WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 24: The last photo we have of Andrei Kostitsyn as a Canadien in our photo stream. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
I'll admit it: everytime I write on here tends to be a bit negative. It's the unfortunate result when writing about something you're incredibly passionate for, but is letting you down.
So I'll start out positive: the best part of Trade Deadline 2012 for the Montreal Canadiens is that even though the team got worse, they could've gotten much, much worse based on some of the crazy rumours spreading around the team. Our own Chris Boyle described the experience from a Habs fan's perspective as like being "a boxer holding on for dear life waiting for the final bell." In the end, Gauthier didn't have it in him to deliver the knockout punch, a trade involving a core player signed long term that can be part of the solution going forward. We're relieved.
(Aside: Follow Chris on Twitter everyone. He's new there and you may have missed him.)
Effectively, the NHL roster shift looks like this: out with the increasingly less played Andrei Kostitsyn, in with a goon to give us a few moments to break from the monotony of the losing down the stretch in Brad Staubitz, and a prospect exchange between the big club and the farm club with Louis Leblanc going down and soon to be fourth generation Canadien Blake Geoffrion coming up.
Magic beans were A second round pick was acquired in exchange for Andrei Kostitsyn from Nashville, along with the much anticipated return of a 5th round pick in 2013 that might not have gone to Nashville anyways from the Hal Gill trade.
Chris Campoli will play out the string it seems as a Canadien for no return. The Canadiens don't have a lot of later picks in this year's draft, I figured Campoli could recover the pick we gave up for Paul Mara last year at the very least, while the team gave Frederic St. Denis a look, but it seems like the organization is holding out some hope that Hamilton will make the playoffs (they're 8 points back currently), so they may be looking to keep those players down there. The Staubitz re-entry waiver claim certainly will keep a guy like Aaron Palushaj from another callup, for example, just as Campoli's presence will keep St. Denis down. Pending UFA's like the injured Travis Moen and the versatile Mathieu Darche might still be in the team's future plans. I have no objections if that is the case.
After the jump, I have a full organizational depth chart.
|Left Wing||Centre||Right Wing|
|Max Pacioretty (23; $1.63m)||Tomas Plekanec (29, $5m)||Erik Cole (33, $4.5m)|
|Rene Bourque (30, $3.33m)||David Desharnais (25, $0.85m)||Brian Gionta (34, $5m)|
|Travis Moen (30, UFA)||Lars Eller (23, RFA)||Ryan White (24, RFA)|
|Mathieu Darche (35, UFA)||Scott Gomez (32, $7.36m)||Brad Staubitz (27, UFA)|
|Blake Geoffrion (24, RFA)||Petteri Nokelainen (26, RFA)||Louis Leblanc (21, $1.17m)|
|Mike Blunden (25, UFA*)||Andreas Engqvist (24, RFA)||Aaron Palushaj (22, RFA)|
|Danny Masse (24, RFA)||Olivier Fortier (23, RFA)||Brian Willsie (34, UFA)|
|Philippe Lefebvre (21, $0.53m)||Gabriel Dumont (21, $0.57m)||Ian Schultz (22, $0.85m)|
|Andrew Conboy (24, RFA)||Joonas Nattinen (21, $0.9m)||Alexander Avtsin (21, $0.87m)|
|Robert Slaney (23, RFA)||Michael Bournival (20, $0.69m)||Alain Berger (21, $0.67m)|
|Hunter Bishop (24, RFA)||Dustin Walsh (21, NCAA)||Brendan Gallagher (20, $0.72m)|
|Steve Quailer (22, NCAA)||Daniel Pribyl (19, CEL)||Danny Kristo (22, NCAA ^)|
|Olivier Archambault (19, CHL)||Michael Cichy (21, NCAA)||Patrick Holland (20, UFA)|
|Maxim Trunev (21, KHL)||John Westin (20, UFA)|
|Mark MacMillan (20, NCAA)|
Notes: Age as of July 1, 2012 in brackets, followed by contractual status for 2012-13. *Mike Blunden is one game short of losing Group VI UFA status on his contract, if he can come back healthy and play one more game for the Canadiens this season, he will be a Restricted Free Agent. Patrick Holland and John Westin must sign contracts by June 1, 2012 or they will re-enter the Entry Draft, all other free agents listed here will come into effect on July 1. ^ There is a scenario in which Kristo could become a UFA on June 1, if he officially drops out of university before then. Habsworld explains the scenario.
There isn't a lot of turnover anticipated at the top, although Scott Gomez is expected to be out of mix in some form. I hope Staubitz is simply a placeholder and won't be brought back, he's shown no viable NHL ability in his career to date. Expect a huge turnover in Hamilton, however. Bournival and Gallagher are just the start (and they could challenge for jobs out of training camp like they did this past year), I expect a few contracts won't be qualified, while NCAA guys like Kristo, Qualier, and Walsh could easily find themselves turning professional to go to Hamilton. And one must also mention the potential high draft pick the Canadiens will be getting this year, who could also be in the mix for a NHL job.
