It's been almost two weeks since the free agent market opened its gates and our beloved Habs made the biggest splash only after Minnesota's cannonball that landed them both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Marc Bergevin had obviously recognized this team's lack of size and grit and did not hesitate to remedy the situation.
Late last season "The Ghost" claimed Brad Staubitz off waivers from Minnesota who made an immediate impact. It had become blatantly clear that this kind of player was necessary to have on the roster in order to be successful in this division and conference. Ryan White, who plays two inches and fifteen pounds bigger than his actual frame, had been injured for almost the entire season with a sports hernia. His return confirmed the size matters theory but unfortunately this all came far too late in the season to save it.
Staubitz signed on almost immediately with Anaheim which raises the question if Bergevin already had his sights set on someone else to fill that role all along. Brandon Prust, like White, plays the game larger than his 6'00" 192lbs and tied for the league's lead last year in fighting majors with Shawn Thornton. He's gone toe to toe with the likes of Carrillo, Lucic and Gaustad and will defend his teammates without a moment’s hesitation. At $2.5 million dollars a year for the next four years he's a bargain.
Bergevin also added Colby Armstrong who had just been bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is another winger who plays a tough game but has some impressive offensive skills as well. He's also a Habs fan who's his favorite player growing up was Kirk Muller. He signed a one year $1 million dollar deal but the Leafs will be paying him an additional million to fulfill the buyout agreement. Thanks Burkie!!!
The final piece of Bergevin's free agent frenzy brings back Francis Bouillon, or Frankie the Bull if you prefer, a small but strong Dman who also moves the puck well and brings some much needed depth to the blue line.
The Canadiens currently have a little over eight million dollars left in cap space but there is still one major RFA contract to be signed with PK Subban. It is uncertain how long or how much he is willing to sign for but it is safe to say that an agreement will be reached in the very near future.
Even after all of this it would seem that Bergevin isn't close to being finished for the summer yet. There is word that Yannick Weber will be a member of the Detroit Red Wings in return for a draft pick but not until Bergevin pulls the trigger on a different deal that will bring in another Dman. It is being said that Montreal has put two offers on the table for Jay Bouwmeester but are in competition with St. Louis. Bouwmeester has been the subject of trade rumors in Calgary since they acquired Denis Wideman from Washington just before July 1st and signed him to a five year contract worth $5.25 annually. Bouwmeester has two years remaining on his contract with a capital hit of $6.6 million per year.
Contributing Editor - Robert Alan Ford @RAFord77