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KoZed

Next Season's Roster: Where Are We At Right Now?

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Bulis and Sunny are as good as gone. On defense, not much changes except Simpson's as goner.

That doesn't leave much opened spots for next season:

LW

Higgins

Perezhogin

Begin

Murray

C

Koivu

Ribeiro

Plekanec

Bonk

RW

Kovalev

Ryder

Zednik

Downey

D

Markov

Rivet

Souray

Komisarek

Bouillon

Dandeneault

G

Huet

Aebischer

Bulis, Sundstrom and Simpson leaving didnt really create much more space in the lineup. Idealy, Murray and Downey will rotate on the 4th line wing. That leaves one spot open on the first 3 lines, most likely on the LW.

When you look at it all, you realize that whoever the Habs sign as a UFA, they'll have to move someone from their current roster to make room for him.

Arnott's the #1 candidate to come to Montreal. If the Habs sign him, they've got to move Ribs. Koivu got a no-trade clause, Plekanec's the future and Bonk can and accepts to be a 4th-liner. That leaves Ribs as the 5th wheel at center.

Now as for other names thrown around, one could fit in without requiring to make a trade: Brendan Shanahan. He's a LW and that's a position the Habs had trouble to find stability last season. They even had to move Higgins there because of the revolving door on the LW of Koivu and Ribs on the top 2 lines. Shanny could play on the LW any of the top 3 lines.

Picture this:

Perezhogin - Arnott - Kovalev

Higgins - Koivu - Ryder

Shanahan - Plekanec - Zednik

Begin - Bonk - Murray/Downey

Now for the D-men, its a whole different ballgame. There's little room to bring someone in. If you sign a left-handed D-man, you have to scratch one of Bouillon, Markov or Souray. If its a right-handed d-man, you have to scratch one of Rivet, Komisarek or Dandeneault. Its highly unlikely that any of those 6 would be happy not having a regular spot in the NHL at this point of their career, even Komisarek who needs all the ice he can have to keep developing. And you still have Streit in the stands.

However Carbo would always have the option of dressing up 7 d-men regularly. Especially if they sign a right-handed D-man, they'd have the option of using Dandy as a forward and scratch Downey/Murray instead.

Notice also that it all leaves little room for prospects to come up. There's basically 2 spots that could still be considered "up for grabs": Perezhogin's and Zednik's. Kosty could fight for either one; and if they keep progressing maybe Lapierre or Ferland could sneak in as a 4th liner and bump up Bonk or Begin to 3rd line duties over Zednik.

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If Bonk and Zednick remain with the team there is no financial room for both

Shanahan and Arnott to get on board.

But if both those two where with us, Shanahan on the third line not getting PP minutes would be a total miss cast.

Shanahan had 40 goals last year, he one-timed those shots like the best of them and best of all he shoots right and play left wing......perfect scenario with Kovalev feeding him perfect passes from it's off-wing position on the power play.

Dead line for buying-out players was today,...Bonk is still with us so that's 1,200.000 less dollards to spend than if a rooky had taken the 4th line center position in its place.

Zednick is pretty much useless on power-plays....yet he doesn't want to play on the third line....he got to go

and the money saved (1,900.000) will help Gainey to get the fire power he is looking for.

The way it is now:

?????, Ribeiro, Kovalev

Higgins, Koivu, Ryder

Perezhogin, Plekanec, Zednick

Begin, Bonk, Murray

(Downey,Ferland)

The way it could be:

Bondra, Arnott, Kovalev

Higgins, Koivu, Ryder

Perezhogin, Plekanec, Kostitsyn

Begin, Bonk, Murray

(Downey,Ferland)

Bondra is one of the few players that could help the power play lines yet would accept signing only for one year at a time. He wouldn't monopolised top lines estates more than the time it will take for one of the prospects wingers on the third line to be ready for top lines dutys (PP) eventually. He is also one of the few players that would still financially fit-in when accounting the Arnott signing. A good one year fix,...that is if

Arnott would be signed-in to start with........and if Arnott aint signed........ what would the CH look like ?

no clues for now.

Edited by PB

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I see no use for Bondra. He wouldnt really bring anything we dont already have in stock. At least Shanny brings the intangibles of Stanley Cup wins and loads of experience in pressure situations.

I've put Shanny on the 3rd line but could be 1st or 2nd. Doesnt real mean anything. He'd still get top PP time.

Either way, the point I was trying to make was that Gainey can't just go out and sign 3, 4 UFAs just like some people seems to think. There's some real limitations here. Saying "oh, he just has to trade X and Y" after he signed the guys is to forget that you get much lower return when the other GM knows you're forced to trade X and Y because you painted yourself in a corner.

Let's face it, Gainey doesn't have a big margin of manoeuvre.

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I don't see Gainey bringing in too many new players. If anything, 1 foward and 1 D-Man, if Bouillon isn't signed.

