Let me be the General Manager of the Montreal Canadians today, let me be the man who will change the face of this gloried franchise, let me be the man who has all the pressure in the world, let me be Marc Bergevin for a few minutes.

 

Assistant-coach

I would beg head-coach Michel Therrien to pick an assistant that will complement his style and his lack of strategic coaching. Please no Guy Carbonneau, no Patrice Brisebois and please not Gaston Therrien (RDS analyst). How about a guy like Mike Haviland who was an assistant-coach with the Chicago Blackhawks and was
recently let go? Benoit Groulx anyone of the LHJMQ?

Buyout period

I would not buyout Scott Gomez and I would not buyout Tomas Kaberle. It cost too much and it takes room on your salary cap. I would assign both of them to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL and let them collect their full salary without the 12.4% escrow (does not apply in the AHL). Bergevin has one chance of using the old ‘’it’s the previous management’s mistake, not mine’’ phrase. You can use that excuse only once in your term and I think this is the time to use it.

2012 amateur draft

I would not trade the 3rd pick overall and pick the best available player. The Habs are not close to winning the cup and should not be too picky about the position of the players either (exception made for goalie) and go
with your list. If Nail Yakupov, by some miracle, is still there in the third spot, then pick him.

Restricted Free Agents

Michael Blunden:

Blunden did ok last season, brought a physical presence and is a fast skater. I would tend to offer him a two-way contract to give myself some flexibility.

Lars Eller:

I would wait another year to offer him a longer deal, I think both side would be comfortable with a 1 year deal at around 1M.

Ryan White:

Before I sign him, I would have a long conversation about his fighting partner selection. He needs to stay in his
weight class and let heavyweights fight heavyweights. Still, he is a great teammate and comes to play every night. A 2-3 year deal at around 1M would be interesting.

Aaron Palushaj:

There are hundreds of players like him in the AHL, so no need to use cap space on a guy like that. Minor league contract only or let him walk.

Petteri Nokelainen:

It’s been really nice knowing you, but see ya.

 

Unrestricted Free Agent 

Travis Moen:

Before getting injured, Moen was on pace for the best offensive season of his life. I would offer him a 2 year contract at around the same wage he had the last 3 seasons (1.5M).

Mathieu Darche:

I think his time is done in Montreal. He is a sand paper kind of player, but he is getting older and is more prone to injury. He can be easily replaced by someone younger and someone that is not afraid to drop the gloves once in a while.

Brad Staubitz:

He impressed Habs fan last season with his rugged play and he knows his role. I would sign him to a 1 year deal and make him my 4th line guy.

Chris Campoli:

He was THE most useless free agent signing by the Gainey/Gauthier era.

Raphael Diaz:

He has shown some good things and will be better. A 1 year deal is in order.

PK Subban, Carey Price and Alexei Emelin are no brainers and should be signed to long-term deals.

 

July 1st

The first call I would make would go to John Scott’s agent. The Boston Bruins are the number 1 enemy and the only player that scares Chara and Thornton is John Scott. You want numbers? In the 4 games John Scott played against Chara and Thornton in his career, the 2 Bruins have these stats to show for:

Chara: 9 hits, 2 PIM and ZERO FIGHTS.

Thornton: 2 Hits, 0 PIM and ZERO FIGHTS.

Coincidences? I don’t thinks so.

The NY Rangers acquired Scott last season only to face the Bruins. Shawn Thornton who has NEVER refused a fight in his career turned down the giant Scott not once, not twice, but 3 times this season. When Scott challenged Chara to a fight, big Z turned around and ignored him. Scott can be used once in a while and can play either defense or forward.

Then I would continue adding rugged players to the line-up because that is what you need in order to compete with the Rangers, the Bruins and the Flyers. Defensmen like Corey Sarich, Shane O’Brien, Matt Carkner and Stu Bickel. I would also inquire about forwards like Paul Gaustad, Ruslan Fedotenko, Adam Burish, Brandon Prust, JF Jacques, Jay Rosehill and PL Letourneau-Leblond.

Teams should be scared to have a game in Montreal!

The reason you don’t see offensive players on that list is because the 2013 crop of free agents will be much better and Habs should keep some cap space for 2013 when guys like Corey Perry, Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Scott Hartnell, Travis Zajac, Ryane Clowe and Jordan Staal becomes available.

The last piece of action I would look at is my own roster and unload some of these players if possible:

René Bourque:

Has shown nothing and will keep showing nothing. This move was the perfect example of the misunderstanding of cap management by the Gainey/Gauthier regime.

Andrei Markov:

He is too risky. If a team calls, listen and make a move.

Yannick Weber:

Stuck in no-man’s land and Diaz passed him on the depth chart.

That is a lot of work for the Montreal Canadians GM who will be judge rapidly. We should have a better understanding of his plans, strategies and management style by September 1st.

 

Follow me on Twitter:

@hitman_habs