Mats Sundin As A Montreal Canadien Slim: Plan B Rumors, Options and Suggestions

Nick MurdoccoCorrespondent IAugust 27, 2008

It sure feels good to be writing about hockey again!

I would have preferred, however,  that my first post of the season on the Frozen Ponder, be one that welcomes Mats Sundin to "La Sainte-Flanelle."  But after all the optimism and speculation, it came down to Bob Gainey's realistic and home-hitting comments late yesterday afternoon: "It's hard to be optimistic. We haven't had much contact with him. It appears he's not interested. He hasn't asked many questions about the organization."

'Nuff said. If the usually tight-lipped, "never let 'em see your hand" Gainey is going so far as to voice his opinion of the situation, it means we might as well brace ourselves for his afore-mentioned "Plan B."

Many internet rumors are speculating on trade scenarios, with teams such as Anaheim, Chicago and Philly possibly seeking to lighten their salary-cap load.

Martin Havlat has been bandied as an example, if you can accept that he's often injured. He is an almost a point-per-game guy, scoring 44 goals and 56 assists last season for a total of 100 points in 109 games.

The problem is that was during  three seasons, meaning he's missed over 50% of his games during that same span. Although he would fill Montreal's need at RW, it is a centreman the Canadiens so desperately need.

Robert Lang is also an option. Since we are patiently awaiting the OTHER 37 year old to make up his mind, let's look at Lang.

Although a proven scorer, he's no Mats Sundin, but his salary is approximately $3 milion less than we would pay for the "Swede who won't concede." He's a centreman who wins an average of 53.1 percent of his faceoffs.

The problem with Lang is he has the tag of playing a soft game for his his size, and is also known for having a below-average work ethic. Not too interested, if I'm Bob.

On the "plus" side, Lang and Kovalev are friends. We can dissect that angle and its consequences on Saku's leadership at a later date, if this trade happens.

There is yet another rumor circulating that Matt Schneider might be in a Habs uniform this season.  I like this acquisition as it gives us a "big four" on D—Komisarek, Markov, Hamrlik, and Schneider. Size, skill, and experience—and I wouldn't be panicking with any 2 of these guys on the ice in the dying seconds of a 1-0 game.

Also, Schneider could replace Streit, who replaced Souray as the QB on the power-play. His $5.5 million salary is steep, but if we can't get a prolific scorer like Sundin, then let's get someone who can prevent goals from beating us. Schneider is also less expensive than Sundin would be.

Now, here's what I'm thinking: With the million in cap space the Habs have left, why not go get UFA Yanic Perreault? He's a homeboy from Sherbrooke, and an ex Hab.  He's a bilingual media darling, he's a centre, and he is consistently the NHL leader in faceoffs won.

Last season, he led the league with a faceoff percentage of 64.33 percent—and it is the eighth consecutive year he has dominated in this category. Anyone else you would want taking an oh so crucial face-off at either end of the ice in a clinch situation?

Again, he is no Sundin. He's no Lang for that matter—but with the defensive corps sound, the additions of Laraque and Tanguay, and a Sundin-free rosters, why wouldn't Gainey add a veteran third-line centre for only $1.5 million?

That surely beats Carbo's recent claim that he's going to try Sergei Kostitsyn at centre during training camp.

In Bob we trust, for the Habs we lust. Looking forward to a great season.