Saturday, June 30, 2012

Press Release - Habs Sign Emelin to Two-Year Deal

Habs ink Alexei Emelin to a 2-year deal

MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced Saturday the signing of defenseman Alexei Emelin to a two-year contract (2012-13 and 2013-14). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The 6’2’’, 219 lbs defenseman completed his first season with the Canadiens in the NHL in 2011-12. Emelin, 26, recorded seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in 67 games, tallying one of his goals on the penalty kill. He added 62 shots on goal and served 30 penalty minutes, and averaged 17:17 of ice time per game. Emelin led the Canadiens with 236 hits, ranking first among NHL rookie defensemen and fourth among league defensemen. He blocked 88 shots, finishing sixth among rookie defensemen in the NHL.

Following the NHL regular season schedule, Emelin helped the Russian team earn a gold medal at the IIHF World Hockey Championship played in Scandinavia from May 4 to 20, 2012. In the nine games he played, Emelin recorded four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and served four penalty minutes. He scored one game-winning goal and another one on the powerplay, recorded 13 shots on goal, with a +12 plus/minus ratio and 18:35 of ice time per game.

A native of Togliatti, USSR, Emelin was the Canadiens’ second pick (third round, 84th overall) at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Ryan White profile, Moen signed, Brodeur goes UFA, Flames, signings and more

Morning puck addicts and happy Canada Day weekend to all of our Canadian readers!

Lots going on in the world of NHL hockey this morning. The biggest story has got to be Martin Brodeur's intention to test the free agency waters tomorrow—if he doesn't have a deal in place with the Devils by then.

Could there have been a bigger bombshell dropped?

Seriously? After so many years in the league, all with the Devils, the 40-year-old, who maybe has a year or so left, is ready to go to another team?

Strange, to be sure, but totally within his rights. I mean, it's not like he owes the Devils anything.

In Habs news, our own Sean Lloyd has started a series of player profiles, beginning with Ryan White.

Good reading to be sure!

Also, GM Marc Bergevin continued to round things into form, signing 30-year-old rugged winger Travis Moen to a four year pact. The deal comes with a $1.85 million cap hit.

I like this signing, even though it's a little on the expensive side. Moen brings grit, leadership and Stanley Cup winning experience to the table. He's the type of player Montreal needs more of in the bottom-six.

The Habs also rounded out their coaching staff with the addition of former Habs, Jean-Jacques Daigneault, as an assistant coach.

Yes, a former defenseman to run the D!

So my question to you this morning is as follows: IF Brodeur does go to market, which team would be the best fit for him?

Habs News

HabsAddict - Habs Offseason Player Profile: Ryan White

RDS - CH : J.-J. Daigneault entraîneur adjoint - Travis Moen re-signs for 4 years

Hockey Inside/Out - Newly signed Moen true to his Saskatchewan roots

Hockey News








THN - Last chance for long-term contracts

ESPN - Rumblings: Don't forget about Parenteau

ESPN - Rumblings: Where else could Brodeur play?

(Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images North America)

Habs Offseason Player Profile: Ryan White

Ryan White - Montreal Canadiens v Calgary Flames
A Look at the Habs

Hello Habs nation!

This piece will be the first of a new segment I'll be writing, on, that will take a look at the Canadiens roster heading into the 2012-13 season.

I will be including a brief look back at what each player brought to the team in the 2011-2012 season, as well as what to expect moving forward.

With some roster players yet to be re-signed and the free agent season just about to open, I will only focus on players who are currently inked with the Canadiens.

While Carey Price is rumored to be close to a deal somewhere in the $6.5 million range—for six to seven years—you can expect to have a piece focusing on him shortly.

But alas, the Habs netminder of the future—or so we can hope—has yet to sign and so I will start with another fan favorite whose ink has yet to dry on his newly signed deal: Ryan White.

Ryan White - C - 6'0'' - 193 lbs
2010-11 stats: 20GP - 0G - 3A - minus-7 - 61 PIM

The Cost

Ryan White will receive $687,500 for the upcoming season, a $62,500 raise from his previous contract, over a one-year term.

As a fan favorite, many fans had hoped that the Canadiens would commit to a longer deal with the rugged center. It would seem Marc Bergevin was weary of White's last campaign—being limited to 20 games due to a sports hernia suffered in training camp.


While White's three assists are hardly going to help the Canadiens in the win column, points are not what White was brought on board for.

In the 20 games he played last season, White managed to find a fisticuffs dance partner seven times. In fact, in a game against the Minnesota Wild on March 1st, Stephane Veilleux dropped the gloves twice with White. credited White with one win, one draw—both of these against Veilleux—and five losses in his seven bouts.

Hardly impressive but in hockey, winning the fight is not always the point. White is well liked by fans as well as his colleagues due to his willingness to stand up for teammates.

The Fit

New (old?) coach Michel Therrien's reputation as a guy who likes his team tough, should bode well for White. When Therrien inherited the Habs I'm sure the team's lack of physical play was something he felt needed to be addressed.

The fact that White was the first of the team's pending RFA's to be brought back supports my belief that together, Bergevin and Therrien want to add toughness to a team that has been pushed around for too long.

White averaged 14:31 minutes of ice time per game in his 20 contests last year, and will likely see similar minutes on the fourth line in the coming season. As for his linemates, well, it's likely that they are yet to be signed.

A projected line of White alongside Travis Moen and Brad Staubitz, would bring plenty of toughness to the team's fourth line. Staubitz is set to become a UFA and Moen is unsure whether he will re-up with the Habs or test the market on July 1st.

Brandon Prust is another player the fans would love to see on White's wing, but will only be approachable when the free agency period begins on Canada Day.

How does White's contract bode with you? And where do you see him fitting in on the roster?

Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at

You can follow Sean on Twitter.

(Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images North America)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Carey Price, Nokelainen, Nash, Signings and More

Petteri Nokelainen - Florida Panthers v Montreal Canadiens
Good morning Tricolore fans!

