Thursday, July 4, 2013

Habs sign Daniel Brière to a two-year deal, working the phones to get bigger up front

On Thursday, the Montreal Canadiens have signed play-making forward Daniel Brière to a two-year contract worth $8 million. Briere, 35, will join the Canadiens after he had the final two years of his contract bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this month.

Brière, who had 6 goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 34 games last season, has recorded 286 goals and 373 assists for 659 points in 847 career games in the NHL.

The 5'10'', 180-lb, forward signed a $52 million, eight-year deal with Philadelphia before the 2007-08 season as an unrestricted free agent, choosing the Flyers over the Canadiens at the time. The Gatineau native played a very important role in helping them reach the Stanley Cup finals in 2010 before they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

A renowned playoff performer, Brière is producing at a 1 PPG clip in the playoffs, scoring 50 goals and 59 assists for 109 points in 108 games.

After learning that Vincent Lecavalier had signed with the Flyers earlier this week as an unrestricted free agent, some Habs fans are certainly happy about the signature of another Quebecer. Brière, a natural center who can also play on the wing, is a seven-time 25-goal scorer in the NHL. He had his best campaign with the Buffalo Sabres in 2006-07 when he notched 32 goals and 63 helpers for 95 points in 81 games.

Slowed down by multiples injuries in recent years, Brière will basically replace Michael Ryder's offensive production after the team decided to part ways with Ryder, who was acquired mid-season for disgruntled forward Erik Cole.

While most Canadiens fans are ripping GM Marc Bergevin for this move because Brière is another small forward joining another bunch of undersized forwards such as David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta and Brendan Gallagher,  this signature is likely the precursor of other player movements to get bigger up front.

With the Free Agency period slated to open at noon on Friday, the Canadiens will be looking to get meaner and tougher up front whether they manager to sign a big UFA or acquire a tough and gritty forward via trade.

Bergevin is currently working the phones to address the Habs' glaring size problem and the names currently mentioned as trade baits are Gionta, Desharnais and Plekanec. A team that is rumored to be talking with the Canadiens are the St. Louis Blues who are looking to add quality center after pivot Andy McDonald announced his retirement earlier this summer.

Playmaker David Perron and power forward Chris Stewart are currently on the market and would interest the Canadiens. Perron, 25, recorded 25 points in 48 contests last season after missing parts of the previous two seasons with concussion symptoms. Stewart, a 25-yeard-old RFA, had a solid season in 2012-13, notching 18 goals and 18 assists for 36 points in 48 games.

Would you be happy if the Canadiens decided to unload one of their small forwards in exchange for the two above players?

Do you agree with Brière's two-year deal?


Re: your final 2 questions - 1) Not if it's Pleky. 2) No.

Yes, especially if it's #14

Great deal... Briere has s chance to bounce back and become a fan fav or if the Habs are not in a playoff position at trade deadline he's trade bait where everybody pays. Draft pics ... Great move and Gionta should be sent back to NJ finish his career with his brother :)

Trade bait... with a NMC. If Habs are not in a playoff position then it's another step backwards. And Gio is not only injured and would need the receiving team to waive the physical, he's also got a NMC, which he would have to agree to waive to basically get dumped for cap space.

To answer your questions:

1. YES, I would unload all my small guys.
2. No, I actually hate this move.

LOL, I can't believe someone would suggest moving Plekanec over Desharnais or Gionta. Do you even watch this team play? Plus good luck moving his $5M contract anyway. Gionta is the most realistic choice here. I would hold off for now however. The market is a little hot right now and there are teams out there that won't get what they are looking for once the free agent frenzy has settled in. Give it 3-5 weeks and then see who is desperate. I think Gionta going back to NJ is a good move. If only NJ would be willing to throw a guy like Adam Henrique in the package. Wishful thinking.....

bye bye desharnais, too small too slow too little skill... see ya dd

I'm not a fan of this move at all. I almost feel like his French Canadian stature earned him this deal. I feel if he was Daniel Brier from Alberta, the Habs aren't sniffing in his direction. He's 35, skills have been declining, injuries are up and he's tiny. The terms aren't horrible, and the contract won't be a crutch to the salary cap but I don't see him reaching the 60 point plateau in either of these years. I certainly hope he proves me wrong.

