As per CapFriendly Montreal has just over 8,400,000 in cap space available.
With the apparent departure of Andrei Markov to the KHL it is now clear it will not be used on him.
Montreal is left with the option now of how best to use that space. Following a disappointing playoff exit Bergevin has been fairly active in attempting to address the needs of the team.
This summer saw the additions of: Drouin, Alzner, Streit, Holland and Hemsky. Yet is this enough to address the historic absence of offence and soft D?..
I personally don't think so.
While the Drouin trade was a step in the right direction it remains to be seen what he can do in a prominent role. Hemsky will turn out a steal if he remains healthy and productive, but he can't be counted on to drive the teams offence. Holland can be a solid addition as he has a bit of scoring upside and can slot well into the bottom six. His ceiling though seems to be that of a third liner who occasionally spark the second line. They are all serviceable players who can bring it on the right day..
This is exactly the problem the Habs always have had. Their players are serviceable and they have the potential to click, but; and I say this with love, they are mediocre at best.
With the exception of Drouin who still has room to grow there is no elite player among this group. No go-to-guy. There hasn't been one for years. You can make an argument for Pacioretty, but I would have trouble buying into it.
Sure, Alzner makes it tougher to overrun the D corp and Streit can still chip in. They add a bit of versatility to the line up but they are not game changers on their own.
SO.. What does Montreal do with the cap space? Try and add some secondary offence in the shape of a Vanek, Jagr or Iginla?
Shore up the D-corps with another addition? ..Perhaps an offensive minded guy like Wideman?
No, no and no.
I don't think they should do anything of those things. In fact I don't think they should sign any second tier talent. All of the remaining UFA's are as big a question mark as anyone currently on the roster. Sure Vanek has skill and Jagr still has gas in the tank but neither are solutions to the underlying issue of weak offence.. They may make it a bit better, but that's all. Better to let the prospects battle it out for those last spots. They still have potential as long term solutions.
Barring the emergence of a Scherbak or Hudon the only way a significant upgrade is going to come is through trade.How that would actually be done is beyond me but it's the only way I can see this team gaining an edge. With the cupboards approaching empty though any trade will have revolve around some form of cap retention. It's the only strong bargaining chip they have.
If no trade happens then I would hope management would play it out with what they have. They can add all the Alexie Semin's and P.A Parenteaus they want but it's not gonna get them there.
A trade or nothing at this point.