAVARES; TYLER BUMPS TAYLOR
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369620

MCGUIRE SELECTS LARSSON FIRST ON NHL ON TSN MOCK DRAFT
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369612

OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN: VANCOUVER CANUCKS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369646

REPORT: RANGERS TO PLAY FLYERS IN PHILLY IN 2012 WINTER CLASSIC
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369622

THOMAS, LUONGO GO HEAD-TO-HEAD AGAIN AT NHL AWARDS SHOW
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369623

NHL REDEFINES RULES FOR BOARDING AND HITS TO THE HEAD
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369588

REPORT: JAGR WANTS TO RESUME NHL CAREER ON SHORT-TERM DEAL
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369559

THN.com - THN's 2011 NHL Mock Draft
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40928-THNs-2011-NHL-Mock-Draft.html

Justin Bourne: Will Nicklas Lidstrom's return be one year too many?
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40937-Justin-Bourne-Will-Nicklas-Lidstroms-return-be-one-year-too-many.html

VIDEO: One-on-one with NHL draft prospect Rocco Grimaldi
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40940-VIDEO-Oneonone-with-NHL-draft-prospect-Rocco-Grimaldi.html

Spector's Hockey - Wednesday Morning Rumor Roundup (Insomnia Edition)
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/22/wednesday-morning-rumor-roundup-insomnia-edition/

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images North America)

The Franchise Weekend Morning Show's Sunday Shinny - June 19, 2011

In this episode of the Sunday Shinny Gary Whittaker, Nick Murdocco and Kamal Panesar welcome Kyle Roussel from Cowhide and Rubber to the show.

Topics include:

The Stanely Cup Final
- did the canucks lose the cup, or did the Bruins yank it from them?
- Goaltending situation in Vancouver? do they trade one?
- what about Roland Melanson's future?

Should the HABS try to be more like the Bruins?

Jagr in Montreal
- Yes? No? and the pro's and con's


Click play below to listen in (listing time 41:33):

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Montreal Canadiens: GM Pierre Gauthier Keeps Busy Off Season Rolling

by Kamal Panesar

Greetings folks! For those who have been asking, no, my son hasn't been born yet. He's due on June 23 so he still has time plus the fact is that 95% of babies are born within two weeks, plus or minus, of their due date.

So at this point he could really come any time!

But, like Pierre Gauthier, he prefers to do things at his own pace.

Speaking of Gauthier, the Habs GM has been busy so far this off-season. Already inking Alexei Emelin, Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitsyn, Gauthier announced two more signings yesterday: Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais.

Click on their names to read the official press release for Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais.

Both of these signings are key to maintaining the talented young core of this team. While Desharnais will likely continue to see time in the bottom-six, Pacioretty will be expected to pick up where he left off last season.

In his telephone press conference yesterday at 4:30 p.m., Pacioretty said that he is feeling no ill effects of the concussion he suffered at the hands of Zdeno Chara last season.

In addition, he said that since being cleared he has been training hard—for about two months. Patches went on to say that he has put on about 10 lbs of muscle and now checks in at about 215 lbs. He also claims to be a faster skater than he was last season.

For anyone who watched this kid play last year, he played a big, rugged game and was surprisingly fast for a big man. For him to now add mass and speed to an already formidable game could help him become a game-breaker for the Canadiens.

Injuries aside, I can see Pacioretty scoring in the 30-goal vicinity next season.


What's next

Gauthier seems to be meandering his way from the easier contracts to the ones that are perhaps a little more difficult to figure out. With Pacioretty and Desharnais signed, Gauthier can now turn his attention to Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov.

To be fair, he has been talking with both players' camps for some time now as he works to sign players in parallel. That being said, Markov's agent, Don Meehan, said last week that he expects a deal could be in place as early as this week.

Perhaps even before the draft.

My gut tells me that even if it isn't done this week, Gauthier will ink his all-star defensive before July 1st. Markov will not become a free agent.

