Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Habs signings begin

As you've no doubt heard by now, the Canadiens signed Alex Emelin to a four year extension, at $4.1 million per year. A solid deal, as Emelin definitely would have gotten north of $4 million on the free agent market, given comparables throughout the NHL. He's a fairly young, fluid defenceman who can throw an open ice hit better than most. In any market, that will get you top dollar.

This should start off a wave of extensions for Montreal. The biggest, and most obvious, is PK Subban, who is due for a solid $4 million or so raise on his next contact. No doubt Marc Bergevin has that next on his list. Will captain Brian Gionta get a new deal? My bet is now, as Emelin's additional money, and Subban's raise, roughly equal the $5 million Gionta makes now. While he'll likely get a lower amount - who's kidding who, Gionta isn't a 30 or 40 goal scorer anymore - he'll still get decent money, and I suspect the Habs believe they can allocate it better elsewhere. 

The Habs head west for the weekend, continuing to try and build on their record thus far as they await the return of key players such as Emelin, Max Pacioretty and Daniel Briere. Carey Price has been at his best of late, and has to be considered the front runner to start for Team Canada at the olympics. PK Subban has also been a bright spot, and has to be close to locking up a spot. Louis Leblanc will play again, as the Habs try to figure out what they have in the former first round pick. Will he become a consistent NHLer? Or is he the next Eric Chouniard?

Of note, Pacioretty and Emelin are skating with the team, and should be back soon. The Habs should be pleased with their record thus far, but with a healthy team, they should be even better. 

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com