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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jean Beliveau, Habs/Bolts, Deadline Analysis and More

Jean Beliveau - NHL Awards Show
Morning Hab fans.

As I am sure most you are aware, Jean Beliveau was taken to hospital yesterday after suffering a stroke.

A generational talent, Beliveau is also one of the classiest and most well spoken figure in the game of hockey.

While many of us are too young to have been privy to his exploits, his mere presence around the Canadiens undoubtedly makes our experience of the game better.

We wish him a speedy recovery.



Habs News


Hockey Inside / Out - About last night … with audio

La Presse - Encore l'attaque passive!

Montreal Gazette - Garon outplays Price, Pacioretty blames self

Montreal Gazette - Red Fisher: Jean Béliveau has "always been in a class by himself"

TSN - Stamkos nets NHL-best 44th goal, Lightning edge Canadiens



Hockey News

ESPN - Culture change sparks Sens' dramatic rise

ESPN - Deadline deals that will pay off later

IIHF - 1972 Summit Series recognized

IIHF - Duelo Latino in Mexico

Louis' Note: I just thought this was a cool story. Really shows how the game is expanding to unusual places.

Sports Illustrated - Nash non-deal turns into soap opera

USA Today - Roundup: Capitals best Islanders in OT on late comeback


(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kostitsyn to Nashville, Staubitz Claimed, Geoffrion Up and More

Blake Geoffrion - Tampa Bay Lightning v Nashville Predators
Morning puck fans!

I reckon that yesterday was a quieter Trade Deadline than many were hoping for.

Certainly, it is easy to justify that feeling. In Montreal, many players rumored to be on their way out - Chris Campoli, Mathieu Darche, Travis Moen and Yannick Weber - did not move for various reasons.

Nonetheless, Andrei Kostitsyn did find his way to Nashville in exchange for a second round pick in 2013 and Brad Staubitz was claimed off waivers by the Canadiens.

League wide, the day also proved tranquil, with prized acquisitions like Steve Ott and Lubomir Vishnovsky also staying put. Rick Nash, somehwat predictably, remains a Blue Jacket.

Still, teams like Vancouver and Nashville found a way to make some noise.

Along with AK46, the Predators also pried Paul Gaustad away from the Sabres in return for a first round pick.

 The Cancuks bolstered their lineup, acquiring Samuel Pahlson, Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gargani. These moves where not without their cost, as Vancouver was forced to give up Cody Hodgson, Alex Sulzer and a couple of picks.

So, what did you think or Deadline day? How did Montreal do? Who are your winners or losers?


Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Press Release - Habs Recall Blake Geffrion, Send Louis Leblanc to AHL

HabsAddict.com - NHL Trade Deadline: Montreal Canadiens and Other Interesting Moves

HabsWorld.net - Habsworld Podcast - Episode 8

Montreal Gazette - Red Fisher: Canadiens become irrelevant on NHL trade deadline day

RDS - Reconstruction? Non!


Hockey News

ESPN - Deadline deals: Stock up, stock down

SportsNet - Deadline Dud

The Hockey News - Campbell: Trade deadline winners and losers

TSN - TradeCentre: Winners and Losers of Deadline Day

USA Today - Roundup: Rangers hold off Devils


(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images North America)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Press Release - Habs Recall Blake Geffrion, Send Louis Leblanc to AHL

Canadiens recalled Blake Geoffrion from the Hamilton Bulldogs - Louis Leblanc assigned to Hamilton

MONTREAL (February 27, 2012) – The Montreal Canadiens announced today that forward Blake Geoffrion has been recalled from the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs. Geoffrion will join the team in Tampa Bay and will be available for the game against the Lightning on Tuesday, February 28. The Club announced that forward Louis Leblanc has been assigned to Hamilton.

The 24-year old Geoffrion took part in five games with the Bulldogs since being acquired from the Nashville Predators on February 17. He collected eight points (2 goals, 6 assists), with a +1 plus/minus differential and 20 shots on goal. One of his goals was tallied on the power play.

The 6’01’’, 190 lbs left winger played 22 games with the Predators this season. He registered three assists, 29 hits and 17 penalty minutes, playing an average of 10 minutes and 20 seconds per game. In his second year in professional hockey this season, Geoffrion also played with the AHL Milwaukee Admirals recording nine points, including two goals, in 20 games.

A native of Plantation, Florida, Geoffrion was drafted in the second round, 56th overall by the Predators at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He was awarded the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, as the Top U.S. Collegiate Player in 2010.

Recalled from the Bulldogs on February 1, the 6’ and 184 lbs centre played 26 games with the Canadiens this season, including his first NHL game on November 30 against the Ducks in Anaheim. Leblanc recorded seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) including his first career NHL goal on December 15 against the Philadelphia Flyers. He registered 33 shots on goal, 42 hits and displayed a +2 plus/minus differential, while playing an average of 10 minutes and 26 seconds per game.

The 21-year old Pointe-Claire, Quebec native posted 17 points (9 goals and 8 assists) in 25 games thus far with the Bulldogs this season. Leblanc scored two of his goals on the powerplay. He added 92 shots on goal.

The Canadiens’ first round selection, 18th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Leblanc signed a 3-year contract with the Club on July 30, 2010.

NHL Trade Deadline: Montreal Canadiens and A Free $100 Fanatasy Contest

Last update: 3:55 PM - Deadline has been passed - No Further trades

So trade deadline day is upon us and the Habs have already fired their first volley.

We at HabsAddict.com are going to try to bring you all of the details on all of the moves the Habs make today. In addition, we'll post a few of the more interesting trades from around the league.

So bookmark this page and check back often. We'll have trade details, links, commentary and more. So enjoy!

10:55 AM: Montreal trades much maligned forward, Andrei Kostitsyn, to join his brother in Nashville with the Predators.

The Habs get a second round pick in 2013 and a conditional fifth round pick.

Here is the official notice from the Habs

TSN - TRADECENTRE: CANADIENS TRADE KOSTITSYN TO PREDATORS FOR PICKS

RDS - Retrouvailles à Nashville

Kamal's Note: While some are lamenting the fact the Habs didn't get more in return, I think the reality if that the market dictates it's own terms. We have to assume that this is the best Montreal could do.

Also, a second round pick in what is supposed to be a deep draft next season is nothing to sneeze at. The Habs now have three second rounders for next year and what's wrong with packaging one or two of them, with them first round pick, to move up in the draft?

While it would have been nice to get a higher pick and/or a solid prospect, the Habs are doing the right thing right now: loading up on picks and shedding salary. Let's face it folks, regardless of what the Habs' braintrust is saying publicly, this team is going to rebuild/retool.

Louis' Note: The optics of trading a former first round pick for a second rounder are not great and, personally, I find the return a bit disappointing.

With Ruutu and Hemsky off the market, I thought Kostitsyn would carry more value. Plus, based on the ridiculous return Dustin Penner got last year, I figured AK46 would fetch more than a second round selection.

Without necessarily fetching a first round choice, I reckoned he would go for a better package of picks.

12:05 AM - The Montreal Canadiens have claimed tough guy Brad Staubitz off waivers from Minnesota.

Staubitz is not known for his scoring prowess but is known for throwing his mitts. Here is his Hockey DB player page.

Kamal's Note: Unless the Habs are going to flip Staubitz in a trade—which I think it highly unlikely—this move is a continuation of the "getting bigger and tougher trend".

With rumours swirling that Pierre Gauthier is no longer running the ship, the recent trades certainly seem to support that idea. I mean at a minimum, there is a clear change in direction for this team.

