Two days, two signings

Photo by Richard Wolowicz, Getty Images

The Canadiens will have at least one homeboy in the lineup for the 2011-’12 season.
Mathieu Darche, a native of St. Laurent, has signed a one-year contract.

Darche, a graduate of McGill University, will earn $700,000. That’s a nice raise on the $500,000 he made last season on the first one-way contract of  Darche’s career.

The team announcement:

Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of forward Mathieu Darche to a one-year contract (2011-12). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Mathieu Darche. Mathieu is a classy veteran player who displays great leadership and determination, and we strongly believe he can help us achieve our goals in the upcoming season,” said Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.

Darche, 34, completed in 2010-11 his eighth season in the NHL. The left winger set personal-highs with 12 goals and 26 points in 59 games. Two of his goals were tallied on the powerplay. He served 10 penalty minutes, registered 90 shots on goals and maintained a +7 plus/minus differential, while averaging 11:16 seconds of ice time per game. Darche added two points (1 goal, 1 assist) in seven playoff games.

Since 2000-01, Darche has registered 60 points (25 goals, 35 assists) in 189 NHL regular-season games. The 6’1’’, 207 lbs forward has scored three of his goals on the powerplay, one shorthanded goal and four winning goals, while recording 40 penalty minutes. Darche has accumulated three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in 18 career NHL playoff contests.

Prior to joining the Canadiens, Darche had played with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks and Tampa Bay Lightning during his NHL career. A native of Montreal, he first signed with the Canadiens as a free agent on July 2, 2009.


  1. jeregan says:

    Any contract talks with markov yet?

  2. Senet says:

    I most definetly think that AK46 will start out on the third line with Eller, the two of them developed chemistry in the playoffs and this line will give the habs three offensive lines that can score goals. Desharnais adds speed and grit for a little guy and don’t be surprised if they are not our second best line before the year is out. This of course will only happen if we can find someone to replace AK46 on Plex/Cammy line. There are three other reasons for that this will happen, (1) AK has to work harder and he seems to take a leadership role on that line with the two kids. 2) We need a stronger power forward to make space for Plex and Cammy on that line and AK has had two years to do this and has not been successful. 3) AK signed a 1 year contract, if he proves he can be productive he could get a raise, if he does not prove he can then we either sign him for less next year or trade him by the trading deadline. I like AK’s game last year because he started being more physical which again is a good thing for the two kids on his line. This line will add to the speed of our team as well as make us more dangerous. So I would not run down this suggestion just because we are paying him $3.25M.

  3. TorontoHabsFan says:

    So far, things seem to be going according to plan. If Pacioretty White and Desharnais sign (as expected) and Pouliot is allowed to walk that will leave us with two more forwards needed – a top line LW and a 4th liner.

    UFA possibilities include for LW:


    I’m not so hot on Leino, but I think any of the other 3 would work fine for us – Laich having the most upside as he’s younger and could play a significant role for years to come.

    As far as 4th liner…what the hey, if Zenon is cheap, why not take a shot? He was ridiculous on the faceoff a few years back – that alone makes him worth Darche money.

    (for people expecting a crazy offseason from Gauthier, I think they’re going to be disappointed)

    • Richrebellion says:

      I think if anything you’ll be dissapointed, I don’t see how we need a top line forward? If you think kostitsyn got signed for $3.25 mill to play third line you must be crazy. Our top 2 lines will be Kostitsyn-Pleks-Cammy and Gionta-gomez- pacioretty. If you see them differently I would love to see the explanation as to why?

      As for Zenon I think that’s the last player the habs would ever sign, he can take faceoffs and fight and thats it! Martin loves the fact that everyone on the team is reliable defensively and can all play at the nhl level not just fight!

      This offseason will be very low key for the habs, the offense is almost set if we sign the rest of the RFA’s without Pouliot we would have 12 forwards on our roster. That leaves maybe 1 or 2 more players that can play on the team prob a center like halpern at a cheap price. Then on D we have 4 players signed and we will probably sign both gorges and weber. That gives us 6 d without markov or a top d man. So well prob sign either markov or another puck moving d man. Then we just need a back up goalie which wont be exciting. Basically the team is set besides a few depth guys here or there.

      • AK made the same amount last year and spent much of the season being shuffled through the lines because he’s lazy and inconsistent. In my opinion, his strong(er) play with Eller etc over the second half of the season is the only reason he’s still here & the fact that he’s on a 1 year extension proves that. We most definitely need a top 6 fwd.

  4. PeterD says:

    I like the Darche signing.
    He’s a good mentor for hte young players…I remember watching him on the bench talking with Eller and how Eller really soaked it up…
    I think Darche is a lot like Gill in how he teaches and mentors the kids along…

    Now Pierre just needs to go after one big power winger that scores off the UFA list…also re-sign Patches and Desharnais.

  5. ZepFan2 says:


    Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Head-shots League.

  6. SeriousFan09 says:

    8 forwards under contract with Gomez, Cammalleri, Pleks, AK, Gionta, Eller, Darche, Moen for the 11-12 season. Halpern is the only remaining UFA while Desharnais, Pyatt, Pouliot, White, Pacioretty are RFAs. Palushaj, Engqvist are on the last year of their contracts it doesn’t hurt mentioning either and Pacioretty seems pencilled in for a spot. 7 Bodies, 3 regular spots and one extra. Let the speculation begin!

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  7. HardHabits says:

    Mathieu Darche.

    Journeyman career AHLer. McGill alumni who managed to land a job as a role player on his hometown team.

