Montreal Canadiens Player Profile: Mike Cammalleri

----- -----------Correspondent IJuly 10, 2009

Note to the reader: This is the third of a series of articles reviewing the newly acquired players who have signed with the Montreal Canadiens.

In a city where hockey is more then a game, a passion or even a way of life, Bob Gainey is king. 

The Canadiens GM is responsible for so much, more so then any other GM. Most other GMs have an owner or a board of executives to answer to and in some cases, there is not to much to answer to.

Montreal is quite the opposite; this team doesn't belong to the Molsons, who have put in a bid and are wildly accepted to be the new owners of Les Habitants. In actuality, the three million residents of the city consider themselves to be the owners; much more if you include the population of the majorly francophone province.

We have discussed two acquisitions the team has made thus far; Scott Gomez and Brian "Gio" Gionta. These so far are not the biggest names to be added to the Montreal Canadiens.

The biggest splash in the pool that is Montreal is Mike Cammalleri, the Ontario native who was signed after playing his biggest NHL point producing season with the Calgary Flames. Cammalleri had 82 points, a figure that included 39 goals.

A self proclaimed Maple Leafs fan, Cammalleri was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round (49th overall) back in the 2001 NHL entry draft. 

Later, Cammalleri was involved in a three-way deal with the Anaheim Ducks, the Calgary Flames and the Los Angeles Kings. The Flames acquired Cammalleri from the Kings while swapping their 17th overall pick in the draft. Los Angeles then dealt their 17th draft pick along with their 28th pick to the Anaheim Ducks for their 12th overall pick. 

This was at the same time another former Flame made their way to Montreal; Alex Tanguay, who has not been signed by any team as of the time this article is being written. 

Mike Cammalleri was recently on TSN's Off the Record with Michael Landsberg, where he discussed an array of topics, including his hit on Martin Havlat which many argue should have been a suspension but only received a two-minute minor;

"Yeah, well, it's a good thing your doing this...No I don't think I was surprised [I did not get suspended] I think that there where some circumstances that the league went through and reasons they made the decision they did." Cammalleri said.

About his most recent season and success, he had to answer about where he would go, and why; "It's pretty interesting trying to go through it all with my agent, and figure out where you might be and all those things and the market sets itself for its value that day, and so, really anxious, really nervous." 

Cammalleri added that three or four teams where all bidding around the same number, and to why he chose the Canadiens; "No it's, I couldn't be happier with the Canadiens...I love the Leafs, but a lot of love for Montreal."

After a few more words, Cammalleri showed what talent he has in the French language. When asked a question in French which translated to "Do you think it will be difficult to play with a defensive minded coach?" he answered, "Thank you very much" (in french).

Cammalleri then seriously added that to be successful and to be a good offensive team you have to start with a good defense. 

About playing with Scott Gomez, Camalleri says the acquisition played a big role in his decision, showing what he (Bob Gainey) was trying to do.

About the media in Montreal, Cammalleri simply said, "It can bring a level of focus and bring your game to another level. It's quite a privilege to know that so many people are so passionate about the team."

Cammalleri added, "When you know the fans are that passionate about your team and your performance where it can make so many people happy or unhappy it's just, it's a motivator."

Mike Cammalleri, like many other big free agents, has had a successful international career as well as a successful NHL career; Cammalleri was a member of the Canadian IIHF World Championship team that won the gold against Finland in Moscow in May.

He also won bronze in 2001 in the World Junior Championships and silver in the 2002 World Junior Championships while going on to become the tournament's Most Valuable Player. 

Cammalleri was signed to a five-year, $30 million deal with the Canadiens on July 1. He's coming off his best season ever, as Montreal locks him up through the 2014 season.

Mike Cammalleri is expected to pick up the scoring load following the departure of mostly all of the Canadiens former UFAs which include snipers Alexei Kovalev and Alex Tanguay. 

The attribute that makes Cammalleri an interesting acquisition is his ability to be shifted through lines. You can potentially throw him on the first line with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta as a winger or as a center to distribute your scoring power more evenly. 

Cammalleri is also a proven power play surgeon, but the issue remains to be seen if he can produce without the likes of Jarome Iginla to compliment his talent or better yet if he can make other players around him excel. 

All in all, no one knows where to put the Canadiens based off these signings alone. Will the chemistry be there and prove to be a decent decision to commit long term to these three players? Or will a free agent frenzy bust be more likely? 


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