Now that the Montreal Canadiens are officially on vacations, now is time to look at who should stay and who should go.
Streit to the point!
With 62 points and 13 goals in the regular season, Mark Streit was a Mercedes for the price of a Lada at 600,000.00$. He's been instrumental in the team's devastating power play all season long. If the organization doesn't make him an offer by July 1st, Streit will be a moving target for other teams' GMs. Let's hope Gainey heard Mark express his wish to remain a Canadiens.
Patrice Brisebois, acquired last year as a free agent, has been a great 5th or 6th "D" man. After being welcomed back at the Belle center with a warm ovation when he was introduced, there's no doubt it gave Breezer a boost. He hope to come back next year to maybe retire as a Canadien. Patrice was offered a 1M$ contract for this season, and might be even cheaper if he signs back for next season.
Ryder has been an enigma and a deception since notching 30, 30 and 29 goals in his previous 3 seasons.He watched games from the stands 10 times this season and played only four game out of twelve in the post-season series. It is obvious that Montreal has no more plans for Ryder. He will be wearing another jersey next year.
Salary gone in smoke!
Signed as a free agent last summer at a 2M$ salary, Bryan Smolinski will certainly not be able to command that kind of money for next year. Smolinski had a fairly good season with a 5-21-26 despite playing on a defensive line, but I would be surprised to see him back in the lineup next season.
The Gorgeous "D"!
Montreal traded Craig Rivet to the Sharks for Josh Gorges. Josh started a little shy. He had to get used to his environment, new team mate, new system, but most of all, get used to the Eastern Conference game. As the season progressed, Gorges gained confidence and respect in the room. He turned out to be an nice surprise in becoming a constant, regular and reliable defense man. Montreal should definateliy consider signing him, but not at any price.
Speedy, explosive, agile... These are the qualities of young Mikhail Grabovski. This kid is not done. In the next 2-3 years, Grabovski will become a fantastic, spectacular hockey player... Gainey should definatly find a way to sign him.
How much will it Kost?
After a rumor that a Russian team offered Andrei Kostitsyn a 4M$ a year contract, Andrei denied the rumor... But I am not so sure. This guy is a must-sign player and Gainey should wast no time to hand him his best pen. He probably will become one of our best players in the next 2-3 years.
Stuck between two rocks!
Maxime Lapierre is a great asset on an energy line. Playing alongside Smolinski and Tom "mug shot" Kostopoulos was a definite success. Unfortunately for him , he is sitting on the fence right now. If he stays, good! if not, OK! He's that kind of player.
I will not get "Byrne" again!
After the "purse-gate" in Florida, Ryan O'Byrne has learned one thing: Stay out of trouble when off the ice! Now he needs to learn what to do on the ice. At 23 years old, towering 6'6" and carrying 230 lbs, this choo-choo train must learn to use those assets in game situations. He has to be signed.
Waiting in the "Hal"l!
Jaroslav Halak didn't get the chance to see much action this year. He started six games and registered a 2.11 goal against average (GAA) and a .934 save percentage... Not bad for a backup goalie. The problem is, Halak is NOT a backup goalie. I don't think he will accept to stay in Montreal if he doesn't get his share of play time. Jaroslav will become a great No 1 goalie one day. For his career, he should be let go or sign him and trade him later in the season.