Montreal has been very quiet during the first two days of free agency. They signed a backup goalie in Alex Auld and a bottom 6 center/left wing in Dustin Boyd. The lack of activity can be explained by having very little cap room, but a few eyebrows were still raised by these 2 signings.
First, Montreal addressed their need for a backup goalie by signing Alex Auld, a 29-year-old veteran backup of 207 NHL games played. In those 207 games, he has a winning percentage of just over .500. Here’s my problem with the signing; 1 – ever since a stellar year in 2005-06 which saw him win 33 games for Vancouver, he has been very mediocre in his role as a backup goalie, and 2 – I don’t trust Carey Price starting 60+ games this year, nor do I trust Alex Auld starting 25+ games. For what they paid for Auld, I like to think they could have gotten better value in the form of Martin Biron (approximately the same salary), Dan Ellis or Johan Hedberg (both 500k more per season).
Second, Montreal signed Dustin Boyd, recently acquired from Nashville to a one year, 650k deal. That’s a low risk, high reward signing for someone once considered an above average NHL prospect. Some may look at this signing as disappointing considering it probably rules out a return of Dominic Moore. But, in a world where Derek Boogaard gets 1.6 million, Chris Higgins gets 1.7 million, Olli Jokinen gets 3 million and where Colby Armstrong will be earning $3 million as well; how much do you think Moore thinks he’s worth? I would say at the very minimum $1.75 to $2 million per year. With an already tight budget, I think the Habs got better value out of Boyd than they would have gotten out of Moore. Maybe they will still sign Moore, but not at what is likely his current asking price.
I certainly hope the Canadiens are not done just yet. One idea that popped into my head today when hearing that Kevin Bieksa is likely going to be dealt, is how good of an acquisition he would be for Montreal. A right-handed defenseman, under 30, an affordable cap hit ($3.5 million) and who has the ability to contribute offensively and defensively would be a phenomenal addition for the Habs. If I was Vancouver, I would look to address the 2 immediate organizational needs in a trade for Bieksa – some depth on the wing in the top 3 lines and a young defenseman, considering their aging blueline and lack of an elite D prospect. I propose that Montreal offers Andrei Kostitsyn and Yannick Weber for Kevin Bieksa.
You can be sure that Pierre Gauthier is not done building the 2010-11 edition of the Montreal Canadiens. For now we’ll just have to wait patiently for his next move. If any of you know him, please send him my trade proposal so he can forward it on to Mike Gillis. Thanks.
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.