The Habs offensive situation seems to have their fanbase in a panic. We are well into summer and aside from some free agent pickups — forwards Colby Armstrong, Brandon Prust and defenseman Francis Bouillon — that have made the Habs tougher, nothing has been done to address the team's need to fill the back of the net.
With each passing day, the Habs faithful sit waiting, hoping that Marc Bergevin will come up with that big sniper we've been waiting for, the missing piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle.
The fact of the matter is, it's not going to happen. The Canadiens will head into the 2012-13 season with a top line of David Desharnais centering Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty and a second unit of Rene Bourque and Brian Gionta flanking Tomas Plekanec.
When life gives you lemons....
In this case, the Habs lemon appears to be Rene Bourque. After accumulating just six points in 38 games, the city of Montreal is ready to cast Bourque aside.
When following the team from the comfort of your own home, it's easy to just toss Bourque away and replace him with anybody linked to the Habs in the rumor mill.
The reality of the situation, however, isn't so simple.
Bourque has four years left at a $3.33 million cap hit and is coming off of a bad season. GM's aren't exactly lining up to welcome him to their rosters.
Besides, doesn't it make sense that the return of Brian Gionta alone could help Bourque's stats?
A line of Plekanec — a smart, skilled playmaker — Gionta — a speedy goal scorer — and Bourque — a big bodied, two time 27 goal scorer — has potential.
Gionta is coming off a season in which he was limited to just 31 games and is surely itching to prove he can still play. Plekanec is the least of the lines worries and will no doubt produce. Just look at his 52 points last season playing alongside a struggling Andrei Kostitsyn and bottom sixers Ryan White, Travis Moen and Michael Blunden among others.
Maybe new coach Michel Therrien, who has a tough reputation, can even encourage Bourque to incorporate his size into his game. Pacioretty seemed to take a cue from Cole, if Bourque can do the same it shouldn't come as a shock if he returns to his nearly 30 goal scoring form.
Doan Even Think About It
There will no doubt be those who remain skeptical after reading this and so here's a question: Who else is there?
And before you answer Shane Doan, just think about his asking price. Here's a 35 year old grinding style player who is looking for a $7.5 million dollar payday for four years.
I have nothing but respect for Doan. He is a leader, he plays hard and has proven to be loyal by giving the city of Glendale plenty of time to figure their whole mess out with hopes of staying with the Phoenix Coyotes.
But anybody who would be willing to pay so much to a 35 year old player who may not last another four years immediately loses their right to complain about Gomez's contract.
Does the state of the Habs top six require a desperation signing? Is Bourque really that bad that a measley 38 games should be enough to give up on him?
What do you think?
Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com You can follow Sean on Twitter.
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