Updates on the Canadiens and Penguins – April 30, 2011.

Could the Canadiens bury Scott Gomez’s salary in the minors next season? Are they interested in signing Jaromir Jagr? What’s the latest on Andrei Markov’s contract status? Could the Penguins trade Matt Cooke?  Find a winger for Evgeni Malkin?

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan wondered how much better Canadiens center Scott Gomez, who has three more years at over $7 million per season remaining on his contract, can play at this point in his career. Cowan doubts Gomez can be shopped because of his contract, suggesting another option could be to demote him to the minors next season, which would clear his salary from the Habs cap hit for next season.

ISPORT.BLESK.CZ (via Too Many Men on the Site): reported the Canadiens might be interested in signing former NHL and current KHL star Jaromir Jagr, who’s now a free agent after playing three years with Avangard Omsk.

THE TEAM 990’s Ton Marinaro reported via Twitter reported the Canadiens offered defenseman Andrei Markov a one-year, $5.75 million contract, but Markov is seeking a three-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burying Gomez in the minors could be a possibility if Gauthier spends over the cap this summer, but it might be too hasty to make that suggestion. I’m guessing Gomez will return next season but if he continues to struggle offensively Gauthier could consider demoting him then. I’m not putting much stock into this talk of the Habs having interest in Jagr, and quite frankly I don’t think he’d be a good fit at this point in his career. The Habs need to invest in younger talent. As for Markov, perhaps they settle on a two-year deal? We’ll find out in two months time.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari reports there was some talk of the Penguins trading Matt Cooke because of his recent 17-game suspension as a repeat offender after his elbowing NY Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the head. GM Ray Shero however said there’s every indication Cooke, who has one season remaining on his contract, will return with the Penguins, adding Cooke has received counselling during the period of his suspension, which should make him a more effective player.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW:  Rob Rossi reported one of the Penguins areas which needed to be addressed was finding a quality winger for Evgeni Malkin’s line, as well as more secondary skill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $55 million committed to 17 players next season, Shero lacks the roster space to make those moves, unless he’s willing to make a trade or two.

11 Comments

  1. I think it’s VITAL that the Habs get younger and, as previously mentioned by you, STRONGER, especially up front.

    That said, I think I have more faith in Gomez’ ability to play another quality season or two than most. Don’t ask me why.

  2. There’s a bunch of talk for the Habs d-men, too, that they’ll probably lose Wisniewski if Markov comes back, and with Spacek & Subban already signed. My question: unless he has a no-trade clause, why not trade Spacek (let’s say for a mid-round draft pick?) and use that money to sign Wisniewski? It would cost them maybe $1-1.5M more per season, but make the Habs significantly younger & tougher, for not much more money, plus they get a mid-to-late round pick out of it.

  3. That is wishfull thinking cock. I say gomez has another terrible year, then gets burried in the minors.

  4. Totally agree with northby9’s comment. If we trade spacek (Edmonton needs a veteran D man) for a pick then us his salary plus 1 million to get te wiz signed to a 4-6 year deal. Gill takes 1 million, weber gets a spot then we have a better then average D line up with subban, Markov, gorges, wiz, gill, weber. Pouliot is gone and if gauthier can get the rights to laich, fleischmann, or penner then kostitsyn is gone too. If Gomez has one more 30-40 pt year then they will put him in the minors. Too costly to buy out. Either way. They are holding on to Gomez for one more year in case the new CBA allows a one time buy out. Then it’s bye bye. Either way, the Canadiens should be a better team next year with the development of the young guys. That series could have gone either way. One lucky bounce ended the series so it’s not like the team can be too disappointed at the end of the day after the emotions have settled. I mean, Price had a great year, subban is a star who effects the other teams, weber played well (IMO), Eller seems like a bigger version of Pleks when he was a rookie, desharnais has good skill despite his size. I think that they need a season where our top young power forward doesn’t get his neck broken and one more 6’3″-5″ tall winger who gets 50-60 pts (fleischmann or laich) to play on the cammalleri line. Maybe a change in head coach too. We have lots of speed and quality skill but it’s bogged by a completely defense first system. Many Hartly can be brought back to the NHL? What do you guys think?

  5. Having so much money tied up with 17 players has put the team where they are. When you have a team like this that has so much invested in centers it doesn’t make sence. Trading Malkin makes sense, the return would be very high and the team would have a lot more balance. There are teams out there that have lots of potential star young players in their system. These teams have lots of wingers in their stock pile and this is what the Penguins need.

  6. SmielmaN, I’m on board with you totally – save for a coaching change. While Martin’s system isn’t the most exciting, I think his system has been one of the main reasons we’ve had back-to-back good playoff years (I’m with you – despite a first round loss, we played well this playoffs and can’t be too unhappy with the result)

    A signing like Fleischmann (if he’s healthy) is a completely possible one, and a defence corps of Markov, Subban, Wiesnewski, Gorges, Gill and Weber would be above average, for sure. Doesn’t solve all our problems up front, but that might take 2 off-seasons and not just 1. Would definitely be easily doable steps, and in the right direction!

  7. Also, I’m with Gomez playing another season. I hope Cocktailsfor2 is right and he can play better, but I also think it’s too big a financial hit to bury Gomez when there is *some* chance he might play better. If this year’s UFA crop was better, I could see them trying to sign other players then dropping him to clear space. However, when there is only Richards as a top-line centre to get, makes more sense to cross your fingers, hope he plays well, and if not, free up that cap space for next summer instead.

  8. I would love it if the Habs found a way to bring both Wiz and Markov back. Markov, Subban, Wiz, Gorges, and Weber would be a pretty solid core on defense. Isn’t there talk of Alexi Emelin coming over as well? A friend who reads the Russian sites told me that he wants to come over but wants a guarantee that he doesn’t get sent to Hamilton. He would also be a very good addition…

  9. I have not heard of this kind of deal since the new (soon to be old) CBA but does it allow for a contract where the owner/organization can walk away? If so, I can see Markov getting that three year deal if each of the last two are at the Habs discretion. Otherwise three years, 5.75 for a guy as injured as Markov sounds REALLY risky.

    As for Jagr, I agree. The only way I see it happening is if he is willing to take league minimum for a year, but that would be horrible for him so no way it happens.

    Gomez will be on the Habs until trade deadline this coming season at the VERY least. After that his actual salary might be low enough to make him moveable/demotable. We’ll see.

    Smielman, I like the suggested for the D, looks like a good line up, well done.

  10. HOLY CRAP!!! The Habs are SO lucky Markov wants a three year deal, you are OUT OF YOUR MIND to give an aging (albeit solid) D-Man with recent injury woes such a large guaranteed contract. It’s a buyers market, I HIGHLY doubt you’ll find a team willing to pay Markov 5.75M particularly when other D-men will be on the market this summer, lots of them, and there are always those puck movers (Bergeron etc.) that are available at bargain basement prices. Three years 9M perhaps, but if the Habs are dumb enough to saddle themselves with ANOTHER stupid contract (Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri, all making more than they produce) they deserve what happens.

    I’ll admit, Cammalleri had an off-year, but Gomez has a DUMB contract and Gionta at least provides something for his 5M, albeit he’s about 1-2M overpaid.

  11. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I”ll take Wiznewski there over Markov anytime. At their best Markov is better, but seeing as he’s never at his best Wiz wins by default. He really did play some good hockey for us this year and is just hitting his prime.