On Friday night, Canadiens GM Bob Gainey announced a pair of signings, D Ron Hainsey to a 2 year contract, and C Gavin Morgan to a 1 year pact with a club option for 2005-06. Reports out of Montreal state that Hainsey’s deal is worth $1.5 million, and is one-way, while financial terms for Morgan’s contract were not disclosed.
Last season, Hainsey split time between the Canadiens, and their minor league affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. He played in 11 games with the Habs this season, making the club out of training camp. He scored the first points of his career with a goal and an assist; the goal was the first for the Canadiens in the 2003-04 season. He also compiled a +3, to go with 4 penalty minutes during his stay in Montreal. In Hamilton, Hainsey tallied 7 goals, along with 24 assists in just 54 games. He also had a solid +14 rating, and 35 penalty minutes. In 10 playoff contests, Hainsey had 5 assists, an even +/- rating, and a trio of minor penalties.
Morgan, signed away from Dallas, split time last season between the Stars and the Hershey Bears, the Colorado Avalanche AHL affiliate. He made his NHL debut this season, going pointless in 6 contests, while adding 21 penalty minutes. While with the Bears, he posted a respectable 33 points (10-23-33) in 67 games, to go along with 152 PIMS and a -3 rating. Scouting reports describe Morgan as an adequate two-way player who plays each shift with a high intensity level. Size for him is an issue though, at just 5’11 and 191 pounds.
Both players are expected to challenge for roster spots at training camp this fall, Hainsey for the #7 d-man spot, while Morgan will seek a 4th line role.