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Canadiens miss Free Agent boat?

  • So the flurry of big name free agent signings is pretty much over and the Canadiens have made no deals.

    Most fans are disappointed after the Canadiens were supposed to be very active in the market to revamp their roster and spend their surplus of cash.

    The disappointment is worse after strong rumors of Jason Arnott or Patrick Elias being in negotiations with the Canadiens only then to sign with other teams.

    Furthermore, the Northeast division rival Senators, Leafs and Bruins all made substantial changes and improvements (exception: Leafs) making the Division that much harder to play in.

    So are the Habs done for next year? Of course not. Everyone wants to get on Gainey for not signing anyone. Gainey played the market and made the smart decision by not rushing into long term overpriced contracts or fishing for a savior free agent who would more than likely be a bust.

    Arnott and Elias’ deals were overpriced. Gainey was in the mix but who can blame him for not wanting to commit to SEVEN years and that much money? Elias is great but will he be worth $6 Million in the 2013-2014 NHL season? Will he even be around?

    Arnott is old and past his prime. His performance has declined with each year. Arnott may have fit in for the right price and filled a role but for an average $4.5 Million a season he’d be the highest paid player on the team and almost certainly not the best performer.

    Maybe Gainey did the right thing.

    Maybe Gainey has something left in his bag of tricks.

    The market wasn’t right and Gainey is committed to bring a quality player or two to the Canadiens this year. Since any other Free Agent still available would pale in comparison to who have already been signed, the only way the Habs will still acquire that player is in a trade.

    The Canadiens have plenty of expendable ‘talent’ that some teams still may value. If the circumstances are right Gainey will make the deal, if they’re not then he won’t panic.

    Let him do his job.

31 Comments
  1. #1 whotfru says:
    July 4, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    Yes, they missed the boat. Canadiens would have benefited by adding one or two impact players. We havent had a 100 point season from a player since Mats Naslund.The team we have is strong and getting better, but beyond Kovalev we really dont have a true game breaking threat on the team. A player that puts a fear into the defenders eyes. A player that the other teams coach around.
    A player with a point or more game average will not only add to the totals of those playing with them, but will draw top defenders away from the Koivus of the team and increase their point production.
    We needed an impact player and didnt get one. There are no more left.
    We missed the boat and will be lucky to make the play-offs.

  2. #2 kazmojo says:
    July 4, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    Elias was definitely out of range for the Habs. But Arnott at $4.5 would be behind Koivu at $4.75M/yr and tie Kovalev for second highest on the team. Arnott had his best season point-wise last year, and a plus 13 rating. He would have added much needed size too. I’d say he’d be worth as much as Kovalev, so I’m a little disappointed.

    But I wonder if Gainey was waiting for the other teams to lose their heads and overcommit. And at the same time, he could see how the opposition was shaping up and take action accordingly. And the Bruins and Leafs esp have stocked up on huge dmen who can be victimized by smaller, faster skaters in the new NHL (much like Souray). So maybe Gainey will make some moves in that direction?

  3. #3 CH tattooed on the heart says:
    July 4, 2006 at 1:52 pm

    Habs’ Nation, just trust Bob. He’s won a cup with Dallal from scratch. He knows what he’s doing. Teams who overpays for unrestricted free agents never win the cup. Just go down the list. Boston for example have signed Chara to a $7.5 million a year contract. The rest of the Bruins defence sucks. You don’t have great players to win; if everybody on the team is good though the team will be great. Look at Buffalo for example, they don’t have anything close to a superstar. Most of the players on the team have been drafted by them or traded for. They didn’t even have a 100-point player on the team. This team should be good for a while. If you build a team correctly, you can have a cup winning team for many years (Detroit in the ’90s). Also with all these big contracts being signed it seems like these have forgotten about the restricted free agents that are still to sign. New Jersey has $5 million left to sign a big chunk of players including Gomez and Gionta. Just let these teams fight amongst each other for players who in most part have never done anything in the playoffs (Chara, Kubina, Savard and other players who shut it down after game #82). We’ll find our diamonds in the rough (Begin, Huet) and developp our amazing prospects.