How about keeping Pleky and the others, and adding George Parros? Still more work to do?

I am one who likes Briere as I stated on an earlier post. I have always liked him and it helps getting a local guy for the fan base. I think it is a win win deal because the term is only 2 years its worth the gamble. I always like George Parros as an enforcer. However getting Briere means we absolutely have to trade Gionta or Desharnais. I think Plekanec might be the guy to go which I wouldnt like he is a solid 2 way player. I did like an earlier post targeting Stewart or Perron from St Louis. Food for thought if we were lucky enough to get rid of both Gionta and Desharnais trade for Konopka as the 4th line center

Would love to land C stewart. Young, big, tough and can score. RFA so they would have to pay him upwards of 4.5 or 5 millon. Have to unload desharnais and not plekanec. Plekanec is a good two way centre who is under appreciated by fans.
Use Gionta and some prospects in move for top 4 dman.

mb is afraid of his own shadow.
gutless with of all assistants what gives.
a washed up francaphone who did,not want to play here and a washed up goon who scored 1 goal.

how did he improve his team.
now detroit, leafs ottawa n.j boston are all stronger.
mtl will not make the playoffs this year.
txs m.b

I agree that MB is reluctant to pull the trigger and am concerned that their division rivals all improved. I am not impressed with the moves to date. Essentially mtl replaced cole with Briere and added nothing last year with the exception of Prust. Signed Desharnais to an inflated contract. Can't help but think mtl had the tools to land B Ryan after seeing what Ottawa gave up. C Stewart is a young piece and would be a very good move. Make it happen MB. Time to make a statement. Pkg desharnais, prospect and draft pick. Stl can't afford him and it appears they are not to keen on signing him. Sign him for 5year and average of 4.75 mill.

The only way I'd trade Plecanek to St. Lou is for both Perron and Stewart, of course we would have to give up a pick or prospect too. Plec is a great two way center, but these two guys bring a physical game that we need to play in our division.

I see that a lot of you disagree about the Briere signing, but when I look at Friday's signings, I really think Bergevin was wise to stay out of that sheer madness. I prefer Briere's contract to the ones given to overrated players like Ryane Clowe, David Clarkson and Stephen Weiss!

Let's be realistic here for a moment.

Blues have $7 million in space and need to sign Pietrangelo and Stewart. Both will be making IMO in the $ 4 million range with Pietrangelo making more.

Secondly down the middle they have Oshie, Backes, Lapierre, Roy right now.

So they have no money and are deep down the middle. No way they are taking Desharnais, Pleks, Gio meaning if a small forward is moved it is by default Gallagher whom I think we can agree is not likely to go anywhere.

If a deal is mad with STL then it will have to be one of our top prospects on an ELC

Good points, Bryan. We'll be moving a D-man or one of our junior scorers in any deal. Probably a draft pick or two in any St. Louis deal.

1) No way I trade Plek get rid of DD or Gio. Anyone who thinks Plek should be shown the door probably rarely watches this team play. He rarely gets put with any of our top players, sat 4th on the team in pts this year, is a great penalty killer and plays a good two-way game.. not to mention 5 20 goal seasons. DD on the other hand.. plays with our best players, sat 8th on the team in pts, can't imagine him on the PK ever, and has had 1 good season because he was carried on a hot line. 2) Briere > Ryder so good deal.


Even if we try to move a D, apart from PK who slides into that lineup ahead of jbo, Jackman, Polak, Shanttenkik, Pietrangelo? Dont see a deal here at all Unless its a Thrower, Beaulieu or other top name

Habs have not improved one bit..still has goaltender problem..price not the answer in goal over paid over rated..too laid back and cannot stay focused price will never shine in montreal and habs will never win cup with price in dd..over paid....and gionta....made huge mistake not getting b. Ryan..did not address defence...or power forward goal scorer...geez habs wake up and smell roses..all teams in division got bigger and stronger..mb what r u thinking...habs fans deserve better..enough is enough


Way too harsh. For one, and yes I know injuries are part of the game, but in the Otawa series the habs were the better team in at least 3 of hose games. This despite no Eller, no Emelin, Pacioretty with a separated shoulder, Prust with shoulder and ribs, Gio with torn bicep, etc.... if healthy that would have been a different series.

