Anytime a talented French Canadian hockey player is a free agent or on the trading block, the Montreal Canadiens rumors begin to swirl.
Daniel Briere and Vincent Lecavalier find themselves both in that situation.
Briere who scored 95 points with the Sabres this year is an unrestricted free agent. Vincent Lecavalier who may have been the NHL’s best forward this season is on a Tampa team that can’t afford to keep their 3 big stars.
It’s far more likely that Montreal would make Briere an offer than Tampa willingly dispense of Lecavalier. But if Tampa’s problems are as bad as they are rumored to be, and Lecavalier does go somewhere, Montreal would be a logical choice for obvious reasons.
Neither would come cheaply.
Carey Price is the name that comes up when Lecavalier’s does. Tampa has had terrible goaltending sturggles since winning the Cup and losing Khabibulin in 2004. Bob Gainey’s surprise 5th overall pick signed with the Canadiens in April. Gainey’s surprise pick is now a potential bargaining chip gaining in value. Price certainly wouldn’t go alone in a one for one swap and there are only so many talented players and prospects in the Canadiens organization.
This is assuming the Canadiens could even make room to afford either of these high price tags.
Lecavalier is a franchise player who would be Montreal’s first home grown Superstar in many many years. It’s easy to imagine the excitement and energy in Montreal if Vinny ever became a Hab. The Canadiens would instantly be a better team.
Briere is an offensively gifted scorer – but another diminutive Center on a Canadiens roster that has been lacking size and strength for a very long time.
Should the Canadiens actively pursue either of them? Do they try and trade the farm for Lecavalier? Or shuffle some money and players around and give Briere a competitive offer with a slice of hometown stardom being the incentive?