    A good bang for the buck utility player. He might play 60 games and provide 20-25 points, wont complain when asked to watch from the press-box, fills in for injured players, and can step in if one of the youngsters is in JM’s doghouse.

    Much more to come.

  8. Sean Bonjovi says:

    If Andrei ends up on the 1st line with Pleks and Cammalleri and
    The 3rd line is is Eller between Moen and Darche is everybody still happy with what PG’s doing here, because I fear that’s what just happened?

    * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

    • shiram says:

      Speculation, but I would not feel too bad about AK-Pleks-Cammy. I would hope we could get someone in AK’s place, so we have more scoring depth, but that could be difficult with the limited free agents.

      • Sean Bonjovi says:

        Depth is the problem. I’d could also live with AK-Pleks-Cammy, and maybe even Moen-Eller-Darche, But as soon as one of your top six get hurt you’ve got Travis Moen or Mathieu Darche playing on one of your top two lines. We can all blame injuries for the loss to the Bruins, but If we don’t improve depth this summer we’ll have to blame PG if injuries turn into loses in 2011-2012.

        * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

        • shiram says:

          Well the free agency has not started yet, and the next season is still months away so there are many moves that can be made untill then.
          I doubt Moen gets top 6 time, I think Eller and DD might get the nod before Moen. Darche has proven he can work as a replacement up there as well, but yea more scoring depth would be sweet.

          • Sean Bonjovi says:

            Moens been getting top six time for two years now.

            * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

          • shiram says:

            Yea because of injury… what can you do about that?

            I think we have players that can fit better in the top 6 than Moen right now, and I hope they would get the nod first.

            What would you do in PG’s place so that does not happen??

          • Sean Bonjovi says:

            I’d sign at least one more guy who’s better than Travis Moen. If that guy’s way better he’d bump Andrei to the 3rd line and Moen to the fourth. If I could find a second guy he’d bump Darche off the 3rd line and back down to the Tampa Bay lightning.

            * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

          • shiram says:

            That’s a pretty generic statement, have anyone in mind? A free agent maybe? Or is it a trade, those great players are not easy to find, cost money, and if they are not free agents, they cost valuable players or pick.

          • Sean Bonjovi says:

            3rd line? – Pascal Dupuis, Taylor Pyatt, Antti Miettenen (didn’t see him much in Minnie, but I liked him with the stars), maybe even David Moss. Guys like Ponikarovsky, and Vrbata would need AK46 dollars, but worth it IMO.
            1st line? – Brooks Laich is obvious because he’s big, has decent hands and he goes to the net, but like Pleks he’d still be useful in a non-scoring-role near the end of his contract. I’d take Jagr as second choice. Simon Gagné’s the wild card. If he’s healthy then throw money at him. Jagr is the only one-demensional-offence-only player I would even consider.
            The team’s committed to Le System so bring in one or two guys who can play it.

            * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

        • Sharks9 says:

          We could move DD or Eller up to the top 2 instead of Moen or Darche. Possibly someone from Hamilton if some guys get called up this year.

          25 before 14

          • Sean Bonjovi says:

            Those would be better choices IMO

            * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

    • HardHabits says:

      Silly Sean Von Bonbon

  9. Hobie Hansen says:

    @ TomNickle

    Here’s a bunch of Lindros Fights…

    The guy never backed down from anybody? Are you one of the Montreal fans that is still upset he didn’t want to play in Quebec?

    Oh and that bar fight in oakville with some drunk woman…give me a break. I bet you most of the players on the Canadiens have 10 bar moments that could compare to that story that was brought on by some woman looking for attention.

  10. Timo says:

    So day three signing will bring us a contract extension for Scott Gomez?

    • Clay says:

      One can only hope…

      Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

      Winston Churchill

    • Habfan4lfe says:

      I am happy about AK and MD signing but man, I really really hope Gomez is not back next year! God there has to be some team that really wants him. LOL! C’mon Ottawa!!

      I hope Moen and Pyatt are not signed. 2 bad signings right there. Moen is a average hockey player and a non-fighter now. His usefulness on this team is non-existent. Pyatt couldn’t score even if there was no goalie in net and really we don’t have any real need for him on penalty killing.

      Right now I got a feeling we will have the same team but with Gorges and Markov back. To me that means the same season ending type outcome. No progress.

      Heck, package up Plekanec or Cammy or something.

      • Timo says:

        Perhaps Winnipeg would want a witty-with-the-media type of player to spice things up in a good ol’ Peg. No? I think this is exactly what they need.

      • Bob_Sacamano says:

        Pyatt for 0.5 or 0.6m doesn´t hurt, Moen unfortunately has one year left at 1.5. Even worse: JM will find a way to have him on the top two lines again. Gomez and Ottawa? It has to be Hamilton. Having Markov and Gorges back + more experienced players like Eller, Desharnais, Pacioretty and Subban actually means a lot potential progress.

      • habstrinifan says:

        You are the first poster who categorically states .. dont sign Pyatt and Moen(besides myself). PG is doing ok so far but if either Moen or Pyatt takes up a roster spot (as they did last season) then it would mean one thing… this team will NOT have improved. Moen ha sone more year to go on contract but I basically agree with you.. jettison both of them.

  11. Hobie Hansen says:

    @ TomNickle

    Umm, I saw Lindros go toe to toe with many of the league’s best heavyweights on multiple occassions including; a legendary scrap with McSorley.

    He dominated the game in every aspect for at least 5 years before his issue of keeping his head up spelled the end for him.

    And yes, Chara would seriously destroy my buddy Odelein. But Lyle would have tried to stand up for Pacioretty.

