Canadiens Off-season Plans

Hey everyone… Mike Z here for the first time. Welcome to my section of the All About The Habs website. I’m here to discuss the Habs, and the Habs we shall discuss. I hope you all stick around for the ride. Now, let’s get started.

With the draft and free agency quickly approaching, Marc Bergevin and his staff have lots of work to do and some key decisions to make. Who to pick? Who to sign? Who to let walk? Who to trade for? The list goes on and on. If we can make an assumption based on what we’ve seen from Bergevin up until this point, it’s that he’ll likely make the right moves. In Marc we trust.

Let’s start off with the draft. Montreal has 4 picks in the top 60: 25, 34, 36 and 55. One would like to think that one of those picks will used on a goaltender; a position where the organization has little depth. I see the first 2 rounds looking something like this:

25: Kerby Rychel – Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

34: Jordan Subban – Belleville Bulls (OHL)

36: William Carrier – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)

55: Eric Comrie (G) – Tri- City Americans (WHL)

In my opinion, Anthony Mantha is the dream pick, however, I find it very hard to believe he’ll be around at #25. Of course, there is always the chance that picks are traded, but if that isn’t the case, a draft class like this would be hard to top. Rychel and Carrier brings size, scoring and grit.  Subban brings skill and puck- moving ability while Comrie brings a solid goalie prospect into the organization for the first time since Carey Price. While I would absolutely love these 4 players in the Canadiens’ system, I would not be opposed to trading picks to move up. But when I say up, I mean way up. The Canadiens have loads of depth in terms of prospects at the forward and defense positions. However, they do not have any game-breakers (aside from Galchenyuk). The thought of being able to move up in order to grab Mackinnon, Drouin, or Barkov is very intriguing. Don’t bank on it, but don’t rule it out, either.

Moving on to free agency…specifically who will stay and who will walk. We already know that Michael Ryder won’t return. I like this move as he is not worth the money he will demand. The rest of the FA pool looks like this: UFAs are Colby Armstrong, Petteri Nokelainen, Jeff Halpern and Davis Drewiske. RFAs are Ryan White, Mike Blunden, Gabriel Dumont and Yannick Weber. Blunden, Weber, Nokelainen and Drewiske won’t be back. I’m almost sure of it. Armstrong and Halpern are a different story, however. While Armdog isn’t exactly a productive player, he is a great guy to have in the room. The same can be said for Halpern including the fact that he is great on face-offs. I honestly don’t see either of them being re-signed, but it wouldn’t shock me if they were. White should be back and I won’t be surprised if Dumont is re-signed to play for the Bulldogs.

Now, free agency in terms of signing new players. Like every other NHL team, Montreal needs a big, strong, power forward with soft hands who can fight and score 30 goals. I mean, that would be unreal, right? This year, that player is David Clarkson. Clarkson’s contract with the Devils is set to expire and he is ready to test the open market. If I’m Marc Bergevin, I would absolutely offer him a contract. However, I would be wary of overpaying. Clarkson deserves something in the range of 4.5 – 5.5 million dollars per year. We all know Clarkson will make MUCH more than that. Closer to 6.5 -7 million/ year seems about right. The bottom line is Clarkson isn’t worth that. Especially in a league with a declining salary cap and a team who insists on building through the draft. The only big free agent move I can see Bergevin making is signing Bryan Bickell (if he’s available). Bickell is a big, tough customer who has skill and has shown the ability to put the puck in the net. Bergevin is also pretty familiar with him due to his days in Chicago. If Bergevin can get Bickell under contract for under 4 million dollar per season, he should pounce on it.

The Montreal Canadiens are definitely headed in the right direction. You don’t jump 13 spots in the conference by fluke. This off-season could prove to be way more important than most think. If executed correctly, Bergevin can turn this team into a contender. However, if screwed up, the Habs are destined to fall back into the cellars of the NHL.


Follow me on Twitter: @Zignasty2point0

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24 Responses to Canadiens Off-season Plans

  1. Mikey!

    Great Article Dude! Love the great analysis and I pretty much agree with all your calls for the draft pick side of things.

    Keep it up!

    Jomo June 3, 2013 at 3:56 pm Reply
  2. What?? 6.5-7 million for clarkson? 4 million for bickell? that’s a bit far-fetched don’t you think??

    What June 3, 2013 at 6:34 pm Reply
    • Trust me, I know it’s a lot. But, like I said, Clarkson is a 30 goal scorer who can drop the mitts when asked. There aren’t many players in the league like him, therefore every team will be after him. A team that REALLY likes him will do anything to outbid the next team. Clarkson could end up seriously cashing in.

      Bickell, on the other hand, is a poor man’s Clarkson. He’s big, he fights, he hits and he’s been producing. In the playoffs. How many times in the past have we seen players get paid an insane amount of money for playoff performances; Joel Ward, Kris Versteeg, Max Talbot, etc…. 4 mill seems like a lot, but I promise you, Bickell won’t be making much less than that.

      Mikey Ziegler June 3, 2013 at 8:15 pm Reply
      • Not a chance Clarkson will get that kind of money. He isn’t a star. Any team that pays that would be stupid and probably use their buy out the following year. As for Bickell, he could easily push for 3 mil this offseason if he wanted to and someone will probably dish it out.