  4. #4 Sly Habitants says:
    July 4, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    Damn this sucks, whatever im sure he’ll end up pulling something off. When is Crosby a free agent? He’ll be a hab soon enough he’s always wanted to be one.

  5. If Gainey does not pull off some type of trade, expect to start golfing in April, provided there is no snow. There is something wrong in Montreal! perhaps NHL players are blacklisting our team, because nobody seems to want to play for the habs! what’s wrong? Is there too much pressure in this city? Maybe it’s the language issue. after all look what the french media did to Koivu. They think a hockey player should speak french, instead of scoring goals. I know everyone likes Koivu, but realistically, he is not a great goal scorer! What was the highest number of goals he has ever scored in a season? Maybe 25? Not good enough. We need a high impact goal scorer, someone like the way Brett Hull was in his prime. Yes I know he retired, but the kind of scorer he was, would be the right medicine for the habs. If I was Gainey, I would trade Ribeiro, Aebischer, Zednik, and Souray, for a top forward and a top defenceman. People who say the Canadiens are okay, don’t know what they are talking about. The truth is, the canadiens defence was exposed in the playoffs, and at best, we were a 1 line offence. So if you shut down Kovalev, there is nothing! We must have 2 scoring lines to be successful! If Gainey doesn’t pull the trigger on some trades, the canadiens are in big trouble! We don’t know, also what kind of year Huet will have. Yes, he was good in the short run, but over 82 games, I don’t think he is capable of performing well. sports analysts, say he is too slow, and lacks the srength needed to make it thru a long season. Do you agrr?Optimists think we have a diamond in the rough, but realists know it is only fools gold!

  6. #6 PACTUM SERVA says:
    July 4, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    I smell a trade happening soon.Gainey knows what he is doing

  7. #7 NHL nut says:
    July 4, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    There are still some talented players left: Brendan Shanahan, Jaroslav Spacek, Anson Carter , Sergei Samsonov. Keep your fingers crossed guys.

  8. #8 Habs#1 says:
    July 4, 2006 at 7:20 pm

    Their are reports that the big free agents like Elias and Arnott were turned off on Montreal because of High taxes, an onstable political situation and the whole language thing.

    Why do you think all these super stars in the league from Quebec didn’t want to play here. Because they would have to go to French school and they didn’t want them to.

    Gainey better trade Aebischer soon though because eventually the market for starting goaltenders will dry up and they’ll be stuck with a locker room distraction.

  9. #9 joey says:
    July 4, 2006 at 7:47 pm

    The Canadiens are in a good position, they have lots of prospects and they have 14 million to spend before hitting the cap. Many teams are the opposite situation. They have signed high priced talent, have nobody to suppoort them and they have reached their cap limit… This was exactly what happened to Boston last year, which forced them to trade Thorton… Gainey is in a good position to be in the recieving end of a Boston type trade… So Bob is doing the right thing by being patient and waiting for the opportunities to come to him …

  10. #10 Sly Habitants says:
    July 4, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    Thats a good point joey, i never thought of it that way. And when one of those teams is in financial trouble, we’ll be the ones scoopin up the good guys they let go. Maybe all good things do come to those who wait. Lets hope so.

  11. #11 PACTUM SERVA says:
    July 4, 2006 at 8:00 pm

    trust me if gainey missed out on signing big names he will not settle for second best.He will not sign second rate ufa.So in my opinion there will be no signings for the habs but i think a trade is in the works

  12. #12 PACTUM SERVA says:
    July 4, 2006 at 8:06 pm

    Gainey is one of the best hockey minds in the world and we dont know shit compared to him.So i trust he will come through for us.