    Lucic and Odelein would be a good tilt!

    • TomNickle says:

      @ Hobie Hansen

      Umm, I saw Lindros high tail it whenever somebody who wasn’t well beyond their prime tried to engage him. Whenever somebody was able to see him coming, he was far less tough than he was when they couldn’t.

      As far as his overall game, I never said he wasn’t a dominant player, I said he wasn’t nearly as tough or as good of a fighter as you’ve made him out to be.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        Well we must have been watching two different players named Eric Linros…

      • shiram says:

        This might make it easier for you 2.

        • Hobie Hansen says:

          hmm, Quintal, McSorley and Boughner…those guys were lightweights…NOT!

          • TomNickle says:

            Really? That’s where you’re going? Okay.

            Eric Desjardins
            Joe Reekie
            Rob Zettler
            Richard Smehlik
            Bob Sweeney
            Igor Ulanov
            Rob Niedermeyer

            You know it’s funny. If you read the details of each fight on that website it seems that in just about every case where Lindros fought somebody tough, the tough guy jumped him, and where Lindros fights somebody not considered to be a fighter, he jumped those players.


          • HabFanSince72 says:

            I remember he also got into a fight with a girl in a bar in Oakville.

            Not sure who started it.

          • TomNickle says:

            Actually the pathetic thing was that he elbowed the woman in the head and then poured beer all over her.

      • Timo says:

        I would that not so tough Eric Lindros over any one of our current “fighters” any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I bet even with the concussion Lindros would manage more than 8 goals all season, and that is playing D.

  12. 44har48 says:

    I like having these type of players around, so long as they are far and few between, not the norm for your roster. I was hoping to replace his 34 yr old “grit and energy” with more talent, you know, the stuff that wins at the pro level. The cap could be constraining PG and he might be looking to get some guys on the cheap to make a bigger move…not sure yet. If this is so he can keep some cash free to make a splash, I’m fine. I do realize Gomez and Spacek dictate these kind of signings.

  13. HardHabits says:

    Things are getting interesting. Roster spots are getting scarcer by the minute. Players like Pyatt, Pouliot and DD are on the bubble.

    IMO the Habs need a killer on the back end, a 4th line centre that can drop’em, and a top 6 forward for the Plex-Cammy line.

    The Habs are 3 pieces away.

    • TomNickle says:

      I think the chronological order in which these players are getting signed is interesting. It really looks like it’s coming down to cost more than seniority or the players’ importance to the team. Looks like Gauthier wants to save some money heading into late June and early July.

      Weird stuff.

      • HardHabits says:

        I have no doubt that all the remaining RFA’s will be signed at some point. I think DD will start the season in Hamilton. Pyatt, Pouliot and Weber could all be on the block. Who knows what will happen? We’ll have to just wait and see. The Habs still have lots of wiggle room.

        One thing for certain. Next Summer the Habs will have many options for renewal.

        • TomNickle says:

          I think Pacioretty’s contract will be the most telling. If he’s given a one year deal, you can kiss Gomez goodbye sometime between that contract being signed and next June. That would leave Subban, Price, Pacioretty, Yemelin and Eller up for extensions. That could be as much or as little as $17 million in new money being spent on those players alone.

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          Desharnais is vulnerable to waivers if placed in Hamilton next season.

          – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
          SF09 on Twitter

          • HardHabits says:

            If he is so vulnerable there should be a taker somewhere in tradesville. 1/2 point per game players are worth looking into.

            There has to be a big gritty team that could use an offensive spark plug like DD out there.

            Maybe DD will be a future KHL super star.

            Skies the limit.

          • Sean Bonjovi says:

            “There has to be a big gritty team that could use an offensive spark plug like DD out there”

            Are the Canadiens a high scoring team that can afford to trade a 1/2 point per game player?

            * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

  14. spaccamuro says:

    Good signing by PG , but IMO Konopka is not what we need. Yes he will protect or try to protect our talented players but he is not going to stop the other teams from taking runs at our players. He doesn’t strike fear or make the other teams have 2nd thoughts about taking runs at our small players. I personally think a guy like John Scott in Chicago would good for us.

    6’8″ 250lbs
    And will not think twice to put someone in their place.
    This guy is what we need on our 4th line IMO

  15. HabFanSince72 says:

    A lot of people are playing GM, but let’s play owner.

    If I’m Geoff Molson my second order of business is as follows (my first is allowing Quebec microbrewery beer to be sold at the Bell Ctr, and at a fair price.).

    Get PG and JM into a room. Show them videos of the 8-6 game – just the last minute brawls -, the MaxPac injury, and the 7-0 drubbing.

    And then I tell them to do whatever they have to do so that this never f***ing happens again.

    • Chuck says:

      You want the Habs moved to the west? 🙂

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      You want them to order a hit on Zdeno Chara? Because other than that there was no way to prevent that from happening. You can’t intimidate that man from not doing something if he wants to do it.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

      • Chuck says:

        Perhaps Hammer and Andrei should have kept in contact with their mob friends. 🙂

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        We need to go back in time and get Dave Manson, Bob Probert and Marty McSorley from the 1991/92 season. Oh and maybe Stew “The Grim Reaper” Grimson. Lyle Odelein would take a stab and Chara and Lucic as well. Man do I miss those guys!

        • TomNickle says:

          Lyle Odelein would have died on the ice if he tried to fight Chara.

