Bob Gainey began his conquest on day three of the free agency frenzy by signing a big name forward after a silent day two. No, it wasn’t Mats Sundin or Marian Hossa. I can’t emphasize the word "big" enough for this article actually.
The Canadiens signed the enforcer they have always been looking for. Gainey signed Montreal native Georges Laraque to a three-year $4.5 million contract, which will pay him $1.5 million a season.
"It’s been a few years now that I’ve been imagining what it would be like to play for the Canadiens," admitted Laraque. "I was born in Montreal. My whole family lives in Montreal. I knew that I wanted to play here not at the tail-end of my career, but in my prime."
Laraque clearly knows why the Canadiens were interested in signing the 6'3", 240-pound 31-year-old.
"I know my role and I hope to make the jobs of certain teammates easier," explained Laraque, who boasts over 1,000 career penalty minutes.
"Having played against him, I know that a guy like Mike Komisarek is much more useful when he’s on the ice and that he shouldn’t really feel the need to drop his gloves out there.
"I want to take that pressure off Mike’s shoulders and give players like Max Lapierre and Steve Begin the chance to play their physical game without worrying about someone going after them."
This signing should finally strike some fear in Montreal's opponents and complement their quick speed and fire power.
“Since there hasn’t been a true heavyweight here in a while, a player like me knew that facing Montreal meant it would be an easy night," said the rugged winger. "I knew that I could get away with doing whatever I wanted against a small team like the Canadiens and I took advantage of that fact."
Gainey added another Montreal native in under-achieving goaltender Marc Denis. Thankfully, Gainey made it a two-way contract. This should add a stable back-up for Price if Halak does not return, or we could even have a steady goalie for the Bulldogs if Halak does opt to return to the Canadiens next season.
The contract is a one-year deal and financial terms are unknown.
Thanks for reading!