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05-21-2006, 03:45 PM
  #39
turnbuckle*
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,724
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Lots of optimistic posters, which is nice to see.

I've made many of the same arguments about Price that I'm reading, but if Brule becomes the type of player in the NHL he's showing in junior he'll be a top-notch first-line center who will score 40 goals in an off year. When is the last time the Habs had a 40-goal center....Larouche? Sorry...Vinny Damphousse scored 40 in the mid 90's, and just happened to be a key component of a Stanley Cup winning team.

This is what I can see happening:

Brule will be a top two line regular for the BJs next season, while the Habs will likely have to wait a couple more seasons for Price.

Brule will likely have some early success and garner a hefty contract at 22 while Price is entering the league at minimum salary. Four years later Brule is eligible for free agency, and by then is a 40-goal man commanding 6M+ as a UFA. He is injured on occasion, but added muscle and maturity in his game helps cut down on the major injuries.

Price meanwhile is just coming into his own after a couple of solid seasons, signs a contract for three years in the $3M-$4M range at the age of 26.

Columbus gets six solid seasons from Brule. If he re-signs with the BJs, it is for big bucks, but it's assumed he's a key piece on a strong team. A few more additions (including a top 6 this year) and the maturity of players like Klesla, Nash, Picard, Zherdev, etc. may result in Columbus being a serious contender in two or three years.


Thing is, the Habs are more serious contenders at this point than Columbus, and Brule would be a solid addition to next year's lineup.

Higgins Koivu Ryder
UFA Brule Kovy
Kosty Pleks Perez
Begin Lapierre Murray


The UFA being Langenbrunner - few teams could match the speed and youthful enthusiasm of that lineup.

Alas; it's never going to happen, but Brule doesn't look like a bad fit in our lineup only one season after being drafted. I don't think the same can be said for Price, who needs another year of junior at the very least I think, which is fine for his development, but not helping the immediate team.

If Price becomes a franchise goalie, the Habs will likely be able to hold onto him until he's in his 30s, and likely at a cost less than Brule since he won't be a regular in the NHL as quickly as Gilbert.

It's a bit of a crapshoot, but it may work out well for the Habs.

Worst case scenario is that Price can't cut it as a starter at the NHL level despite getting hefty paycheques, and Brule becomes a 50-goal, 100-point Stanley Cup winner while playing for less than he's worth and staying a Blue jacket "for life".

Best case scenario is that Price is a solid NHL starter in a couple of seasons, and his low price tag enables the Habs to pick up key pieces on a Stanley Cup contender. Price is one of the league's best within 4 seasons and the Habs are perennial Cup contenders for years to come...while Brule has an underachieving career in Columbus...he is overpaid, yet he flees as soon as he's eligible for UFA in his mid 20s, heading to Montreal, where he flourishes.

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