And one that is think was long overdue.


Louis' Note: I always thought that Pierre Gauthier had a certain eye for size. However, the enforcer type player does not exactly fit the GM's M.O. Perhaps, as Kamal points out above, this is signal of a change in direction.

Regardless, with Darche, Blunden, Moen and Nokelainen injured, this move gives short term depth to the team's fourth line.


12:15 PM - According to La Presse beat writer, Richard Labbe, neither Mathieu Darche nor Travis Moen will be traded.

Labbe tweeted "Both Darche and Moen still not cleared, not on the market."

Kamal's Note: I think this is unfortunate for a Montreal team who is clearly acquiring picks and prospects. Moen and Darche could have fetch both for a rebuilding Montreal team.

That said, both are injured and, well, it's hard to trade an injured player.

Louis' Note: Too bad for Montreal. Travis Moen ,as I had argued previously, could have fetched a nice return, espeically from teams who might lose out on the apparent Steve Ott sweeps.

3:55 PM - And that's all she wrote, folks.

The Habs have made all the moves they are going to make and, after all is said and done, they traded Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitsyn to Nashville for second-rounders in 2012 and 2013, Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney.

Not bad, but not what you were expecting, was it?

Still on the roster are such supposed trade bait as Mathieu Darche, Travis Moen, Chris Campoli and Tomas Kaberle. I won't even mention Scott Gomez, because he wasn't going anywhere.

The good part out of all of this? The Habs have four picks in the top-60 of next year's (2013) supposedly deep draft. I could easily see them packing one or two of those second rounders, with their first pick in 2013, to move up next summer.

But, for now, the Habs are a shell-shocked team who are suffering through rumours that their GM is no longer running the ship, and that their locker room is divided. All of this while their are staring at last place overall in the Eastern Conference.

Yikes. Ugliness indeed.

Now it's time to just play out the rest of the season and wait to see what happens in the offseason.

On a different note, for all you Fantasy hockey fanatics out there, DailyJoust has another FREE $100 prize contest running tonight.

Signup for free, build your team and win $100.

Here's the link, go check it out:
http://dailyjoust.com/contests/?refer=habsaddict

Enjoy the rest of your day, folks!

Montreal Canadiens' Deadline Roundup

Pierre Gauthier - Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens
Deadline day is upon us and many questions still linger this morning.

Will Pierre Gauthier trade impending free agents like Chris Campoli, Travis Moen and Mahtieu Darche? Will Andrei Kostitsyn be shipped out? Will Montreal pull off a more surprising move, like trading out Tomas Plekanec or P.K Subban?

By the end of the afternoon today, we should have answers to those queries and more.

In the meantime, HabsAddict has compiled deadline related pieces from here and around the web in order to have you fully prepared for this day of frenzy.

From HabsAddict.com

NHL Trade Rumors Galore - Deadline Edition - Part I

NHL Trade Rumors Galore - Deadline Edition - Part II

NHL Trade Rumors Galore - Deadline Edition - Part III

NHL Trade Deadline: In the Canadiens' GM Chair, Part 1

NHL Trade Deadline: In the Canadiens' GM Chair, Part 2

NHL Trade Deadline: Could the Montreal Canadiens Land Rick Nash?

Montreal Canadiens Trade Deadline Target: St. Louis' Chris Stewart

NHL Trade Deadline Bait: Montreal Canadiens' Travis Moen

NHL Trade Deadline Bait: Montreal Canadiens' Hal Gill

From Around the Web

HabsWorld.net - Deadline Preview - Part 1: Prospects

HabsWorld.net - Deadline Preview - Part 2: Goalies and Defence

HabsWorld.net - Deadline Preview - Part 3: Forwards

RDS - Transactions 2012

SportsNet - NHL Trade Deadline Live

The Fourth Period - Top 25 Available Players

TSN - TradeCentre

TSN - TSN's Trade Bait

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

NHLTrade Rumors Galore - Deadline Edition - Part III

Curtis Sanford - Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins
With the trade deadline upon us, rumors are swirling all over the Internet, and especially on Twitter, as fake insiders try to get the attention of hockey fans by spreading false information. I will try to dissect some of the hottest rumors around and tell you which players are most likely available.

Thursday the first major traded happened when the Columbus Blue Jackets traded disgruntled center Jeff Carter to the goal-starved Los Angeles Kings in exchange for blue liner Jack Johnson and a 1st round draft pick in 2012 or 2013.

You can find part 1 here and part 2 here. Below you will find part 3 of 3.

Philadelphia Flyers

In the thick of the playoff race and with Chris Pronger out for the year, the Philadelphia Flyers have already acquired two defensemen in Pavel Kubina from Tampa Bay and Nicklas Grossman from Dallas.

The Flyers are tight against the cap and could be willing to sacrifice winger Jakub Voracek and his $2,250,000 salary in order to land the impact player they need to contend for the Cup. Voracek will be a restricted free agent at season’s end and the Flyers will have problems keeping him. While their main issue is in goal, Ilya Bryzgalov and his hefty contract are not going anywhere, and the team will most likely keep Sergei Bobrovsky as an insurance policy.

Phoenix Coyotes

The league-owned Phoenix Coyotes have caught fire lately going 9-0-1 in their last ten games and, as a result, the team now leads the Pacific Division with 73 points. The Coyotes have already made their big trade, acquiring two-way pivot Antoine Vermette from Columbus for two draft picks. Don't expect another major move because of their budget restrictions, but the acquisition of a depth player is not out of the equation. Veterans UFAs such as Shane Doan, Daymond Langkow, Ray Whitney, Taylor Pyatt, Michal Rozsival and Adrian Aucoin should finish the season in the desert.

David Jones will certainly draw interest if the Avalanche decides to trade him.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Thanks to Evgeni Malkin‘s great play and Kris Letang‘s return from his concussion, it is safe to say the Pittsburgh Penguins will be buyers at the deadline as GM Ray Shero has always been very active in the weeks leading to the trade freeze. With Sidney Crosby‘s return this season less than certain, one would think the Penguins would look to add a quality forward to its already potent offense, but right now the team is looking to add a back-up goalie to replace under-performing veteran Brent Johnson.

Names like Curtis Sanford and Chris Mason have been mentioned. Also, if David Jones is moved by the Colorado Avalanche, look for the Penguins to push hard to obtain his services.

San Jose Sharks

After acquiring two-way forward Dominic Moore from the Lightning, the San Jose Sharks are looking to bolster their blue line as they need a steady defensive rearguard such as Bryan Allen or Johnny Oduya to improve their dismal penalty kill (77.5% efficiency). Jim Vandermeer and Colin White have been major disappointments and the team has lost confidence in them. The club could also be looking for another top-nine forward to replace Martin Havlat, who has been battling injuries all season.

St. Louis Blues

After signing goalie Brian Elliott to a two-year contract extension, it is clear the St Louis Blues did not see Ben Bishop in their soup and have just traded him to the Ottawa Senators for a 2nd round draft pick in 2013. With the return of Andy McDonald, the Blues received the offensive boost they were looking and should be pretty quiet at the deadline.

However, they could dangle unproductive RFA Chris Stewart for defensive help as the team would like to add a left-handed shooting defender to its already stellar defensive group, especially with Kris Russell suffering from concussion-like symptoms.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Eight points out of a playoff spot, the Tampa Bay Lightning will obviously be sellers at the deadline, especially since their goalies have been less-than spectacular and their defensive corps has been ravaged by injuries to key players like Mattias Ohlund and Victor Hedman.

