For those Habs fans who missed it, GM Marc Bergevin also re-signed RFA Dale Weise last week to a two-year deal worth $2.05 million (or $1.025 million annually). The 25-year-old winger was acquired mid-season in exchange for rearguard Raphael Diaz from the Vancouver Canucks.
With the draft looming, the rumors are swirling that the Canadiens and the scouting staff, headed by Trevor Timmins, would like to move up in the top 10 of the draft if possible, or at least in the top 16, if not. The team is willing to sacrifice a young defenseman (not named Jarred Tinordi) to make it happen. Currently slated to draft 26th overall, the Bleu Blanc Rouge is really eager to move up in this year's draft since it's a very shallow draft and a late-round draft pick is unlikely to pan out. The Canadiens are looking to add a power forward blessed with a combination of size and talent, and Alex Tuch, which is ranked 17th on TSN Draft Rankings would be the perfect draft pick. Tuch is a 6'4'', 215-lb right winger who plays a physical and rugged style of play while contributing offensively as shown by his 32 points (13g, 19 a) in 26 games with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. However, these kinds of deals happen most of the time during the draft right on the floor when teams realize the player they want is gone or is still available at a specific moment.
In other news, Stephen Bartlett, who is the agent of team captain Brian Gionta, sounded cautiously optimistic that Gio would be back with the team next season as the organization is very interested in retaining his services. A favorite of head coach Michel Therrien, Gionta tallied 18 goals and 22 assists for 40 points in 81 games this season with the Habs, reaching the 40-point plateau for the third time during his five-year contract with the team. Since Gionta is longer able to play in the top-six and is more suited to play a shut-down role on the third line, Bergevin will make him a substantially lower contract offer. I'm hearing that a two-year pact worth between $2.5 to $3.0 million annually is the offer on the table. The 35-year-old winger is still hesitant on accepting the deal and will most likely see what the other 29 NHL teams want to offer him before making a decision, but he likes the city and the organization.
As for shot-blocking specialist, Mike Weaver, negotiations seem to have hit a snag between the organization and Weaver as per Renaud Lavoie and Jimmy Murphy. It seems like the right-handed defenseman, who proved to be the steal of the trade deadline, is not a priority right now for Marc Bergevin. Weaver was a force to reckon with on the penalty kill and a shot-blocking machine throughout the series. He would make for a cheap veteran presence on the third pairing and he could mentor youngsters Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi. Weaver earned $1.1 million last season and will be looking to sign a two-year deal in the same salary range.
Finally, the Canadiens have yet to start negotiating with all-star defenseman P.K. Subban, who is expected to break the bank after signing a two-year bridge contract worth $5.75 million before the 2012-13 season. According to his agent Don Meehan, the two parties will meet at the draft in order to set a meeting schedule to get the negotiations going to finally reach a long-term deal. Subban, who recorded 10 goals and 43 assists for 53 points in 82 games, will more than likely earn at least $8 million annually over eight years (the maximum number of years allowed under the last CBA).
Don't be surprised if Marc Bergevin is named the GM of the Year tonight at the 2014 NHL Awards live from Las Vegas, Nevada. Our own P.K. Subban will be among the award presenters during the ceremony.
What do you expect from the Canadiens and their GM Marc Bergevin?