        Michael Gomez June 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm Reply
      • Andrei Markov makes 5.7 mil, Price makes 6.5, Plekanec makes 5, what in the world would make you think that a guy who’s scored 30 goals ONCE and drops the gloves occasionally (prust is a better fighter) deserves 7 million. Waaaaay off my friend. If he’s lucky he can push for 4 million. Not a cent more than that.

        What June 8, 2013 at 2:02 am Reply
        • Markov is an old defenceman, Price is a goalie and Clarkson is a power- forward. You can’t compare their contracts. Once again, I’m not saying I would give him $6-7 million but someone who has the money and is desperate for that kind of player will. Whoever gets him for $4 million will have to pay off every other team in the NHL to not offer him a contract. You’re right, $7 million is a lot of money but I really don’t see him making much less than $6 million. I’ll laugh if he signs for $4 million honestly that’s just ridiculous. Just watch my friend, market value is a game changer.

          Mikey Ziegler June 9, 2013 at 8:52 am Reply
          • Then let’s compare him to other top power forwards shall we? David Backes – 4.5 mil, Milan Lucic – 4.25, Jarome Iginla – 7 mil. There’s no way those guys make that kind of money and Clarkson gets 7. Like Michael Gomez commented, if anyone is dumb enough to spend that much money on him they will end up buying him out the next season. 4 million dollars, mark my words.

            What June 9, 2013 at 3:22 pm
          • I will happily take you up on a friendly bet. I say 6.5 you say 4. We’ll see who comes closer. Also, one difference between Clarkson and Backes, Iginla and Lucic is that they were re-signed by their own team. One might say they even took a hometown discount. Won’t be the case with Clarkson. We’ll just have to wait and see.

            Mikey Ziegler June 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm
          • Clarkson is not the caliber of player who deserves 6.5 at all.

            Michael Gomez June 9, 2013 at 5:09 pm
          • Once again, I agree. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be offered that kind of money.

            Mikey Ziegler June 9, 2013 at 5:21 pm
          • i dont think he will considering the cap is going down. i dont even think teams that need to hit cap floor would offer such a contract to him.

            Michael Gomez June 10, 2013 at 11:23 am
  3. Agreed Bickell would be my choice between the two, Bickell is bigger than Clarkson, is smart, physical player that can move up and down the line up, and throw the big hit, he will also come cheaper than Clarkson. Habs really need to get bigger on the blueline, but it looks like it may take a good old fashioned hockey trade to do it…

    Mark June 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm Reply
  4. Has will do nothing and be nothing with Pleks and Desharmais as our top two centers, get that thr your heads

    Gnute Sockme June 11, 2013 at 11:14 pm Reply
    • then you clearly do not understand the value of plekanec.

      Michael Gomez June 12, 2013 at 12:00 am Reply
      • Then YOU clearly don’t understand the value, or lack of it, from Desharnais…

        Jacob June 12, 2013 at 9:27 am Reply
        • Desharnais will move to the wing and our top 3 centre will be Plekanec, Galchenyuk and Eller. That’s a very solid core, IMO.

          Mikey Ziegler June 12, 2013 at 10:00 am Reply
          • Desharnais can’t play wing. There is nowhere to put him. You have the Plek, Bourque and Gio line, the Gallchenyuk, Gallagher and Pacioretty line. Surely you are not going to put Davey on what would – let’s face it – be our third line with Eller and Prust? He is not meant for that checking role. He is one of those guys who must be a 1st or 2nd line player – which he most definitely isn’t, on our roster – or not on the team at all. I understand that he might be good friends with and have good chemistry with Patches, but he is most certainly holding him back; imagine what Pacioretty could do on a line with a centre as skilled as Galchenyuk. I’m sorry, but there is clearly no room for Desharnais in our lineup, at least, there shouldn’t be.

            Jacob June 12, 2013 at 11:59 am
          • Cant play wing? He played wing before for Montreal in 2011 and actually didnt look out of place there.

            Michael Gomez June 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm
          • Desharnais could easily play on the third line. If you didn’t notice, the Habs don’t play with a top 6/ bottom 6. They play with a top 9/ bottom 3. Which I find works much better. Think what you want but Desharnais on the wing on the thrid line wouldnt be terrible

            Mikey Ziegler June 12, 2013 at 6:18 pm
          • I’m not trying to say that he can’t play wing, I’m trying to say that on the third line, as a winger, with players like Eller and Prust around him, he would have no productivity. I’m sorry, but it just wouldn’t work.

            Jacob June 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm
          • I agree. Terrible contract. He’s a fringe second liner. Could work on a team like the NYI but not a great fit with what Habs are trying to do.

            Mikey Ziegler June 12, 2013 at 9:09 pm
          • Pierre LeBrun is reporting that if Bickell hits free agency, the Habs will push hard for him. 3 words: Told you so.

            Mikey Ziegler June 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm
          • hey no worries, i am not a fan of his at all. im just saying if he is going to stay in montreal longer than i want, he is of no use down the middle.

            Michael Gomez June 13, 2013 at 12:35 am
        • Actually, I am not a fan of Desharnais one bit. I constantly state he should be traded or at least moved to wing and that his extension was a mistake.

          Michael Gomez June 12, 2013 at 11:46 am Reply

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