Archive for the ‘Trades & Signings’ Category

Habs Quiet on Trade Day

Besides a move last night that saw underachieving Matt D’Agostini traded to the St. Louis Blues for minor league player Aaron Palushaj, the Montreal Canadiens stood pat today with no further moves before the 3 PM EST trade deadline.

Like most passionate Habs fans I was hoping for that monster deal that never seems to happen but, fandom and its expectations aside, I find it hard to believe that Gauthier did not make moves today to lighten our cap load and potentially strengthen our blue line.

Are we contenders this season? I think the answer to this (again, fandom and its expectations aside) is a resounding no; based on that fact, and the additional fact that we’ve been 17 years without a strong Cup run, how does the GM of any team in the playoff bubble decide that he not only not a buyer, but not a seller either.

The deals made by Brian Burke for the Maple Leafs, while stinking of giving up, open up cap space and recouped trades for pending UFAs and general underachievers. If the only alternative is keeping ours, I would have liked a little more Burke-esque action today.

Happy trade day, for what it’s worth. The rest of the season suddenly seems much less interesting to me, and isn’t keeping fans interested what the NHL is really about? We are the ones spending the money, after all.

Habs Sign Free Agent D Marc-Andre Bergeron

Marc-André BergeronIn an effort to shore up injured defensive lines Habs’ GM Bob Gainey announced the signing today of free agent Marc-André Bergeron. The 5’9″ defenceman scored 14 goals and added 18 assists last year for the Minnesota Wild and is something of a powerplay specialist.

The downsides? Bergeron isn’t huge, can be a liability at even-strength and is yet another left-handed shooter. At only $750,000 though, you can’t argue with a guy who puts up those numbers alongside a +5 on the season and we can most definitely use that shot from the point.

Our newest defenceman will start out in Hamilton in order to get into game shape before reporting to the big club at some unknown point in the future.

Tanguay, Schneider Find New Homes

Alex TanguayAlex Tanguay will complete a new French connection with the Tampa Bay Lightning as he skates alongside Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis this coming season and Mathieu Schneider will be playing for the only team he wanted to join as he heads to Vancouver. Both Montreal UFAs spent a long summer without a deal before coming to agreements this past week.

While I’m a bit bummed by the fact that we traded two draft picks, including a first rounder, to nab Tanguay in the first place only to have him miss half of last season and produce only 16 goals before signing for half the money in Tampa, I didn’t want him back. So good luck to Tanguay in Tampa, I look forward to seeing what this new French connection can cook up!

Schneider is a solid defenseman but better, in my opinion, to fill out our open defense spots with some of the young up-and-comers in the system. He’ll do well in Vancouver – and he’s one of the few UFAs to leave us this season without going to a close rival, so that’s a bonus.

Wake me up when it’s October!

Canadiens Sign Plekanec to One-Year Deal

Tomas PlekanecThe Habs announced today the signing of RFA Tomas Plekanec to a one-year deal worth $2.75 million. The centreman was scheduled for an arbitration hearing on July 30.

Plekanec catches alot of heat from fans for his fear of the corners and lack of grittiness but it must be remembered that he still notches 20+ goals per season and has the ability to be a game-changer when he’s playing well. The price is a little high (and I would have preferred Captain Koivu at $3.25 million as a second centre) but I’m interested to see how the speedy Plekanec plays with the many new teammates he’ll have in the 09-10 campaign.

The official team announcement:

Montreal Canadiens General Manager Bob Gainey announced today the signing of forward Tomas Plekanec to a one-year contract (2009-10). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Plekanec elected for salary arbitration on July 5. His hearing was scheduled for July 30.

Plekanec, 26, completed in 2008-09 his fifth season with the Canadiens. The centreman posted his third consecutive 20-goal campaign, registered 39 points (20 goals, 19 assists), and fired 202 shots on goal in 80 games. He was one of only three Canadiens players not to miss a game with an injury in 2008-09.
Since 2003-04, Plekanec amassed 184 points (78 goals, 106 assists) with 637 shots on goal and a plus-20 rating in 311 regular-season games. The 5-11, 197-pound forward also scored 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) and registered 52 shots on goal in 21 career NHL playoff contests.