Admist the slew of major signings yesterday — namely, Crosby's mega 12-year, 104.4 million dollar deal — it was perhaps lost in the shuffle that the Montreal Canadiens re-signed Petteri Nokelainen to a one-year, one-way deal as well.

Only one question: why?

A former first-round pick who never seemed to live up to his billing, Nokelainen did not exactly bring a physical or support scoring element to the bottom lines.

Personally, I would have rather seen another player given the chance to fulfill that role.

Not you?

Habs News

HabsAddict - Panesar and Moustakas: Marc Bergevin's Next Move

La Presse - Faire une bonne première impression au camp de perfectionnement

RDS - Nokelainen sous contrat, Price bientôt?

RDS - Les jeunes du CH sont déjà au boulot

TSN - Insider Trading: Price's turn to sign, Luongo trade talks

TSN - Habs sign Nokelainen and Nash; Engqvist goes to KHL

Hockey News

ESPN - Key stat: Crosby worth the money

IIHF - Swedish juniors top

Sports Illustrated - NHL Free Agency: Who needs what – Eastern Conference

TSN - NHL raises salary cap to $70.2 million for next season

TSN - Predators sign D Gill to two-year, $4 million contract

TSN - Bruins secure Rask with one-year, $3.5 million contract

TSN - Penguins locking up Crosby with 12-year, $104.4 million deal

USA Today - Penguins gladly assume risk with Crosby deal

USA Today - Kings' missing puck being returned

USA Today - Quick gets 10-year extension; Canucks' Schneider gets deal

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Panesar and Moustakas: Marc Bergevin's Next Move

Carey Price - Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens
With the Montreal Canadiens new staff fleshed out and the entry draft now behind us, your favorite debate duo returns to discuss what Marc Bergevin should focus on at the onset of the July Free Agency period.

Kamal Panesar: Well, the 2012 NHL draft has come and gone and, by most accounts, the Habs came out as the top team with their haul. Not only did they get the guy they wanted (Alex Galchenyuk) with the third overall pick, but they also grabbed three other players who, on most prospect rankings, were listed in the top-30.

That is beyond impressive and a little lucky too.

But Habs GM Marc Bergevin can’t afford to sit around patting himself on the back because his plate is abusively full. From signing Carey Price, P.K. Subban, Alexei Emelin, Lars Eller and others, to trying to find a top-six winger to play with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta next season, he has no shortage of work ahead of him.

So where do you think he’ll start?

Louis Moustakas: If the players drafted are half as good as Trevor Timmins seems to believe, his selections will prove to be a resounding success. Funny how the man gets so little credit in Montreal. In 2007, fans and media lambasted Timmins for not selecting Quebec-born Angelo Esposito. Now, Esposito was not even deemed worthy of a Qualifying Offer and is set to become a free agent. But, I am severely digressing here.

Marc Bergevin certainly does have a lot on his plate. As I argued before, from a player perspective, settling the Scott Gomez issue remains a priority in my mind. I simply don't know how you can manage a team in the salary-cap world without sorting that issue out first. I know there is an argument that they may have already made a decision on that subject internally, but it feels like such a distraction, there is value in having this come to a quick, public conclusion as well.

Beyond that, I think it goes without saying that dealing with P.K Subban and Carey Price are top priorities. They are the faces of the franchise. Somehow, I don't sense we will argue much on that.

However, after the trifecta of Gomez-Subban-Price, what do you believe is the team's top concern?

Kamal Panesar: Again with the Gomez contract?


I agree that dealing with him (dispensing?) is uber-important. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Marc Bergevin era cannot begin its first season with Scott Gomez on the roster. That said, there is time to deal with that. Well, there is if your options are:

a) Buy him out ONLY if there is an amnesty period or clause in the new CBA
b) Demote him to Hamilton before the start of the season

I won’t even mention a trade as an option because, well, I think he’s untradeable. But I’ve been wrong before.

No, for me, Bergevin must get Carey Price locked up, and quick. Having filed for arbitration, Bergevin has protected Price from any potential offer sheets, so he isn’t going anywhere. But I really feel he needs to have that deal done before the July 1st free agency period starts. Once Price is locked up Bergevin will have a better idea of how much money he has to spend. Money that, in my opinion, he’d do well to spend on his second most important move, and that is finding a top-six winger to play with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta.

If this team can’t be taken seriously with Gomez on its roster, it would be an equally big farce to play the 2012-2013 year with one scoring line (again).

Louis Moustakas: Yes, again with Gomez. As much as, a few years ago, his presence served as a tool to attract Brian Gionta and Michael Cammalleri, I now suspect that his presence acts as a deterrent. What scoring line player wants to deal with having to compete with a 7 million dollar underachiever?

Regardless, I suspect we will continue to disagree on how important sorting Gomez's situation is.

Beyond that, I agree that inking Price is top priority. As for acquiring a top-six forward, that is easier said than done, at least via free agency. Suffice to say, the market is not exactly flooded with top-line talent. Sure, there is Zach Parise, but I somehow doubt Montreal wants to engage in that sort of bidding war. Alex Semin overflows with skill, but his attitude is often in question. What's left after that? P.A Parenteau is an intriguing, home grown option. The unqualified Guillaume Latendresse could be an interesting project.

But, really, sorting out the forward situation will be a challenge for Bergevin, especially since the departures of Kostitsyn, Darche, Blunden, Engqvist and, potentially, Moen leave quite a few holes throughout the attacking lines. And, hopefully, Bergevin disposes of the anemic Rene Bourque as well.

Last year's team was plagued by players filling vague, undefined roles. Who was a checker? Who was a scorer? Beyond Desharnais' line, no one seemed pegged in any clear role. A lot of work ahead in that department as well.

Kamal Panesar: Hmmm, you make a good point about Gomez being a deterrent to UFA signings. But honestly, I would be surprised if Bergevin was able to adequately fill the top-4 D and top-6 forward holes through free agency.

The more I look at the situation the more I see Bergevin making a trade (or two).