Steve Yzerman knows that last season was a fluke and wants to be patient with his team. He has already traded forward Dominic Moore to the Sharks and defender Pavel Kubina to the Flyers for draft picks. He also traded super-pest Steve Downie to the Avalanche for rearguard Kyle Quincey, who he then immediately shipped to the Red Wings a first round pick in 2012.

Two-way forward Adam Hall is drawing a lot of interest and could be traded next, while blueliners Brett Clark and Matt Gilroy could find a taker looking for depth on the blue line. Ryan Malone is also on the market, but with four more years at $4,500,000 and a full no-movement clause until next season, he’s going nowhere.


Toronto Maple Leafs

Rumors are swirling about the Toronto Maple Leafs and their talkative GM Brian Burke, who’s reportedly trying to add a big name to his forward group. Obviously, Burke is looking to add size and is interested in James Van Riemsdyk, Dustin Brown, Rick Nash, and even Ryan Malone to a lesser extent. The Leafs are willing to part ways with a defender such as Luke Schenn, Carl Gunnarsson or Cody Franson to acquire that big forward.

The team is also considering bringing a goalie like Evgeni Nabokov, Nikolai Khabibulin or Josh Harding into the mix as James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson have been inconsistent this season. UFA center Mikhail Grabovski presents an interesting case as he could become available if Burke decides to unload the shifty Grabovski who is rumored to be looking for a long term deal averaging around five million dollars per year.

Vancouver Canucks

Currently at the top of the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks are open for business and are looking to add an impact player up front after placing defender Keith Ballard on the LTIR and freeing $4.2 millions in cap space. The team is dangling RFA Mason Raymond and prospect Jordan Schroeder as trade baits in order to acquire a bigger fish like Dustin Brown or Steve Ott. The team could also add a depth defenseman as insurance.

Young goaltending stud Corey Schneider is not going anywhere.

Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals blueliners Jeff Schultz and Roman Hamrlik could be traded for offensive help as they have both been in Dale Hunter's doghouse recently. With all-star center Nicklas Backstrom still battling concussion symptoms, the team will certainly consider adding an offensive-minded pivot to play with Alexander Ovechkin as the team is currently counting on unproven youngsters Marcus Johansson and Mathieu Perreault to carry the offensive load at center.

Veteran UFA Mike Knuble could also be sent packing. The 39 year-old winger as been playing on the team's fourth line in the last few weeks.

Winnipeg Jets

With the Winnipeg Jets back in the thick of the playoffs race and fighting for the Southeast Division lead with the Capitals and the Panthers, the team will most likely keep defenseman Johnny Oduya, an impending UFA, instead of trading him for a high draft pick. However, the Jets could try to unload UFA Randy Jones and veteran goalie Chris Mason to teams looking for depth.

RFA Eric Fehr might also on his way out thanks to his poor play since his return from a shoulder injury. If the Jets decide to add a player, they will most likely look for depth players such as the Blue Jackets' Samuel Pahlsson or Habs' Mathieu Darche.

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Follow Fred on Twitter for more updates on the trade deadline and the NHL in general.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images North America)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Habs/Panthers preview, NHL trade deadline, Rumours, Pierre Gauthier fired?

Morning Hab addicts!

There are just about 24 hours until the NHL trade deadline and the tension is steadily building. Not that there have been a ton of moves.

There haven't.

But the rumours and innuendo are swirling fast and furious.

Speaking of rumours, TSN 990's Tony Marinaro dropped a bombshell yesterday, saying that Pierre Gauthier is about to be fired. Moreover, he went on to say that Geoff Molson has taken over as GM until they can find a replacement in the off-season.

Molson was quick to take to Twitter to deny the story. But, love him or hate him, Marinaro has a tendency to be connected to the Habs and often gets hidden stories.

We'll see how this one plays out but, would it surprise anyone else if it ended up being true?

Habs News

HabsAddict - NHL Trade Deadline: Could the Montreal Canadiens Land Rick Nash?

HabsAddict - NHL Trade Rumors Galore - Deadline Edition - Part II

Hockey Inside/Out - Determined Panthers host Habs

RDS - Les visages sont longs chez le Canadien

RDS - La date limite approche

TSN - MOLSON: GM GAUTHIER REMAINS IN CHARGE WITH CANADIENS

ESPN - Canadiens-Panthers Preview

HabsWorld.net - Around the Boards: Kostitsyn's Value

Hockey News

THN - Proteau: Vigilance, awareness only protection against hockey's predators

Spector's Hockey - NHL Canadian Corner – February 26, 2012

Spector's Hockey - NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

NHL Trade Deadline: Could the Montreal Canadiens Land Rick Nash?

Let me start by saying no, the Montreal Canadiens cannot land Rick Nash.

With the NHL trade deadline less than 48 hours away, Nash is the most coveted player available on the trade market.

Some may argue that L.A.'s Dustin Brown holds that title — because the Kings won't require as much in return — however, it's become unclear over the last 24 hours whether or not the Kings captain is available.

With endless rumors swirling about who will end up where, I thought it would be fun to throw out a scenario, albeit an incredibly improbable one, in which the Canadiens would find themselves landing the star winger.

The reality is the Habs don't have the roster players to match the rumored offer that the New York Rangers have on the table. It involves either Michael Del Zotto/Ryan McDonagh plus either Derek Stepan, Brandon Dubinsky or Carl Hagelin, and a first round pick.

Montreal's advantage over the Rangers lies in there draft position.

Columbus is on track to have the first pick at this June's draft. If the two club's were able to hammer out a deal involving Montreal's first round pick, that would give Columbus two picks in the top ten.

With the Habs porous play, a pick in the top five seems more realistic and a top three pick is not out of the question either.

Now for the problem.

If Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson were to be interested in the Canadiens pick, it would have to be in a package including Scott Gomez.

Nash comes with a price tag of $7.8 million so the only way the Habs could make it work is if they were to send Gomez, and his $7.357 million, the other way.

Montreal would have to add a few assets to sweeten the pot, maybe Andrei Kostitsyn and a prospect —Louis Leblanc, Brendan Gallagher, or Michael Bournival — and maybe even their second round pick acquired from Nashville in the trade that sent Hal Gill to the Preds.

Of course, the only way this dream could become reality is if Howson were to be blinded by the possibility of drafting twice, early on in a draft. Keep in mind that this year's draft has many promising prospects such as Nail Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Matthew Dumba, Filip Forsberg, and Morgan Rielly, to name a few.

The unfortunate reality is that Gomez's downside more than likely outweighs another top pick in June.

If Montreal had more to offer, other than their pick, it would help their chances. But the Canadiens don't have anything to offer that could help Columbus' offense after Nash's departure.

As far fetched as it seems, if Howson were to bite would you be willing to part with a top five pick—and possibly top three—and a prospect to bring Nash to Montreal?

Would a superstar winger help out the Habs or should they hold off for the center they've needed for years?

What are your thoughts?

---
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


(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

NHL Trade Rumors Galore - Deadline Edition - Part II

With about 72 hours to go before the February 27th NHL trade deadline, rumors are swirling all over the Internet.

Especially on Twitter, as fake insiders try to get the attention of hockey fans by spreading out false trade rumors.

I will try to dissect some of the hottest rumors around and tell you which players are most likely available, on a team-by-team basis.

You can find part one here.

