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It was widely speculated early Thursday afternoon but it has now been confirmed that forward Daniel Briere has inked a two year, $8M deal to join the Montreal Canadiens. Briere comes to the team after spending the past six years with the Philadelphia Flyers before being bought out of the final two years of his heavily front loaded contract that he signed back in 2007.
As was the case for the Flyers in general, the 2012-13 season was a disappointment for Briere. He played with Berlin of the German league during the lockout (recording 34 points in 21 games) to stay in shape but was unable to contribute much to Philadelphia's attack. He finished the year with six goals and ten helpers in 34 games with a porous -13 rating. He also missed time due to a wrist injury (four games) and a concussion (ten games), the second one he sustained in as many years.
His time with Philly before that can be called somewhat of a success. Prior to this past year, his lowest point total in any full season was 49 (he had a 25 point campaign in 2008-09 but in just 29 games). In total, he collected 283 points with the Flyers in 364 regular season games. His postseason performance is quite impressive though. For his career, he has 109 points in 108 playoff contests, including 30 points in the 2010 playoffs, which led the NHL.
The 5'10 forward can play both centre and the wing, although his faceoff percentage is routinely below 50%. Given that the Habs have Plekanec, Desharnais, and Eller who all contribute percentages better than that, there's a decent chance they'll opt to use Briere on the wing, provided further changes to the roster aren't made of course. As it stands, he may slot into Michael Ryder's vacated spot on the right wing inside Montreal's top six.
As Briere is 35 and signing a multi-year deal, he is subject to the provisions of the 35+ rule (if he retires following the 2013-14 season, the cap hit would remain). The team now has 20 players under contract for next season with a combined cap hit of just under $60.9 million (which includes a little under $2.5 million in potential bonuses). As a result, I wouldn't expect the Habs to be particularly busy when free agency officially opens up on Friday at noon EST.
In other news from Thursday, the club announced the hiring of Stephane Waite as their new goalie coach, replacing Pierre Groulx. Waite spent the past ten years with the Chicago Blackhawks where his teams won a pair of Stanley Cups.
- Official Press Release
- Discuss the signing on the HW Forums