What GMs often do is make deals with other GMs that they have history with. Moreover, if they've worked in other places they often go for players they used to know.

On that front, Bergevin knows Dave Tallon in Florida well, as well as Stan Bowman in Chicago.

I wouldn't be surprised to see him trying to make a deal with one or both of them.

How about making a play for Jonathan Huberdeau in Florida? Or trying to grab a D-man from the Hawks?

I'd look for this kind of thinking for Bergevin.

Aside for acquisitions, Bergevin also has (way too much) dead weight on his roster.

We've already discussed Gomez, but Bergevin would do well to rid himself of Tomas Kaberle and Rene Bourque as well.

That sounds like a ridiculously tall order to me and, as such, I fully expect at least one of them on the opening day roster.

By the way, I like your Latendresse idea. I'd go for the redux with him providing size and scoring on the third line!

Louis Moustakas: Agreed, there is no way that free agency can possibly fill all of the Canadiens' needs this summer.

Someone like Latendresse can perhaps address the need for third line scoring and provide a player that can easily be shifted throughout the top-nine.

Obviously, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are team-changing players, but somehow I don't see that happening.

After that, there are a lot of depth and grinding players, but not much else. As you point out, trades are a distinct option. Someone like Huberdeau would be a dream come true for many. A big, scoring centre from Quebec. Wow. Imagine what Dale Tallon could get for that?

As for the dead weight, there is dead weight in terms of contracts — Bourque, Kaberle and Gomez — but also in terms of player type. Too many individuals are capable of filling the same role.

Yannick Weber, Raphael Diaz and, to a lesser extent, Frederic St-Denis aren't exactly miles apart in terms of style.

Lars Eller is often compared to Tomas Plekanec in his play.

Petteri Nokelainen and Andreas Engqvist are underwhelming fourth line centres who do not offer a much of a physical element. 

Marc Bergevin not only needs to fill some holes, but also craft a squad with a greater variety of tools and more clearly defined roles. 

Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on and featured columnist on Kamal is also a regular on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, and LiveSport New Zealand.

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter

Louis is an Associate Editor and Senior Writer at Born in Chicago, Louis grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. He is also an occasional guest on CKCU's Red Zone program.

Find him on Twitter @LouisMoustakas

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Patrice Brisebois and the Habs Player Development

For the first time in years, the Montreal Canadiens have rolled into the offseason with a (seemingly) clear plan and direction.

By now you've certainly heard about the successful haul Montreal had at last weekend's draft.

However leading up to draft weekend, new GM, Marc Bergevin, made several strong moves to bolster his management team.

One gets to know a GM's philosophy through their actions whether that is through trades, contracts they hand out, or people they hire.

For me, the thing I appreciate most about Bergevin's still young tenure, is his approach to player development. Or rather, the fact that so much emphasis is being put on that facet of the organization.

I still find it stunning how little of a focus Bob Gainey then Pierre Gauthier put on this pivotal area of any successful team. I mean, all of the shenanigans that Carey Price, Mike Komisarek, Chris Higgins and the brothers Kostitsyn went through in this city were the result of not being properly insulated.

These were young millionaires playing in a market where you are idolized as a God off the ice for what you do on it.

Yet management saw no reason to put in place any checks and balances. Worse yet, there was no one whose job it was to guide these young players, to show them the ropes and let them know how to maintain an even keel.

It was just "Here you go Mr. Nineteen-year-old...have a million dollars and go have fun at the strip clubs."

Umm, ya. Brilliant.

Enter Stage Left

If Gainey and Gauthier's failing was providing the proper framework for young players to develop in, then so far, it is looking like Bergevin is their antithesis.

By his actions and decisions, everything shows how much importance he places on drafting and properly developing young players.

Let's face it, this is the salary cap era and you can't continually buy players in order to win. No. You need a mix of veterans and young, supremely skilled, and cap friendly players on your team.

Under Gainey and Gauthier, we saw player after player show promise but eventually fizzle under the bright Montreal lights, only to find success elsewhere.

I have a feeling this will change under Bergevin.

Reading Dave Stubbs' excellent feature on Brisebois this morning, it is clear that Bergevin wants his young guns to know what they are getting into.

While Montreal can be the best place to play (when the crowd is behind you), it can also crush the strongest of souls when things are not going well (and the crowd turns).

What Brisebois will bring to the Habs plentiful array of young, stud defenseman, is not only an understanding of what it takes to be a winner on the ice, but also off it.

Moreover, he can prepare these 18 and 19-year-olds for life in Montreal and what that means (on and off the ice).

A Bright Future

Think back to, say, Carey Price.

Can you imagine him having had the luxury of speaking with Patrick Roy before joining the big club? Now imagine him working with Roy on a regular basis over the course of a few seasons, before being called up.

Picking his brain to learning about Montreal, about living with the weight of history, about the raucous party life, and about what it means to be a star in this city.

But, almost more importantly, learning about how fickle the Montreal crowd can be, and how they can rip you apart when things go bad.

Don't you think that advice and experience would have helped him through his second (brutal) year with the team? That was the year that ended with Price giving a Roy-like two-hands-up salute to the braying crowd.

This is exactly the kind of experience that Brisebois—a boo-bird favorite for several years in Montreal—will impart to young players like Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi, Morgan Ellis, Darren Deitz and others.

And that experience will make them that much more prepared for life in Montreal. Moreover, it can only help them to be more successful.

While we have yet to see how Brisebois' player development role unfolds, it's safe to say that Bergevin understands how to build a modern team.

Your prospects are your wealth, and without them you have nothing and are nothing. So protect them, take care of them, guide them and, ultimately, do everything in your power to make sure they are ready for the big stage, whenever they finally get there.

There's still lots of things to happen this summer on the Habs front but, so far, the new management team is giving Hab fans a reason to smile.

Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of, and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Kamal is also an on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, and LiveSport New Zealand.

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Habs News, Darche Out, Wideman, Krueger and More

Mathieu Darche - Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins
Good morning Hab fans!