Below you will find part 2 of 3:

Edmonton Oilers

Once again the Edmonton Oilers will definitely be sellers this season as their thin defensive corp was not good enough to support their budding stars Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

With Ales Hemsky about to re-sign with the team (reportedly two year at $5MM/year), Nikolai Khabibulin currently injured and coming with a hefty contract, and Andy Sutton previously signing a one-year extension with the team, the Oilers don't have many assets to trade before the deadline.

The team is shopping Eric Belanger, whose been a major disappointment this season, but he's not very appealing. An impending UFA, Ryan Smyth would certainly interest a lot of teams looking for scoring and leadership, but he owns a no-movement clause and I don't believe he would waive it after coming back to Edmonton.

Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers are currently vying for a playoffs spot, battling both the Washington Capitals and the Winnipeg Jets for the division lead. The team would like to get rid of unproductive forwards Marco Sturm and Sean Bergenheim to find the missing pieces to contend.

As for UFA blue liner Jason Garrison, he is drawing a lot of interest around the league because of his very affordable salary ($650,000) and offensive touch (13 goals), but the team would be foolish not to re-sign him.

Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings made their major move when they acquired Mike Richards' best friend Jeff Carter from Columbus in exchange for puck-moving defenseman Jack Johnson.

Dustin Penner, who's been a frequent healthy scratch, is still being shopped around the league, as the impending UFA is having a tough year and was victim of a pancake injury earlier this season.

Contrary to some rumors, captain Dustin Bown is not available as per GM Dean Lombardi. While young goalie Jonathan Bernier would be a viable option for teams looking for a quality netminder (Lightning and Jackets among others), the Kings won't likely trade him before the draft as they prefer to keep as an insurance policy for the playoffs.

Also, the Kings have announced today that they have extended rearguard Willie Mitchell to a two-year deal worth $7MM.

Minnesota Wild

Ravaged by injuries up front, the Minnesota Wild are falling down the standings faster than Keanu Reeves’ career, going 3-5-2 in the past ten games.

With injuries to key players like Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse, the team desperately needs offensive help before it’s too late. The team is currently dangling UFA goalie Josh Harding as a trade bait to acquire a top-six forward.

Possible rentals for the Wild are Wojtek Wolski, Andrei Kostitsyn and Brad Boyes. The team could also trade veteran defensemen Greg Zanon (UFA) and Marek Zidlicky to get much-needed scoring punch.

Montreal Canadiens

After trading veteran Hal Gill to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a second round choice and forward Blake Geoffrion, the Montreal Canadiens are now last in the Eastern Conference, eight points out of the eighth spot. I analysed the Habs' best trade options in an article last month, and with Gill gone, the most likely candidate to be trade is now AK46.

Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators are doing all they can to re-sign defenseman Ryan Suter before the deadline, and if they can’t he might become available but the price will be hefty.

After the acquisition of Hal Gill, the Predators might be willing to sacrifice a young defenseman like Jon Blum or Ryan Ellis to add top-six forward to an already potent line-up. And that player could very well be Sergei Kostitsyn's older brother Andrei Kostitsyn.

New Jersey Devils

After acquiring forward Alexei Ponikarovsky last month, and with the impending return of forward Travis Zajac from a recurring Achilles heel injury, the New Jersey Devils are set up front.

However, with blue liner Henrik Tallinder out six to eight weeks with a blod clot in his left leg, and Adam Larsson still out with a bruised lower-back following a P.K. Subban body-check, the Devils will certainly look to add a depth defenseman.

Player such as Jaroslav Spacek, Chris Campoli or Roman Hamrlik could be good fits.

As for impending UFA Zach Parise, he will not be dealt this season, but look for GM Lou Lamoriello to extend him before July 1st. If Parise wants to test free-agent market, then Lamoriello will trade him and see what hefty return he can get for the nifty Parise.

While both Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg will be UFAs at season’s end, don’t expect them to be dealt as they both want to re-sign in New Jersey.

New York Islanders

With the New York Islanders eight points out of a playoff spot, it is likely that GM Garth Snow will be a seller before the trade deadline.

Players that could be moved include goalie Evgeni Nabokov, even if there are rumors about him re-signing with the team after Rick Dipietro's career ending injury.

Also, veteran rearguards Milan Jurcina, Mike Mottau, Steve Staios and Mark Eaton who are all slated to become UFAs at season’s end could be dealt to contenders.

Still, the most prized trading bait might be Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau who’s making an affordable $1,250,000 this season and has 54 points in 60 games this year. PAP will be one of the top targets come deadline day and the price will most likely be a 1st rounder.

New York Rangers

Currently leading the Eastern Conference with 81 points, the New York Rangers will definitely be buyers this season, but don’t expect a major overhaul in the Big Apple.

GM Glen Sather has already managed to trade under-performing tweener Erik Christensen to the Wild, and is still looking to unload Wojtek Wolski.

While the Rags are certainly interested in sniper Rick Nash and have the assets to acquire him, I really don't think they will trade for him in the next 72 hours.

Look for the Blue Shirts to tweak their line-up and add a depth forward such as Daniel Winnik or Adam Hall, and a veteran defenseman such as Scott Hannan or Jaroslav Spacek to mentor their young blue liners.

Ottawa Senators

Currently ranked seventh in the Eastern Conference, the biggest surprise in the NHL this season, the Ottawa Senators, will certainly be buyers.

Bryan Murray will not mortgage the future to make a major acquisition, but look for the Sens to add a top-nine forward like David Jones or Eric Belanger. These players would complement a young core led by the likes of Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek.

Murray could also try to add an insurance policy in net following Craig Anderson's injury (finger cut), that he sustained against the Capitals on Wednesday.

San Jose Sharks' Antero Niittymaki could be a cheap option in goal.


Stay tuned for the third and final part in this three part series, tomorrow!

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Follow me on Twitter for more updates on the trade deadline and the NHL in general.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Habs/Caps post game, NHL trade deadline, Trade Rumours, Flames, Oilers and more

Morning Habs addicts!

Yikes, that was ugly last night wasn't it? Watching the Habs fall 4-1 to the Capitals, it has become painfully clear that most on this team don't care anymore.

Moreover, the players, for the most part, looked like they were just going through the motions, in anticipation of player movement before the deadline.

Let's face it folks, not only are the Habs going to miss the playoffs but, despite what they say in the media, many of the players have also thrown in the towel.

Sad, but perhaps a fitting way for the last 20 games of this ungodly season to play out.

Still, it is Saturday and there are two more days until the trade deadline. Will Pierre Gauthier and co. be active? Will Travis Moen, Andrei Kostitsyn, Mathieu Darche, and others, find new homes by Monday?

We'll soon find out but, given their last place standing in the Eastern conference you sure hope that Gauthier gets to unloading players quickly!

Habs News

HabsAddict.com - NHL Trade Rumors Galore - Deadline Edition - Part I

HabsAddict.com - Quick Hits on Gomez, Gill, Kostitsyn and Stewart

No blockbusters among Habs’ trade-deadline deals

Hockey Inside/Out - About last night …

RDS - Rien à faire face aux Caps

RDS - Markov a patiné avec ses coéquipiers

Habsworld.net - Deadline Preview - Part 2: Goalies and Defence

Hockey News

TSN - DEVILS ACQUIRE ZIDLICKY FROM WILD FOR THREE PLAYERS, PICKS

TSN - FLAMES GM FEASTER SENDS MESSAGE IN ADVANCE OF DEADLINE

PSH - Breaking Down the Jeff Carter/Jack Johnson Trade

Spector's Hockey - Rumour Update

(Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images North America)

Friday, February 24, 2012

NHL Trade Rumors Galore - Deadline Edition - Part I

With about 72 hours to go before the February 27th NHL trade deadline, rumors are swirling all over the Internet.