As for in goal yes they did address that by hiring arguably the best goalie coach in the NHL. Look at what Waite did with Niemi, Crawford, Emery, and on.

Not getting Ryan is not a mistake. The equivalent for Montreal would have been Gallagher, a prospect and a 1st. And in 2 seasons Ryan is a UFA who may simply bolt. Is it worth it knowing there a chance Gallagher competes with him right away for production?

Secondly Ryan would have addressed size for sure but his acquisition would have put us over the cap as well. Ottawa has the luxury of fitting him in because of all their low paid players.

No Bergevin has $4 million+ in cap room, has 2-3 positions opened up on this team for kids to battle for and we are 3 months from the start of the season.

Who knows what this team looks like in October, be patient.

Bobby Ryan is overrated. I'm glad we did not break the bank to land him. He scores goals, but far too often floats and takes shifts off. He doesn't set up anyone. He gets assists when players bang in his rebounds. He's going to command top-dollar as a FA. Just like Rick Nash, I love the scoring but not at the cap hit.

Trading for Chris Stewart and signing him for $4.5-$5mil/year will go down in the 'How did they ever let him go?' hall of fame. He's 6'2", 230lbs, plays physical and can score and he's only 25. Imagine him on RW with Pacioretty on LW with Galchenyuk at centre for the next 10 years. Give the Blues a D prospect (Thrower), a draft pick (2nd in 2014) and one of our current roster players(3rd or 4th line guy). Get it done MB!!!

Forget stewart. Blues dealt Perron to free up cap space to sign both Stewart and Pietrangelo.

No doubt stewart would be a great fit..i may be harsh on habs but being a die hard fan for past 55 years, it is frustrating to habs making poor salary choices like for dd..should try and trade him and throw in a def... prospect..yes new goal coach should definitely help but still feel carey price got paid too much too early like what habs paid david d.and he went blank..habs need lot of protection for gallagher or he will not last very long with his style and he will get knocked around big time. Habs defence needs more mobility..yes they are solid to some degree but still need a little more size and toughnes there . Great young prospects no doubt but still missed out on getting power forward with size and goal scoring..ship out ryan white...dd...mohen needs to be revitalized..pleks needs to be pleks and needs help on his line...briere is going to be interesting, but i see him gone after one year..markov has maybe one year left and habs need to be ready to replace him but will be tough to do...habs do not put fear in any team in any category especially in goal..teams need to be aware that habs are potent in some aspect of their game..just tired of habs bad choices especialy with their storied history and tradition..must be so tough for the greats henri richard and beliveau and lafleur and cournoyer to watch habs playing now..time for habs to take action..hopefully mb has a plan..or else bring back scottie bowman as advisor and to bad they do not make them like the best ever gm sam pollick anymore...go habs go..

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I dislike the Briere signing. Love the player but he's not a fit for this team. Soon as they lost out on Lecavelier they should've gone after Horton or trade for a big guy, top six forward. This team is going to get mowed down again next year, despite Parros acquisition. The d is soft too. Boston is our principle rival and we've been shown how to make repeat cup runs by Chiareli and Neely... Get bigger!

I like Briere signing after long thought about it ,he is good from the side to set up power play,now they have a option besides the points,which should make them more balanced.I also think they should look at a top 4 defencemen maybe edler signed for several years and big body,gives room to trade markov at trade deadline to open cap space to resign subban

Gionta sucks and plekanec is a puck hog secondly ryan white is a bad penalty taking bum trade them all for a bag of pucks

Why does montreal keep signing wash ups . Briere Gomez Cole Gionta the list goes on .. How about signing someone good and young for a change. Morrow would be another bad deal unless its less than 2.2 mil a year

James Neal would be a great pick up.. Norman Albert Jr trade advisor

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