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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

Are this season's UFA centres worth it?

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We obviously need a first-line C. The big three UFAs that everybody keeps mentioning are Briere, Drury and Gomez.

But Gomez has had only one big season and has cracked the 15-goal threshold only twice. Drury (who many around here are gaga over) has never cracked 70 points and only exploded for 37 goals in the exceptional environment of Buffalo. Briere is statistically light years ahead of the other two, but although he is a reliable 30-goal scorer, he's tiny (which wouldn't be a big deal except that our other C would be Koivu), and his massive assist totals are probably artificially high playing on Buffalo. Long story short, none of these are reliably point-per-game players, except possibly Briere.

Now I'd have no problem paying Briere $5.5 million and Drury or Gomez a bit less. But the likelihood is we'll be on the hook for much much more, and tied into long-term contracts.

Is 60-70 points really what we want from our "big" UFA signing? Or should Bob invest his money elsewhere, in, say, upgrading the D and trying to swing a trade for a REALLY elite centreman?

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber

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We obviously need a first-line C. The big three UFAs that everybody keeps mentioning are Briere, Drury and Gomez.

But Gomez has had only one big season and has cracked the 15-goal threshold only twice. Drury (who many around here are gaga over) has never cracked 70 points and only exploded for 37 goals in the exceptional environment of Buffalo. Briere is statistically light years ahead of the other two, but although he is a reliable 30-goal scorer, he's tiny (which wouldn't be a big deal except that our other C would be Koivu), and his massive assist totals are probably artificially high playing on Buffalo. Long story short, none of these are reliably point-per-game players, except possibly Briere.

Now I'd have no problem paying Briere $5.5 million and Drury or Gomez a bit less. But the likelihood is we'll be on the hook for much much more, and tied into long-term contracts.

Is 60-70 points really what we want from our "big" UFA signing? Or should Bob invest his money elsewhere, in, say, upgrading the D and trying to swing a trade for a REALLY elite centreman?

Bob should spend his money upgrading the D, trying to swing a trade for a REALLY elite Centreman, and / or signing SMYTH!!! I'd be thrilled if we got Smyth and no one else this year...

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Bob should spend his money upgrading the D, trying to swing a trade for a REALLY elite Centreman, and / or signing SMYTH!!! I'd be thrilled if we got Smyth and no one else this year...

yup. my summer nights would be filled with nice dreams of the season to come. :rolleyes:

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Smyth is one of my favorite player, and I'd so like to see him with the CH jersey. But I fear he'll cost too much. I don't want to see BG give a 5 years 6M contract to a 30 years old smyth who isn't, as the UFAs named previously, a point-per-game player...

A trade is the solution imo. If the rumor about BG trying to trade for Bergeron is true, then it seems BG also thinks trade is the solution... But who's advailable at what price is hard to say. We'll know by the end of june...

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I wouldnt touch Smyth with a 10-foot pole, unless he comes cheap. The guy is a typical overrated "leader" who never really had great offensive stats, whose best years are behind him and whose slowly aging. He's Ryder with more guts but also more mileage and injury problems. How much would give a 32 yrs old LW who never had above 70 pts and 36 goals in a season? The Isles were crazy to give Robert Nilsson, Ryan O’Marra and a 1st round selection in 2007 for Smyth.

We need someone to generate offense. Briere fits the bill, but he's another guy who gets injured often.

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I think Smyth and Drury are cut from the same mould when it comes to the "intangibles".

I also think Drury is the better player. Smyth will also miss a lot of games IMHO.

This team needs a real upgrade over last years D...a puck moving d-man who is a major need. A legit stay at home D type is also a major need.

I know everyone like Boully, Dandenault and that Streit was a pleasant surprise...I think if we go out having 2-3 of these guys as regular d-men then our defense is a JOKE. These guys are fringe players IMHO.

Spend the money upgrading the D. Trade some youth for a legit top line C. Depending on the money left over, sign a guy like Walker to play on our 3rd line with Pleks.