Especially on Twitter, as fake insiders try to get the attention of hockey fans by spreading out false trade rumors.

I will try to dissect some of the hottest rumors around and tell you which players are most likely available, on a team-by-team basis.

Yesterday the first major trade happened when the Columbus Blue Jackets traded disgruntled center Jeff Carter to the goal-starving Los Angeles Kings, in exchange for blue liner Jack Johnson and a first round draft pick in 2012 or 2013.

What follows is part one of three:

Anaheim Ducks

With their recent playoff push, the Anaheim Ducks are only looking to trade impending UFAs Jason Blake and Niklas Hagman, albeit they are not drawing much interest because of their lack of production and their high salary.

The Ducks might trade veteran rearguard Tony Lydman who has drawn interest from the Chicago Blackhawks. Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf are not going anywhere.

Boston Bruins

With the uncertainty surrounding Nathan Horton (concussion-like symptoms) and the knee injury that will sideline Rich Peverley for four to six weeks, the Boston Bruins will like add a depth forward to an already potent forward group.

Tim Thomas and Tuuka Rask are not going to be traded.

Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres are actively trying to move Derek Roy and Brad Boyes. Pending UFA Paul Gaustad is drawing a lot of interest among the NHL as the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vancouver Canucks are interested in his services.

Overpaid veteran Jochen Hecht is off the market after he sustained his third concussion in a span of three months. The Sabres will not trade Ryan Miller during the season, but they might feel the trade market this summer.

Calgary Flames

Back in the thick of the playoff race, and following the acquisition of Mike Cammalleri and the departure of Brendan Morrison, the Calgary Flames will most likely be pretty quiet and add a depth forward in the next 72 hours as they will rather wait for their injured players to come back.

Curtis Glencross who missed five weeks due to a knee injury made his return yesterday, giving the Flames an extra boost.

All-Star winger Jarome Iginla will not be traded.

Carolina Hurricanes

After re-signing rearguard Tim Gleason and forward Tuomo Ruutu to long-term contract extensions (boy did they overpay!), and trading forward Alexei Ponikarovky to the New Jersey Devils, the Carolina Hurricanes don't have much to offer other than blue liners Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek.

Spacek is drawing interest from the New Jersey Devils, the Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks, among others.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks are looking to trade for a second line center to round out their top-six and have interest in Derek Roy and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau.

Both players are extremely gifted players that would fit very well in the team’s up-tempo system.

The Hawks are also looking to bolster their blue line with a veteran defenseman such as the Ducks Tony Lydman or the Canes Bryan Allen. Chicago would also like to add a veteran goalie to the mix, but other than Nikolai Khabibulin, they are scarce this season as Evgeny Nabokov is reportedly off the market.

Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche are desperately trying to unload Paul Stastny's hefty contract of $6.6 million per year, but they are not finding any takers. The team is also dangling winger David Jones and gritty forward Daniel Winnik.

The latter is drawing a lot of interest because of his affordable $950,000 contract. Impending UFA Shane O'Brien is also a good option for teams looking for a gritty and physical defenseman to round out their top six.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets began their house clearing earlier this week when they unloaded under-performing center, Antoine Vermette, to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a pair of draft picks. Then, yesterday they traded disgruntled sniper Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings for defensive stud Jack Johnson and a first rounder.

So what about Rick Nash?

While Nash is drawing interest from the New York Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the San Jose Sharks, I highly doubt the star winger will be traded before the deadline since the asking price is quite high.

He will most likely go at draft in June.

As for pivot Derrick Brassard, he is not on the trade market anymore after recording ten points in his last ten games, but the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens have been sniffing around.

The Blue Jackets are also trying to unload impending UFAs Samuel Pahlsson and Kristian Huselius.

Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars, who are in the thick of the playoff race, are likely to stand pat and only make minor moves such as unloaded pending UFAs Radek Dvorak and Adam Burish.

The team already traded defenseman Nicklas Grossman last to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for two draft picks. However, the player who's garnering the most interest is Steve Ott as the Vancouver Canucks, Phidelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs are kicking tires to acquire him.

Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings already made their big move when they traded a first round pick to acquire blue liner Kyle Quincey from the Colorado Avalanche (via the Tampa Bay Lightning). The team won’t make another big move, but will most certainly add a depth forward such as Daniel Winnik and Mike Knuble.

Detroit could also trade Jiri Hudler, an impending UFA, who’s been on the trade market for the past two years.

Look for the next two editions of the Rumors Galore: trade deadline to be published in the next 48 hours.

---
Follow Fred on Twitter for more updates on the trade deadline and the NHL in general.

(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images North America)

Quick Hits on Gomez, Gill, Kostitsyn and Stewart


I spent the most part of February in the Caribbean on a lovely cruise with my wife. We visited beautiful islands and I enjoyed cocktails during hours that would have me sent to meetings at home.

While away, I managed to find tidbits of hockey news, feeding my hockey fix but leaving me without a forum in which to vent.

Most passengers on cruises are more interested in cribbage, crosswords and naps. My wife puts up with my hockey ramblings enough at home so I gave her some time off, leaving me to ponder on my own about what little news reached me.

With all that being said, here are my thoughts on what has transpired in Habs world while I've been away.

Goal-less Gomez No More!

After struggling for over a year without finding the back of the net, Scott Gomez waits until I've left town before burying a power play marker past the Islander's Evgeni Nabokov. Gomez even notched another tally just four games later.

I have to say, being away for this bothered me. Like many other Montrealers I've grown quite fond of Gomez despite his struggles - maybe even because of his struggles - and was eagerly waiting for the day when he would score the goal that would rid him of his season long burden.

I was excited to learn that he had passed Andreas Engqvist in the scoring race, I just wish I could have bared witness to it.

Drowning Habs lose Gill

First off, I apologize for the heading. I've been away, cut me some slack.

I remember picking up the sorry excuse for a sports page in the two page Canadian newspaper while at sea and seeing that Gill had been traded to Nashville for Blake Geoffrion. My heart sank - pun intended - and my initial thoughts were of furious nature.

However, it was no secret that Gill's time would soon be up as a Hab and upon my arrival in Montreal I looked up the transaction only to learn that it was much better than the Celebrity cruiseline would have me believe.

Not only did the Habs recieve two wingers with size but they also snagged a second round pick. That's more than I was expecting for a 36 year-old rental and a conditional fifth round pick in next year's draft.

Kostitsyn Still Here

After learning of Gill's departure I expected Kostitsyn to be next. The Belarussian power forward is no doubt being considered by a handful of GM's and the recent contract extension inked by Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu likely broadened Kostitsyn's destination possibilities.

Chris Stewart of the St. Louis Blues is another option for GM's looking to add a power forward to their lineup, however it seems Kostitsyn's availability on the trade market is more clear.

I would not mind replacing Kostitsyn with Stewart if Gauthier can make that happen. Stewart's size and skill set have me convinced that he could do no worse than Kostitsyn. If St. Louis is willing to part ways with Stewart, I wouldn't be opposed to paying a price suggested by Louis Moustakas by offering a 2013 first round pick and a prospect.

How about you? Would you take a chance on a struggling Chris Stewart? Will Kostitsyn remain a Hab past Monday? If not, what do you see the return being?

Thanks for reading.

---
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.


(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)

Habs/Caps, Subban Scuffle, Hamrlik, Carter and More

Roman Hamrlik - Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins
Morning puck addicts!

