Pierre Gauthier Shopping Wishlist Introduction
By: Rick Moffat and Ryan Rider
Attention: General Manager Pierre Gauthier
You’ve got a lot of big decisions to make in the coming weeks. We’ve decided to help the GM here at CJAD by giving him a shopping list of names. The following is a list of players who are set to become unrestricted free agents, and will be available for the Habs’ picking and choosing. We searched through every single team in the NHL and have compiled a list of players who would be beneficial to the Montreal Canadiens. The fate of the “Bleu, Blanc, Rouge” is in your hands Mr. Gauthier, so make sure to pick right – and feel free to shop until you drop.
The goal is to stay within the boundaries of the salary cap while still ensuring that the team has enough depth. Because of this, we’ve divided the list into three parts – part one is “Mr. Molson Busts a Cap”, which focuses on experienced players but will be heavy on the wallet. Part two is “Only Enough of Molson’s Money’s for a Six-Pack”, for the in between if the Habs have some spaces to fill and some money to spend. And part three is the “Already Cashed in the Molson Empties”; the bargain situation packed with uncertainties and rookie picks if Molson’s money is all dry.
Mr. Gauthier, be smart with your choices and let the fans yearn for and look forward to the promises of tomorrow – the 2011-12’ season will be here before you know it. Think of this as our CJAD wishlist, or even better yet some informed advice to Pierre Gauthier as to whom to approach for contract talks during the off-season with the Molson money.
Part 1 – Mr. Molson Busts a Cap!
In the unlikely dream situation where salary cap limitations and money were not an issue, here are the big-time established players that Gauthier ought to pick up. Mr. Molson may bust a cap in doing so, but these players are established and proven to make a difference. If Gauthier can get these players, then success becomes inevitable.
1) Jagr, Jaromir (Avangard Omsk - $7,000,000)
GP: 49, G: 19, A: 31, P: 50
We would recommend giving a look to Jaromir Jagr, who has been playing quite well in the KHL and for Czech in the IIHF World Championships. The NHL veteran is looking to make a comeback to the league, and would likely come in for a reasonably affordable contract. Rumours persist that he is looking to get in the 2M$ range, which is very inexpensive for a player with his talent and experience.
2) Selanne, Teemu (Anaheim Ducks - $3,250,000).
GP: 73, G: 31, A: 49, P: 80
Veteran player had a great season at 40 years old scoring 31 goals and 49 assists for a total of 80 points in the 2010-11 season for the Anaheim Ducks. He would help the Montreal Canadiens’ offense immensely.
3) Cole, Erik (Carolina Hurricanes - $3,000,000)
GP: 82, G: 26, A:26, P:52
The only things holding back Erik Cole are the fact that he wants to stay with the Hurricanes and that he tends to get repeatedly injured. He is an excellent skater, and plays a rough style of hockey that leads to many goals.
4) Sullivan, Steve (Nashville Predators - $3,750,000)
GP: 44, G:10, A:12, P:22
What he lacks in size he brings out in other areas as Sullivan is an excellent skater, a natural leader, tenacious with the puck, and has the willpower to make it big.
5) Lidstrom, Nicklas (Red Wings - $6,200,000)
GP: 82, G:16, A:46, P:62, +/-: -2
At the top of the list of defensive players is Nicklas Lidstrom, who would provide a much-needed boost to the Hab’s struggling defense. He took 62 points in 82 games this past season, and stopped countless pucks from getting into the Wings’ net. If he is available, Gauthier should grab him.
6) Richards, Brad (Dallas Stars - $7,800,000)
GP: 72, G:28, A: 49, P:77
When talking about elite-level players, you can’t leave Brad Richards off the list. He is making the maximum salary allowed by the cap, but was worth every dollar for the Stars as he got 77 points in 72 games for them. A great puck shooter and team leader, he would be a great snatch.