Gorges too—destined to become an RFA on July 1st—is a key member of the Habs' back end. The Canadiens played most of last season without either Gorges or Markov and having both on them healthy and in the lineup will make Montreal a much better team.

I can see Markov coming in at around $5.5 million on a two or three year deal and Gorges signing for around $3 million per season with longer term.


The open market

Will Pierre Gauthier make a splash on the open market?

That's the burning question on everyone's minds. With the announced salary cap increase from $59.4 million to around $64 million the Habs' GM will have ample room to hook a big fish.

Keep in mind that Roman Hamrlik is likely done with the Canadiens, so his $5.5 million will come off the books. In addition, as much as I'd love to see him stay, James Wisniewski—and his $3.25 million—is also likely a goner.

That leaves Gauthier with $8.75 million just between those two players. If we assume that Markov and Gorges will gobble up most of that space, say around $8 million of if, then Gauthier will still have more around $4.75 million extra dollars to play with over and above last year's team.

Gauthier still has to take care of RFA's like Ryan White and Yannick Weber, while deciding what to do with the likes of Benoit Pouliot and Tom Pyatt. But let's assume that none of those players will garner significant increases, if any at all. In addition, players like Pyatt and Pouliot will likely find themselves on the outside looking in as they don't seem to fit into the Habs' future.

All of this to say that Gauthier should have cap room to sign a pretty significant free agent.

The trouble is not the cap space but more finding the right player and hoping that he wants to play in the high tax zone that is Montreal.


A word on Jaromir Jagr

There has been much debate and discussion about Jagr wanting to sign with the Canadiens and, by all indications, the story is legit.

Jagr could definitely help the Habs in several areas, most notably on the power play, but there are too many things about him that make me say "no thanks".

He has an Alex Kovalev ability to sulk and drag his feet when things aren't going his way and, as tall as he is, Jagr is not a very gritty player. The Habs could use a healthy dose of size up front but not if it doesn't come with an edge.

Montreal needs toughness and grit more than size and Jagr doesn't bring either.

In addition, can you imagine Jagr trying to exist and thrive under Jacques Martin's defensive system? I don't think Jagr has ever backchecked in his entire career!

That sounds like a match made in hell to me.

Lastly, word has it that while the Habs were high on Jagr's list Gauthier told his agent, Petr Svoboda, that Montreal is not really interested. He has other priorities right now.

That's a bit like telling him "I'm a bit busy, I have to go stand over there."

At the end of the day, the storylines and rumours and just starting to circulate and I'm sure they'll continue to fly all summer long. The good news is that for the first time in a while, Gauthier has a lot of options.

Now is the time for him to seriously put a stamp on this team.

---
Kamal is a freelance Habs writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com and Habs writer on TheFranchise.ca. Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny on The Team 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 8 - 9 AM. Listen live at http://www.team990.com/

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Habs sign Pacioretty/Desharnais, Draft rankings, Leafs, Sharks, Smyth and more

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - Montreal Canadiens: GM Pierre Gauthier Keeps Busy Off Season Rolling
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/06/montreal-canadiens-gm-pierre-gauthier.html

Press Release - Habs Sign David Desharnais to two-year deal
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/06/press-release-habs-sign-david.html

Press Release - Habs Sign Max Pacioretty To Two-Year Deal
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/06/press-release-habs-sign-max-pacioretty.html

Hockey Inside/Out - Two down, more to go for Gauthier
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/two-down-more-to-go-for-gauthier

UPDATE: Pacioretty, Desharnais sign for two years
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/pacioretty-signs-for-two-years

RDS - Dossiers réglés pour 2 ans
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321533.html


NHL News
TSN - 2011 FINAL TSN DRAFT RANKING
http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?id=44969

