Hello everyone, I hope you enjoy each moments of the free agency frenzy, as always, this is a very thrilling and exciting moment for hockey fans.
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Before the free agency period began, Bob Gainey said that he was looking for an impact player, looking at this year UFA bumper crop names like Hossa, Rolston, Huselius, Jagr and Sundin were the possible targets. So the rumours started to go on and on, the experts were talking about who would be the better fit, the fans were excited, the city was really high on hopes and expectations. So, finally the 1st of July came...
1st day[1st of July]
I was all ready, going around websites, watching TSN ticker, listening to radio, I was only living for hockey. First Canadiens news appeared at 3pm, the Habs resigned Andrei Kostitsyn to a 3years,3.25 millions per season. I was glad, Kostitsyn was cheap, compared to Corey Perry who signed a 5 years,5.325 millions per season. Perry's and Kostitsyn's numbers were about the same also.
So, the hours were going on and on, I saw the Campbell, Rolston and Redden going in Chicago,New Jersey, New York, but still no Canadiens news. At around 8pm, there was something related with the Habs, and, it was not good news. Mark Streit signed a 5 years, 4.1 millions per season deal with the Islanders. I know why Bob did not resigned him, 4.1 millions for a PP specialist, it is overpaid. But, it didn't surprised me at all, I had the feeling that Streit played his last game with the Habs last spring. Wish Mark to have a good season with the Isles.
Other Canadiens news, around 10pm, I hoped it was going to be a big splash from Bob, but no, Michael Ryder is now a former Canadiens, he signed a 3years, 4 millions per season deal with the Bruins. Well...Ryder should of have this contract two years ago, but not after his poor 14 goal season and 31 points. Perhaps, I am sure Ryder will bounce back, his new coach is Claude Julien and he played his best hockey under his command. If Michael plays with Savard, one of the elite passers in the league, expect at least 25 goals from himself. And, that's how Canada day finished concerning the Habs.
2nd day[2nd of July]
Okay, in my mind, the Canadiens were going to steal the show on July second, unfortunately, it did not happened. This day has been a total disappointment for myself. Hossa signed a one year deal, 7.5 millions with the Red Wings. Who would of expect that? At least, we can see that Hossa wants to win, even if he could of have an enormous contract if he did not signed with the Wings.
Later on the day, Kristian Huselius signed with the Jackets, 4 years, around 5 millions per season. Well, euumm, okay, who are the top forwards left? Demitra, Naslund, Satan, Bertuzzi, Williams and Sundin?
3rd day[July 3rd]
FINALLY, the first Habs signing! George Laraque is now in town for 3years, 1.5 millions per season. Great! With this signing, I totally forgot the disappointment of the other days. I was so happy! I just love the signing, Laraque is a tough, hard hitter hometown boy. He can also play hockey, beside his amazing hitting/fighting abilities, he is a decent hockey player. I just can't wait to see him in the Bleu Blanc Rouge jersey. Chara and Neil may calm down with Laraque around, and don't expect Sergei Kostitsyn to fight again, well...maybe once but doesn't matter. I don't see Laraque as our savior, but, he is a nice addition to our already good lineup. Plus, Bob signed goalie Marc Denis, he struggled last season, but he signed a two-way deal, so he will be the #1 in Hamilton. If he performs really well, to be NHL caliber again, expect him to be called up if Carey or Halak get injured.
Beside that, it is pretty much about it, Sundin still didn't decide if he was going to play next year. Finals destination look to be Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto. Detroit and the Rangers are out of the race, they don't have the cap space. More to come on that subject in the next days on that story....
My take: Even if the Canadiens did not land an impact player, they are still one of the top contenders in the East. The lack of toughness is gone with Laraque around and we got some goaltender depth, we just need someone at the point on the 2nd PP wave, because Streit is not there anymore. Brisebois back with the Habs? Possible. I am glad Bob did not offered one of those crazy contracts to anyone.
My Montreal Canadiens free agency rating: B+
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