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Habs Organisation RFAs and UFAs

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02-23-2008, 02:34 PM
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Habs Organisation RFAs and UFAs

Kind of a off-topic thread, since we're in the Trade Deadline mania, but I kept questionning myself this week about our team next year. Then I started to analyse the contract situations of our players and of our depth players, with the farm team.

I started off seeing wich players we have to sign for next year,
coming from the Junior ranks :

Cameron Cepek - D
Alexei Emelin** - D
Ben Maxwell - C
Yannick Weber* - D
Ryan White - C
J.T. Wyman - W

Off this list, the only player which I'm unsure he'll receive an offer is Cameron Cepek. The 2006 7th round pick of the Canadiens is far from being NHL ready and some have concerns on his potential to reach the NHL someday. Based on my own opinions, the rest of the crop is full of potential NHLers, with Alexei Emelin with a shot at the NHL, if he gets to sign with the Canadiens next year, based on his participation with Team Russia in the World Championships last spring.

* Yannick is still eligible for one year as a overager with the Kitchener Rangers, but I doubt with the stellar year he is having that he will stay another season in the OHL. He's developpement should continue in the AHL.

** Pending a Russia-NHL agreement, witch I doubt will come.


There's also a lot of RFAs and UFAs this year with the Dogs and the Cinny Cyclones :

Yann Danis - G (UFA)
Jaroslav Halak - G (RFA)
Andrew Archer - D (UFA)
Mathieu Biron - D (UFA)
J-P Côté - D (UFA)
Marvin Degon - D (RFA)
Jimmy Bonneau - F (RFA)
Brett Engelhardt F (UFA)
Mikhail Grabovski - F (RFA)
Jonathan Ferland - F (UFA)
Yanne Lahti - F (RFA)
Corey Locke - F (RFA)
Duncan Milroy - F (UFA)

I'm not sure whether the Habs are willing to resign players like Jonathan Ferland or Corey Locke, that are with the club since a long time, and, to this date, doesn't seems in the plans of the NHL organisation. Maybe that Bob Gainey and his staff wants to replace those AHLer with some young talent, just like Brock Trotter that Bob signed on February 7th. On the other hand, Bob might want to have a good and experienced team to give examples of professionalism to his young and talented players who'll come next year. That's what he did last year when he traded for Patrick Traverse, or, later, for Mathieu Biron.

The only players who are a lock in my mind for a new contract with the Canadiens are :

Jaroslav Halak - G (RFA)
Mikhail Grabovski - F (RFA)

The others are, again only based on my own opinions, outsiders who have very few chances to make it to the big league.

Now Bob have the choice to offload all the career AHLer for some youth, give a shot to players like Mathieu Aubin or Thomas Beauregard to have fair minutes of icetime in the AHL, or to resign these players (or other Carreer AHLers) to get a little experience on this team, and, by this way, increase the team chances to the Calder Cup next year.

Thoughts ?

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02-23-2008, 04:02 PM
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Well all the junior players can go back to the CHL next year as overagers. Cepek, Weber, White and Maxwell all can play in the CHL next year as overagers but the only one that I could see doing this would be Cepek.

So we should see White, Maxwell, Weber and Wyman in Hamilton next year. Hard to say if any of the ECHLers move up to Hamilton. I would think that Aubin would be on the team full time. Maybe Beauregard can move and if Danis leaves this summer, then I would think that the plan would be for Desjardins to fill one of the spots for Hamilton as he has little experience in the AHL but has been one of the top goalies in the ECHL in his first two seasons. I would assume he would be the backup for the Dogs if Danis leaves.

Don't know what they will do with the vets on the team like Manlow, Baines, Corso, Engelhart, and Biron. All are UFA's. Who knows if guys like Cote, Ferland, Locke will want to come back, I would think that the Habs would bring them back if they want to come back.

Don't know who moves up. Chipchura I assume will be with the Habs. D'Agostini and Valentenko I got to think they will see some games with the Habs. Dont know what will happen with Halak, depends on Huet. Grabovski is also a concern as he may or may not want to come back to the ahl but that's just going off the fact that he can make a lot more in the rsl where he was an all star in his final season before coming over.

So lots of questions for Hamilton in the off season, starting in nets. If they bring back Archer, they should have Carle, Weber providing some offense on the blueline, Valentenko can provide the physical play. Martin is signed to an AHL deal next year. Gleed hopefully is re-signed. Team will likely invite some CHL overagers/UFA's or NCAA ufa's as they might need some help on defense. Degon has been decent this year.

Should be very fun to see what White, Maxwell and Wyman can do as rookies. Trotter, Aubin, Stewart, perhaps Beauregard. Don't know if they will bring back Bonneau or not.

Imo if Emelin comes over, i think he spends some time in Hamilton but who knows if he will come over or not. Don't know if a guy like Paquet would leave school early. I would like to see Pacioretty turn pro but no clue if he would consider it or if the Habs would push for it.

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