The respective managements of the Montreal Canadiens and LA Kings will have to address their club’s weaknesses this summer. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Dave Stubbs reports the Canadiens won’t undergo the dramatic, wholesale roster changes they did two years ago, but with six defensemen – notablyAndrei Markov, James Wisniewski, Hal Gill, Roman Hamrlik and Brent Sopel –  eligible for UFA status this summer the blueline could have a different look next season. Pat Hickey reports the Canadiens elimination by the Boston Bruins is further proof they need more scoring and bigger forwards.

LA PRESSE: Francois Gagnon believes the Canadiens blueline corps will be younger next season, adding Yannick Weber deserves a chance to play in Montreal. He also believes the Habs were too thin and small at forward, suggesting GM Pierre Gauthier might have to think about what to do with expensive under-achieving center Scott Gomez. Gagnon was also critical on Andrei Kostitsyn’s performance against the Bruins and doubts RFA forward  Benoit Pouliot will be back next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber definitely deserves a full-time spot on the Habs blueline next season. Markov’s contract talks could prove difficult given his injury history of late, but perhaps the Habs might try to get him re-signed on a one-tw0 year deal for roughly the same salary ($5.75 million per) in hopes of re-signing him long term if he’s able to put his injury woes behind him. Wisniewski could be an alternative if Markov tests the market. Gill hopefully will return for another year or two given his steadying influence on PK Subban. Hamrlik could be done unless he’s willing to accept a lesser role and a pay cut. Sopel probably won’t be back. I doubt Gauthier can move Gomez and expect he’ll return next season. If teams get a one-time penalty-free buyout period under the next CBA as they did at the start of this one, Gomez will likely be bought out. Kostitsyn will likely get a one-year qualifying offer and if he rejects it will probably become a UFA, while Pouliot won’t be back. Expect the Canadiens to look for big, physical skilled forwards via trade and/or free agency this summer.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Helene Elliott reports that despite some individual successes (Jonathan Quick, Kyle Clifford) the Kings’ second straight first round elimination cannot be considered progress. Amongst GM Dean Lombardi’s off-season plans will be deciding whether to re-sign pending UFA forwards Michal Handzus and Alexei Ponikarovsky. He must also re-sign RFAs Drew Doughty, Wayne Simmonds, Trevor Lewis, Brad Richardson, Alec Martinez and Oscar Moller. Lombardi admitted they’ll have to decide if they’ll re-sign Doughty to a short or long term deal.

USATODAY.COM: AP writer Greg Beacham reports the Kings need more dedication from Dustin Penner, who has one more season remaining on his contract and the Kings hope he’ll be properly motivated next season. Lombardi and head coach Terry Murray appear interested in retaining Handzus but perhaps less so with Ponikarovsky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Doughty will be re-signed and I suspect they’ll try to get it done long-term, but given the uncertainty over the next CBA a short-term (three-to-five years) is a possibility. The other RFAs shouldn’t be difficult re-signings. Handzus could return on a one-year deal worth considerably less than the $4 million he earned this season, but Ponikarovsky won’t be back. As for Penner, he had a difficult time adjusting to the Kings but he won’t be moved, especially given his $4 million -plus salary.

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19 Responses to What Next for the Canadiens and Kings?

  1. mb4life says:

    Tough loss last night for the habs…….As a leafs fan living in la belle provence, it didn’t hurt that much when horton scored, but if anyone experienced what last years run did for the city, you would understand that it FEELS WEIRD that the season is over……. Sorry Mr Richardson :(

    Last summer there was a rumor that kaberle could go to LA for simmonds(among a few guys)
    Maybe this year with all the guys LA has to sign and the big ticket players that they have, the leafs should see what it would take to get Wayne in the blue and white. He could be a MONSTER for this team!! Not first line material but the big and somewhat talented guy we need on our team to stand in front of the net on the powerplay

  2. KIRK ATWOOD says:

    I agree that Montreal’s D will change and get younger but I can’t see Montreal buying out Gomez’s contract @ 7.5 this coming season, 5.5 next season and 4.5 the year after late. It just seems like to much money to carry over the next 5 – 10 years.

