Every once in awhile an opportunity presents itself where you can not only bolster your team, but you can also screw over a division rival. Poor management this summer by Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis has created just such a situation.
Technically, the Leafs still have slightly more cap space than the Canadiens do this summer, but the Habs' roster is set while the Leafs still have Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson to sign. It doesn't get any easier for the Leafs next year either, with Phil Kessel going into unrestricted free agency.
It's likely because of Kessel's impending new contract that Nonis is trying to push Kadri into a bridge contract similar to what P.K. Subban signed in January. However Kadri wants to get paid, and remarked that the salary cap isn't his job. Kadri is right, but that can't be good news for Nonis.
The Habs are in a unique position here, as they have some flexibility with moveable contracts, and with the way the new divisions are set up, especially with a divisional playoff scheme, hurting Toronto and improving the Habs while Montreal is in a competitive period is just smart business.
If the Canadiens were to move say, Travis Moen, they would be able to give Kadri a $5M per year contract, which would cost them just a 1st and 3rd round pick in the 2014 NHL draft, which considering the addition of Kadri to an already strong roster, would be very low value picks in a thought to be weak draft.
If the Leafs were to match the offer sheet, they would be forced to not only not sign Cody Franson, but to also move salary around to stay under the cap for the next season. It would also be likely to hurt them next summer while they're negotiating with Kessel.
Even if you're thinking that the Habs are stocked at center, Kadri is a capable winger too. Imagine him and Gallagher on the same line, and how many penalties they would draw together!
This is a no-lose situation for Bergevin. And I bet Kadri's dad would be pretty happy too.