My predicted lineup

Higgins - Koivu - Ryder

Kosty - UFA(Arnott)/Pleks - Kovalev

Zednick - Pleks - Perezhogin

Begin - Bonk - Murray

Defense the same, maybe trade and/or sign for a new top 1-4 D man, and ribs, I kinda like him, but he's gotta go.

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I still wouldn't rule out acquisition through trade. Also, with the current line-up there is a serious lack of depth should injuries occur. Also, Streit has re-signed on the defensive core and I believe Bouillion will not re-sign.

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I think the line up is gonna look more like this

Shanahan-Koivu-Ryder

Zherdev-Arnott-Kovalev

Latendresse-Plekanec-Higgins

Begin-Bonk-Murray

Markov-Rivet

Komisarek-Dandenault

Witt-Bouillon

Huet

Danis

Zednik, Ribeiro, Abby, Perezhogin, and Souray... could all be traded in order to make this line up work.

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Unless Gainey can make a trade for Aebischer and Ribeiro and possibly Zednik, this team won't be active in the Free Agent market today. Atleast not for any of the big name guys. Montreal simply doesn't have the cap room, nor does it have the roster to space to allow any additions.

If Bouillon leaves, you may see a free agent addition defensman to fill a spot there, but it won't be a CHara, Jovanovski, Kubina, Mitchell, Mckee or KUba. It'll be a depth 5th or 6th defensman.

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Someone correct me if I`m wrong, but this is what I figure is the Habs salary situation: Approx. $29 million committed as of now. Assume Bouillon will sign for $2 million and assume our RFAs (Abby, Higgins, Komisarek, Perezhogin, Ribeiro, and Ryder) will cost a toatal of approx. $7 to $8 million. That makes a total of $38 to $39 million, leaving room under the cap of $5 to $6 million. Realistically we could spend $2 to $4 million to not get right up against the cap.

Not much is it ? Elias, Arnott, Shanny, etc... something has to give.

All this being said, I`m not sure what to expect. I do think that Ribeiro, Zednik, Bonk, Aebischer are expendable and could basically be given away for very little in trades to make room for free agents. Should be a very interesting coming week.

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Someone correct me if I`m wrong, but this is what I figure is the Habs salary situation: Approx. $29 million committed as of now. Assume Bouillon will sign for $2 million and assume our RFAs (Abby, Higgins, Komisarek, Perezhogin, Ribeiro, and Ryder) will cost a toatal of approx. $7 to $8 million. That makes a total of $38 to $39 million, leaving room under the cap of $5 to $6 million. Realistically we could spend $2 to $4 million to not get right up against the cap.

Not much is it ? Elias, Arnott, Shanny, etc... something has to give.

All this being said, I`m not sure what to expect. I do think that Ribeiro, Zednik, Bonk, Aebischer are expendable and could basically be given away for very little in trades to make room for free agents. Should be a very interesting coming week.

I would say you are pretty close with the $38 to $39 Million range. I would say its more realistic to say the Habs won't go about $42 Million, so that really leaves maybe $3 Million at most to play with.

I'd say realistically Gainey is working the phones looking for a trade to free up space or bring in the needed parts because there isn't enough room to bring in a Jason Arnott or somebody that will truly help this club.

A trade is the only realistic way of freeing up cap space, provided all the RFA's sign.

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If Gainey were to dump Zeds or Ribs, itd have to be in a package with Aebi, who should be traded SOON!!!!

That clears up roster space and Cap room. If Ribs and Aebi were sent packing together with a pick to a team in need of a starting Goalie like (im just saying for now) Florida for a return like say a 2nd or 3rd dman then we'd have one problem solved. Then send Rivet, Zednik, Downey and picks to a weaker team (again my example) Phoenix for a good 3rd or 4th Dman and and a 2-way player and picks. Then with the cap room sign Arnott and Shanny. These would be my lines...

Higgins(800T)-Koivu(4.75M)-Ryder(2M) Scoring line #1

Shannahan(2.75M)-Arnott(4.5M)-Kovalev(4.5M) Super Scoring and Passing line #2 :D

Perezhogin(800M)-Plekanec(450T)-Kostitsyn(800T) Young Gun and Run Line #3

Begin(1M)-Bonk(2.4M)-Scratchard(2.1M) Engergy / Checking / Shut-Down Line #4

(Murray, Grabovsky, Latendresse, Ferland, etc....)

Souray(2.4M)-Van Ryn(2M)

Markov(2M)-Komisarek(800T)

Dandenault(1.7M)-Seidenberg(1M)

(Cote, Streit, etc...)

Huet(3M)

Danis(600T)

(Halak)

Total Salaries for that is 40.35 Million. Add in another 1.5 Million or so for Murray, Grabovsky and Streit and wed be sitting at 41.85 Million.