  13. hey i kno the habs iv been watching them since i was a little lad and its actually a good thing that mr gainey didnt dip into the free agent pool we got loads of talent. In the past we never ever signed big superstar players its always via trade (ex. kovalev,huet,) We got home grown talent i say just look for a younger roster when the season begins. But seriously i would like to see zednik,bonk and ribeiro for some quick goal scorers to make 2 top lines. The defense really doesnt need any changes. Look for last years rookies to make an impact next season i also would like to see chipchura or latandresse in next years lineup i hope they make the camp. just have faith in gainey habs fans we got a good staff for next season look for the team to be more defensive minded and still pack a fast scoring punch in the mix……….BREAKTHROUGH SEASON FOR HIGGINS 2006-2007!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. #14 Bullsmith says:
    July 4, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Gainey waits till some teams bust bigtime (i.e. Pittsburgh last year, probably Toronto this year, but no Habs-Leafs deals have really happened since the Courtnall-Kordic steal). He’s got room, but he’s also got players to sign. Only Ryder’s in for significant salary this year, but the whole top of the D – Markov, Rivet and Souray are in for big raises the year after.

    In the meantime, the team has a big hole on the second line and is shallow in the system on D, but otherwise it’s in the best shape since Serge Savard. He’s got months to make a deal, and in the meantime he’s got players to give that ice time to, some of whom might seriously produce (Perezhogin, Kostytsin.)

    Gainey’s a proven winner and after three years he’s got elite talent locked up at a good price as they age (Koivu, Kovalev), young talent to rival anyone (Markov, Higgins, Ryder, Plekanec, etc. etc. etc.) and a remarkable group of character players picked up from other teams while nobody noticed (Begin, Huet, Murray)

  15. #15 Jack says:
    July 5, 2006 at 4:10 am

    I note that patience is winning over this blog. Apart from a couple of super-pessimists, the concensus (which I agree with) is that the Canadiens braintrust is focused on building a team, not a fleeting splash. A team is an investment in talent and how it integrates or “clicks” through a season. Yes, it’s disappointing that no big free agents landed in Montreal, but at the price: not worth it. The Habs will make a couple of trades to strengthen the team… but don’t be surprised if the names are not household (yet).

  16. #16 HaBiTanT#1 says:
    July 5, 2006 at 11:31 am

    Just correcting a fact Jason Arnott posted a career high assist total at 44 this year and at 31 is coming into his own we missed the boat on him at 4.5 million.

  17. #17 Bigdog says:
    July 5, 2006 at 12:05 pm

    I must admit I have to keep reminding myself that Bob Gainey is steering this ship. As I tune into sports programs every night to see if we have used up some cap room, I’m disappointed.
    Gainey is certainly trying to sign players. I don’t think players want to play in Montreal. Taxation being the biggest problem. If we are to see a big name talent come to Montreal it will be a Gagne, St. Louis, Lecavalier trade or cap crunch. It will be someone who understands, appreciates the culture and wants to play in front of Montreal fans.
    If our young talent keeps developing we may have some big names soon enough. GO HABS GO!

  18. #18 CH tattooed on the heart says:
    July 5, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    Has anyone heard about the rumours revolving around Petr Sykora and Tom Poti signing with the Habs. Sykora has been rumoured to maybe signing a 3 year $9.9 million contract and Poti 2 years for $5 million. Poti sucks. And Sykora plays whenever he feels like it. Bring in Shanahan and Danny Markov.

  19. gainey hasnt done anything yet……..why not rebiero for carter?

  20. #20 Gumper says:
    July 5, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    Hey there he is! Welcome back HB.
    Great posting and I fully agree with your statements. Sure, I was sitting there waiting like eveyone else… checking websites for something to show the Habs moved on the market etc, but, from what i see, Gainey’s doin’ the right thing by not being impulsive. It’s a sign that the guy’s totally secure in his job and has the confidence of Mr. Gillet. It’s not that I wouldn’t have minded seeing some of those guys in a habs uni, it’s just not good to throw good money away on FA’s which 9 times out of 10, don’t do well after they sign big-bucks on new teams. Sure, we need help but, that’ll come with time either through trades or better, from within by an improved Canadiens team. Don’t forget, apart from a few dud players, this team had a pretty darn good first 1/2 record last year before Theo tanked. Sir Bob’s doin’ fine. Damn the 2 stroke Johnny’s who think blowin’ the bank is the only answer to another Cup.

  21. #21 Habs#1 says:
    July 5, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    It’s official, Ryder has filed for arbitration. Gainey is going to have to pay him alot to keep him around in a long term contract.

  22. #22 CH tattooed on the heart says:
    July 6, 2006 at 12:48 am

    Because Carter is an UFA, fuzz16.