Part 2 – Only Enough of Molson’s Money’s for a Six-Pack
1) Ehrhoff, Christian (Vancouver Canucks - $3,400,000)
GP: 79, G:14, A:36, P:50, +/-: 19
Ehrhoff has lots of penalty minutes and is a vital fighter. An offensive defenseman with a very bright future in the NHL. Would be a great steal for the Habs.
2) Leino, Ville (Philadelphia Flyers - $800,000)
GP: 81, G: 19, A: 34, P: 53
Leino had a great season and will be one of this year’s hottest free agents. Young player has a load of potential and lots of assists. He will be looking for a more prominent role, higher salary, and for the Canadiens can be a good “replacement” for Scott Gomez.
3) Montador, Steve (Buffalo Sabres - $1,550,000)
GP: 73, G: 5, A:21, P:26,+/-: 16
Sabres’ Montador is adaptable and a fast skater. As a defenseman he is very skilled at hitting the puck and also has experience as a winger.
4) Svatos, Marek (Ottawa Senators/Nashville Predators - $800,000)
GP: 28, G:4, A:4, P:8
Svatos has been down with multiple injuries plaguing him in recent months with Ottawa and Nashville. In the past he was a persistent goal scorer for Colorado and when at 100% is great with controlling the puck and shooting them into the net. Hopefully he can overcome his adversities and show that he deserves to be in the NHL.
5) Shannon, Ryan (Ottawa Senators - $625,000)
GP:79, G:11, A:16, P:27, +/-:26
Shannon is consistent, and can play both center and wing. He’s good at both offense and defense, and doesn’t come with a big price tag. His versatility and low cost make him a perfect pick for the Habs.
Curtis Glencross was a part of this section of our list but unfortunately is no longer available. The Calgary Flames have re-signed the emerging star to a new deal, which will have him making $10.2 million dollars over four years. Glencross earned $1.2 million in 2010-11 and was set to become an unrestricted free agent. He set career-highs in goals with 24, and points with 43 this past season and will have a cap hit of $2.55 million in 2011-12. This gives us a feel for how much an increase a player of that level can expect in upcoming contract negotiations.
Part 3 - “Already Cashed in the Molson Empties”
1) Ericsson, Jon (Detroit Red Wings - $900,000)
GP: 74, G: 3, A: 12, P:15, +/-: 15
Very good conditioning and endurance. Large frame at 6’4, 220 can stop pucks when his mind is straight and rarely gets tired or hurt. Downside is that he is still developing as a defenseman and needs more practice to be an NHL-level player.
2) Harrold, Peter (Edmonton Oilers - $583,333)
GP: 19, G:1, A:3, P:4
Harrold is a good skater, is very fast, and stops pucks and sends them back out. With a little fine tuning, can develop into a very good player.
3) Petiot, Richard (Edmonton Oilers - $550,000)
GP: 2, G: 0, A: 0, P: 0
Canadian-born Petiot did not get much time to play in the NHL in his rookie season. He consistently does quite well in the AHL, but was mixed bag for the Oilers who did not give him much playing time. He’s an inexpensive player, and would be worth giving a shot.
4) Liffiton, David (Colorado Avalanche - $500,000)
GP: 4, G:1, +/-: 3
6’2, 210 pounder is strong and very physical. He’s a rough gritty player who firmly defends.
5) Clitsome, Grant (Columbus Blue Jackets - $550,000)
GP: 31, G: 4, A: 15, P: 19
Rookie Clitsome had 4 goals, 15 assists for 19 points in 31 games. Knows his role and seeks to become an elite defensemen.
6) Smith, Derek (Ottawa Senators - $550,000)
GP: 9, G:0, A:1, P:1, +/-: 3
Possesses an excellent shot and a goal-scorer's mentality.
7) Tambellini, Jeff (Vancouver Canucks - $500,000)
GP: 62 G: 9 A: 8 P: 17 +/-: 10
Plays a safe, steady game from behind the blue-line. Has NHL size and can produce points at lower levels. Is said to shine in both shootouts and during power plays.