We tend to focus a lot on Montreal's need to obtain help in the scoring department, but it is also worth noting that the team's bottom-six will need a serious makeover this summer.

As you probably know by now, Mathieu Darche is set to become an unrestricted free agent and will not be returning with the Canadiens. It appears that management offered him a lesser, two-way deal which he in turn refused.

Along with his departure, it is worth remembering that Andreas Engqvist made his way to the KHL and that Michael Blunden as well as Petteri Nokelainen were not tendered qualifying offers. Adding the late season trade of Andrei Kostitsyn and the potential departure of UFA Travis Moen, Marc Bergevin finds himself with many holes to plug in the team's forward lines.

So, my question to you is this: Who would you like to see acquired to fill a bottom-six role on the Habs?

Habs News

HabsAddict - Patrice Brisebois and the Habs Player Development

HabsAddict - Montreal Canadiens Top Priorities Part 3: Max Pacioretty

HabsWorld - 2012 UFA Preview: Defencemen

La Presse - Canadien: un oeil sur Larry Robinson?

La Presse - Darche et Campoli au sein du comité de négociations

RDS - «J'espérais vraiment revenir» -Darche

TSN - Darche turns down Canadiens offer; headed for free agency

Hockey News

ESPN - Wideman deal means Flames aren't rebuilding

ESPN - Quick contract talks progressing

Sports Illustrated - NHLPA a pushover no more, gears up for CBA talks

The Hockey News - Ken Campbell: Expect more active, organized NHLPA

The Hockey News - Ryan Kennedy: Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones top 2013 draft class

TSN - Flames acquire D Wideman; sign him to five-year contract

TSN - Numbers Game: Flames trade for, then sign, Wideman

Louis' Note: Is there anyone, save for Jay Feaster, who thinks this a good move? That's what I thought.

TSN - McKenzie: Oilers convinced Krueger will bring change

TSN - Oilers introduce Krueger as new head coach

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Habs Priorities, Hall of Fame, Pat Burns, New Coaches and More

Pat Burns - Washington Capitals v New Jersey Devils
Happy lunch time Hab fans!

Yesterday, the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame class was announced. Yet again, three-time Jack Adams trophy winner Pat Burns was omitted from induction.

Don't get me wrong, Joe Sackic, Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin and Adam Oates are all worthy additions. A lot of us likely grew up watching the above players produce magic on the ice.

But, Burns, as one of the rare coaches with over 1000 games and 500 wins, deserves his place there as well.

Would you not agree?

Habs News

HabsAddict - Montreal Canadiens Top Priorities Part 3: Max Pacioretty

HabsWorld - Writers Weigh In: Discussing the Draft

HockeyBuzz - Galchenyuk in the NHL?

La Presse - L'avenir de Darche avec le Canadien est incertain

RDS - Engqvist tente sa chance dans la KHL

TSN - Canadiens sign F White to one-year contract

Hockey News

ESPN - Chase for free agent Schultz heats up

RDS - Parenteau est fébrile avant l'autonomie

RDS - Capsule joueurs autonomes : Tootoo

Sports Illustrated - Draft winners and losers? Here are my picks ... and the reasons why

Sports Illustrated - NHLPA gears up for CBA talks

Montreal Canadiens Top Priorities Part 3: Max Pacioretty

Mad Max brings size and skill to Habs

Once Habs GM Marc Bergevin deals inks goalie Carey Price and defenseman P.K.Subban, he should waste no time before focusing on the Canadiens front lines.

When looking at Montreal's roster of forwards, there is little or no debate that Max Pacioretty is the closest thing the team has to an untouchable. Pacioretty promised the media and the team's fan base that he would return from his career, as well as, life threatening injury, stronger and better than ever.

It was one thing to hear those words from a player who most people believed was done, but seeing it happen was another.

In his retuning season, Pacioretty adopted a style similar to Erik Cole. Cole, who was signed in the off season after Patches' injury, must have given the young power forward some advice on how to use his body on the ice.

And the results were remarkable.

Pacioretty posted career highs in goals with 33, assists with 32 and points with 65. What's just as impressive—if not more—than those numbers, was his unwillingness to let what had happened to him limit his abilities.

It would be hard to blame him if he showed hesitation when it came to playing with some edge. But Pacioretty refused to let that slow him down, clearly showing that he is well on his way to being a top power-forward in the game's best league.

No Time Like The Present

While Pacioretty is not an RFA until the end of the season, I see no reason why Bergevin should wait to extend his contract. With a new CBA coming up—hopefully—there is no guarantee that Bergevin will get the chance to sign Pacioretty long term.

What do I mean by that? Well, it remains to be seen whether long term deals will remain a part of the game (with the new agreement), and so this may be the team's last chance to commit to Mighty Max.

Waiting until his current contract expires wouldn't be the end of the world as five year contracts will more than likey exist past the new CBA. But signing Pacioretty sooner rather than later would show fans as well as the players, that management is set on identifying the tools needed to win and locking them down.

The Terms

It's always tricky coming down to finding the right amount of money to commit to a promising player so early in his career. With only one full season under his belt—minus a three-game suspension served for a hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang—it would be foolish to throw too much money at him.

It's because of this that Bergevin may wait before signing him—so he has more of an idea of Pacioretty's worth. This could also work to the player's advantage as another strong season will no doubt result in a higher payday.

If you were in Bergevin's position do you extend Pacioretty's contract right away or wait another year with the chance of his value rising? If you go the route of extension, what's your offer?


Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at

You can follow Sean on Twitter

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Qualifying Offers, Free Agents, Hall of Fame, CBA and More

P.K. Subban - Montreal Canadiens v Washington Capitals
Good morning Hab fans!

Yesterday was the deadline to present qualifying offers to restricted free agents.

As a result, the Montreal Canadiens qualified a total of ten players, retaining P.K Subban, Raphael Diaz, Alexei Emelin, Brendon Nash, Frédéric St-Denis, Lars Eller, Ryan White, Aaron Palushaj, Blake Geoffrion and Andreas Engqvist.