RYAN SMYTH TELLS KINGS HE'D PREFER TO REJOIN OILERS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369517

RAMSAY INFORMED HE WILL NOT COACH WINNIPEG FRANCHISE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369529

BURKE: 'WE DO NOT INTEND TO BE IDLE BYSTANDER' IN OFFSEASON
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369507

LIDSTROM TO RETURN WITH RED WINGS FOR 20TH SEASON
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369487

SHARKS WON'T RE-SIGN VETERANS NICHOL, MAYERS AND WALLIN
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369531

FORMER WILD COACH RICHARDS JOINS BLUE JACKETS AS ASSISTANT
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369520

OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN: TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369509

FLAMES RE-SIGN GOALTENDER KARLSSON TO TWO-YEAR DEAL
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369518

THN.com - Campbell: Will Ken Hitchcock return behind an NHL bench?
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40925-Campbell-Will-Ken-Hitchcock-return-behind-an-NHL-bench.html

Spector's Hockey - Monday evening NHL rumor roundup – June 20, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/06/20/monday-evening-nhl-rumor-roundup-june-20-2011/

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Press Release - Habs Sign David Desharnais to two-year deal

CANADIENS SIGN DAVID DESHARNAIS TO A TWO-YEAR CONTRACT

MONTREAL (June 20, 2011) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced tonight the signing of forward David Desharnais to a two-year contract (2011-12 and 2012-13). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“ We are pleased to have reached a two-year agreement with David. Since joining our club midway through last season, David has shown that he has the potential to play at the NHL level and contribute offensively to the success of our team,” said Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.

Desharnais, 24, completed in 2010-11 his first season in the NHL. The centre recorded 22 points (8 goals, 14 assists) in 43 games. Four of his goals were tallied on the powerplay. He served 12 penalty minutes and registered 55 shots on goals, while averaging 12:52 seconds of ice time per game. Desharnais added an assist in five playoff contests.

Desharnais had registered 45 points (10 goals, 35 assists) in 35 regular-season games with the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs when he was recalled on December 31. The 5’7’’, 170 lbs forward was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Month for December, collecting 20 points (3 goals, 17 assists) in 14 games.

Native of Laurier-Station, Quebec, Desharnais first signed with the Canadiens as a free agent on November 5, 2008.

Press Release - Habs Sign Max Pacioretty To Two-Year Deal

CANADIENS SIGN FORWARD MAX PACIORETTY TO A TWO-YEAR CONTRACT

MONTREAL (June 20, 2011) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of forward Max Pacioretty to a two-year contract (2011-12 and 2012-13). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Max Pacioretty who is one of the most promising young players in our organization. A power forward with skills, Max showed that he can help our team and make a name for himself in the NHL. We are confident that he will have recovered fully from the injury that kept him out of the line-up for the last month of the regular season and the playoffs,” said Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.

Pacioretty, 22, completed in 2010-11 his third season with the Canadiens in the NHL. The left winger registered 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) in 37 games. He tallied two winning goals and seven of his goals were scored on the powerplay. He served 39 penalty minutes and obtained 112 shots on goal, while averaging 15:53 seconds of ice time per game. Pacioretty suffered a season-ending neck injury and a concussion on March 8 against Boston.

Pacioretty had registered 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) in 27 regular-season games with the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs when he was recalled on December 12. He was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Month for November, collecting 17 points (10 goals, 7 assists) in 13 games.

Since 2008-09, Pacioretty has registered 49 points (20 goals, 29 assists) in 123 NHL regular-season games. The 6’2’’, 208 lbs forward has recorded 86 penalty minutes and collected 243 shots on goal. Pacioretty has scored eight of his goals on the powerplay.

A native of New Canaan, Connecticut, Pacioretty was the Canadiens’ second pick (first round, 22nd overall) at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He was part of the United States team in the 2007 World Junior Championship, in Czech Republic.

Salary cap rises, Mock draft, Draft steals, Landeskog and tons of rumours...

