Good discussion points for what is to come with the Habs org. Interesting decisions ahead for Gainey...
What do you guys speculate happening?
"General manager Bob Gainey's off-season work includes making decisions on potential unrestricted free agents Mark Streit, Michael Ryder, Bryan Smolinski and Patrice Brisebois, and signing restricted free agents Halak, O'Byrne, Josh Gorges, Andrei Kostitsyn and Maxim Lapierre.
Streit may pose the toughest problem after a breakthrough season in which he amassed 62 points while switching back and forth between defence, where he is most comfortable, and left wing. He also mans the right point on the power play.
He may draw big offers from clubs looking for power-play help and it is unknown how much he will be offered by Montreal, which prefers to use him on the wing.
Ryder, whose goal production dropped from 30 to 15 this season, looks to be on his way out as he was dressed for only four games in the playoffs and looked to have lost his job to Sergei Kostitsyn.
Smolinski and Brisebois, both in their mid-30s, signed one-year deals as free agents last summer and now hope to be back for another season.
Management will decide whether it's better to keep Smolinski or bring youngster Kyle Chipchura up to centre the checking line.
Among the restricted free agents, there are reports that Russian club Ak Bars Kazan may make Andrei Kostitsyn an offer, although he is unlikely to leave without his brother, who has two years left on his entry-level contract with Montreal.
Gorges, who was considered a throw-in when he was acquired late in the 2006-07 season in the deal that sent Craig Rivet to San Jose, blossomed as a solid defenceman this season and is sure to be a priority to be signed.
Among the veterans, captain Saku Koivu, who returned from injury to post nine points in only seven playoffs games, and winger Alex Kovalev, the team's player of the year who struggled in the post-season, both have one year left on their contracts. The same goes for young winger Christopher Higgins and Mike Komisarek, who emerged as one of the team's top defencemen.
Smoke is just too slow. Kovy extended a year with the signing of a FA center or trade for a Horcoff and sign a Campbell/Redden etc should put the Habs up there. An Ethan Moreau, Ian Laperreierre sort of player would be great. Hopefully the Pens wont become the Oilers of the 1980s. Can Yemelin opt out of his contract in Russka? Adding Yemelin, Brunnstrom with Trotter would be small moves that could add to the talent pool and pay dividends.