So far this summer, we have seen the Canadiens take some steps to make the team a lot tougher to play against now, and possibly one of the contenders in the East starting in 2 or 3 years. Here is what I think of the signings and what the depth chart will look like for the Canadiens as it stands right now.
I absolutely love this signing. This was an absolute need that went unnoticed in years past by Canadiens management and as a result the Canadiens have had guys like Travis Moen dropping the gloves as the team tough guy. I am a fan of Travis Moen, now more than ever because he can now play his game alongside Prust and White which means teams can expect a lot physicality from the fourth line of the Canadiens. Also, players who run at stars like Subban, Gionta, Plekanec, Patches, and Cole will have to answer to Prust. He is also a very good penalty killer, and can be put on the ice, and was by Torterella in NY, in any situation. He is a responsible, hard-working player who brings the Canadiens so much.
279 GP, 24 Goals, 39 Assists, 63 Points, +/- +3, 612 PIM, with 7 Shorthanded Goals.
I was always a big fan of Boullion in Montreal during his first stint with the team. He can deliver punishing hits and he is a serviceable defenseman who makes a good first pass. He also spent some time on the PowerPlay for the Canadiens when they had Sourray and Brisebois on the first unit. He is not going to be a 1,2 dman, but he will be a 4,5,or 6 all year and be able to mentor younger defenseman like St. Denis, Pateryn, Nash, or any others who make the jump. The 36 year old defenseman will fit in nicely in Therrien's coaching scheme as well.
Bouillon has played over 600 games and has a career -29 rating, but since the 07-08 season he is an even +/- player.
What can I say about Colby Armstrong? He has been plagued with injuries over the past 2 years and concussion problems. If he is playing with the right guys he can put up some decent numbers scoring 40 points twice in his career. His rookie season in 47 games played and 08-09 with the Thrashers where he played all 82 games. (His last full season) (09-10 79 Games) (10-11 50 Games) (11-12 29 Games) I am not saying that I expect 40 points out of Armstrong, but I would peg him at a minimum of 25 Points if he stays healthy as a 3rd line contributor. Who knows, when they give Gomez his shot at the beginning of the season Armstrong, Gomez, and Leblanc could be an interesting combination for a line. All three players out to prove something. It is just an idea, but at 1 year $1 Million you can't really fault the Canadiens for this move. Another side note on Armstrong, he grew up rooting for the Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge, so if he is anything like any other Canadiens fan, he would dream of dawning the three most famous colors in hockey. We shall see if this inspires him to better hockey.
439 GP, 87 Goals, 117 Assists, 204 Points, +23 (-9 in last 2 seasons)
Career Highs- Goals-22 Assists-24 Points- 40 +15 (Playing with Crosby, lots of goals)
In addition to signing the above 3 players the Canadiens have also locked up Carey Price for 6 Seasons. I am a big fan of this deal because it is a healthy medium between the long (Front Loaded) contracts we have seen big ticket players sign in the past. The thing I like about this contract is it is Back Loaded which means most of the pay is in the back three years which means Price will keep on working hard through the contract, hopefully. The other reason it is backloaded is because they would not be able to take a $6.5 million cap hit with Gomez's cap hit still on the books, and still lock up Subban and Eller. In either case, I am a fan of the deal.
Subban and Eller will sign a contract soon. Subban first then Eller. I would not be completely opposed to trading Eller however. I will receive a lot of criticism for saying this, but we need a top-6 Forward, and with Galchenyuk coming in 13-14 we will be overloaded at Center. If you don't trade Eller, you have to trade Plekanec because if you don't he will walk for nothing. What I have seen from the Canadiens is that they are trying to get a winger for Pleks, so Eller may be the piece moving to acquire that top 6 forward. It may be deal to make room for Shane Doan, or to acquire Bobby Ryan. We also have an enormous crop of defenseman right now too so Eller, Dman Prospect, and a 1st round pick for Bobby Ryan? I don't know if that is fair. I am more of an on ice stats guy not really a scout of talent. The asking price for Ryan might be more just because Parise is off the market. The Habs need to go after Ryan now though if they plan on doing something because wants the Nash tile falls Bobby Ryan's price will be driven way up by teams who lost out on Nash.
Depth Chart as it Stands now
Alex Galchenyuk (Juniors)
*Will get chance at beginning of season.
Left Wingers (Listed As)
Archambault, Bournival, Leffevbre
Right Wingers (Listed)
*Had an impressive Preseason last year, its a matter of what happens the remainder of the summer. Also, this will make Habs fans smile. He beat most of Lucic's scoring records for the Vancouver Giants in which he had a spectacular season.
Kaberle, Weber, Diaz (kaberle for PowerPlay purposes) may see 7 defenseman lineup as well. injuries never cease to amaze me these are the next in line
This is my first blog post for Hockeybuzz, actually my first ever, so let me know what you think. I will be better during the regular season where I will recap the Northeast Division every week. My roommate forces me to watch the Bruins at college, but I will use it as an opportunity to evaluate their team as a third party. Look forward to many more blogs with MyHockeyBuzz.