A top C coming in would give our top line a spark. Koivu would have some pressure off and wouldn't face opposing teams top checkers...same with Ryder since Kovalev probably gets first shot with the new C and why break apart Higgins-Koivu-Ryder...

Walker brings a better 2 way game then most of our 3rd line "specialists" in recent years...and with about 100x more grit then any of them too. With Pleks and another prospect that line would be very good.

Our offense would have been MUCH better in 5 on 5 situations if we had more then 1 d-man who could pass the puck in transition instead of dumping it off the glass or deep into the corners.

Edited by Zowpeb

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Great points Zowped. But Higgins didn't play with Koivu and Ryder the second half. Once healthy he moved around and finished with Kosty and Pleks. The best Habs line down the stretch.

So the reason you wouldn't keep those 3 together is they were like min us 60 while paired together.

All your other points are right on. Couldn't agree more about the D. Hannon and Timonin would be nice.

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I wouldnt touch Smyth with a 10-foot pole, unless he comes cheap. The guy is a typical overrated "leader" who never really had great offensive stats, whose best years are behind him and whose slowly aging. He's Ryder with more guts but also more mileage and injury problems. How much would give a 32 yrs old LW who never had above 70 pts and 36 goals in a season? The Isles were crazy to give Robert Nilsson, Ryan O’Marra and a 1st round selection in 2007 for Smyth.

We need someone to generate offense. Briere fits the bill, but he's another guy who gets injured often.

We rarely agree it seems, but here we are of the same opinion.

I had almost the same rant in another thread except I said Smyth is another Mike Peca (during his team Islander and Buffalo days anyway) and he is due to drop in points and goals because of the wear and tear of his style of play.

Nice to know I'm not alone anymore.:)

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Our offense would have been MUCH better in 5 on 5 situations if we had more then 1 d-man who could pass the puck in transition instead of dumping it off the glass or deep into the corners.

this D corps needs to be reconstruct. I know bouillon struggled with in knee injury and should be a better player next year.

streit has offense but little less to offer. not good enough for a reg D spot. reliable 7th D

jorges: small, don't think he's the right solution.

dandenault: has alot of weaknesses besides speed.

souray's gone but was only usefull on PP.

the only keeper on this team are komisarek and markov.

we need a second pair of D who could bring grit and a freaking first pass.

we also have o byrne who's probably ready for NHL duty but not on a regular shift...at least at first.

Edited by marky_and_komi

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I hope we upgrade the D too. Dandenault more than Bouillon is the odd man out. Streit stole Dandenault's place. I'd keep Bouillon as a 5-6th D tho, cause he can throw thunderous checks and can drop the gloves (nice fight against Tucker this spring). Dandenault doesn't hit hard, doesn't fight, doesn't move the puck well... all he can do is skate fast, so I'd trade him and his near 2M salary for a fourth rounder... With Markov, Komy, Streit, Bouillon, a solid UFA or two, and a rookie or two (O'Byrne? Valentenko? Emelin?) as 6th and 7th D it'd be nice.

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this D corps needs to be reconstruct. I know bouillon struggled with in knee injury and should be a better player next year.

streit has offense but little less to offer. not good enough for a reg D spot. reliable 7th D

jorges: small, don't think he's the right solution.

dandenault: has alot of weaknesses besides speed.

souray's gone but was only usefull on PP.

the only keeper on this team are komisarek and markov.

we need a second pair of D who could bring grit and a freaking first pass.

we also have o byrne who's probably ready for NHL duty but not on a regular shift...at least at first.

Gorges is 6'1 195lbs and is considered small???

He isn't going to score alot but he plays safe and mostly mistake free. For a 22 year old thats played in 103 games with limited ice time, thats pretty good.

In comparison, Komisarek just started playing mistake free hockey and he is 25 with 233 games in the NHL.

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Here's why I think so many people are drooling over Drury:

- Most would prefer Briere, but he's gonna go for at least a million more than Drury, given that he just put up a 95 point season. Someone will be willing to pay more than the Habs can offer, so while Habs fans can dream about a Quebecois star, they know it's unlikely it will be him.