          • Hobie Hansen says:

            Well, I was at a game at the old Forum went Odelein did a pretty good job matched up against lindross.
            Not saying Lyle would beat Chara but that crazy bastard would take a shot…unlike anyone on our club today.
            You don’t have to win every fight but at least have the courage to stand up and do something when one of your boys is lying on the ice with a broken neck…

          • TomNickle says:

            Lindros couldn’t hold his own with anyone taller than 5’10 or heavier than 180 pounds so that doesn’t really surprise. I mean, Elvis Stojko did kick his ass.

            I’m not saying Odelein wasn’t tough, I’m saying Chara would have brutalized him in a bad way.

        • Marcusman says:

          I brought up Lyle’s name 10 mins after the Max hit. He would of certainly gone after Chara that night and not just lipped him off like Gomez…..

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            And they’d have taken Lyle out on a stretcher as well after Chara was through with him. What would that prove?

            – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
            SF09 on Twitter

          • Chuck says:

            Gomez should have rearranged Chara’s face with his stick. It would have been the most useful that his stick would have been all season. 😉

          • filincal says:

            I can’t remember Chara throwing any punches at Laraque whenever they were matched up. All he did was try and wrestle him to the ice. He only “fights” the guys he knows he can beat. i remember when he landed some punches on rookie Latendresse after he stood up for Kovy.
            My point…if I were making one; when Laraque was in the line-up the Bruins not once started anything extra curricular. Instead avoided it at all cost, using the “my coach doesn’t want me to fight tonight” excuse. God(Neely) forbid they get tuned by the Habs.


    • NDGhabsfan says:

      Why the hell would anyone named Molson sell beer from someone else?

      From failing hands…

      • shiram says:

        I’m sure Molson could buy a microbrewery if he wanted to…

        • HabFanSince72 says:

          Was Molson’s responsible for St.Urbain beer? It was a
          “fake microbrew”: regular swill packaged to make it look like a microbrew.

          The marketing dept. obviously came up with the name: a little Mile End hipness, a little bit of Mordecai Richler, and maybe just maybe it was brewed by Dieu Du Ciel (which is a block from St.Urbain).

          The Verizon Ctr in Washington DC has little microbrew stands. It’s very nice.

          And by the way I’m aware that the Molsons will not sell craft microbrews at the Bell Ctr.

          • shiram says:

            Dieu du ciel is awesome, love their beer and sandwich, really happy to see them prosper and their products being sold in convenience store and all.

            I think St-Urbain was from Labatt though.

    • shiram says:

      I think as an owner Molson is in a better place to make sure that does not happen again. But he is up against 29 other owner, and when he petitionned the other owner’s for change, he was shut down.

  16. Rob D says:

    In case anyone thinks this series is out of control or something like the aforementioned columnist, Bruce ARthur, for the NP.

    OK..I don’t REALLY want to go back to the 70`s but watch this and tell me you don’t enjoy this just a teeny bit. Frontier justice. Those MTL teams could play it straight or take you to the alley and win either way. I want that kind of team again..

  17. habs001 says:

    it looks unlikely we will add any major scoring from outside….our goal scoring improvement next year has to come from camm and maxpac…camm has to produce 30+ goals …maxpac hopefully gets 20-25…gion,plecks and ak46 probably score the same amount as last year…hopefully dd and eller can improve their stats but that is not for sure…our bottom 6 right now are just not goal producers and that has caused us in the playoffs 2 years in a row…at the top 6 position we need the forwards to produce consistently …we seem to have too many forwards that are prone to go into 1/10 or 2/15 goals/games slumps…a mobile d that provides scoring and offensive support is also a key for more scoring…out of moen,white,pyatt,pouliot and halpern can you really bring back any more than 2 of them?

  18. lukas-joshua says:

    Joonas Nattinen will be in the ahl next year.

    And if you people think Markov is worth over 4 mil, you’re crazy. The guy missed the best part of last year.

    • Malreg says:

      The only way he’d get 4 mil is on a long term deal, which won’t happen.

      Same salary as last year for 2 years is what I expect.

    • Rob D says:

      Yeah, he sucks.

      OF COURSE he’s worth 4 mill a year. He’s our best D-man and one of the best in the league. Everyone you sign is at risk for injury .I’d gladly take that risk with Markov who makes our team much more dangerous with his precision passes, calm under pressure and abilities on the PP.
      As some have noted, the Wiz is playing on fragile knees as well but a lot of people want him resigned too.

    • Dwayne33 says:

      Crosby missed the better part of last year, is he worth more than $4 Million!!!!??? Injuries happen.

  19. Sean Bonjovi says:

    I worry that Mathieu Darche was signed to play on the 3rd line with Eller and Moen not Eller and AK46. Good player though. Great attitude, great price and he’ll score the 30 points that I’m forever whining about.

    * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

  20. Hobie Hansen says:

    Although Darche isn’t that prototypical redneck hockey/lacrosse player from Peterborough who loves getting his nose dirty and dropping the gloves in a heartbeat; he’s still a very effective 3rd/4th line player who can step into many different situations and do a great job.

    I love Darche and I hope the guy can have Moen, White or an offseason acquisition to ride shotgun with him on one of the bottom two lines. The guy throws clean checks and plays the game the right way but in today’s NHL even after throwing a clean hit somebody wants to fight you and Darche isn’t the fighting type….

    Glad Darche is back!

  21. SeriousFan09 says:

    Reposting because the chat with Tom Nickles is getting out of control in length down below, re Joonas Nattinen:

    Quite honestly Tom, it’s pie in the sky to say Nattinen can make the team when he has not had real production in the SM-Liga and has practically no experience with NA ice and didn’t even play 30 games all year including World Juniors. His injury setbacks hampered his development this season (a torn achilles is no joke) and illness weakened his conditioning.

