Kukla's Korner Hockey
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has acquired center Louis Leblanc from Montreal in exchange for a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Leblanc, 23 (1/26/91), has scored 5-5=10 points with a +4 rating and 32 penalty minutes (PIM) in 50 career NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens. Leblanc made his NHL debut with Montreal in 2011-12, leading team rookies in goals and ranking second in scoring (5-5=10) and assists. The 6-0, 180-pound center also appeared in eight games for the Canadiens in 2013-14, going scoreless with a +1 rating and four PIM.
from Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press,
As much as Vanek disappeared for the Canadiens in the playoffs, Gaborik has grabbed the spotlight. Of course, we always have to clarify that by saying "a healthy" Gaborik has grabbed the spotlight. Still, it's fascinating to watch. And Gaborik, too, is about to be a free agent.
There's no question the Kings will make every effort to re-sign him, but Gaborik still will field offers before making his decision. He is 32 years old. Vanek is 30. For the sake of decision, let's look at some numbers.
Vanek is coming off of a seven-year, $50 million contract originally signed with the Buffalo Sabres. He didn't help himself with his playoff performance, but he is still going to command a long-term deal. Gaborik is coming off of a five-year, $37.5 million contract originally signed with the New York Rangers. With his history of injuries, he won't be able to command a long-term deal.
Let's say they end up with similar money on the open market -- I don't know that they will, but we'll assume that -- but Vanek insists on five or six years while Gaborik will take three years or maybe even two. Does that make it more interesting? After all, the Wild have young players coming up through the pipeline. It might be tough to commit that much money for that long.
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
The morning after the Canadiens slipped out of the playoffs, I was bombarded with emails calling their performance “disgraceful” and worse. A team that had surely overachieved in sweeping Tampa Bay and giving Boston the boot had embarrassed the uniform by failing to play like the 1970s dynasty.
Whoa. No one today plays like the ’70s Habs. That’s because it’s a 30-team league with a hard salary cap. You can’t stockpile Hall of Famers the way Sam Pollock did. You can’t fleece half-bright GMs who aren’t doing their homework, because Mike Milbury is no longer on Long Island.
It used to be there were three or four teams with a legitimate chance at a Stanley Cup every season. Now there are as many as a dozen. Never have there been so many good teams. Not great teams, perhaps, but extremely tough outfits: Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim, St. Louis, Colorado, Boston, Pittsburgh, the Rangers, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Detroit and Montreal, with a half-dozen others looking to kick in the door.
Success in this league is defined in a different way. No one is going to win six Cups in a decade. Today, a dynasty is a team that has a shot every year for a decade and perhaps wins it two or three times in that time frame: The Blackhawks, in other words.
from the CP at Sportsnet,
Since signing a two-year "bridge" deal that paid him US$3.75 million this season, the 25-year-old, who has become one of the NHL’s best and most entertaining defencemen, is a potential restricted free agent in position to ink a multi-year contract for a king’s ransom with the Montreal Canadiens.
Or he could take a shorter contract and then become an unrestricted free agent.
Subban said he hopes to sign a long-term deal and to stay in Montreal his entire career.
"I’m sure everybody in hockey wants a long-term contract, but for me, it’s not just about that," he said. "It’s about being part of a team that can win a championship, and I believe we have that in this dressing room.
"When it comes to contract stuff, that’s why I hire my agent (Don Meehan). That’s why we pay him. That’s his job and I’ll let him do his job. I’ve done mine, and he’ll do his."
Regarding Vanek's UFA status...
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban may be a divisive figure in hockey circles, but no one can plausibly argue he didn’t carry the mail in the playoffs.
That’s not to say he was perfect – he wasn’t – but Subban was clearly the best defenceman in the Habs’ lineup over the course of the postseason, and one of the top two or three in the league.
Now his general manager is going to have to get off his wallet.
Marc Bergevin will have all manner of subjects to consider this off-season, but it starts with sorting out a new contract for the 25-year-old defenceman.
It’s going to be expensive, perhaps even crazily so – why wouldn’t agent Don Meehan start the discussions at Evgeni Malkin-type money: eight years and $76-million?
Much ink will be spilled over the next few weeks about whether the sides will reach a long-term deal, settle on a one- or two-year pact, or even go the arbitration route, but if Bergevin still has doubts about what Subban can bring, he’s a surpassingly severe judge.
That said, the Subban decision, which is the most important, is also in some sense the easiest: If you’re the Habs, try contemplating life without him.
more Montreal talk...
Catch some of the action from last night's win by the New York Rangers...
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
P.K. Subban. Thomas Vanek. Andrei Markov. Brian Gionta.
The Montreal Canadiens will have some key decisions to make in the upcoming off-season regarding these four players, among others.
Over to you, Marc Bergevin.
In trying to deal with the heartache of his Habs season-ending 1-0 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers on Thursday, the Canadiens general manager will quickly have to turn his attention to the cache of off-season business that awaits him.
Priority No. 1 should be to get Subban, a restricted free agent, inked to a long-term deal, one that likely will be in the $8.5 million-$10 million US range. True, Subban was not as dominant in the Eastern Conference final as he was in the first two rounds, but the Habs would not have gotten this far without the young franchise blueliner. And don’t forget that he has only just turned 25.
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
Let’s be the knowledgeable and classy Montreal hockey fans that we like to think we are by giving credit where credit is due:
The New York Rangers deserved to win the Eastern Conference Final.
They did so by playing textbook defence in Game 6, choking the last gaps of life out of a Canadiens team that was running on empty.
But what a run it was!
Your Canadiens lost the first and last games of their 2013-’14 season.
In between, they played better hockey than most of us expected.
On Oct. 1, when the Bell Centre siren sounded to end a 4-3 loss to Toronto, did anyone think the Canadiens would be ending their season by losing 1-0 at Madison Square Garden on May 29?
This team overachieved for the better part of eight months. They displayed character and resilience, capturing the hearts of a city that needs some distraction while we wait for the Champlain Bridge to collapse.
“I’m proud of this team,” Michel Therrien said – and fans should share the coach’s pride in a group of players that never quit.
“We made big progress,” Therrien added. “We battled hard in the regular season. We battled hard in the playoffs.”
The New York Rangers need to have a game 7 mentality in order to pull out a win.
The Montreal Canadiens will want this game to force a game 7 back in Montreal.
A battle is about to begin and I feel Lundqvist will have a comeback game and the Rangers will be the first team in the Stanley Cup Final.
Enjoy and the game starts just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and RDS.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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