- Drury has it, whatever it is. People complain about losing Souray's leadership if he goes, Drury makes up for it and then some. He's a co-captain in Buffalo and he would be a big part of changing the core attitude of the team, in my opinion.

- Like Koivu, he's not a #1 center, but that would give us one helluva #1a and #1b combo. Having guys like those two will help keep pressure off the other and they'll be allowed to play more like #1 guys than #2 guys.

Like I've said, my pipe dream is to bring in Smyth, Drury, and Hannan. Drastic changes to what the team brings to the ice and a drastic change to the leadership core.

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Like I've said, my pipe dream is to bring in Smyth, Drury, and Hannan. Drastic changes to what the team brings to the ice and a drastic change to the leadership core.

Not just your pipe-dream...every team in the league is trying to get that trio or a trio just like it. It is just not realistic to assume that the Habs will be able to get more than 2 UFAs this summer. That fact, combined with the weak UFA pool this summer makes me think that BG will try and get what we need through trades.

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Not just your pipe-dream...every team in the league is trying to get that trio or a trio just like it. It is just not realistic to assume that the Habs will be able to get more than 2 UFAs this summer. That fact, combined with the weak UFA pool this summer makes me think that BG will try and get what we need through trades.

Smyth, Drury and Hannan all together would obviously tun us into contenders and just as obviously will never happen. But that's the thing; because whoever he signs will be inked to a long-term deal for massive dollars, the question Bob has to ask is: can we conceivably win the Stanley Cup with this guy as our #1 or #2 centreman? (I don't mean immediately, but if you're committing to this guy as *the man* that has to be the question).

To me, no team will ever win with a Briere-Koivu combination down the middle. You just can't have two C that small (unless somehow we go out and acquire three or four elite power forwards on the wing, which is basically impossible). That's a team that could beat anyone on any given night but would have a HELL of a time winning more than one playoff series. (Just imagine them going up against Anaheim's D! :wacko: )

Koivu-Drury perhaps elevates us to the level of a playoff spoiler, but really...nobody trembles to face two 65-point scorers, no matter how much 'character' they bring. Also, although that team has a chance to do some damage in the spring, I think that team has less chance of making the playoffs than it would with Briere - because it would have a popgun regular-season offence.

I like Gomez because he's turning 27 or 28, i.e., heading into his prime, so his ceiling may still be unclear. But all those seasons of 10-15 goals really have to make you sceptical.

So the more I think about it, the more Bob should steer the hell clear of the UFA market for C. Depending on the salary levels, he could end up locking us into a structure at C that will consign us to second-tier status at best, for the next four or five years.

Use the UFA market to add depth to D or the other lines and then go very, very hard on the trade market for the REAL THING at C - for the first time since the Turgeon/Damphousse/Koivu days (which were ludicrously dismantled by that blithering, drooling jackanapse of a mental midget, Rejean Houle and his crapulent sidekick, the Human Separatist Blueberry). The only untouchable for such a trade would be Price IMHO.

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If I were a manager, I'd have to say that there are no centres that interest me out there in this summer's UFA list.

I'd be looking to swing a deal - or even to promote/develop one from within before signing anyone from this crop to a long term deal.....

(fortunately I'm not an NHL manager though! :rolleyes:)

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SCOTT HANNAN, That's who we need

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I can't agree more that we need a BIG no1 center! As much as I think Brière is a great hockey player, I don't think he's the solution for us. He's too small and he's already 30 years old...

Trade seems the only solutio, but I don't think there are that much big #1 C on the trade market either. Maybe Marleau? Maybe Richards. Are they a good fit? At what cost? ...

Can't wait to see if Bob can pull a fat white bunny from his hat...

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I don't get this big #1 C issue when you bring up guys like Richards and Marleau as examples... Both are Lady Byng winners, so other than just being stronger on the puck, don't expect any improvement from our percieved notion of being a soft team.

