Montreal - The Montreal Canadiens added another heavy weight to its roster.
GM Bob Gainey knows what next season is all about. The greatest franchise in NHL history is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2009.
Everything done by Gainey since the trade deadline on February 26th 2008 is obviously towards going all the way next year.
After acquiring Laraque, who is 6'3" 243 lbs., Gainey signed defenseman Shawn Belle from the Minnesota Wild. At 6'2" and 232 lbs, the whole team got a few inches taller and a few pounds heavier. That's good news for the team and Habs' addicts.
Belle, 23, played in the AHL in the past three seasons. He played nine games for the Wild during the 2006-07 season, scoring an assist (0-1-1).
The Edmonton native was drafted first round, 30th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. His rights were traded to Dallas for Jason Bacashihua in 2004. The Wild acquired him in 2006 with Martin Skoula, in return for Willie Mitchell and a second round pick in 2007.
He played alongside Carey Price with the Tri-City Americans in the WHL from 2003 to 2005. He won the gold medal with Team Canada at the 2005 World Junior Championships.
Shawn Belle was traded for Corey Locke.
Next season will be quite interesting for the fans. The new editions to the Habs will be taller and heavier. With pocket-size "paster" Bouillon, Komisarek, rising O'Byrne, and with the addition of Belle, Carbonneau will be in business at the blue line.
I don't recall the last time we had such a well balanced team in every position, but I know for sure that the opposition will certainly not be able to rattle the Hab's cage the way they did in previous years.