Happy UFA/CANADA Day!
It’s been a while, but I figured this is the perfect time to post a summer blog. A lot has happened in Montreal since Boston made them look like an AHL team, and it’s about time we catch up!
A NEW COACH – MY (NOT-SO) FAVORITE MARTIN
First; Bob Gainey named Jacques Martin his new head coach. The contract is a reported 4 year deal worth 6 million dollars (or 1.5 million per season). He is the first experienced coach they have hired since Demers, which is a step in the right direction. However, the guy is an old school coach with an old school style. Notice all the younger coaches coming into the league now and having success; that’s not a coincidence. Anyone want to bet that Martin doesn’t finish the 4 years?
FOR SALE SIGN NOT UP FOR LONG – WELCOME BACK MOLSONS
Next; George Gillette decided it was time to sell the storied franchise. He bought the Habs at it’s lowest price and sold it at the high; a rumored 500 million. I’m very happy to have seen the Molsons step up. It’s great to have local owners who can provide the necessary resources to field a competitive team and who understand that the owner’s should step back and let their hockey operations people run the team. George Gillette was a fine owner and I wish him well.
After weeks of Gainey making no progress on players, the draft came to town. Reports say he tried desperately to hammer out a Lecavalier deal to no avail. That would have been something special, but it’s time to move on. My favorite moment of the draft was when Brian Lawton was raving about trading up to get another pick in the first round for a guy he evaluated as a future impact player by the name of Ashton Carter. I believe his name was Carter Ashton. Trevor Timmins satisfied the crowd by drafting local kid Louis Leblanc at #18. I have seen him play live and I can say with confidence that this wasn’t a language thing. He’s an excellent player; a future 2nd line center who can contribute all over the ice. He works hard and has scored goals at every level he’s played at. Quick; when was the last time the Habs had a 6’1 scoring center……take your time…..
GAINEY FINDS HIS #1 CENTER
So; back to Bob; people are quick to criticize him for not making bold moves and then when he makes a blockbuster trade (Gomez for Higgins and McDonagh), everyone is all over him for getting killed in the deal. I believe he did come out on the losing end; but lets face facts, the Habs are better today than they were yesterday. I have 2 issues with the deal; first of all Gomez is a good player who becomes great when he is playing with great players. The Habs need to pick up at least 1 impact player tomorrow at the forward position. Second of all; about a year ago the Canadiens were loaded with D prospects. Then; Mathieu Carle demanded a trade, Shawn Belle’s rights were not qualified, Yemelin is staying in Russia, Valentenko abandoned the team and was part of today’s deal and now they got rid of Ryan McDonagh. All I’m saying is that they better be damn sure that Yannick Weber, PK Subban and David Fischer will all be capable of being in their top 6 by next season at the very latest.
FREE AGENCY PREDICTIONS
1 top 4 defenceman (Ohlund, Beauchemin, Komisarek)
1 depth defenseman (Schneider)
2 impact forwards (Havlat, Hossa, Gaborik, the Sedins, Kovalev, Tanguay)
The Habs have a poor track record on July 1, but this year might be different. The Canadiens have dollars to spend and cap space available, whereas not many teams have those 2 luxuries due to major salary commitments or owners who are trying to cut costs. That being said; specifically regarding the impact forwards; there are at least 5 (Havlat, Hossa, Gaborik and the twins) who will all command 6 million+ per year, there's Mike Cammallerri too and of course Dany Heatley who is on the market (don't even get me started on that one!). Odds are, based on the the number of teams looking to add an impact forward and who can afford one, one of those 7 names will end up in a Habs uniform tomorrow. That's pure speculation on my part.
As for the former Canadiens;
Koivu – going to Anaheim
Kovalev – coming back
Tanguay – not signed until July 2nd at the earliest
Komisarek – runnin’ with the Devils
Worst case; there’s always the trade market. Trade bait includes Plekanec, O’Byrne and Halak.
2 suggestions for the GM;
1 – reconsider your policy on signing FAs during the year.
2 – change your cell phone plan; right now Gainey has unlimited incoming so he always waits for people to call him instead of making calls.
Have a great July 1 – if anything Habs-related breaks I’ll be sure to pop in for a visit.
GO HABS GO!
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.