Greetings folks! It's time for the penultimate question in the five-question survey I ran a few weeks ago. The survey was asking fans what they would do this summer if they were the Montreal Canadiens' GM.
For question number four, I asked how you would make the Habs a bigger team for the upcoming season. Below is a sampling of the responses I received. You'll notice some of these options no longer hold water as some of the players mentioned have already been moved.
That being said, you Habs addicts out there put your thinking caps on and came up with some very creative ideas. Here it goes:
Question No. 4: How Do You Make the Habs Bigger?
1. Size at forward is nice, but the Habs need a big skater on the blue line. I was hoping for Carl Gudbranson, but then we made the darned playoffs. Dan Hamhuis would be a nice acquisition. Raffi Torres will be cheap. He's not the answer, but he'll be cheap.
2. AK46 and Pouliot have to go. Neither is a fit winger for the top two lines.
There has to be some dealing done to get at least two solid wingers who will go into the corners to get the pucks for the skilled players, and also protect them from bullies.
Dustin Byfuglien is money in the bank for the Hawks, and they're facing cap issues, so I doubt they'll deal him. But I would look for something similar for sure. No idea who it will be though.
3. How we get bigger—Well it's not about getting bigger but getting more physical. Habs need people to open up space for their smaller players—bangers and crashers with some skill.
Colby Armstrong is a UFA and scored 15 goals last season; he would be a perfect fit for Gionta and Gomez.
Trade for Andrew Ladd from Chicago; they have so many cap problems they are going to want a draft pick or cheaper talent (or both) in return—but it wouldn't cost the Habs much to pry him away.
Eric Belanger (a UFA) isn't that big but scored 15 goals and isn't afraid of the physical stuff; he's awesome on faceoffs, something the Habs lack.
The above acquisitions would make the Habs tougher to play against and increase their size and toughness. What's more is it wouldn't cost the Habs much since only Ladd would require a trade.
If that doesn't float your boat, then go after Horton from Florida, the management there doesn't like his work ethic (I don't think he wants to play in Florida and could use a change of scenery).
Trade a goalie for David Backes from St. Louis since they don't have a young goalie in their system and could use Price or Halak. But I would hate to see either go.
4. Trade for David Backes. Let Pleck go and sign Brooks Laich (UFA) and Todd Bertuzzi (UFA). Bertuzzi's cheap and likes to park his rear in front of goalies. Bring up Pacioretty/White.
5. Trade Jaro Halak for David Backes. Sign Colby Armstrong. Promote Ryan White (more for grit than size). Bring over Alexei Emelin. And Ryan O’Byrne doesn't sit in the press box.
6. Markov and the Habs first for Horton and the Panthers first? (I LIKE THIS ONE!)
7. Doesn't every team look for size every year? Best of luck to the Habs at finding a guy with size that is also a decent player. Teams don't normally give up those guys easily, so let's hope the "video scouting" proves effective in locating that big winger.
Consensus: There truly is none, although the name of David Backes of the St. Louis Blues keeps rearing its head. Ryane Clowe would be another good choice for the Habs.
The Habs have already moved one of their biggest trading assets—Jaroslav Halak—and have signed center Tomas Plekanec long term. This means they now have approximately $9 million left to sign eight players.
That's pretty tight, so if GM Pierre Gauthier is going to make this team bigger this summer, he will have to get creative.
If he can somehow move Roman Hamrlik's contract, he would get another $5.5 million to go shopping with. That being said, with one more year on his contract, Hamrlik can be an important figure in helping P.K. Subban become a bonafide NHLer this year.
Gauthier's best bet is to try and move the Kostitsyn brothers who collectively make approximately $4 million a year. That is money he can use to try and sign a free agent winger like Alexander Frolov.
At 6'2" and 216 pounds, Frolov would be a welcome addition up front, and his past history with Michael Cammalleri makes him all the more likely to be targeted by GM Gauthier.
So what do you think? How would you make this team bigger?