NHL News
Hockey Inside/Out - Cap on the rise to $64 million: report
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/cap-on-the-rise-to-64-million-report

The Franchise.ca - Rick Springhetti's 2011 NHL Mock draft
http://thefranchise.ca/juniors/rick-springhettis-2011-nhl-mock-draft.html

10 potential late-round steals for 2011 NHL Draft As per Rick Springhetti
http://thefranchise.ca/juniors/10-potential-late-round-steals-for-2011-nhl-draft-as-per-rick-springhetti.html

TSN - DESPITE CUP WIN, BRUINS COACH JULIEN MAINTAINS APPROACH
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369473

NHL SALARY CAP TO INCREASE TO $64 MILLION IN 2011-12 SEASON
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369480

REPORT: RAMSAY MEETING COULD COME THIS WEEKEND
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369304

THN.com - VIDEO: NHL prospect Gabriel Landeskog’s style suits North American game
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40915-VIDEO-NHL-prospect-Gabriel-Landeskogs-style-suits-North-American-game.html

Spector's Hockey - Latest Canadiens News – June 20, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/?p=5919

NHL Trade & Free Agent News – June 20, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/?p=5915

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images North America)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jagr and the Habs, Desharnais, Auld, Boston parade, Caps, Flyers, Rumours and more...

NHL News
RDS - Le premier choix de Jagr serait le CH
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321448.html

D. Desharnais ne se voit pas ailleurs
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321460.html

Cowhide and Rubber - No to Jagr, version 2.0
http://www.cowhideandrubber.com/no-to-jagr-version-2-0

Habsworld.net - Free Agency Assessment: Alex Auld
http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=2508

TSN - STANLEY CUP CHAMPION BRUINS ROLL THROUGH STREETS OF BOSTON
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369324

OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN: WASHINGTON CAPITALS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369397

REPORT: RAMSAY MEETING COULD COME THIS WEEKEND
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369304

CANUCKS INSIST 'TRUE FANS' NOT TO BLAME FOR STANLEY CUP RIOT
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369247

OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN: PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369256

THN.com - VIDEO: One-on-one with Swedish defenseman, NHL prospect Rasmus Bengtsson
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40912-VIDEO-Oneonone-with-Swedish-defenseman-NHL-prospect-Rasmus-Bengtsson.html

Spector's Hockey - Father’s Day NHL Rumor Roundup – June 19, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/?p=5906

NHL Free Agent News & Rumors – June 19, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/?p=5900

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Jagr to Habs, Gauthier, NHL Draft, Flyers, Bryzgalov, Hamhuis, Oleksiak and more

NHL News
Hockey Inside/Out - Happy parade, Boston
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/happy-parade-boston

Jagr interested in joining Habs?
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/jagr-interested-in-joining-habs

RDS - CH : les dossiers de Pierre Gauthier
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321412.html

Marc Denis, analyste aux matchs du CH
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321398.html

TSN - POTENTIAL RFA WEBER IN CONTRACT TALKS WITH PREDATORS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369291

CANUCKS' HAMHUIS WILL NEED SURGERY; EHRHOFF AVOIDS KNIFE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369245

FRASER: IT'S THE FINAL CALL FOR THIS HOCKEY SEASON!
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369227

PROSPECT OLEKSIAK MUST DECIDE - U.S. OR CANADA
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369217

STARS PROMOTE MINOR-LEAGUER GULUTZAN TO HEAD COACH
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369215

DEVILS FILE FOR TEAM-ELECTED ARBITRATION WITH PARISE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369261

FLAMES HIRE FORMER NHL PLAYER MALARCHUK TO COACH GOALIES
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369230

GILLIS SAYS CANUCKS NEED ONLY MINOR IMPROVEMENTS TO WIN CUP
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369242

FLYERS BEGIN TALKS BRYZGALOV AFTER ACQUIRING GOALIE'S RIGHTS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369243

THN.com - Kennedy: Who I would pick at the NHL draft
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40905-Kennedy-Who-I-would-pick-at-the-NHL-draft.html

VIDEO: One-on-one with Swedish center, NHL prospect Victor Rask
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40902-VIDEO-Oneonone-with-Swedish-center-NHL-prospect-Victor-Rask.html

Latest on the Canucks & Bruins – June 17, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/?p=5872

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Habs draft preview, Vancouver riots, Bruins celebrate, Wings, Wild and more...

