HabsWorld.net -- 

In the past week, the Canadiens have been a busy team, in preparation for free agency and the 2006/07 season.  We’ll recap the goings on of the past week, including signings and the draft, as well as address Montreal’s free agency situation, and an in-depth looking at the 06/07 Hamilton Bulldogs in this special summer edition of the HW Recap. 

Draft Recap:

The Habs went into the 2006 NHL Entry Draft with 6 picks, made 2 trades with strictly picks, and wound up with a total of…6 picks.  The following were Montreal’s selections:

1st round (#20): D David Fischer, Apple Valley High School (USHS), CSB: 29th NA Skaters
2nd round (#49): C Ben Maxwell, Kootenay (WHL), CSB: 44th NA Skaters
2nd round (#53): D Mathieu Carle, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL), CSB: 52nd NA Skaters
3rd round (#66): C Ryan White, Calgary (WHL), CSB: 27th NA Skaters
5th round (#139): D Pavel Valentenko, Nizhnekamsk (RUS), CSB: 138th European Skaters
7th round (#199): D Cameron Cepek, Portland (WHL), CSB: 83rd NA Skaters

Montreal trades the 16th overall pick to San Jose for the 20th and 53rd overall picks.
Philadelphia trades the 66th overall pick to Montreal for the 79th and 109th overall picks.


On Monday, the Habs re-signed G Cristobal Huet to a 2 year, $5.7 M contract, that pays him $3 M this coming season and $2.7 in 07/08.  Thursday, the Habs came to terms with W Jonathan Ferland, who played 7 games with the Habs last season, to a 1 year contract. 

Qualifying offers:

The Habs, as expected, let a few players go unqualified before the June 26th deadline.  The following is the summary of who was qualified and who wasn’t:

Qualified: G David Aebischer, D Andrew Archer, D Jean-Phillipe Cote, G Yann Danis, RW Jonathan Ferland (signed), C/W Chris Higgins, D Mike Komisarek, RW Duncan Milroy, LW Alexander Perezhogin, C Mike Ribeiro, RW Michael Ryder

Unqualified: W Pierre Dagenais, W Raitis Ivanans, G Olivier Michaud, W Peter Vandermeer

Bulldogs News:

The Canadiens have turned down Edmonton’s request to split the Hamilton Bulldogs roster, as they did in their Calder Cup run of a few years ago.  However, it appears the Oilers will be allowed to send down a “few” prospects, few being undefined at this time.  It is also expected that the Bulldogs will attempt to sign a couple of players to AHL contracts, not only to make them more competitive, but also to have enough players to actually ice a team.  Not sure what I mean?  See my final thoughts for a more in-depth look at what Hamilton’s roster looks like at the moment.

Free Agency:

Here are Montreal’s free agents, and their respective statuses:

II-Restricted: G David Aebischer, D Andrew Archer, D Jean-Phillipe Cote, G Yann Danis, RW Jonathan Ferland (signed), C/W Chris Higgins, D Mike Komisarek, RW Duncan Milroy, LW Alexander Perezhogin, C Mike Ribeiro, RW Michael Ryder

III-Unrestricted: D Francis Bouillon, W Jan Bulis, D Todd Simpson, W Niklas Sundstrom

VI-Minor Pro Unrestricted: D Johnathan Aitken, D Jeff Paul, W Marc-Andre Thinel, W Peter Vandermeer (triggered after being unqualified), D Rene Vydareny

UFA-Outright Unrestricted: W Pierre Dagenais, W Raitis Ivanans, G Olivier Michaud

Final Thought:

As much as declining Edmonton’s request to share the farm team again will give the Canadiens prospects more time to play, this decision, in my opinion, is a terrible one on the part of the Canadiens.  Why?  For starters, the Habs do not have enough prospects under contract to field a full team, may as well been nice and let the Oilers send some guys down rather than making the Bulldogs owner pay out of his own pocket to fix that issue.  Also, this team has virtually no one left who can actually put the puck in the net.  Here’s the numbers:  The team scored a paltry 220 goals last season.  Of those, 68 were scored by Oilers’ prospects, or 31%.  Now, let’s take away the goals scored by players who definitely won’t be back (traded/released/AHL contracts), a total of 29, or 13%.  We can also discount the 1 goal scored by Garth Murray, who signed a 1-way deal with the Canadiens as well.  So, remaining of the 220 goals that were scored last season is: 122, and that’s assuming no one gets promoted, which isn’t a guarantee either.  Still not convinced?  Here’s a look at the Bulldogs roster, heading into free agency:

Goalies: Jaroslav Halak, Yann Danis (if he clears waivers)…with Loic Lacasse staying in junior, the only confirmed signed goalie is Halak. 

J-P Cote, Andre Benoit, James Sanford, Andrew Archer (the only 4 signed AHL defencemen, and there were no other true Habs prospects on the ECHL squad, unless you consider “Making the Cut” winner Kevin Lavallee, to be a legit prospect.)

Forwards: Corey Locke, Andrei Kostitsyn, Francis Lemieux, Maxim Lapierre, Duncan Milroy, Michael Lambert, Jonathan Ferland, Kyle Chipchura, Cory Urquhart, Gregory Stewart, Jimmy Bonneau, Matt D’Agostini, Mathieu Aubin, Mikhail Grabovsky (if they sign as expected).  At least they can ice a full forward complement…

With the roster that you see above, the Bulldogs could very well contend for the modern-day futility record for goals scored, and just imagine if Kostitsyn makes the team out of camp.  Fortunately, if the owner signs a couple of players and the Oilers send 2 or 3, the team may actually win a few games.  The Habs do have a lot of high quality prospects, just most of them aren’t here just yet, and those that are, have plenty of developing to do.  I’ll leave you with something to ponder over the coming months and into the season: You say now that it’s great to have the farm team all to the Habs with just Canadiens prospects, but will you be saying the same when this team falls realistically out of the playoff hunt by late January?  I sincerely hope the Bulldogs will prove me wrong, but I don’t see it coming.