The Montreal Canadiens re-signed veteran blueliner Andrei Markov and look to lock up star defenseman P.K. Subban this summer, but that doesn’t mean the Habs’ defense will be identical to the group that made it to the 2014 Eastern Conference finals.
Saturday’s revelation might be the most surprising update in that regard, though. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Canadiens discussed trading Josh Gorges to – of all teams – the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Fans of the two rivals can breathe easily, as it appears that the Maple Leafs didn’t make the list of 15 teams he’d accept a trade to.
That bit of rivalry intrigue aside, it’s surprising to hear that the Canadiens might want to move the experienced blueliner. There’s already word that Montreal will allow veterans Mike Weaver and Francis Bouillon to hit unrestricted free agency, so this opens the door for a lot of turnover among the Canadiens’ blueline corps.
Curious future for Gorges?
Then again, maybe the Habs view his injury troubles from 2013-14 as a sign that his best days are behind him; that would be a troubling sight since his $3.9 million cap hit runs through the 2017-18 season. The fact that Gorges blocked the second-most shots (177) of all Montreal players despite playing 66 games to Markov’s 81 (who finished with 180) speaks to his courage, yet it also opens the door to speculation that he might wear down in his 30’s.
Some might be a little disappointed that there weren’t as many trades during the 2014 NHL Draft as expected, yet if reports like these are any indication, we might still see some significant swaps during the offseason.
After re-signing Andrei Markov and with negotiations ongoing with restricted free agent P.K. Subban, the Montreal Canadiens might be willing to let some of their other veteran defensemen walk away.
They haven’t offered contracts to 36-year-old Mike Weaver or 38-year-old Francis Bouillon yet, according to La Presse. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will lose both of them though.
Montreal does plan on touching base with Bouillon during the draft, per Richard Labbe. Meanwhile, Weaver is still open to re-signing with the Canadiens.
Weaver was acquired from the Florida Panthers on March 4 in exchange for a fifth-round pick, but he logged just 15:33 minutes per game in the playoffs. Bouillon had two goals, six points, and a minus-five rating in 52 regular season games.
Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is keeping things busy the day after the Stanley Cup Final.
The Canadiens announced they’ve signed coach Michel Therrien to a four-year extension to remain behind the bench in Montreal through the 2018-19 season. Therrien re-joined the Habs as coach in 2012 and led them to the Eastern Conference Final this season.
“We’re very happy to have agreed to a contract extension with Michel Therrien for multiple seasons,” Bergevin said in the team’s release. “Michel is an accomplished and experienced coach who has instilled a culture of hard work in our organization while helping develop our young players. Michel and his coaching staff work in a unique and demanding hockey market and the team’s success over the last two seasons are a reflection of their excellent work. This decision reflects our desire for stability and consistency within our hockey operations department.”
Therrien’s decisions are always under a microscope in Montreal and this season, in spite of the success the team had, he faced harsh questions about his lineup decisions. In particular his use of Douglas Murray in the postseason as opposed to Francis Bouillon or Jarred Tinordi in the early rounds seemed to rankle Habs supporters.
At the very least, the Habs must be sold that Therrien’s ways are good for Carey Price and P.K. Subban as they’re both going to be there a long time.
Now that Therrien has four more years, Bergevin hopes the success the team had this season can be built upon and get the Canadiens back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1993.
Montreal has re-signed defenseman Greg Pateryn to a two-year deal, the club announced on Thursday.
Pateryn, 23, was Toronto’s fifth-round pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and acquired by Montreal as part of the Mikhail Grabovski trade in 2011. Pateryn made his Habs debut during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, appearing in three games.
The former University of Michigan blueliner spent all of this season with AHL Hamilton, leading all Bulldogs defensemen in points (34) while sitting second on the team in assists, with 19.
Pateryn is currently with Montreal as one of the team’s Black Aces and could be in the mix on defense next season, as he Habs have four veteran d-men that are pending UFAs this summer: Andrei Markov, Francis Bouillon, Douglas Murray and Mike Weaver.
While the Boston Bruins are primed to stick with the same lineup that won them Game 2, the Montreal Canadiens are making two minor tweaks to their mix for Game 3.
The Habs are moving Travis Moen in for Brandon Prust and are shifting veteran defensemen by replacing Francis Bouillon with Douglas Murray.
At least one indication is that Prust is injured:
Both Moen and Prust are rugged players, so the lineup impact is probably minimal.
The more interesting shift is that they added a lot of beef to their blueline. According to the Habs’ Web site, Murray is seven inches taller and 46 lbs. heavier than “The Bouillon Cube.” At 34 to Bouillon’s 38, Murray’s also a bit younger (though basically his equal as far as experience goes).
Some have criticized Murray for questionable hits and perhaps equally questionable mobility, but he certainly should be prepared if the physicality of this series ratchets up another level.
(Oh yeah, it also shapes up for a battle of Douglas [Murray] and Dougie [Hamilton], if you’re into jokes like that.)