NHL News
Hockey Inside/Out - Next up: The draft
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/next-up-the-draft

Habsworld.net - Who the Habs could pick at #17
http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=2507

Hockey's Future - Montreal Canadiens 2011 draft preview
http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/13129/montreal_canadiens2011_draft_preview/

TSN - NEARLY 150 INJURED, SOME SERIOUSLY, IN VANCOUVER RIOT
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369127

REPORT: WILD TO NAME YEO AS NEW HEAD COACH ON FRIDAY
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369164

OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN: DETROIT RED WINGS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369152

SOCIAL MEDIA URGES PUBLIC TO SUBMIT RIOT PICS TO HELP POLICE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369106

BOSTON POLICE ARREST SEVEN DURING STANLEY CUP CELEBRATIONS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369171

CUP CHAMPION BRUINS WILL HAVE MOST PLAYERS BACK NEXT SEASON
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369151

BRUINS RETURN WITH STANLEY CUP HOURS AFTER WINNING GAME 7
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369109

RED SOX PUSH BACK GAME TIME FOR STANLEY CUP PARADE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369172

HURRICANES SIGN D HARRISON AND F SHUGG TO MULTI-YEAR DEALS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369182

QUEBEC LOBBYING COMMISSIONER PROBES QUEBEC CITY ARENA DEAL
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369126

ESPN.com - Olie Kolzig returns as associate coach
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=6668251

THN.com - Backchecking: Joe Juneau
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40881-Backchecking-Joe-Juneau.html

VIDEO: One-on-one with American defenseman, NHL prospect Connor Murphy
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40879-VIDEO-Oneonone-with-American-defenseman-NHL-prospect-Connor-Murphy.html

Spector's Hockey - NHL Rumors – June 17, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/?p=5858

(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images North America)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bruins win the Cup, Luongo, Markov, Thomas MVP, Jackets, Hawks and more...

NHL News
Hockey Inside/Out - Bummer … on many levels
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/bummer-on-many-levels

B.C.’s team
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/boone/can-we-hope-for-a-classy-game-7

RDS - Les négos avec Markov se poursuivent
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321306.html

B. Trotter de retour avec le Canadien?
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/321281.html

TSN - THOMAS WINS CONN SMYTHE TROPHY AFTER TWO FINALS SHUTOUTS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369084

CANUCKS SHOULD NOT LOOK BACK ON SEASON AS A DISAPOINTMENT
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369098

LUONGO, SEDINS WILL SHOULDER MOST OF THE BLAME FOR CANUCKS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369104

ANGRY CANUCKS FANS RIOT IN VANCOUVER AFTER STANLEY CUP LOSS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369101

DREGER: MACTAVISH EXPECTED TO MEET WINNIPEG GM CHEVELDAYOFF
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369037

BLUE JACKETS GM TRYING TO RE-SIGN HEJDA, TALKING TRADES
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369050

BLACKHAWKS EXTEND BOWMAN'S CONTRACT, PROMOTE BERGEVIN
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369052

OILERS HAVE TWO-WEEK WINDOW TO BUY OUT BLUELINER SOURAY
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=368983

BLUES SIGN SOBOTKA TO US$3.9 MILLION, THREE-YEAR DEAL
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369021

OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN: NASHVILLE PREDATORS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=369007

THN.com - THN at the Stanley Cup: Bruins built for prolonged success
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40866-THN-at-the-Stanley-Cup-Bruins-built-for-prolonged-success.html

THN at the Stanley Cup: Can Roberto Luongo continue as a Canuck?
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40849-THN-at-the-Stanley-Cup-Can-Roberto-Luongo-continue-as-a-Canuck.html

Spector's Hockey - Updates on Hemsky, Jagr and Ehrhoff – June 16, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/?p=5841

Updates on the Canadiens, Predators, Avalanche & Panthers – June 16, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/?p=5838

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images North America)