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Getting close to a season now.

  • Reports are coming in fast and furious from the various hockey-credible media outlets that there will be a season this year – and that the NHL will allow teams 2 amnesty buy outs in order to become cap compliant for the next season. Details at this point ate murky – although you can read about it all over at Backhand Shelf.

    So what does this mean for the Montreal Canadiens?

    There hasn’t even been a few hours to properly gather all of the information – but to me – this looks like the dream scenario to get rid of the contracts of both Scott Gomez and Tomas Kaberle. How does getting rid of $11.6M of capspace in one move sound?

    I can’t guarantee this happens. But if I’m the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens – this would be an absolute gift. And though a lower cap would certainly not favour the Habs, the opportunity to get out from underneath these two crippling contracts would be huge.

    Drop the PUCK! ~Mats

  1. #1 Avatar37 says:
    January 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    If we have to get down to a $60 million cap, then buying out Gomez is a must. But, here is why I disagree with buying out Kaberle. Kaberle’s contrat is only for one more year. After next year, it will resolve itself (I wouldn’t mind if we re-signed him for $1-$1.5 million a year). Instead, I would buy out Bourque. He’s not worth $3.3 million a year, and he has 3 more years left on his contract after this one. This way, after the end of next year, we would no longer have Gomez, Kaberle, and Bourque’s contracts on the books, and this to me makes much more sense to our financial health over the next 3 years.

  2. #2 Senet1 says:
    January 6, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Avatar has a good point, I am disappointed with
    bourque however, I do not see any contract bought out until the end of this season. That way management has time to make decisions like Avatar suggests. We are still at 70M cap for this year anyway so we are under that cap and all we have to sign is PK. It still allows management to make trades, Gomez is more tradable now that his salary is around 4.5M especially for those teams looking to get to the cap floor. Kaberle is in a different situation. He has the game but not as a top 4 defenceman and if his contract is up in another year he may also be tradable due to that contract time frame.

  3. #3 Senet1 says:
    January 6, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Gomez thought is a definite buyout and if Bourque does not perform better in this shortened season then I would rather buy him out than Kaberle because of the length of his contract.

  4. #4 Mats Naslund says:
    January 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Bourque certainly has a long contract, and of all of the rest of the contracts it would be one to be considered.. but at $3.3M, I’m not sure its a really tough contract to swallow. Especially if Bourque can regain some of the form that he showed in Calgary. 27 points for him is terrible for sure. Since 2008 he’s been a 20+ goal scorer which isn’t exactly easy to replace. He takes a regular shift and hasn’t been a complete defensive liability through his career – although last year he stunk. Its a gamble for sure.

    Still, I’m confident that after the last 3+ years of seeing Kaberle be used almost exclusively as a 3rd pairing defenseman and powerplay specialist, he can’t cut it. Frankly, the opportunity to upgrade at that spot seems more valuable to me than replacing Bourque.

  5. #5 Avatar37 says:
    January 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Yes, it’s just short sighted. A gamble on Bourque is a three year gamble. Kaberle’s contract has one more year on it, and I haven’t seen anything from Bourque, including reports from his previous team, that indicates that he’s worth taking that risk on. $3.3 million a year certainly means more under a reduced cap than it used to, and 3 years is a long time to carry someone who played the way Bourque did last year. As there is no burning need to get rid of Kaberle’s salary next year, the safe thing is to dump Bourque, because in 2014/15 (the year Kaberle’s contract is up), we have to re-sign Eller, Leblanc, Markov, Emelin, and players like Diaz, Gionta, and Kaberle if we choose to. Bourque’s 3.3 million salary could really turn into an albatross if we don’t dump it.

  6. #6 Mats Naslund says:
    January 6, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Its not shortsighted at all. Its about managing where your money is spent. I can accept the fact that Bourque’s contract is longer and thus represents a longer punishment if things go badly. But you also have to play Kaberle for the next two seasons to get out from under that contract.

    With PK Subban and Andrei Markov on the team for those two seasons, Kaberle becomes entirely redundant. He’s a powerplay specialist who is among the bottom 10% of NHL defencemen in terms of even strength minutes. That means everyone else has to play more minutes so a second string powerplay guy can suit up. It makes no sense from a personnel standpoint. Especially considering how many cheap options every year there are for guys who are essentially the same thing (MAB etc).

    Furthermore, the Canadiens have both Diaz and Weber on the roster as soft, offensive defenseman who both average more even strength time than Kaberle. Clearly they could be moved, but they cost little to nothing. Moving Kaberle (even for a player who costs just as much) is Montreal’s best chance at improving. And although you say there is no burning need to dump his salary I do think there is a burning need to replace his spot on the ice with someone who can play physical defense.All in all – this is not an endorsement of Bourque – though I do think he’s more useful as a player overall.. just an indictment of Kaberle’s utility versus his cap hit.

  7. #7 Senet1 says:
    January 7, 2013 at 12:11 am

    I understand both arguments and I think it is premature to even have this discussion until June although it is fun to speculate. All three players will be on the team this year regardless. Maybe they can be traded or put on waivers and claimed. However, we won’t know that until the time comes. So it gets back to this June and manageing the money at that time. If Bourque has a decent season gets 10-15 goals in a shortened season then I would go with Kaberle, or if Bourque can be traded that may be another option. But until June we are stuck with all of them

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