Wow. There is much to talk about this morning.

The Canadiens face the middling Capitals tonight. Remember how that was a premiere match up only a couple of years ago?

P.K Subban has once again found himself in the middle of a scuffle at practice.

Roman Hamrlik called out Dale Hunter on Washington radio. His comment was pretty good too.

And Jeff Carter was sent to L.A. Columbus received Jack Johnson and a first round pick in return.

The timing of this trade is unfortunate. Sort of. I was going to write a Trade Deadline preview piece on him. Too slow I suppose.

Busy Thursday, eh?

What do you think of the above events?


Habs News

HabsAddict.com - NHL Trade Deadline: In the Canadiens' GM Chair, Part 2

HabsWorld.net - The Others: Who else could move?

Hockeybuzz - Should the Oilers Deal Their 1st Round Pick for Subban?



(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images North America)

NHL Trade Deadline: In the Canadiens' GM Chair, Part 2

Andrei Kostitsyn - Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens 
As promised, I am back with the second and final edition of my Trade Deadline ideas. In my first part, I outlined my plan for the eight defensemen on the Montreal Canadiens' roster.

As fate would have it, big Hal Gill was the first to go in what I thought was a very good deal for the Habs.

It is not what I had hoped - Gill as part of a package for Chris Stewart - but realistically was a decent return.

Now that I have looked at the blueline and the dominoes have begun falling, the question is what to do with the forward unit.

Without further ado, here is the final half of what I would do if I were sitting in the GM chair.

The Foundation: Who Stays

From the current roster my quick list which includes Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole, Brian Gionta, David Desharnais, Ryan White, Lars Eller, and Louis Leblanc.

Together they represent two-thirds of the forward unit and, I would argue, the current and future core of the team. They possess a blend of size, skill, speed, and leadership that should not be tampered with.

Having said that, absolutely no forward on my team is an “untouchable”. Any player can be had if the right deal presents itself.

For instance, if a desperate Anaheim team were to pick up the phone and offer me Ryan Getzalf in a one-for-one deal, then Pacioretty would have to go.

Who is available?

Mathieu Darche

Mathieu Darche has, without a doubt, been playing the best hockey of his Montreal Canadiens career in the past couple of weeks. Nonetheless, he is an older, fringe NHL player who is getting more minutes than he should.

There is an obvious problem when a player like Darche is one of the most utilized, and number one RWer, alongside Tomas Plekanec and Rene Bourque.

Mr. Darche you have served your time as a Montreal Canadien and it is time to go.

It is so very difficult to put a value on a player, but there are certainly teams around who would like to add an experienced, depth player like Darche.

What I would do: Mathieu Darche will be dealt to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick. If the Sharks win the cup it remains a sixth, if they do not then it becomes a seventh.

Andrei Kostitsyn

For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would defend this guy and plead that he be re-signed by the Habs. It is time for Mr. Kostitsyn to find employment elsewhere.

If the Habs are to become a consistent threat in the post season then they need to forget about inconsistent Kostitsyn-like players.

With so very few sellers at the 2012 deadline, Kostitsyn is going to be a fairly hot commodity. Teams like Los Angeles, Colorado, Detroit, Nashville, Pittsburgh or even Ottawa will be looking to add a rental player of his nature.

With limited players available this deadline, it is extremely safe to say that a return similar to Hal Gill - a mid-level prospect, a second round pick and a utility player - is not out of the question.

What I would do: Kostitysn becomes a member of the Florida Panthers. There is no better place to play in obscurity. In exchange Montreal will receive Keaton Ellerby and a secound round pick.

Travis Moen

I am a big fan of Travis Moen. When it was announced that he had signed a three year contract with the Habs, it was one of the highlights of my summer that year.

However, with his contract nearing its end there is talk of him departing.

I would like to see him remain a member of the team. Still, I am torn because Moen is one of the best rentals available and teams would almost certainly pay a premium for his services.

Travis could fetch a second round pick plus an added piece, making it hard to resist dealing him. Yet, few in the upcoming crop of UFA forwards can bring his character to the table.

If Moen remains in Montreal, I will not be upset. If he is dealt and fetches the above return, I will not be upset either.

His suitors are many. The likes of San Jose, Detroit and Vancouver pop up regularly in rumors. What does this tell us?

Elite clubs look for players like Moen before embarking on a playoff run.

What I would do: I believe that Travis will remain with the organization. If he is in fact dealt, then look for him to be headed to a name that nobody is talking about, the Phoenix Coyotes.

Phoenix needs depth on their bottom-six and the big winger would fit the bill nicely. Look for him to be dealt for Mikkel Boedker and a second round pick.

So that's it folks, that's how I'd retool this team.

What do you think of my moves? Would you trade other players like Bourque or Plekanec?

---
Bryan is a Marketer by day, writer for HabsAddict.com by night and full time fan of the game. Follow me on twitter @BryanWilley78 but don't bother looking for me on Facebook, I'm just too old for that now!

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

HabsAddict.com & DailyJoust Present A Free $100 NHL Fantasy Contest!

You may have noticed a fancy new banner ad just below the nav bar at the top of the page. Well, this is from our latest sponsor, Daily Joust.

HabsAddict and DailyJoust.com are teaming up to offer you a free Fantasy Hockey contest!

Fantasy Hockey fanatics all over the country are now participating in daily Fantasy Hockey leagues for cash prizes on DailyJoust.com.

HabsAddict has partnered up with Daily Joust to offer a Free $100 prize Fantasy NHL contest for the night of February 23rd, 2012.

That's tonight!

This is a salary cap contest where everyone tries to assemble the best team within a $1,000,000 budget.

With that money, you need to build a team of two centers, two left wings, two right wings, two blueliners and one goalie.

Each NHL player has been given a salary price based on their expected fantasy points potential. For example, Scott Hartnell costs $226K, while Todd Bertuzzi costs $170K.

Click here to sign up for free and pick your team for the FREE $100 Prize Contest tonight!

Best of luck!

Build Your Team of 9 Positions Within The Maximum Salary Cap of $1 Million:

- C
- C
- LW
- LW
- RW
- RW
- D
- D
- G

Daily Joust Fantasy Hockey Scoring Breakdown:

Skaters:
Goal = 10 pts
PP/SH Goal = 3 pts
Assist = 7 pts
PP/SH Assist = 2 pts
Shot on Goal = 1 pt
Plus/Minus = +3/-3 pts
Penalty Minutes = 1 pts
Hit = 1 pt
Blocked Shot = 1 pt

Goalies:
Goals Allowed = (-6 pts)
Saves = 1 pt
Win = 12 pts
Shutout = 8 pts

Habs News, Targeting Chris Stewart, Kostitsyn, Ruutu and More

Andrei Kostitsyn - Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs
Morning Hab addicts.

Much like last week, the Canadiens have an unusual schedule that will see them play on Friday and Sunday.

Feels a bit odd to break the routine and not see them drop the puck on a Thursday.

Then again, I am convinced that after their performance against the Stars, not too many will be overly sad about that.

Elsewhere, in a piece of good news for Montreal, Tuomo Ruutu re-signed with the Carolina Hurricanes for four years.

Why is this good news?

Because, with arguably the most coveted rental forward off the market (notice the term 'rental' - Rick Nash and Jeff Carter do not apply here), Andrei Kostitsyn's value increases significantly.

If Pierre Gauthier choose to shop him, of course.

Our Kamal Panesar feels that Montreal should re-sign him.

What do you think?

Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Montreal Canadiens Trade Deadline Target: St. Louis' Chris Stewart

HabsAddict.com - HabsAddict.com & DailyJoust Present A Free $100 NHL Fantasy Contest!

HabsAddict.com - Habs Roundup: Playoffs, Trades, Gomez, Kostitsyn, Moen, Geoffrion and more

ESPN - Habs' P.K. Subban is just being himself

ESPN - Clearing the boards

HabsWorld.net - Deadline Preview - Part 1: Prospects

Hockey Inside / Out - Canadiens return to practice Thursday morning

Hockey Inside / Out - Curtains for Canadiens?

RDS - Canadien : qui reviendra à Montréal?

TSN - Marinaro: Time becoming worst enemy for Canadiens

Hockey News

Sports Illustrated - NHL deadline deals — then and now

The Hockey News - Kennedy: Luca Sbisa part of great Ducks turnaround

TSN - Blue Jackets trade veteran F Vermette to Coyotes

USA Today - Roundup: Marchand leads Bruins over Blues

(Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Montreal Canadiens Trade Deadline Target: St. Louis' Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart - St Louis Blues v New Jersey Devils
After focusing on the Montreal Canadiens' potential bait, namely Travis Moen and the recently departed Hal Gill, our trade deadline preview turns its attention towards potential targets for GM Pierre Gauthier.

As alluded to by Bryan Willey, winger Chris Stewart is having a difficult season under new St. Louis Blues' coach Ken Hitchcock and could be on the move.

Given his size and skill set, he could be exactly the type of player the Habs would love to add to their lineup.

Why he could be traded - After emerging as a legitimate power forward with back-to-back 28 goal campaigns, Stewart has seen his stock tumble and now finds himself firmly entrenched in Ken Hitchcock's doghouse.

Compared to last season, his average overall ice time has dropped by nearly 90 seconds and his powerplay utilization has also fallen by about a minute per game.

As of this writing, he is pointless in his last six games and is on pace for a mere 15 goals. In a recent contest against the New York Islanders, he was demoted to the fourth line and played just over 13 minutes.

In short, Stewart's decreasing role with the Blues has fed the belief that he could be made available.

Why the Canadiens could be interested - In spite of his recent struggles, there is little doubt that Stewart fills the stereotypical portfolio of a power forward.

At 6-2, 230 pounds, he is not lacking for size. And, as his hit per game average demonstrates, he is willing to use it.

Beyond his enticing frame, Stewart is still quite young at 24 years old and has the ability to be a consistent 25 goal scorer in the NHL.

Having said that, he has already played for two teams and appears to be headed out of St. Louis as well. As a result, there are some potential red flags about Stewart's attitude and work ethic.

While these concerns are perhaps not deal breakers, Montreal does not have the best track record with perceived problem players.

In the end, the question is whether the Canadiens can provide the proper environment for Stewart to succeed.

Nonetheless, with the possible departure of Andrei Kostitsyn and the irregular contributions of Rene Bourque, the Toronto native could fit nicely on one of the Habs' top two lines.


What he could be worth - A combination of two of the following: first round pick, first round prospect, top-six forward, top-four defenceman

It is hard to get a proper read on a young , high ceiling winger like Chris Stewart. But, in spite of his struggles, it is clear that he will not be had cheaply.

Last year, perpetual underachiever Dustin Penner went from Edmonton to Los Angeles in return for a first round pick and Colton Teubert.

Two seasons ago, the far less impressive Wojtek Wolski was sent to Phoenix for Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter.

Evidently, to pry Stewart away from St. Louis, a similar, if not better, package will need to be presented.


---
Louis is an Associate Editor at HabsAddict.com and an Editor at HabsWorld.net. Born in Chicago, Louis grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval.

He currently resides in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. Find him on twitter
@LouisMoustakas

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images North America)

Habs Roundup: Playoffs, Trades, Gomez, Kostitsyn, Moen, Geoffrion and more

So how are you feeling about your Montreal Canadiens this morning, Hab addicts?

It's a bit rough, isn't it?

Montreal dropped a disappointing decision to the Dallas Stars last night. It was a game in which the Habs simply didn't show up. Sure they had a few flashes but were, overall, flat.

A lot of fans are scratching their heads this morning, wondering how a team fighting for their playoff lives can come play so poorly with so much on the line.

The answer is pretty simple: they're not very good.

There are a lot of positives going on with the team such as Erik Cole's play, Lars Eller, David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty on a 30-goal pace, Carey Price playing like a star most nights, P.K. Subban starting to look more settled and more.

But, ultimately, this team has too many holes that need to be filled and too much dead weight pulling them down.

With only 21 more games to play and 58 points in the standings, the Habs would need upward of 16 more wins to qualify for the post-season.

As such, I think it's fair to say that, as I've been saying since December, the Habs will not make the playoffs.

Time to sell

We had some discussions on the Sunday Shinny this past weekend, as to whether the Habs were officially sellers or not. There were arguments as to the meaning of the word "seller" but to me, that is all semantics.

Trading pending UFA defenseman, Hal Gill, signals (at least to me) in no uncertain terms that the Habs are sellers.

Gill is the first piece to fall but players like Andrei Kostitsyn, Mathieu Darche, Travis Moen and Chris Campoli, among others, could still be shipped out of town.

Kostitsyn is a player whose name has been circulating a lot in recent days. And, while nothing is confirmed, there is talk that he is actively being shopped. I recently wrote an article explaining why I think the Habs should re-sign him, but I can't say I'd be surprised to see him moved.

Moen is another player who is attracting a lot of interest, from teams such as the Detroit Red Wings, among others. However there are whispers that Montreal might not want to trade him.

In fact, it seems there is a chance they want to try to re-sign him in the off-season.

If the Habs do indeed want to retain Moen they should be trying to sign him now, and not in the summer. If this proves to be the Habs intention then it shows that Pierre Gauthier et al still do not know how to run a team under the salary cap.

To properly run a team under the cap, you must know if you are going to be able to sign upcoming UFA's before the trade deadline. And if you can't, they must be traded for picks and prospects.

That is how you run a team under the cap.

Holding players whose contracts are expiring, until the off-season, is a recipe for wasting assets. For more on this see Koivu, Saku or Komisarek, Mike or Souray, Sheldon or Kovalev, Alex or Tanguay, Alex.

I could go on, but you get my point.

The second issue here is that I believe trying to re-sign Moen is a mistake.

Don't get me wrong because he's a good player, but Montreal is not a team on the cusp of contending. They need to restock the cupboard, shed salary and gather picks and prospects.

As good as Moen is, he is making too much money ($1.5 million) for a third liner. He can be replaced by younger, cheaper options and, considering the Habs cap mess with contracts like Scott Gomez's and Tomas Kaberle's, getting cheaper should be a prime goal.

Going, going, Gomez...

I've had a lot of people asking me about trade scenarios on Twitter, Facebook and the like, recently. But I have to say that out of all of the conversations, I still can't believe some feel that Gomez is tradeable right now.

I've even heard people say that Chicago is desperate for a center, and could make a play for him. Come on people!

If it was at all unclear, Gomez isn't going anywhere. At least not this season.

He has a grand total of nine points (2G, 7A) and is a minus-5 though 31 games played. And he carries a $7.35 million cap hit for the next two seasons (after this year).

Untradeable.

No one is going to be even remotely interested in taking him off the Habs hands. Moreover, the only two people foolish enough to actually trade for Gomez already work in the Habs upper management.

So there will be no takers.