  3. DinoRondelly says:

    The article clearly stated that if teams were allowed a one time non penalty free buy out period Gomez could be but out but your right there is now way a team buys him out this summer.

    Hey Lyle,
    If a player has a contract like Gomez where its 7.5mill this year and 5.5 next year and so on the cap hit is the average of the salary, how does that work with buy outs ? Do the teams actually save cap space by buying said player out later in the contract when the actual salary has gone down or does the buy out get averaged out over twice the term?

  4. LeafsNationUS says:

    Dino – CapGeek has a great buy out calculator. Check it out if you haven’t seen it before. Basically it’s two-thirds of the remaining salary owed spread over twice the term, but (here’s where it gets confusing) the savings is calculated by subtracting the buyout average from the actual salary, and then subtracting that number from the cap hit. So in the case of Gomez, the Canadiens save huge in the first year of the buyout, not so much in the second and the third is REALLY bad, and then you’ve got the three years of 1.9 cap hit baggage where you’re paying for nothing.

    Scott Gomez buyout from CapGeek.com (this is the cap hit if bought out on 6-15-2011):
    2011-12: $1,801,587
    2012-13: $3,801,587
    2013-14: $4,801,587
    2014-15: $1,944,444
    2015-16: $1,944,444
    2016-17: $1,944,444

    Hope that sort of makes sense. Seriously check out CapGeek if you haven’t before as it’s great for this sort of thing.

  5. LeafsNationUS says:

    Spector, before I forget, seeing as 2011-12 is the last year of the current CBA, does that mean that player bonuses will not be able to be carried over and will count against the cap number for the 2010-11? I know they did the same thing in the 2009-10 season (I think) prior to the NHLPA extending the current agreement. I haven’t seen much mention of it. The reason why it crossed my mind is somebody like Markov. I think the Canadiens would be insane to pay him 5.75 million for one year considering his knee issues. But if there were to offer him a low base (say 2-2.5 million) with bonuses for games played that could let him hit 5.75 that wouldn’t be as bad. But if the bonuses would still count against the cap, there wouldn’t be much difference in just paying him 5.75 outright as far as the cap is concerned.

  6. LeafsNationUS says:

    Dang it, I need to proofread my stuff before submitting. I meant the 2011-12 season above, not 2010-11… duh.

  7. clay says:

    I think the one time buyout that Spec was talking about was when the CBA last came up when teams were allowed to buyout a player with no penalty

  8. LeafsNationUS: There won’t be a bonus cushion this season because it’s the final year of the CBA. And the Habs aren’t likely to buy out Gomez under this CBA, but if under the first year of the next CBA teams are allowed a one-time-only, penalty-free buyout, then they certainly will.

  9. VanCanFan says:

    Gomez is dead weight. It wouldn’t surprise me to see management bury him in the minors next season and buy him out the next (if they can do it in such a way that it does not count against their cap). Seriously, I know as a Canucks fan that my appreciation for Brendan Morrison might be a little over the top, but the guy can do what Gomez can do for 10% of the cost. Just sign him and pursue a strong, physical left-winger via trade.

    The team’s left wing position is dismal. Proof? Darche and Moen split second-line duty. In the PLAYOFFS. The Wrong Kostitsyn is their first-line left-winger. Just awful. Let him walk, let Pacioretty man the left-wing position on the second line, and go out and trade for a first-line left-wing.

  10. HABS_FTW says:

    Wisniewski was freaking great for us.. he got into fights, played injured, has a amazing shot and was a plus player while playing for us. Forget Markov who is just to injury prone to be banking your defense on!

    Beyond that.. we had some other tough injuries.. as well as need to stop playing Gomez like he’s a top liner. He’s a 3rd liner at best, so play him there. We made the mistake of taking him on and paying him like a first line center, doesn’t mean we have to play him like one.

    We do need a bit of size, pretty sure the world has been saying that for the last couple of years. However we did make it to game 7 OT with a pretty complete Bruins team, so I don’t thing we need to shake things up all that much.