Total Forwards 2012/13 Cap Hit: $27.67m for 7 players, with 4 RFA's on current team roster and 3 UFA's; 16 contracts total signed for 2012-13. 2 prospects must be signed or else Montreal loses their rights.
|Left Defence||Right Defence|
|Andrei Markov (33, $5.75m)||P.K. Subban (23, RFA)|
|Josh Gorges (27, $3.9m)||Raphael Diaz (26, RFA)|
|Alexei Emelin (26, RFA)||Yannick Weber (23, $0.85m)|
|Tomas Kaberle (34, $4.25m)||Garrett Stafford (32, UFA)|
|Chris Campoli (27, UFA)||Joe Callahan (29, UFA)|
|Frederic St-Denis (26, RFA)||Mark Mitera (24, RFA)|
|Brendon Nash (25, RFA)||Joe Stejskal (24, $0.58m)|
|Alex Henry (32, UFA)||Morgan Ellis (20, UFA)|
|Jarred Tinordi (20, $1.12m)||Magnus Nygren (22, SEL)|
|Nathan Beaulieu (19, CHL)||Greg Pateryn (22, UFA)|
|Mac Bennett (21, NCAA)||Darren Dietz (19, CHL)|
|Scott Kishel (23, UFA)||Josiah Didier (19, NCAA)|
|Colin Sullivan (19, NCAA)|
Here things are a bit more complex. Andrei Markov could help a lot of things out by coming back before the end of the season and giving the team a bit of an evaluation heading into next year of where things stand going forward. P.K. Subban will be getting paid, although if the team goes short term they'll save themselves some money. Emelin and Diaz are a year away from UFA, and both figure into the team's plans for next year one would think. Campoli is almost certainly gone, unless the team can find a home for Tomas Kaberle next year. Yannick Weber is still around, though many wonder if he'll be retained for much longer going forward. He needs to step up and grab a regular spot right now, but he's had an awful year. In Hamilton, expect a massive turnover. Morgan Ellis is a must sign, and to a much lesser extent so is Greg Pateryn. Nathan Beaulieu can play junior next year as an overager, but more than likely will be turning professional as well. Jarred Tinordi is already signed for next year.
Josh Gorges and Alexei Emelin have shown they can play the right side in the past, so while I've included them on the left side here, the team can adapt to the return of Markov by switching one of those two players over.
Notes: Morgan Ellis must be signed by June 1 or he will re-enter the Entry Draft, while Greg Pateryn and Scott Kishel don't become UFA's until August 15 as players that have completed four years of the NCAA program.
Total Defence 2012/13 Cap Hit: $14.75m for 4 players, with 3 RFA's on current team roster and 1 UFA; 6 contracts total signed for 2012-13. 3 prospects must be signed or else Montreal will lose their rights.
|Carey Price (24, RFA)|
|Peter Budaj (29, $1.15m)|
|Nathan Lawson (28, UFA)|
|Robert Mayer (22, $0.53m)|
|Peter Delmas (22, $0.61m)|
Well, obviously Carey Price is the biggest contract to worry about here. He's still technically two years away from UFA, so the team still has the option of going short term with him, but many are expecting a long term deal to be negotiated that would pay Price as an elite goaltender, with $5m on the low end and $7m+ as a ridiculous high end. This contract will be the one that holds the most influence on what Montreal does to improve their team in free agency, so expect the team to start negotiations before July 1. In Hamilton, it might finally be time to let Mayer and Delmas run the show, but the team could probably use a prospect there at some point. Lawson is having a decent year when he's been healthy, though.
Total Goaltenders 2012/13 Cap Hit: $1.15m for 1 player, with 1 RFA on current team roster; 3 contracts total signed for 2012-13.
And, finally, the Draft picks:
|2||Montreal, Nashville||Montreal, Calgary, Nashville|
A summary: the Nashville 2012 2nd round pick was acquired in the Hal Gill trade, while Montreal has had 3 different 2012 5th round picks at one point in time, trading their own away to the Islanders in the James Wisniewski trade, acquiring Columbus' 5th rounder when dealing Wisniewski's rights before including it as part of the Mike Cammalleri/Rene Bourque trade to Calgary, and acquiring Anaheim's 5th rounder in the Maxim Lapierre trade before sending it back to Anaheim later last season for Paul Mara. The team dealt their 7th round pick this year in the Petteri Nokelainen trade with Phoenix. Meanwhile, Montreal acquired Calgary's 2013 2nd rounder in the Cammalleri trade, and Nashville's 2013 2nd rounder in the Andrei Kostitsyn trade.
These picks could be used to help trade up in this year's draft, though again I was hoping to recover some more 2012 picks by dealing Campoli.
Total Cap Hit 2012/13: $43.57m for 12 players, with 8 RFA's from current roster and 4 UFA's (2011/12 cap hit was $64.3m). In total the Canadiens have used 25 of their 50 contract spaces for next season.