  23. Easy solution guys:

    Jason Allison or Tomas Plekanic replaces Mike Ribeiro as the teams second line centre
    Sergie Samsonov left wing with Allison (or Plekanic) and Kovalev
    Danny Markov or Eric Desjardins (or both) on defense

    Our third and fourth lines can be filled with 1 or 2 new rookies
    Defense would have pretty solid depth throughout the season

    **LET’S GRAB SAMSONOV WHILE WE CAN. GREAT GREAT TALENT WHEN HEALTHY!

  24. #24 Lucky says:
    July 6, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    By the way the habs just resigned Ribeiro to a one year deal.
    I heard it on the radio 990am.
    I really thought Bob Gainey knew what he was doing….this really sucks.

    As for the Habs getting free agents, I really don`t think it`s going to happen.
    Same team like last year so let`s stop all our predictions because it`s only hurting us more.

    PACTUM SERVA are you out there?? make this better for me and tell it`s all part of Bob Gainey master plan.

  25. #25 PACTUM SERVA says:
    July 6, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    Ribs will never play another game for the habs and i would be surprised if zednik did too.I think they are both gone by the end of the summer.He was signed to be traded.Gainey knows ribs cannot center our second line.Like i said before when we expect gainey to do something it never happens he always waits when were not expecting anything.There wont be much action in july but just wait intill august thats where he will pull one out of his hat

  26. #26 Borg9 says:
    July 6, 2006 at 9:00 pm

    Just my opinion, but I think Gainey is right not to go after Arnott for that kind of money. He’s just not good enough. Keep building through the draft, I believe the Habs have some good prospects coming up. This “Kovalev Era” is fun to watch, but the way I see it, Gainey just made that trade to make a statement: “Hey, remember us? The Habs? We’re back!” and behind the scenes began to create the team he wants to see turn into a dynasty in two or three years when Kovalev is gone. Really enjoy watching Kovalev, but he’s got two good years left, you can’t build around him. I think Gainey knows what he’s doing. With all these other teams tripping over themselves to give average D-men 5 mil per year long term, I can kind of see why he isn’t tempted to throw money away on short term fixes (Hiya, Leaf fans). Keep building the team from within, keep indoctinating the draftees into the system, keep the cap in line, keep allowing the Leafs and Bruins to drive their franchises off a cliff.

  27. #27 PACTUM SERVA says:
    July 6, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    lol good point

  28. #28 Peller says:
    July 7, 2006 at 10:58 am

    With Gainey’s declaration concerning improving the team during offseason, the CH just can’t miss the boat. I personnally think that either a big “coup de theatre” is on his making, or the Canadiens will simply have to tell the truth to the fans, that they’re just not serious about building a respectable team on the ice, ’cause that would be the only acceptable reason why nothing happened yet. I hear many reasons why players don’t want to play in MTL but to me it’s just bullsh**t. Money? Montreal is the NHL team with the most revenue right now. Income Tax in Canada? That doesn’t stop players to go to Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary or edmonton, even Ottawa. Pressure? Are you kidding me? Yes there is pressure, but so there is when you play for the Yanks, the Cowboys, the Red Wings and every prestigious sports team, but that doesn’t stop people to run to all of those teams…exept Montreal. Seriously, Gainey must be preparing something big, otherwise the direction will be the only responsible for the fans anger. In Bob I trust… for now!

  29. #29 Peller says:
    July 7, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    im cool and your not

  30. #30 gates says:
    July 16, 2006 at 10:09 am

    he is preparing something,what, we will find out soon enough (aebisher traded for a left winger we so desparetly need).as for players not wanting to play for the CH,it’s simple look to the local regular MEDIA who keep asking why these players don’t speak french (who cares as long as they can play hard ).don’T get me wrong i’m french myself and i don’t care what language they speak.Do the french REGULAR MEDIA go and harrass our local boys who play in Europe as to why they always speak the local tongue.thrust in mr. Gainey he knows the problems of playing for Montréal

  31. #31 gates says:
    July 16, 2006 at 10:11 am

    correction: “as to why they don’t always speak the local tongue”

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