    It would take an astounding leap in his development for him to suddenly be an NHL-capable forward. I have not read one opinion this entire year that says Nattinen should be considered for an NHL spot this year, or next year even. With an uneventful season outside of the WJC, one that was hampered by injury and no experience on NA ice for complete seasons and no elite-level talent I can’t imagine a single NHL management group (well outside of the Islanders anyway) that would say “What the hell, play him in the NHL this year.”

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

    • Rob D says:

      Yep, you have to have a serious case of “projection-itis” to think that Joonas is anything beyond a developmental prospect.

      WE all hope he makes our team in the future of course but let’s be reasonable at this point in his career.

    • TheKarl says:

      I would look at him at little like Engqvist a year ago. If he can put in a good season in Hamilton then maybe 2012-13.

      SeriousFan, thanks for all the prospect updates. For all the talk of the fourth line am I wrong to assume that Halpern’s spot is Engqvist’s to lose? From the few games I listened to and the match reports from Hamilton’s playoffs, it seems like he had a great playoffs. Add in his special teams play and the fact that he saw PK time during his call up + that next year is his last contract year it would seem that he is earmarked for the 4th line center spot alongside White no?

    • TomNickle says:

      Again, you’re missing the point. I’m really not interested in continuing the conversation if you can’t acknowledge the point of the debate in the first place. Oh, and on your argument about Nattinen’s game and how it translates to North American ice surfaces. This obstacle is completely false when it comes to defensively responsible players. A smaller ice surface works to the benefit of players who make their bones defensively and it does so immediately. The physical aspect of the game and sometimes the speed are the only things that can be considered difficult obstacles for a european player.

      Anyway, back to the subject of who can or can’t make the Habs roster. Correct me if I’m wrong but were you not adamant for quite some time that Desharnais was more than a long shot due to his lack of elite speed that would compensate for a size disadvantage?

      I haven’t once said that Nattinen is likely to make the roster this fall, I haven’t once said that there won’t be obstacles in making the roster and I haven’t said that injuries or development plans won’t get in the way of him making the Habs roster. What I’ve said quite specifically is that he has as good of a chance as anyone in the Habs farm system right now. And I say that because there are no locks to make it. You can sing Palushaj’s praises until you’re blue in the face and it won’t make a licking difference to me. He’s timid in traffic areas of the ice at the NHL level, he doesn’t have sufficient strength to carry his scoring from the AHL to the NHL and his game isn’t that of a two way forward playing on a fourth line. You can say that he has time to add bulk and work on his two way game but like I’ve been saying through this whole argument, Nattinen can just as easily add bulk and practice on North American ice(not a big deal anyway) in the same amount of time that Palushaj has to work on his shortcomings. Nobody here is in a position to say that a prospect can’t make the Habs roster out of camp because they have no idea where they are in their development and don’t know what plans the Habs have for the off-season. Until you see these players in preseason games against NHL level competition, you don’t know how well their game translates from Finnish League or AHL to the NHL level.

      Nattinen has just as good of a chance as any prospect to make the Habs roster. And I say that because Palushaj and Engqvist specifically have a total of 3 more games NHL experience than Nattinen does. If you think that gives them a leg up, you might be right, if you think it gives them a significant advantage, you’re wrong.

      If the final roster were determined in June there wouldn’t be a purpose for holding training camp.

      • SeriousFan09 says:

        Tom, practically every day I’m checking my Twitter feed for any kind of report on progress by a Habs prospect towards an NHL player. I visit Hockey’s Future Boards for the same and other places. You think I’m dismissing this thought about Nattinen being an NHL-ready player because I’m bored, I’m doing it because I’ve not read one bit of analysis saying he’s ready on top of my own speculation when examining his statistics for play in the last couple seasons.

        Desharnais has played on NA ice for his entire life and had elite-level AHL production for two straight years and was the best player in the entire ECHL before that. He did better than I expected, but let’s not forget his goals production disappeared in March and he had 7 assists in his next 21 games and 3 of those assists were from the blowout game in Minnesota. His lack of elite speed hurt him more as his time went on this season. Nattinen has essentially no experience playing the NA game and defensively responsible or not, it’s an adjustment and not all players handle it easily. It is a big deal and few players just break out unless they happen to be elite, which Nattinen is not, his own stats and scouting projections say that.

        Palushaj has better promise than Nattinen at the moment because of his production and experience. In two straight AHL seasons, he had an uptick in production when it mattered most, the post-season. He has very good speed and he’s not shy in the AHL, but strengh training (as I have said all season) is his key to the next stage. Which is different from needing to improve conditioning, adjust to NA ice and come back from essentially not producing anything offensively all year except for one Tournament and being a healty scratch at times.

        Engqvist is ahead of Nattinen because he proved to be Hamilton’s best defensive forward all season and he’s now played a full year on NA ice and is familiar with the grind of the schedule. Palushaj was one of Hamilton’s best forwards this year and a key playoff contributor. Nattinen outside of the WJC, did almost nothing. That’s the difference, no prospect in the Canadiens organization has a bad season performance with limited games and reduced development due to injury and than gets promoted to the team.

        I have nothing against this kid, not a damn thing in the whole world but from the developmental viewpoint this idea that he can jump into the NHL right now and it not be bad for him and the organization is literally ridiculous. It does him no favours, it does the team no favours. With Montreal, you play with the farm team and keep up with them, than you get your shot to play with the big club, which Engqvist and Palushaj did this season.

        – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

        • TomNickle says:

          First of all. Nattinen was bounced back and forth between the junior club and big club all year. Hard to imagine he had a significant role with the big club like Engqvist and Palushaj had with theirs.