A native of a Kladno, Czech Republic, Plekanec represented his country at the World Hockey Championship on three occasions (2006, 2007, 2009) and won a gold medal at the 2001 World Junior Championship, in Russia.
Plekanec was selected in the third round, 71st overall, by the Canadiens at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

Habs Sign Goaltender Curtis Sanford

Curtis SanfordThe Habs have signed free agent goalie and former Vancouver Canuck Curtis Sanford to a two-way, one-year deal. Sanford has a solid minor league record but things get a little patchy at the professional level. So what exactly is Bob Gainey planning? We could be meeting Carey Price’s new backup, the veteran meant to lead our young guys in Hamilton and/or a replacement for Jaroslav Halak in order to use him as trade bait for that last centre and winger that we need to complete our package.

I have to say, I’m pleased with the way things are shaping up so far and I’m interested to see where exactly this Sanford deal leads. When does the season start again?

Saku Koivu Signs in Anaheim

Saku KoivuIf you were holding out hope that Captain Koivu would find his way back to Montreal, the wait is over. Koivu announced today that he had signed a one year contract with the Anaheim Ducks for a reported $3.25 million. While many in the know were predicting a landing in Minnesota with brother Mikko, the draw of close friend and former Finnish Olympic teammate Teemu Selanne must have been a strong one.

I personally wish Saku all the luck in the world, I look forward to keeping an eye on his season with the Ducks. Thanks for the memories and onward to new things!

Kovalev Signs With Ottawa

It’s official: Alex Kovalev has signed a two year deal with the Ottawa Senators at $5 million per year. Neither the team nor Kovalev himself (who is reportedly in Russia) have commented but it looks like another rivalry just heated up for next season.

Komi to Toronto, Kovy to Ottawa – what’s next, Koivu in Boston?

Komisarek Signs with Maple Leafs

Mike KomisarekAfter apparently turning down a five year deal with the Habs that would have saw him paid $4 million per, Mike Komisarek has jumped ship to Toronto of all places, and for what? An addition $500,000 per year, nothing more. Exactly why the popular Habitants would switch teams over such a small amount remains unclear but I do know one thing: Grabovski will no longer be the most loathed Leaf on the ice when the Buds visit the Bell Centre.

Gainey Signs Cammalerri, Gionta

Mike Cammalerri (29)Bob Gainey signed two more big names for even bigger money tonight, grabbing UFAs Mike Cammalerri from the Calgary Flames and Brian Gionta from the New Jersey Devils. Cammalerri, a left-winger, had a very nice season with the Flames in 2008-2009 as the 5’9″ centre notched 39 goals and 43 assists, allowing him to command $30 million over five years from the Canadiens. The second signing (and likely rounding out our new top line with Gomez and Cammalerri) is Brian Gionta of the Devils, a right-winger who managed 20 goals and 40 assists last season.

It seems very likely at this point that Gomez, Cammalerri and Gionta will become our first line and it would seem that Koivu, Kovalev, Tanguay and Lang will not be returning.

Habs Defense Adds Spacek & Gill

Jaroslav SpacekThe Canadiens signed a skilled puck-moving D-man as they picked up Jaroslav Spacek from the Buffalo Sabres with a three-year contract worth $11.5 million, but continued with this trend of very small players. Gainey’s solution? Sign Hal Gill, the hulking 6’7″ defenseman who won the Cup only a few short weeks ago.

Spacek is a quality player and worth every dime on this contract, averaging 20+ minutes per game, qualified on the PP and a consistent plus player where +/- is concerned. Gill, on the other hand, is a little less useful as a scoring or passing defenseman; it would seem that the loss of Mike Komisarek had Gainey feeling a little desperate where size was concerned.

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