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05-03-2006, 06:44 PM
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F1: Kovalev - Koivu - Zednik
Zed is still under contract and perhaps could rebound under a Special K line. Koivu and Kovalev worked well in the past too and should be on the same line.

F2: Higgins - Arnott(or another big UFA) - Ryder
Maybe Gainey can convince Arnott not to sign in TO. For 3.5 M per year perhaps he'll come to MTL? Arnott in the crease causing havoc could open up space for Higgins and Ryder to work with.

F3: Perezhogin - Plekanec/Chipchura - Chipchura/Kostsitsyn
I believe that there should be at least room for one rookie here. Either Chipchura or Kostsitsyn would likely break into the lineup depending on their progress. WCS if both end up in the minors, that would allow either Bonk or Begin to rise to the 3rd line.

F4: Murray - Bonk/Begin - Begin/Downey
Unfortunately Bonk isn't going anywhere unless Bob cuts him outright. I think he sticks for another year just in case of injuries on one of the top lines. Otherwise he's spending most of his time and $2M on the 4th line.

D1: Souray - Rivet

D2: Markov - Komisarek

D3: Bouillon - Dandenault

Unless we deal for a top D-man (not likely), we're going in status quo on D. Redden will likely stay in Ottawa and Chara will go to the highest bidder, which won't be MTL. And I don't see McCabe as any improvement. As much as everybody chirps about Rivet,Souray and Markov's play at times, I believe that if we keep the core together for another year they will prove serviceable. The team's main problem is scoring so that should be attended to first.

G1 - Huet
Likely senario is a 2.5-2.75 M per year deal for Huet for at least 2 years. He's proven himself to be worth at least that much.
G2 - Danis
I think there will be enough turnover to allow Aebisher to find a #1 spot somewhere. Danis should be ready to assume backup duties.

This setup should allow the room to pick up UFA's for the playoff run and yet allow at least one or two rookies to crack the lineup ( improve from within). Knowing Gainey's conservative style, you know he won't go wholesale on this team and changes will be gradual.

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