  11. Al says:

    Gomez played 1 good game out of 7. I hope PG can work his magic and get rid of him. I hope they resign the Wiz and drop Kos and Poulliot. White deserves a shot for next year as does Desharnais. As far as Markov, not sure what to do here, they can afford to have him on IR as they have the $$ unfortunately he can’t seem to stay healthy. Perhaps a 1 year extension my be the way to go. Gio, Pleks and Cammy are worth every penny. PK should be given an extension now and not wait for the “can they sign him” crap when he becomes a RFA. Halpern should stay although not sure about Moen. Gill should be kept if for no reason his influence on PK and what he brings to the room. Louis may have a shot at the team next year.

    All an all while I’m disappointed with the loss to Boston, they put in a great effort during the year considering injuries and some of the dead weight they had to carry.

  12. Sandy says:

    Do you think that the loss by LA to the SJ Sharks had something to do with missing their best player – Kopitar? He is quite valuable to that team.
    SJ won 3 of those games in OT.. so if LA had the scoring threat of Kopitar it may have been a different story.
    They are still a young team.. with two great prospects in Schenn & Toffoli coming.
    I don’t think they are that far off from being a threat in the playoffs.

  13. Canadian King says:

    mb4life…You are smart to want Simmonds but TO doesn’t have anything LA would want back in return, plus there is already a long line of suitors trying to pry him away from Lombardi, who has already stated he isn’t going anywhere. If LA were to trade him (they won’t) they would want a first line winger that can score to play with Kopi, and TO doesn’t have that to offer up.

  14. farleybear says:

    The Sens have a plethora of defencemen. Gonchar, Kuba, Lee can ALL be had. No need for ANY of you to come on here stating these players short-comings or contract size or why or why not MTL would or would not make this trade. I am simply putting it out there as a REMOTE possibility. I get that it won’t stop some of you though.

  15. farleybear says:

    Canadian King. You are absolutely correct. A LOT of teams want Simmonds. Everybody wants Schenn, when they find out they can’t have him they try for Simmonds and the answer is just as strongly negative from the Kings. Those 2 guys are special and LA would be STUPID to let them go.

  16. DurtMCHurt says:

    I am not a Montreal fan, but to me, resign wiz, Gill and Markov (short term I agree) and i see little problem with the d core. Those three plus PK are respectable as a top 4. Sure they could use an upgrade but it’s actually not that bad if markov can manage most of a season. The problem is forwards. Plex and Camalleri are pretty much the only forwards i worry about playing against. The rest are severly replacable (with exception to pach)
    I offer no ground breaking trade proposal, just slowly shed the likes of gionta, gomez, kostitsyn and pouliot. And slowly add more sizable pieces for your top 6 through FA or trade.
    What about inquiring about Blake Wheeler for the second line? He’s big.
    Let’s face it, your team gets tossed around WAY too much.
    The habs should focus they’re future moves/signings on more of a big, energetic, aggressive for checking team. Most teams in the east are bulking up they’re D, your toast if you rely on strictly small forwards.

  17. bickleton Wigglesworth III says:

    mb4life, in addition to what others have mentioned about Simmonds I’d point out that all those rumors last year about Simmonds being traded fro Kaberle… none of them were out of LA. Lombardi, the Kings organization, the media, and the fans know what they have in Simmonds and none of them are interested in giving him up. That being said the emergence of Clifford does open a slight chance for a Simmonds trade. However, I doubt Lombardi moves him until he’s more comfortable and sure of Clifford, and even then any deal would have to bring a top line goal-scoring winger to the Kings.

  18. bickleton Wigglesworth III says:

    Another thing, I almost wonder about a Penner for Cammalleri deal.

    Both are solid, if inconsistent scorers. Montreal wants big and skilled while Cammalleri’s hard-working attitude and determination seems more in line with the Kings style.

    I know, not going to happen. The Kings need that extra .75 mill to help resign their free-agents, if they’d wanted Cammalleri they wouldn’t have traded him in the first place, and lastly the Habs might not be interested in taking on someone else’s headache after how the Gomez thing has worked out.

  19. GusMacDuff says:

    I think the argument that the habs are too small is a bit of a myth. I don’t deny that bigger players have benefits and certainly agree that the habs should upgrade their size if they can, but the habs lost because boston is a better team. the habs were the 6th seed facing the 3rd seed. sure boston tossed them around, they tossed them around all the way to game 7 overtime. They should worry about getting better first, bigger second.

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