Michael Blunden and Petteri Nokelainen, amongst others, were not extended a contract and will become unrestricted free agents.

In fact, on a league-wide scale, quite a few interesting names did not receive offers and can also become free agents.

Quebecois blueliners Bruno Gervais and Marc-André Gragnani were released by their respective squads. Gragnani's lack of offer is most perplexing, seeing as how the Vancouver Canucks made a significant trade to acquire his services - along with Zack Kassian - at the deadline.

Angelo Esposito, a former first round draft pick whom many envisioned in Montreal, is also a free agent now.

Do you think Marc Bergevin should target any of these new free agents?

Update - HFBoards has an excellent table of RFAs and their status. Apparently, Guillaume Latendresse was also not extended a QO. Thoughts on that everyone?

Habs and Hockey News

HabsAddict -Montreal Canadiens 2012 Draft Picks Review: Grade A

HabsWorld - Habs issue qualifying offers

La Presse - Gomez: le rachat de contrat n'est pas si simple

La Presse -Alex Galchenyuk: de bonnes notes de son entraîneur

RDS - CH : offres qualificatives à 10 joueurs

RDS - Bouillon et Gervais joueurs autonomes

USA Today -NHL labor negotiations about to begin

USA Today - Hall vote: Sakic, Shanahan to get in; Shero, Burns should

USA Today - Jets' Pavelec signs five-year, $19.5M deal

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images North America)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Habs Draft Review, Jets, Trades, Rumors and More

Alex Galchenyuk - 2012 NHL Entry Draft - Round One
Happy lunch time Hab fans!

Quite a weekend in the hockey world, wasn't it?

We saw goalies move, brothers reunited and the Leafs finally trade Luke Schenn.

For the Habs, they were quiet on the trade front, but certainly had what looked to be an exceedingly promising draft haul.

In picking three players that were, according to some, destined for the first round, it is understandable that Trevor Timmins was all smiles.

Our Fred Poulin offers an excellent overview of the draft for the Canadiens, so go check that out.

Also, tell us, in your opinion, what was the biggest story line from the draft weekend?

Habs and Hockey News

HabsAddict - Montreal Canadiens 2012 Draft Picks Review: Grade A

IIHF - 211 dreams were born here

The Hockey News - Ken Campbell: Plenty of interest in pending UFA Justin Schultz

TSN - Munz: Cheveldayoff happy with Jets haul at NHL draft

TSN - Numbers Game: Leafs deal Schenn for van Riemsdyk

USA Today - Another Sutter enters the NHL pipeline

USA Today - Ducks' Bobby Ryan tires of rumors, is eager for deal

USA Today - Which teams helped themselves most at draft?

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Montreal Canadiens 2012 Draft Picks Review: Grade A

There was much anticipation before Marc Bergevin’s first NHL Entry Draft. Montreal’s fans were eager to see what the team would do this weekend. Trevor Timmins’ scouting staff evidently did their homework as the Canadiens made several great selections, including Alex Galchenyuk, who, unless he turns into the second coming of Terry Ryan, will be a talented NHL player for years to come.

Here are the players selected by your Montreal Canadiens and their projected rankings.
3rd Overall, C – Alex Galchenyuk
Team: Sarnia Sting-OHL
Date of birth: February 12th, 1994
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 185
Rankings: THW – 4th overall
Central Scouting Ranking – 4 (NA Skaters)
The Canadiens targeted Galchenyuk from the beginning and were very happy to grab him with their first selection. Galchenyuk played only two regular-season games and six playoff games for the Sarnia Sting after suffering a knee injury in a preseason game, but the American had a very good rookie season, scoring 83 point in only 68 games during his rookie season playing alongside Nail Yakupov. The talented pivot might crack the Canadiens’ line-up in 2012, but it is safe to assume that he will need at least one more junior year before making his mark at the NHL level.
33rd Overall, RW – Sebastian Collberg
Team: Frolunda, Sweden
Date of birth: February 23rd, 1994
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 175
Rankings: THW – 10th overall
Central Scouting Ranking – 3 (European Skaters)
With their second selection, the Canadiens were glad to find that Collberg was still available in the second round. Most experts were expecting he would go in the middle of the first round, but just like fellow Swede Filip Forbserg, Collberg fell down a few ranks. Collberg has one more season remaining on his contract in Sweden, so his transition to Montreal or Hamilton will have to wait until 2013.
51st Overall, D – Dalton Thrower
Team: Saskatoon Blades, WHL
Date of birth: December 20, 1993
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 190
Rankings: THW – 16th overall
Central Scouting Ranking – 26 (NA Skaters)
A two-way defender, Thrower is a rugged defenseman who can chip in offensively as shown by his 54 points and 103 PIMs in 66 games with the Blade this season. The Canadiens were pleasantly surprised to see him available so late in the draft as some draft pundits had Thrower gone in the first round! Thrower proved that a name can be destiny.  Thanks to his ability to throw punches, he has nine fights on the books for this season.   His willingness to get physical is a quality the Habs are severely lacking on defense these days with soft rearguards such as Andrei Markov, Tomas Kaberle and Yannick Weber.
64th Overall, LW – Timothy Bozon
Team: Kamloops Blazers, WHL
Date of birth: March 24, 1994
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 180
Rankings: THW – 23rd overall
Central Scouting Ranking – 42 (NA Skaters)
The son of former St. Louis Blues forward Philippe Bozon is blessed with offensive skills, racking up 71 points in 71 games with the Blazers. He is a natural goal scorer with an excellent wrist shot and a quick, deceptive release. Bozon, who grew up in France and Switzerland, also speaks French and German, which is an an added value in a bilingual market like Montreal.
94th Overall, C – Brady Vail
Team: Windsor Spitfires, OHL
Date of birth: March 11, 1994
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 190
Rankings: THW – 60th overall
Central Scouting Ranking – 38 (NA Skaters)
A very good two-way centre, Vail can also produce offensively as shown by his 22 goals and 52 points in 68 games with Windsor in his sophomore campaign. Vail may never be a top-line player, but he could turn into a very good third-line pivot, similar to Chris Kelly of the Boston Bruins.
122th Overall, LW – Charles Hudon
Team: Chicoutimi Saguenéens, QMJHL
Date of birth: June 23rd, 1994
Ht: 5-10 Wt: 170
Rankings: THW – 67th overall
Central Scouting Ranking – 95 (NA Skaters)
The first Quebecois drafted by the Canadiens, Hudon is a shifty winger blessed with great hands. Hudon, who turned 18 yesterday, is a long-term project with some upside much like David Desharnais was when the Canadiens signed him as a free agent. The diminutive winger scored 66 points in 59 games for the surprising Sags this season.
154th Overall, LW – Erik Nystrom
Team: Modo Jr, Sweden
Date of birth: October 30th, 1993
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 175
The Hockey Writers’ Scouting Report: None
Rankings: THW – Not ranked in the top 120
Central Scouting Ranking – 85 (European Skaters)
Relatively unknown on this side of the Atlantic, Nystrom is described as a speedy, hardworking player with great vision. The Habs’s sixth round draft pick is a long-shot at making the NHL right now, so he will likely remain in the Swedish Elite League to continue his development for a few years.

