So the big day one of the Free Agent Frenzy has now past us by. As usual the Canadiens and Bob Gainey have done little to improve their team on July 1st, but this year is a little different compared to past years. Not only did Gainey trade for an impact forward during the draft in Alex Tanguay, but two of the NHL’s top free agents are still available which are forwards Mats Sundin and Marian Hossa, both who are rumored to be targeted heavily by the Canadiens. Among the other big team names running for Sundin are the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, and of course the Toronto Maple Leafs. As for Hossa there is also the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and even the Pittsburgh Penguins are still in the fold. So the Canadiens do still have some major options when it comes to adding some fire power upfront. But whether or not those players decide to sign is another story.
The Canadiens also had a bit of good news as RFA Andrei Kostitsyn signed a 3 year, $9.75 million dollar contract that will pay him $3.25 million each season. He had his first full season with the team in 07-08 and notched 26 goals and 53 points.
The Canadiens also had some official departures from their roster today. Michael Ryder will be packing his bags to rival Boston as expected. He signed a 3 year $12 million dollar deal. While power play specialist Mark Streit left for a surprising destination in the New York Islanders. He inked a 5 year $20.5 million dollar deal. The Canadiens will now be looking to fill a void at defence. They could target a free agent puck moving defencemen like former Hab Ron Hainsey. They could trade for the talented Dan Boyle in Tampa or gamble and resign aging defencemen Patrice Brisebois. Bob Gainey could also make a call to the farm, and let some rookies battle it out for the spot during training camp.
What ever happens during the next couple of days should be quite the show.
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