The Montreal Canadiens have added some depth and experience to their defense with the signing of Paul Mara. The 6'4 D-man brings size above all else to a defensive corps that often allowed 40+shots per game last season. This addition should help an organization that is trying to provide their young goaltender (Carey Price) with all the tools he needs to succeed in his 3rd year.
Mara is coming off a decent year with the Rangers, where had had 21 points in 76 games. He was also #1 amongst their D in plus/minus. The former 1st rd pick never materialized into a major offensive force, but he has emerged as a very solid defensive defenseman who can chip in with some offense every so often. My best guess is that the 6'4 Mara and the 6'7 Hal Gill will be paired together on the Habs' new shutdown D-pairing.
Currently, Montreal has 6 defensemen under contract; Markov, Gorges, Hamrlik, Spacek, Gill and Mara. PK Subban, Yannick Weber and Ryan O'Byrne will compete for a spot in training camp, with the edge going to Weber at this early stage. An educated guess at this point is that Ryan O'Byrne might be on his way out. I wouldn't be surprised to see O'Byrne and Halak traded for a top 9 forward, and then see the Habs turn around and sign a veteran backup to help out Price in goal.
I like this signing. I found that Montreal's D got abused last year due to a lack of size and a lack of depth. Both of those issues have now been officially taken care of. Good job, Bob.
The Canadiens were not done! Travis Moen has been signed to a 3 year deal, which adds some more sandpaper to the lineup. For those who may have forgotten, Moen was an integral part of Anaheim's Cup in 2007. He played the wing on a fierce checking line with Sammy Pahlsson and Rob Niedermayer. I can't help but think that Maxim Lapierre can play the Pahlsson role and Max Pacioretty can fill in with the Niedermayer role. A Moen – Lapierre – Pacioretty line could be one of the best checking lines in the East! A word of advice to Mike Komisarek; if you thought Lucic was tough to handle, now you've got Moen in the division too! Good luck!
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.