Overall, Marc Bergevin and Trevor Timmins were pretty happy with their draft selections and I have to agree with them, as the Habs were able to draft solid players, especially when they selected Collberg, Thrower and Bozon in the middle rounds.

What are your thoughts on the Canadiens' 2012 draft haul?
Follow Fred on Twitter for more updates on the Canadiens and hockey in general.

Article originally published on The Hockey Writers

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Habs grab Collberg, Leafs, Flyers trade, Draft Roundup and more

Morning puck fans!

The 2012 NHL entry draft is now in the books, and what a draft it was!

We didn't see players like Roberto Luongo or Rick Nash traded (yet), but others like Jordan Staal were moved. In addition, the Leafs and Flyers swapped Luke Schenn and James Van Riemsdyk.

On the latter trade, did you really expect Brian Burke to go through draft weekend without making some kind of splash?

Me either.

On the Habs front, many are saying that the Habs came out as the biggest winner of this year's draft. Picking Alex Galchenyuk with their third overall pick, the Habs scooped Sebastian Collberg and Dalton Thrower in the second round.

These picks were rated, overall, much higher and Collberg was expected to go in the first round.

Sound like success to me!

Habs News

Hockey Inside/Out - Canadiens draft Collberg, Thrower in second round; Bozon in third

RDS - Comparé à Alfredsson

RDS - Collberg, Bozon et Hudon avec le CH


Hockey News




ESPN - Luongo, Nash survive trade winds at draft

THN - Plenty of interest in pending UFA Justin Schultz

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

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Draft Roundup, Yakupov goes first, Galchenyuk, Staal traded, Canadian teams, and more

Morning puck addicts!

So did you watch the draft last night? Or tune in online? Or by radio?

It's amazing how easy it is to get draft coverage in this day and age. It's also amazing what a big event it has become. And, despite all the hype, last's night's entry draft did not disappoint.

Aside from Nail Yakupov going first overall, the biggest news of the day was the ground shaking trade of Jordan Staal by the Pens. Pittsburgh moved their third line center (likely a first line center on any other team) to the Hurricanes to play with his brother.

In return they got Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and the Canes' first round pick this year.

This was on the heels of Staal rejected a long-term deal from the Pens and you've got to respect the speed with which Pens GM, Ray Shero, dealt with that situation!

On the Habs front, Montreal picked Alex Galchenyuk third overall. And this kid is the perfect fit for a lineup that lacking for size up the middle.

Round Two of the draft picks today with the Habs holding two high second round picks (33rd and 51st), where several good players should still be available. So it should make for an exciting day!

Habs News - 2012 NHL Draft: Get to Know Habs Draft Pick Alex Galchenyuk

RDS - Galchenyuk, l'homme du CH au 3e rang


Hockey Inside/Out - Who’s left in Round 2 for Canadiens?

Hockey News







THN - Round 1 winners and losers

ESPN - Jordan Staal trade a win for all

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Friday, June 22, 2012

2012 NHL Draft: Get to Know Habs Draft Pick Alex Galchenyuk

So the third pick of the 2012 NHL draft has come and gone and the Montreal Canadiens have selected Alex Galchenyuk.

According to GM Marc Bergevin, this is the guy they wanted all along and they are thrilled he was still on the board come the third pick.

Galchenyuk is simply the perfect fit for Montreal. Big, skilled and a center to boot, the Habs seem like they finally snared a player who can fill the "big center" role.

Now that the pick is done, I thought I'd put up some links and videos so fans can get to know the newest addition to the team.

So, without further ado, meet Alex Galchenyuk:

Hockey's Future Profile - Alex Glachenyuk

HockeyDB stats page:

Wikipedia page:


So what do you think about the pick? Are you happy or would you have preferred the Habs pick someone else?

Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of, and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Kamal is also a regular on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, and LiveSport New Zealand.

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Draft Day Roundup

Nail Yakupov - 2012 NHL Entry Draft - Top Prospects Ready For Draft In Pittsburgh
Good morning Hab fans!

The reward for a 15th place is finally upon us, as the Montreal Canadiens get to cash in their third overall pick tonight at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.

What will Marc Bergevin do? Select the highly touted Filip Forsberg? Opt for defensive star Ryan Murray? Take a risk on Alex Galchennyuk? Trade the pick?

In any case, we have you covered this morning with a roundup of the best previews and analysis from HabsAddict and accross the web.

Also, do tell, what would you do if you were in Bergevin's shoes today?