          Second, when you add mass to your frame, you become slower immediately and have to take your cardio to a new level to maintain the speed or explosion you had prior to adding the mass. It isn’t exactly an overnight thing.

          Third, Twitter feeds aren’t exactly the best place to find development updates on European players. I have scoured the internet and have not found one piece that gives a breakdown of where Nattinen is in his game from a technical stand point other than to say that his scouting report reads very similar to what Eller’s has. That’s not me getting my hopes up, that’s a sub par report because he clearly hasn’t produced at the level that Eller has in his young career.

          And finally, in terms of Engqvist. He’s an undrafted free agent. Nattinen is a third round pick. I think it’s safe to say there’s more upside to Nattinen’s game than there is in Engqvist’s. Being the best defensive forward on a team who had their roster raided isn’t something to write home about.

          I don’t think you’re bored. I think you’re jumping to conclusions that you have no substantial basis to get to. What scout, executive, coach or player has said that Nattinen can’t make an NHL roster as a fourth line centreman this season?

          Nobody, least of all me is expecting Nattinen to be brought to the Habs as an offensive producer. Palushaj isn’t fit for a fourth line spot, Nattinen is. Engqvist may very well get that call first but I find it hard to believe that he’s in the team’s long term plans.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            Aware he was moved around, but that also shows he had trouble sticking with the big club and if he has trouble sticking in the SM-Liga, how can he expected to stick in the NHL the following year?

            Tom, I follow the Twitter feeds of scouts, hockey sites and Habs blogs for anything I can find! I don’t just read one report and say that’s it, I look for all I can and try to build consensus. I read one person’s remarks RE Development Camp this week for a prospect, I don’t take it as absolute truth either. I just don’t read something 140 characters or less, I look for stories or any detail I can find and Nattinen, outside of his injury and WJC was a non-story this year. That’s another issue, if no one’s writing anything about him, chances are there wasn’t much worth saying.

            There is less for Palushaj to do in terms of training to hit the NHL than Nattinen though and he has the benefit of NA pro experience which counts for a lot when jumping to the NHL. Adding strength may not be that easy for him but developmentally speaking he is far closer to an NHL spot.

            Desharnais, Pacioretty are not players whose strengths rely on being defence-first players and White is a Moen-type player, not a Halpern-type. Engqvist’s status as top defensive forward was not made that much easier by those particular players being called up. He was their best defensive forward by merit of his play. Nattinen may have more upside, but Engqvist is ahead of him for a roster spot by a fair margin. PK Subban had far, far more upside than MAB in 09-10 but he played the AHL for almost the entire year to be developed.

            As for who in NHL operations has said he can’t, who has said he could? The biggest newscycle involving Nattinen since the WJC is his signing his contract because as I mentioned, if he’s basically not talked about all year, it’s because there is nothing to talk about. I base my evaluations on how a prospect performed during the season, what reports are given about him and how he progressed compared to last season. To that end, in my opinion, Nattinen has not made an improvement that says he is capable of playing in the NHL, the highest level in the world of pro competition.

            Palushaj has a chance to fit into the 3rd line as well, based on his skills and his best-projectable NHL ceiling as a support forward, Eller would certainly welcome playing with a guy with some puck skills. Engqvist may not be in the long-term plans and it’s likely Nattinen is but the key phrase there is long-term, as in not short-term. Subban was in the team’s long-term plans at one point as was Pacioretty and Price. Nattinen may be a Hab down the line, but not now. Just not close enough if he can’t stick as a regular in the SM-Liga.

            – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
            SF09 on Twitter

          • TheKarl says:

            Not saying the following is definitive Tom but it gives IMO a good indication of where Nattinen will play unless he has a Latendresse type of camp:

            Engqvist played as the number 1 or 2 Center for DIF in 2009-10 before coming over and playing the entire season in Hamilton. He was one of their leading scorers in the playoffs and the team went to game 6 of the finals before losing.

            The Swedish league is generally considered the stand alone number 3 league in the world after the KHL and is definitely a notch above the Finnish league. Nattinen was on and off in the with injuries in the Finnish league.

            I’m just betting that if Engqvist spent a year in Hamilton so will Nattinen. As for Engqvist being undrafted? I doubt they would have signed him to a 3 yr deal if he wasn’t considered a prospect. Once a player is signed, his on ice play is what matters – his draft position is relatively irrelevant. Could Nattinen make the team? sure he could have a sick camp and make it, but as I mentioned – I would bet against it THIS year

  22. lukas-joshua says:

    Just looking at the holes that we need to fill for next year. Here’s who I think can fill them.

    We a top 6 who can put the puck in the net a play with cammy and plecks, I think we should target.

    Gagne – not bad for size, and could put up between 60 and 70 points.
    Leino – has some potential

    I think we have a hole on the 3rd line with AK and Eller, this is who I think would be a good fit.

    Upshall – 34 points 6 ft 200 lbs
    Ward – 29 points 6.1 218lbs

    We need a 4th line center

    Vern Fiddler – not bad numbers, and is 6.2 195 lbs
    Jerred Smithson – Was a nice peace in the playoffs, and is 6.2 197lbs

    I think we could use a tuff guy to move in and out of the lineup. I don’t think we need to look that far.

    Andrew Conboy 6.4 200 lbs 116 pims

    Also I think Conklin would look great behind Price.

  23. Maksimir says:

    Glad Darche is back.. but it seems like PG is setting himself up for a potential complete rebuild at the end of 2011-2012 season with all these one year contracts.