The best bet, and what the Habs are certainly hoping for, is that there is a new buyout clause put in place for the upcoming CBA. Players like Wade Redden and Sheldon Souray getting demoted to the minors, have shown teams and players alike that having an albatross of a contract on the books can kill your team.

Moreover, players don't want to be demoted to the AHL and the teams don't want to buyout a contract but still have a cap hit to worry about.

What they want is amnesty for taking on or signing a player to a stupid contract.

That said, I can very easily see a new clause put in place, allowing teams to buyout a player's contract while also freeing up cap space. Currently, if you buy a player out you have to pay him two-thirds his remaining salary over twice the remaining term.

But I think a new clause will mean the player would get paid, no matter what, but the team could rid themselves of the "mistake" and get cap relief in the process.

Sounds like a win-win to me.

I think that this is exactly what the Habs are hoping to see in the new CBA this summer and, in a lot of ways, they're banking on such a clause.

TSN 990's Tony Marinaro tweeted this morning "Disappointed Habs fans do not worry. I have been told that everything will play itself out this summer. Everything."

Vague, but, to me, that speaks to the Gomez situation, the Gauthier situation, Cunneyworth, Markov and any other questions marks currently plaguing this team.

For now, though, don't expect miracles and don't expect Gomez to go anywhere.

New Sunday Shinny and Blake Geoffrion interview

I know I'm a little late in posting it, but here is the latest Sunday Shinny podcast for last Sunday.

The best part about it? We did an interview of newest Hab, Blake Geoffrion. The interview is about 20 minutes in and is worth a listen.

He talks about being traded to Montreal, the pressure, the legacy of his family. He even tells some awesome stories about sitting around the table with his Grandfather, Boom-boom, talking about the Rocket and Guy Lafleur.

It's pretty compelling stuff!

And the best part? You can hear the pride and excitement in his voice.

Click play below to listen in:


Check it out and enjoy the rest of your week. Oh, and try not to get down about the Habs. It's February and it's 10 degrees outside.

That should be enough to put a smile on anyone's face!

---
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com and featured columnist on PowerScoutHockey.com. Kamal is also a regular contributor to the Sunday Shinny segment of The Franchise weekend morning show, on TSN Radio 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 9 - 10 AM. Listen live at http://www.tsn.ca/montreal/

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images North America)

Habs/Stars Post-Game, Ribeiro, Jets, Three Team Trade and More

Top of the morning puck fans!

I have a confession to make. I only watched half of the Habs game last night.

Instead of watching the anemic Canadiens and no-name Stars, I tilted my attention towards the Jets-Flyers clash.

Can you blame me? In their three previous meetings, the two squads combined for 26 goals.

Now, after seeing the Flyers storm back in the final seconds to eventually take the game in OT, I hope we get to see a Winnipeg-Philadelphia matchup in the post-seasons.

As for the Canadiens, nobody is looking towards the post-season. In fact, at 27th overall this morning, most are once again looking at the draft lottery.


Habs News

ESPN - Habs' Campoli frustrated by lack of ice time

HabsWorld.net - Maximum Value

Hockey Inside / Out - About last night …

La Presse - Ils ont tous abandonné

La Presse - La reconstruction peut commencer!

RDS - Le CH encore à la recherche de solutions

TSN - Lehtonen stands tall as Stars blank Canadiens

Hockey News

ESPN - It's been a long journey for Rinne

ESPN - Debate: Avs, Bolts and Wings make deal

Sports Illustrated - Flaws clear in NHLPA-Hockey Night poll

SportsNet - One-off and move on

The Hockey News - Boylen: Pulling for the Predators

TSN - Lightning acquire Quincey for Downie, then deal him to Wings



(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Habs/Stars, Former Habs, Markov, Cap Space and More

Mike Ribeiro - Nashville Predators v Dallas Stars
Morning puck fans!

The Canadiens face off against the Dallas Stars tonight. However, unlike many cross-conference matchups, this one holds special interest. At least it does for the former Habs on the Texan side.

There is defensive stud Stephane Robidas who is second on the team in average ice time.

Sheldon Souray is not far behind, clocking in just over 20 minutes per game.

Michael Ryder leads the team with 23 goals and is on pace for his best offensive season since he wore the Tricolore.

And, of course, there is the exiled Mike Ribeiro, who was sent to Big D for Janne Niiniimaa.

Here is betting that the four players above will be thrilled to get a chance to face their former team.



Habs News

HabsWorld.net - HW Recap: More Wasted Opportunities

Hockey Inside / Out - Welcome home, Mike Ribeiro

La Presse - Nouvelles encourageantes de Markov... et inquiétantes de Moen

La Presse - On voudrait y croire...

TSN - Bartlett: Canadiens miss out on chance to make up ground

Hockey News


ESPN - Rant answers: Ranger fans gone wild!

RDS - Labeaume nomme un conseiller spécial

Sports Illustrated - Life in the NHL meat market

TSN - Predators extend GM Poile's contract through 2014-15 season

TSN - Which NHL teams have cap space to make moves?


(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Habs/Devils, Geoffrion, Gary Carter, Rumors and More

Morning Hab addicts.

And happy Family Day (a.k.a wonderful excuse for a Statutory Holiday) to whom it may apply.

In life, we are taught to discard stereotypes and make our own judgements. Nonetheless, as we grow older, we also realize some stereotypes are at least somewhat justified.

White people can't dance.

English Canadians actually say "eh"

Italians talk with their hands.

Devils' games are really, really boring.

Seriously, after two periods of last night's snorefest, I watched Everything Must Go, which was a pretty good movie showcasing Will Ferrell in a rare dramatic role.

Ironically, I am sure many feel that title could apply to the Canadiens' current group of players.

Habs News

HabsWorld.net - Writers Weigh In: Goodbye, Gill

Hockey Inside / Out - Monday mourning

Hockey Inside / Out - About this evening …

RDS - Autre match de 2 points pour Geoffrion

RDS - Les Devils ont fait mal paraître le CH

TSN - Canadiens honour Gary Carter in pre-game tribute

Hockey News

ESPN - Case of the Mondays: Feb. 18-19 wrap

TSN - TradeCentre: Sunday's rumours from around the NHL

TSN - Penguins sign F Neal to six-year, $30 million extension

USA Today - Red Wings beat Sharks, make it 23 in a row at home



(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Habs/Devils preview, Leafs, Team-by-Team buyout candidates and more

Morning puck addicts!

Is it just me or was it a little strange not having a Canadiens game last night? When is the last time the Habs didn't have a game on a Saturday night?

No clue, but I know it is an extremely rare occurence.

While the Habs were idle the rest of the league kept going and wins by teams just behind them mean the Canadiens dropped two places in the standings last night.

Today they have an early start against the red-hot New Jersey Devils on a night when the organization is going to be honouring Gary Carter.  It should be a night of strong emotions all around!

Habs News

Hockey Inside/Out - Hot Devils face Hot Habs

Idle Canadiens drop to 13th

RDS - Canadien : «Personne n’a abandonné»

Aaron Palushaj rejoint le CH à nouveau

ESPN - Devils-Canadiens Preview


Hockey News

TSN - WILD FORWARD PETERS TO HAVE HEARING WITH NHL ON SUNDAY

SIEGEL: LEAFS PAY FOR MISTAKES IN VANCOUVER

ESPN - Blue-line depth won't fix Flyers' goalie issue

THN - Proteau: Team-by-team buyout candidates, Pt. 2

Tom Thompson: The disappearance of Canada's goaltending advantage