Draft News

HabsAddict - Montreal Canadiens 2012 1st Round Draft Preview

HabsAddict - 2012 NHL Draft: Interview with Scout Rick Springhetti - Part I

HabsAddict - 2012 NHL Draft Preview with scout Rick Springhetti - Part II

HabsWorld - The History of the 3rd Overall Pick

La Presse - Galchenyuk, si le CH le peut

La Presse - Troisième, un choix hasardeux

RDS - Gilles Courteau est rassuré

Sports Illustrated - 2012 NHL Mock Draft -- First Round

The Hockey News - Ken Campbell: Bobby Ryan interest interfering with Rick Nash trade

The Hockey News - Ryan Kennedy: Mikhail Grigorenko happy to prove doubters wrong

The Hockey News - Brian Costello: Blended draft rankings list

TSN - Dreger: Nash headlines all pre-draft trade speculation

TSN - Insider Trading: Rating the trade market at the NHL Draft

USA Today - NHL draft could have American flavor

USA Today - 10 things to know about this year's draft

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

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Habs Add Staff, Masterton, Priorities, Awards and More

Max Pacioretty - 2012 NHL Awards - Portraits
Good morning Hab fans!

The NHL Awards took place last night. Evgeni Malkin came away as the big winner, collecting the Art Ross, Ted Lindsay and Hart Memorial Trophy in one fell swoop.

On the Habs front, Max Pacioretty's injury ordeal finally received a modicum of recognition from the league, as he was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

The trophy "is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication."

In recent times, this has come to mean rewarding the most impressive comeback player in a given year.

Clearly, this is a much deserved award for Pacioretty, who could have easily seen his career end after suffering a devastating head injury.

But, after letting Zdeno Chara escape the infamous stanchion incident unpunished, it also seems like the league's recognition is a too little, too late.

Habs News

HabsAddict - Montreal Canadiens Top Priorities Part 2: P.K. Subban

HabsAddict - 2012 NHL Draft Preview with scout Rick Springhetti - Part II

HabsWorld - 2012 HW Mock Draft

HabsWorld - Pacioretty Wins Masterton Memorial Trophy

Hockeybuzz - With the Third Pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Montreal Selects...

La Presse - Repêchage: la philosophie de Trevor Timmins

La Presse - Canadien: quand le premier choix échoue

La Presse - Marc Bergevin est le seul maître à bord

TSN - Canadiens add Dufresne, Riendeau and Moreau to staff

Hockey News

IIHF - Malkin, Swedes take top awards

The Hockey News - THN at the NHL Awards: Europeans reign supreme

The Hockey News - Ryan Kennedy: Why goalies are the ultimate asset

Sports Illustrated - Las Vegas ain't exactly Hockeytown

Sports Illustrated - Datsyuk wary of life after Lidstrom

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Montreal Canadiens Top Priorities Part 2: P.K. Subban

Subban Essential in Habs Future Success

After identifying goaltender Carey Price as the Habs top priority, I was set to focus on power forward Max Pacioretty as the next in line.

My reasoning for this seemed simple. With prospects Nathan Beaulieu and Jared Tinordi just a year or two away from cracking the roster, GM Marc Bergevin may want to zero in on the future of the Habs forwards.

However, after putting more thought into it, locking down the dynamic defenseman seemed all too obvious. Subban plays the game with enough confidence to fill the visitors locker room as well as the Habs, and has the talent to back it up.

When given the okay, Subban can bring the crowd to it's feet with his end-to-end rushes. P.K. has the talent to circle back around to the oppositions blue line — untouched — if he doesn't like his options. Along with his skill, he has the energy to be the first man back in the event of a turnover.

His goal total went from 14 in 2010-11 to seven the next season, prompting many in Montreal to classify Subban as an overhyped, one year wonder.

Those kind of comments always amuse me. A one year wonder after only two seasons? Only in Montreal.

Despite scoring only half as many goals as his previous year, the flashy blue liner still finished the season with only two fewer points than the 2010-11 season with 36.

Points aside, what made last year an impressive season for Subban was the jump in his plus/minus column. With the absence of Andrei Markov, Subban averaged two more minutes of ice time per game — 24:18 vs 24:16 — and still managed to improve his +/- from -9 to +18. Not a bad climb during a season in which the Canadiens, as a team, finished with a -14 differential.

With time, Subban's talent will continue to progress as he is a true competitor who will push himself to be better, making him one of the Canadiens top priorities during the off season.

With the Ottawa Senators locking down Erik Karlsson for seven years at an annual cap hit of $6.5 million, it wouldn't be a shock to see Subban sign for somewhere in the neighborhood of $5-5.5 million, providing he inks with the Habs long term.

Subban however, may prefer to sign a one year deal in order to prove that he is worth more.

If the choice was yours, how many years would you offer Subban, and for how much?

Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at You can follow Sean on Twitter.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Habs News, Draft, Ryan, Karlsson and More

Bobby Ryan - Anaheim Ducks v Phoenix Coyotes
Good late AM hab fans!

According to a recent TSN report, it appears that Bobby Ryan's name is once again on the trade market.

Frankly, I don't think I need to tell my Habs-fan bretheren how much a player like Ryan could serve the often diminutive Canadiens.

A physical, 6'2", 209 lb forward with the ability to score 30 goals is something every team could use.

So, here is my question to you this morning: What would you be willing to give up, if anything, in a trade for Bobby Ryan?

Habs News

HabsAddict - 2012 NHL Draft Preview with scout Rick Springhetti - Part II

HabsAddict - 2012 NHL Draft: Interview with Scout Rick Springhetti - Part I

HabsAddict - Montreal Canadiens 2012 1st Round Draft Preview

HabsWorld - Evaluating the Options: Filip Forsberg

Sports Illustrated - Trade talk pot is boiling

Hockey News

ESPN - Bettman: Expect Yotes in desert in 2012-13

ESPN - Rumblings: Ryan Suter, Rick Nash and more

ESPN - NHL awards: Sens celebrate Karlsson deal

TSN - Ducks forward Ryan may be on trade market again

TSN - Senators agree with D Karlsson on seven-year extension

The Hockey News - Ken Campbell: Analyzing Rick Nash's six suitors

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

2012 NHL Draft Preview with scout Rick Springhetti - Part II

With the draft only two days away we continue with Part II of our interview with McKeen's magazine scout, Rick Springhetti.

