Gill To Return to Montreal

MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 21: Hal Gill #75 of the Montreal Canadiens and Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins battle for a loose puck along the near boards in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 21, 2011 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

In a mostly unsurprising move,  the Montreal Canadiens have re-signed Hal Gill to a one year contract for $2.25 million. Here is the team's official statement.  It's is surprising however that Montreal gave Gill the same salary as he was given 2 years ago. This signing, without a salary decrease for Gill, likely means James Wisniewski is definitely not being brought back next season, if you believe Markov is sure to be signed that is (I do).

It certainly was no secret that a deal had been made on Tuesday, as Hockey Inside/Out, RDS, the Canadiens official twitter account, and Steven Hindle were are all reporting it as "nearly done".

Gill's strengths as we all know are his defensive presence and veteran leadership. An alternate captain with the Canadiens the last two years, Gill was instrumental in bringing P.K. Subban into borderline superstar status within his rookie year. Subban and Josh Gorges had gone to management personally and asked for Gill to be retained, showing his value in the dressing room.

Gill scored 2 goals and added 7 assists and 43 penalty minutes last season in 75 games while putting up a -9 rating against tough competition.

RDS also reports that Dustin Boyd and Nigel Dawes have tentatively signed one-year deals with Barys Astana, in Kazakhstan. The Canadiens have yet to confirm any reports as both players are under contract until July 1. Boyd came to the Canadiens in the Sergei Kostitsyn deal. He managed one goal in 10 games before finding better success with the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL). There he had 20 goals and 9 assists in 47 games.

Dawes was part of the trade with the Atlanta Thrashers for Brent Sopel and saw four games with the Habs. He had 28 points (14 goals) in 19 regular season games and 22 points, matching his goal total, in 14 playoff games.

Meanwhile, after a close finish for a shot at the Calder Cup championship, the Hamilton Bulldogs are looking at a long-term deal to stay in the Hammer.

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