I dont know what you all think about this and my salaries are best estimates but its just my idea.

:hlogo:

Frig... i just read that Bouillon resigned so that just frigged my plan up.

:hlogo:

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Kostitsyn-Arnott-Kovalev

Higgins-Koivu-Ryder

Perezhogin-Plekanec-Zednik

Begin-Bonk-Murray

Downey, Lapierre

Markov-Komisarek

Souray-Dandenault

Bouillon-Rivet

Streit

Huet

Danis

These lines will challenge for the division title (and in a very tough division too). Ribeiro and Aebischer are missing from the roster as they are traded to make cap room for Arnott. Zednik may go as well if needed/possible. Bringing in Arnott seems to be the most we can possibly do with our cap situation.

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Kostitsyn-Arnott-Kovalev

Higgins-Koivu-Ryder

Perezhogin-Plekanec-Zednik

Begin-Bonk-Murray

Downey, Lapierre

Markov-Komisarek

Souray-Dandenault

Bouillon-Rivet

Streit

Huet

Danis

These lines will challenge for the division title (and in a very tough division too). Ribeiro and Aebischer are missing from the roster as they are traded to make cap room for Arnott. Zednik may go as well if needed/possible. Bringing in Arnott seems to be the most we can possibly do with our cap situation.

I agree with you 100%. Mind you, I still have my fingers crossed for Elias. :D

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Well its the end of day 1 of the UFA signing period and Montreal hasn't done anything other than sign Bouillon.

Which is no real suprise. And Arnott and Elias are both still out there

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Elias just signed a 7!! year deal with the Devils..... this sucks... everybody is getting good players but us...

:hlogo:

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A disappointingly quiet day for Les Habitants yet I trust that Bob will bring something to the table that we can all be excited about. I just wish I had the chance to think of what a new player is going to look like in the most storied uniform in hockey history!

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Yeah I didn't really think montreal was in the running for him, or anyone else for that matter

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Gainey barely stuck his pinky toe in last years pool. Maybe the harsh water of greedy UFAs was cold and its turned him off from wanting to go back to the pool this year.

:hlogo:

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Gainey barely stuck his pinky toe in last years pool. Maybe the harsh water of greedy UFAs was cold and its turned him off from wanting to go back to the pool this year.

:hlogo:

I think it was more the fact that if all the RFA's sign Montreal's cap will probably be around $39 Million, and the Habs really don't want to get any closer to the cap than $41 Million. What can you get for $2 Million.

Lets face it, Montreal wasn't in the running for any of this years free agents. Either than, or Gainey wasn't at all prepared......I'd prefer to believe in the former.

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Yeah Montreal wasn't in the running for Elias/Arnott...that's become fairly obvious. Perhaps Gainey will surprise us in the coming days, but I wouldn't hold my breath. They're content as is.

In the end, this proved that the Montreal media is good at making silly speculation seem like slam-dunk fact. In that way they're eerily similar to the Leafs bandwagon.

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In the end, this proved that the Montreal media is good at making silly speculation seem like slam-dunk fact. In that way they're eerily similar to the Leafs bandwagon.

Just about every team was rumoured to be looking at somebody. While the Toronto rumours tend to be a little outrageous, with Toronto apparently in the running for every top free agent, the fact remains that they made a splash in the UFA pool and made their team better while Montreal stood by and did nothing.

Maybe Gainey is working on a deal (highly doubtfull there is nobody worth trading) or maybe he thinks the rookies (Higgins, Plekanec, Perezhogin, Kostitsyn) can improve on last year (very possible). Heres hoping that the sophomore jinx leaves the Canadiens alone next year, or it may be a long year in the Northeast division!

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It's frustrating on one level, because Montreal has to eventually make the step from team that squeaks into the playoffs to a surefire playoff team to contend. Upgrades would help the team. The Eastern Conference is going to be tougher (look at Florida, Boston, and yes even Toronto has attempted to improve) and it's arrogant and foolish to assume that there aren't holes to be filled in the current lineup.

Let's hope that the young guys, especially Perezhogin, are ready to step up and actually become true NHL top six forwards.

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I just wish something would happen. :(

:hlogo:

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......... and it's arrogant and foolish to assume that there aren't holes to be filled in the current lineup.

I totally agree. But I've been saying for a while now in these posts that Montreal wouldn't be very active in the free agent market due to their limited cap room.

Montreal will continue to struggle this year, and will be lucky to make the playoffs, with (like you said) Florida, Toronto and Boston all improving, not too mention that Atlanta will have Lehtonen healthy for a full season.

But hopefully the young guys stand up and deliver. As well, if Zednik and Bonk recover and have decent seasons, they are capable 20+ goal scorers, this team could be a suprise like Buffalo and Carolina were last year.

And of course, Huet better earn his $3 Million dollar paycheque

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That's for sure - without Huet heroics we're done for.

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