Handzus and Zubrus are still intriguing options for us, I think. But neither fit the #1 mold everyone craves. With the cap going up, I'm almost regretting that we backed out on Arnott last summer even though I thought he signed for way more than he's worth. It isn't going to get any easier this summer, that's for sure.

Don't get me wrong, each of the C's being mentioned has their positives, I'm just looking at other ones available.

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ok add Yashin to the list

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I don't get this big #1 C issue when you bring up guys like Richards and Marleau as examples... Both are Lady Byng winners, so other than just being stronger on the puck, don't expect any improvement from our percieved notion of being a soft team.

Handzus and Zubrus are still intriguing options for us, I think. But neither fit the #1 mold everyone craves. With the cap going up, I'm almost regretting that we backed out on Arnott last summer even though I thought he signed for way more than he's worth. It isn't going to get any easier this summer, that's for sure.

Don't get me wrong, each of the C's being mentioned has their positives, I'm just looking at other ones available.

The issue for me, anyway, is not that we need some big, hulking beast as our #1 C. What we need is someone who can PRODUCE like an elite-level #1 NHL centreman. Briere seems to fit, but not only is he *not big*, he's a complete shrimp. And I don't think a team will win the Cup with two Mini Mes at centre. Richards or Marleau are both elite performers without being midgets by NHL standards, so they'd suit me fine. (I agree that Arnott looks better now, but...he's injury-prone and locked in until age 38. That could still prove to be a bad signing on the back end).

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I *completely* agree with this assessment. On defence, Streit played better than Dandenault, and was vastly superior to him offensively. As a forward, Streit was very effective, handling both offensive and defensive responsibilites light years better than Dandenault, who had much more experience as a "rover" player than Dandenault did to start the season. At this point in time, I'm disappointed that Dandenault still has 2 seasons left on his contract with the Habs, because I'd rather see a younger player be given a chance at his spot. I can't help but believe that Gainey will no longer hand out 4 year contracts to 30+ year old UFA's any more, as the returns are not outweighing the investments so far.

I hope we upgrade the D too. Dandenault more than Bouillon is the odd man out. Streit stole Dandenault's place. I'd keep Bouillon as a 5-6th D tho, cause he can throw thunderous checks and can drop the gloves (nice fight against Tucker this spring). Dandenault doesn't hit hard, doesn't fight, doesn't move the puck well... all he can do is skate fast, so I'd trade him and his near 2M salary for a fourth rounder... With Markov, Komy, Streit, Bouillon, a solid UFA or two, and a rookie or two (O'Byrne? Valentenko? Emelin?) as 6th and 7th D it'd be nice.

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I *completely* agree with this assessment. On defence, Streit played better than Dandenault, and was vastly superior to him offensively. As a forward, Streit was very effective, handling both offensive and defensive responsibilites light years better than Dandenault, who had much more experience as a "rover" player than Dandenault did to start the season. At this point in time, I'm disappointed that Dandenault still has 2 seasons left on his contract with the Habs, because I'd rather see a younger player be given a chance at his spot. I can't help but believe that Gainey will no longer hand out 4 year contracts to 30+ year old UFA's any more, as the returns are not outweighing the investments so far.

Yeah Dandy's contract ain't shit. We're stuck with this guy. What about a buy out? Any teams would pick him for a 4rth rounder? i'm not even sure about that. Maybe a 6th rounder a la Pavel Bure. :lol:

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All in all the important thinking is picking up guys that not only are effective, produce and play next season. But also set quality standards and work etiquette that will influence and be replicated by the Bulldogs newbies we got last year and will be getting this one. The Habs will no doubt want to see whats best in the long run too

still out of curiosity I would like to know how well Kovalev played with Yashin. if he did (anybody in habsworld got links from Russia)

one idea: convince sammy Kovy and Yashin that if they play great this season they will get rewarded and as soon as they click and produce pack them up and trade them :P

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I wouldn't pay for the (over)hyped Brière and Drury

I'll try to get a discount on Nylander or Lang instead.

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