In Part I, Rick spoke about being a scout and the draft in general. In Part II, however, we get more specific and talk about the Habs.

So here goes part two...

On the Habs

Q: The Montreal Canadiens are picking third overall. If everything goes according to your rankings, that will mean Matthew Dumba will be playing in a Habs jersey in the not-so-distant future. Many have said this kid could be the next Scott Neidermayer, or Drew Doughty.

What is your assessment of Dumba?

A: I don’t think there’s a defenseman in this draft who has the potential to be anywhere near as good as those two but that’s not surprising, those are special players. Dumba has a lot of Subban in him but he’s not as reliable defensively.

What he does have over Subban is an ability to lay out very hard open ice hits.

Q: Can you see the Canadiens making a splash and selecting Malcolm Subban?

A: If he’s available in the second round, it could happen. I would think Montreal would look at drafting a goaltender as the cupboard is a little thin at that position in the system right now...mind you, after the top three of Vasilevski, Rask and Subban, there are a few more intriguing option for later on in the draft in Brandon Whitney, Matt Murray, Francois Brassard and Etienne Marcoux among others.

Q: OK, you get a call from Habs GM, Marc Bergevin, tomorrow morning...Trevor Timmins is fired and you are the new head scout. With what you know about the Canadiens and the upcoming draft—and assuming they don’t trade their pick—who is the player who you would love to pick at third overall, and why?

A: I think at some point, you may have to consider need, at least a little bit. So if it was up to me, Galchenyuk, Yakupov and Teravainen are three options that I really like for the Habs. All 3 have abilities with the puck that impress me.

Q: Many of the Canadiens prospects just finished having great runs at the Memorial Cup, playing key roles in the process. Out of all of the players currently in their ranks, who do you feel is closest to the NHL?

A: I believe that Tinordi is the closest. Beaulieu may have the biggest impact but someone like him, who is more creative with the puck, he has to take risks so he needs time to learn how the minimize mistakes.

Tinordi is already so big and his role will pretty much be strictly as a stay-at-home defenseman. I would like to see both play a full year in the AHL but at the end, their performances will dictate what will happen going forward.

Q: Is Brendan Gallagher NHL ready? Given his diminutive stature, can his skillset translate to success in the NHL and, if so, is he a top-6 forward or more of a top-9 guy?

A: I would think more of a top-9 guy. Due to his size, he does have to be matched-up in certain situations but then again, he’s proven to do better than expected and he’s fearless so he’s someone to keep an eye on.

One thing though, with the current (Habs) roster being what it is, he will have a tough time getting a spot (on the team).

Q: Who is the most underrated Habs prospect? Who is the best?

A: I would have said Morgan Ellis is the most underrated prospect a few weeks ago, but so many people have seen him during the Memorial Cup so they’re now aware of how good he’s become.

The one guy who I really enjoy watching is Darren Dietz. Still has some growing to do physically but once he does get bigger, he can be a stay-at-home defenseman who plays with some jam and, once in a while, can surprise opponents with some offense.

Josiah Didier is another one I like. His raw tools were better than I expected them to be when I saw him at the Habs development camp last summer.

On you

Q: You are very active in social media and, especially, the Twitterverse. How do you feel Twitter has changed hockey reporting and, more specifically, your job.

A: I think twitter is a fantastic tool to gain contacts mostly and to even meet up with people who don’t live in your area.

In recent years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting-up with people from Ottawa, Shawinigan, Quebec and Victoriaville when scouting games there so that’s been fun. The hard part to put up with is that some, because there’s a 140 character limit, seem to want to give opinions that require a lot more thought than Twitter allows.

A perfect example is the hiring of Michel Therrien.

Too many seem to classify him as either an excellent coach or a terrible one. Truth is that most coaches have strengths and weaknesses and success or failure is not only coaching but the players, the decisions made by management, a little bit of luck, etc.

Q: You have a reputation as someone who is always willing to talk hockey, as many on Twitter can attest to. How can people get in touch with you, see more of your work, and even ask you questions?

A: I can always be reached at I can’t always give too much details on prospects out of respect for the work we do at Mckeen’s but I will do my best to answer questions or comments when I can.

As always, Rick can be reached on Twitter @rick1042.

Missed Part I of the interview? Read it here.
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of, and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Kamal is also a regular on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, and LiveSport New Zealand.

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Canadiens Draft Preview, McKeen's, Daigneault, Signings and More

Michel Therrien - Montreal Canadiens Introduce Michel Therrien As New Head Coach
Good late AM Hab fans!

After it being widely reported that JJ Daigneault would become the final assistant coach for the Montreal Canadiens, there are now stories of him denying the connection.

If not him as the final assistant, then who?

Elsewhere, we are ramping up our draft preview. Kamal Panesar recently conducted an excellent interview with Rick Springhetti of McKeen's Hockey and Fred Poulin delivers a good look a potential first round picks for the Habs.

Seems like an exciting week is ahead in Habs-land, no?

Habs News

HabsAddict - Montreal Canadiens 2012 1st Round Draft Preview

HabsAddict - 2012 NHL Draft: Interview with Scout Rick Springhetti - Part I

CJAD -Daigneault denies Habs interest

La Presse - Oui au pont Maurice-Richard

Hockey News

ESPN - Watch: Blackhawks sign three

Silveroaks Casino - NHL – First Round Draft Picks of the New Millennium

Louis' Note: Really cool infographic e-mailed to us by Ron S.

TSN - Sharks ink D Stuart to three-year, $10.8 million deal

TSN - Blues re-sign D Jackman to three-year, $9.5 million contract

TSN - Helm agrees to terms on four-year deal with Red Wings

USA Today - Where is the L.A. Kings' missing puck?

USA Today - NHL denies report about Devils takeover plan

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)