His shot is simply amazing and he doesn't have defensive cramps anymore. He is, with Komi, our best defensemen this year, and I seriously hope he stays.
slow starts are not uncommon for souray.... Rivet has improved a bit as well
But I think we will only be able to retain one of souray or markov and if it comes down to that, the habs will sign markov and hesitantly let souray walk.
I believe Souray is going to get big money on the market just according to the monstrous signings for d-men this past off season. And forget about his leadership and size... the addition of souray automatically improves alot of PPs units in the NHL and that alone will fetch sheldon big bucks.
Since he is close friends with Marty Brodeur who signed a contract last year taking a pay cut for the benifit of the Devils I really feel that Souray is the same type of player. He will try to accomadate the Canadiens and will be wearing a CH for a few years to come.
I don't know about resigning Markov first. Replacing Souray on Defense might be quite an achievement, he's a great leader and he can kick almos anybody's butt on the ice. I just really hope we let Rivet go, at the salary he commands the guy doesn't really have a place on a solid defensive unit in my opinion. He should be a 5th or 6th defenseman but make 3rd - 4th money, he also has an habit of taking stupid penalties and had a few years that he played... well... Like garbage. So bottom line, you know what to expect from Souray, a 15 goals scorer (who's currently on pace for approximately a crazy 30 goals) who can intimidate, clear de crease and be a leader but who will sometime make defensive errors or a guy like Rivet who can't play the powerplay (every time I see him there I wonder why Souray isn't on the ice for the whole two minutes) and who is a little more steady defensively but can revert to his former self from the year before the lockout back when he was close to beign worst than Traverse half the nights he played.
First of all, it's still early this season...alot of things can happen from now until then which could make our opinions change drastically.
With that being said...i'd expect them, and hope they resign Markov, I don't agree that he's struggled this year, he probably hasn't been as consistenly brilliant as he usually is, but even when he's average he's still so good. He's got 15 pts and is part of a solid tandem with Komisarek, he plays 25 mins a game, he's a + player...You don't drop guys like this.
Souray's a tough call...I think the Habs should resign him, but wait until the offseason, alot of teams are going to offer the moon to Souray because of his lofty goal totals and the intimidation factor he his shot provokes. I personally like his presence more than anything else, the guy's one of the best team players i've seen wear a Habs uniform and if Koivu weren't captain, he'd be the one i'd annoint today. All this talk about him wanting to move to California is bull****if you ask me, there's no substance to those claims. You can tell by watching Souray that he loves the Habs and he loves the city, hell the Habs never gave up on him when most teams would have a few years ago when he had those bad wrist problems, I think he feels somewhat in debt to the Habs. As long as he doesn't price himself out of range, he'll be back i'm convinced.
Rivet I personally would let walk (unless he's interested in a massive paycut). I am concerned about how such a move could affect the locker room, Rivet's a big wig within the Habs, but sometimes these decisions have to be made. With Komisarek's emergence, and Dandenault's steady play, the Habs could afford to lose Rivet and replace him via UFA or from within
I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility to re-sign both Markov and Souray, so long as we let go Rivet. A top-4 of Markov/Souray/Komi/Dandenault isn't terrible. Off the top of my head I don't know which other defensemen's contracts expire, but retaining two of Bouillon, Streit, Niinimaa at 3rd-pairing money, or promoting a capable defensive prospect (J-P Cote,O'Byrne,Emelin) would retain our defensive depth at the same level as it is now. It's too early to tell how much money we're going to have to sign UFAs, though I prefer to build from within, anyway.