  24. cournoyer12 says:

    Timo is the only fan here that ever makes any sense.

  25. JD_ says:

    “But this is not a moral contest; it is a savage and merciless tournament, and nobody is pure, and somebody has to win. And truly, they will deserve it for the suffering they have endured. Just not, in the end, for the suffering they have inflicted.”Not Winston Churchill

    Nope. Rather, it’s Bruce Arthur in today’s National Post, in a piece under the headin’, “No one deserves to win the Cup.”

    Breathless melodrama aside – it’s just pro hockey, Bruce, humanity will remain intact, regardless of the outcome – I concur.

    I think this is the way out. The righteous way out.

    Any more garbage – and there’s gonna be more garbage – and the league calls the whole thing off. Nobody wins. Not the Nucks, not the Broonz. Nobody.

    Just a big, fat asterisk.

    And a footnote that reads, “The effers on both sides blew it. And they blew it good. Eff ’em. Eff ’em all.”

    Did I say Markov? I meant Darche. Get ’em confused all the time.

    Yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket.

    I like Darche. Great guy, hard worker, and unafraid, but nonetheless a relatively low key signin’ in the scheme of things. There are 200 forwards in the UFA pool this off-season. Of note, although the mean age and salary are 30 and $1.1M, respectively, the modes are 27 and $500K, respectively. There are a ton of journeymen to be had and, as it comes to pass every summer, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will be lucky enough to spend likely one season in the bleu-blanc-et-rouge.

    • Chuck says:

      If the league had any balls, they’d tell the team to play nice, or they’re taking their Stanley Cup home.

    • twocents says:

      Funny same thing happened to me.

      ‘Cept I had Markov confused with Jonas Nattinen… again.
      Can’t tell ’em apart really… even if I’ve never seen Jonas play.

    • punkster says:

      That’s what you get for playing interweb GM. You should know by now that PG and BG are way more experienced at guessing the market value of a UFA journeyman. Never try to outguess a second guesser, I guess, but I guess you figured that out by now.

      Re: the article…nice to see someone still knows how to spell no one.

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

    • Sharks9 says:

      So true, I’m mystified when I see people saying Canucks are the dirtier team. Bruins have done far worse than them this season.

      25 before 14

  26. SeriousFan09 says:

    With the disbandment of the Lewiston MAINEiacs, 16 of 17 teams in the QMJHL next year will make the playoffs. Being last man out there is a wee bit embarassing wouldn’t you say?

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  27. HABZ24 says:

    like the darche,koz sr signings.hope we dump spachek.

  28. Daren Puppa says:

    Really excited for next year’s team. Played around on capgeek, came up with this…would love to see a lineup similar to this next season. Go Habs Go.


    Scott Hartnell ($4.200m) / Tomas Plekanec ($5.000m) / Mike Cammalleri ($6.000m)
    Brian Gionta ($5.000m) / Scott Gomez ($7.357m) / Travis Moen ($1.500m)
    Lars Eller ($1.270m) / David Desharnais ($0.950m) / Andrei Kostitsyn ($3.250m)
    Mathieu Darche ($0.700m) / Zenon Kenopka ($1.000m) / Ryan White ($0.650m)
    / Aaron Palushaj ($0.883m)

    Andrei Markov ($5.000m) / P.K. Subban ($0.875m)
    Josh Gorges ($3.000m) / Hal Gill ($2.250m)
    Jaroslav Spacek ($3.833m) / Alexei Yemelin ($0.984m)
    / Raphael Diaz ($0.900m)

    Carey Price ($2.750m) / Alex Auld ($0.850m)

    BUYOUTS: Georges Laraque ($0.500m)

  29. J Haul says:

    I’m always so happy for Darche. The guy is a consummate professional. Works hard, never complains and is clearly proud to wear the CH. Nice to see all his recent success. He’s earned it.

  30. Timo says:

    So basically Habs are ensuring that the same team that got bounced in the first round this year is back. Good to know.

    • shiram says:

      Ever the optimist eh Timo?
      We got Yemelin in, and Diaz and Nattinen might make the lineup during the season.
      There are also some spots left to fill, and some remaining cap space, and free agency is not starting untill 3 weeks.
      Count in the returning injured, and the team will look a bit different.
      Did you really expect all that much change??

      • SeriousFan09 says:

        Nattinen will not be making the NHL this quickly. He’s got bulk to add to his frame and development time to recover after having a torn achilles tendon last season and battling pneumonia which spoiled his conditioning plus he’s not played on NA ice outside of the World Juniors.

        – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

        • TomNickle says:

          Unless he comes to training camp and shows he’s ready of course.

          • DearyLeary says:

            I doubt it. I think Nattinen will be a very serviceable 3rd line player, but not quite yet.

          • TomNickle says:

            I don’t think he’ll make the roster either. I would be shocked in fact. Assumptions about player development are running rampant here lately though and nobody here to my knowledge is inside Trevor Timmins’, Pierre Gauthier’s or Jacques Martin’s head.

            I don’t think there were many who would’ve said that Pacioretty was ready when he got his call up. But clearly Martin and Gauthier knew he was considering he caught fire within two weeks of his call up. I might add that he was playing with the man who supposedly brings down all of his linemates in Scott Gomez. Long winded post but I think you see where I’m going with it. Until you see him in camp, you don’t know if he’s ready or not, a lot can happen in four months.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            Pacioretty was initially called up in the season of 2008-2009 and was in for half of the 09-10 season when he in fact, was not ready Tom, this was his 3rd time around after he’d added more strength and had more development time in HAM.

