Sizing Up the Bottom Six: What Are Pierre Gauthier's Options?

Steve FusinatoContributor IJuly 7, 2011

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 13:  Brad Winchester #19 of the Anaheim Ducks is pursued by Ryan Suter #20 of the Nashville Predators in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 13, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Predators defeated the Ducks 4-1.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Canadiens blue-liner Josh Gorges is officially going to arbitration after being unable to reach an agreement with the club. Meaning the Habs brass will have to pay up or shut up to sign the technically-sound 26-year-old.

In the meantime, perhaps this leaves Pierre Gauthier with some time to catch up on what his team's Northeast Division rivals have been up to. Specifically, the Ottawa Senators who won the Zenon Konopka sweepstakes on Tuesday, signing him to a one-year contract.

And so, another forward joins the division. With Boston's Shawn Thornton, Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta, Toronto's Colton Orr and the aforementioned Konopka in the nation's capital. Four gritty fourth-liners that like to stir things up and have no gripes with dropping the gloves.

In a perfect world, Gauthier is actively shopping for a fourth-line winger that can line up alongside Ryan White and Travis Moen. A player willing to sit out a few games, patiently waiting for their visits to Boston or Philadelphia.

Still with me in our perfect little world? Good, because I have taken the liberty of compiling a little list of scrappy UFA's for M. Gauthier to consider if he's not already doing so.


Brad Winchester

At 6'5" and 228 pounds, the Wisconsin native is anything but tiny. His frame, which is oddly reminiscent of former Hab Raitis Ivanans, will likely make a few so-called enforcers think twice about shaking-up their diminutive forwards. Let's just hope Zdeno Chara doesn't break his orbital bone like he did Ivanans'.

Winchester combined 114 penalty minutes in 2010-11 split between the Anaheim Ducks and the St. Louis Blues. Scoring 10 total goals, which is three more than Scott Gomez. Sorry folks, that one was too easy.


Jarko Ruutu

Since Maxim Lapierre went on to become a Stanley Cup finalist, the Canadiens haven't really replaced him with another agitator. I can't think of a better pest than the 6'1'' Finn.

A role that is most likely easier to play when you have someone to back you up. Maybe line-mate Ryan White will want to step in for him when he's got Thornton at the brink. 


Other Available Enforcers

Former Blues and Devils tough guy Cam Janssen is still on the market.

The Penguins have officially told former goon Eric Godard to start looking for someone that will hire him, he finished last season with plus-four differential.

Since Jaromir Jagr chose Philly, why not try out 6'6'', 238-pound Czech forward David Koci. He could be hired as his comrade Tomas Plekanec's bodyguard.