The Habs held their annual charity golf tournament on Monday and as usual, there were a few newsworthy tidbits that came out from it. Here is a wrap-up from the day that saw Brendan Gallagher shoot the best round.
Domi Extension Talks
A year ago, Max Domi was coming off of a subpar 2017-18 season so a bridge contract was a reasonable move for both sides. He then went and led the team in scoring with 28 goals and 44 assists while transitioning to playing down the middle. Not surprisingly, the two sides have held discussions on a long-term contract extension. Given the big jump in output (especially on the goal side where his shooting percentage looks a little high), there could be some risk in getting a deal done now but if he winds up around that point total again, that would look awfully good in the eyes of an arbitrator as well.
Many felt that Jake Gardiner would have fit in well with the Habs. Count Marc Bergevin among that group as he confirmed that he made the defenceman an offer. However, he implied that the interest wasn’t mutual. Gardiner wound up signing in Carolina where he’ll play a lesser role than he would have with the Habs and as a result, only signed for his cap hit from his previous deal at $4.05 million.
The Habs have turned to the PTO route quite a few times in the past. Last year, they had a pair of veterans in camp in Simon Despres and Joel Ward though neither made the team. Citing a desire to have some younger players compete for roster spots, Bergevin indicated that there wouldn’t be any tryouts offered this time around. This would seemingly put an end to the potential for veteran winger Jason Pominville to get a spot while Bergevin also reiterated that he won’t be signing Andrei Markov.
A Quicker Hudon
Last season was one to forget for Charles Hudon who fell out of favour quickly. One of the things that worked against him was a lack of speed which stood out on a Montreal team that played rather quickly. In an effort to combat that, Hudon lost 17 pounds over the offseason which should certainly make him faster. Of course, that wasn’t the only reason he lost his regular spot in the lineup as he’ll need to improve at the defensive end as well and produce with more consistency when he is in but he should be able to keep up the pace at least.
Power Play Alignment
The trend in recent years has been for power plays to go with four forwards and one defenceman. The Habs have dabbled in doing so lately and at least to start, Claude Julien said that both their units would have that alignment. Shea Weber and Jeff Petry are the only legitimate offensive weapons the Habs have on their back end (I’d have liked to see Brett Kulak get a bit of PP time) so part of that is by necessity. With pretty much the same personnel returning, the coaching staff will need to draw up some new strategies to get what was an anemic man advantage at times last season going.
With the tournament now complete, training camp is just days away. In the meantime, rookie camp will continue with the group playing their final game against a collection of U Sports players on Tuesday after dropping both contests over the weekend in their rookie tournament.