Time for Hockey Talk!
Let's talk about the off-season so far. There's been a lot of deals, a couple trades, but lots of signings. I'm not going to give you the entire list, but I do want to talk about my favourite signings and my least favourite signings. Then, of course, I'll give my opinions on Les Canadiens de Montreal.
So. My least favourite signings of the year. This year, at least there were no Jeff Finger 3.5 million signings, so that's up one from last off season. Still lots of WTF moments, though.
Mattias Ohlund: Tampa Bay has proven they still have the ability to overpay for someone nearing the twilight of their career. Ohlund has a front-loaded 3.75m/year contract for a defenseman who will likely spend 5 of the 7 years in the bottom-ranked defensive pair. A lot of people have said he will be good as a mentor for Viktor Hedman, but I say...do you really want to mentor one of the best defensive prospects in years to turn out like Mattias Ohlund?
Jaroslav Spacek: Isn't it great, how this category has a Hab already? Tells you a bit of what I think. More on that later. Spacek falls into the same category as Ohlund - an aging and overpriced defenseman who received more money than he's worth because Gainey can't attract quality players at the right prices. Unlikely to finish his contract - I think retirement will take him first.
And the best deals...
David Booth: Florida is a terrible team. And they're going to continue to be a terrible team, and nothing they have done will change this. That doesn't mean David Booth is a bad hockey player. On the contrary, I think he's a fantastic hockey player. He's a 30-goal-per-year guy who could hit 40 if he had a centre (something Florida doesn't have). At a very reasonable 4.25 million a season, Booth will either be part of the core of a resurgent Florida team or be packaged off to a contender after 2 or 3 years for a lot of future.
Nik Antropov: Not the best player, but he is making the right amount of money and he could be in a position to do very, very well as a centre for Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk is one of the most talented wingers in the NHL, and can score 40+ goals with a nobody on his line. Antropov can clear paths and can make a pass - the end result is that he could get lots of points shoving people out of Ilya's way. Even if he stays the same 60 point guy, 4 is a reasonable price.
And the Habs...
Let's just say I am of the opinion that Bob Gainey needs to lose his job. His signings go from the good (Cammalleri), the okay (Gill, Mara), the unknown (Gionta), to the terrible (Spacek). And the Gomez trade was terrible. Gomez is a good hockey player, yes - but he is not a 7.3 million dollar a year player. Glen Sather and New York City deserved to be punished for such a terrible signing and Gainey should never, ever have released him from that obligation.
Losing Komisarek is something I don't mind. Montreal has tons of defensive prospects in the pipe (including the energetic P.K. Subban, who I really, truly hope will make the big team soon), and Gill and Mara make up for his size. In fact, as Mark at work has pointed out time and time again, Komisarek pussied out against Lucic last season. He wasn't being big.
But Spacek? Come on. We have to have had someone better in the pipe. I would have loved them to sign Bouwmeester, but of course Gainey couldn't get his hands on the kid. I would have loved for them to trade for just about any decent defenseman out there, but he made no major moves in that department. It's just sad to see that D-corps get sliced down year-after-year.
Three years ago we lost Souray. Then last year we lost Streit. And now we lost Komisarek. For some reason, Montreal can't keep these players. We should be asking ourselves why.
Atop that, we lost Koivu. He would have played for under four, it seems. But Gainey just wanted him gone. It's...pathetic. Who is the leader now? Do we have one?
And if Price doesn't turn out...well. We're boned.