While this does bring exciting prospects to the new look Habs, many wanted Gainey to add grit and size to a rather small line-up but Gainey did more or less the opposite.
Gainey completely revamped the starting line with the additions of: Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and Mike Cammalleri. Gionta and Cammalleri stand at 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-9, respectively. There is an obvious downgrade on size, but contrary to popular belief the Habs got much more talented.
Gomez and Gionta are former New Jersey Devils teammates, and they had the best years of their careers playing alongside one another. Mike Cammalleri had the best year he has ever had this past season with the Calgary Flames putting up 39 goals and 43 assists for 82 points in 82 games.
The former top three for the Canadiens (Koivu, Tanguay, Kovalev) will be missed, but the three filling the void are more offensively gifted then their predecessors.
Gainey however, when the dust had settled from signing the new big three went out and got himself another forward, a rather big fellow by the name of Travis Moen. Moen played for the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks last year, and is 6-foot-2, 211 pounds. This is a very good size indeed.
Moen however is not the most offensively gifted player, but he brings an element of toughness to the Canadiens line-up.
Bob Gainey did not stop their, he also added three new blue-liners. Highlighting his new defensive core is former Sabre Jaroslav Spacek. Spacek is an offensive defensemen hailing from Rokycany Czech Republic. With Buffalo last year he accumulated 45 points.
In addition to Spacek Gainey got Paul Mara, another offensively gifted blue-liner. While Mara stands a full five inches taller then Spacek he is capable of putting up similar numbers. As he proved in his brief stint with the Phoenix Coyotes. He is capable of putting up 10 or more goals and potentially 50-plus points.
Finally, Gainey added a stay at home kind of guy in Hal Gill. Gill is a massive man. Standing at 6-foot-7, 240 pounds, you do not want to mess with him. While with that size he is rather heavy of foot, but he does not make many mistakes. Which makes him a very good signing.
Last but not least is the addition of Curtis Sanford in net. Many think this spells the end of Jaroslav Halak. Halak was rather disgruntled last season when he out played Carey Price, but never got to start. However he signed a two way contract so he may just end up playing for the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Personally, I think this Canadiens team will be much better then before. They added more offense in every facet, and they did slip in a little bit of size and toughness to boot. They will make the playoffs this season, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it’s around the fourth or fifth seed either.
Bonne chance Montreal.
The following is part one of my 2009/2010 preview series. To view my preview of the Ottawa Senators follow the link: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/217464-the-0910-ottawa-senators-riddled-with-questions, and if you have any questions or suggestions of further preview articles, drop me a line on my profile or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Merci Beacoup.