            I am making my assessment based on a player whose development was set back by a major injury this season and than had his conditioning spoiled by a nasty virus. Factor in that this organization is very much about their prospects paying their dues in the AHL nowadays and I can’t see a scenario where he becomes a part of the Habs in 11-12. Only Dogs forwards I can see making that jump are Engqvist and Palushaj. I have nothing against Nattinen but saying he’s capable of playing at the NHL level is a serious stretch ATM due to a complete lack of exposure to NA pro hockey and injury setbacks this past season.

            – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
            SF09 on Twitter

          • TomNickle says:

            I don’t disagree with the reasons you cited Robert. Eller only had one season of NHL hockey prior to being a full time member of the Habs lineup and his stint in the AHL wasn’t even with the Bulldogs. He made the roster last season coming off a season where he battled significant injuries and ailments as well. I can make just as good of a case for Nattinen making the roster as you can for him not making the roster. Like the fact that he has ideal size and could easily add 15 lbs in between now and camp. I could add that he is a right handed centreman which is something the Habs covet at this point in time. I could also argue that among the centreman in Hamilton, his game translates better than any of them to the NHL level due to his growth potential physically and the way that he plays the game. He’s far more physically involved than Engqvist(from what I’ve seen) and has better puck skills in addition.

            Like I said, nobody here has a feel for what players Habs management thinks are ready to make the jump. Palushaj enjoyed a nice season in Hamilton, but the difference between him and Desharnais(I feel it’s a good comparison) is that Palushaj struggles handling the puck in high traffic areas. That does not translate well to the NHL. In addition, with Palushaj’s frame, adding mass in the upper body is going to take some getting used to. His cardio will probably suffer at first and to get himself back to a speed that gives him confidence is going to take a lot of on ice work. This is all a big if considering he may not be able to add that mass period considering he’s 21 years old and stands only 5’11. At 180 to 190 lbs, he may have added as much mass as he can.

            Nattinen could just as easily make the team out of camp as Engqvist or Palushaj could although the odds are certainly against him.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            Lars Eller was also a much more developed and talented prospect than Nattinen Tom. 29 points in 48 SEL Games the previous year, than 57 points in 70 AHL games. Nattinen’s points production was down this year and injury setbacks harmed his development and again, he has no exposure to a regular season of professional hockey in NA.

            I like Nattinen and that he’s going to be in HAM it seems but I don’t see him making the team with his development having faced setbacks this season and the team’s current practice of their prospects playing in the minors first. He has some very nice qualities to his game, but at the same time he’s new to NA ice, he’s had setbacks in the last year and there’s no reason in the world to rush him to the top.

            – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
            SF09 on Twitter

          • TomNickle says:

            If he can prove he’s ready in September, how is that rushing him? If you were to look at Lars Eller’s point totals from this season would you come to the conclusion that he’ll be a highly productive offensive player in the future? Probably not if stats were all that you looked at.

            We don’t know nearly enough about Nattinen to form the opinion that he absolutely won’t make the Habs roster in October. That’s the only point I’m making here Robert. I’m not looking to take this into a back and forth argument about who’s ready and who isn’t. Because neither of us know. And that’s the truth. And because of that, none of us have any business saying that he won’t make the Habs roster.

      • Bob_Sacamano says:

        And did you really think Timo would stop bitching around like a little girl? Signing a decent 3th liner/very good 4th liner who scored 13 goals in less than 70 games for 0.7m is of course a pretty positive thing. I am also happy for Darche. He deserves the contract as well as the raise.

        There are only a few changes I would love to see: Sending Gomez to the AHL (yes, PG won´t but he absolutely should!) and trading away Spacek, maybe along with Wisniewski´s rights for a decent draft pick and once the season starts: No Travis Moen on the PP and top two lines. Not even for one shift.

        • Mike D says:

          I completely agree that we should do somethng with Wiz’s rights if we aren’t going to re-sign him, but I don’t think a team will take Spacek’s contract just to get an early crack at Wiz. If you think about it, they’d be adding around 8-9mil to their cap hit on Defense with those 2 players alone.

          If anything, maybe package Wiz’s rights and our 1st rounder for the 1st rounder from a team who’s picking a few spots before us in the draft.

          – Honestly yours

      • Timo says:

        Yemelin, Diaz and Nattinen? I am sorry but none of these names strike Bobby Orr, Larry Robinson or at the very least PK Subban associations. Add to that the ever aging and soft Hal Gill, Spacek, Hammrlik, one knee Markov and what do we have next season? Much of the same as the previous one – first round exit.

    • Sharks9 says:

      Why wouldn’t you want to re-sign Darche?

      25 before 14

    • petefleet says:

      One goal away. One goal.

      ***Habs Forever***

    • habsfan0 says:

      Plus ca change…..

      Pierre Gauthier…30 years NHL experience…0 Stanley Cups
      Jacques Martin…30 years NHL experience…0 Stanley Cups

    • DearyLeary says:

      Patches, Markov, and Gorges added to our lineup would have made a significant difference.

    • G-Man says:

      Yes. Habs brass wants to keep the expectations low. 😉

    • Marcusman says:

      This is a good thing, cause had JM started Paul Mara in Hamerlik spots for game seven we’d still be talking about the parade route. Hamerlik ran out of gas and plain and simple and the coach didn’t see it coming.

      get Markvo and sign Hagr and we’ll be hoisting.

    • wall2bay says:

      That “same” team took the current East champion to Game 7 OT without the services of MaxPac, Markov and Gorges. You have to believe that this team is at least 2 goals better with these guys in and that alone would’ve been enough to beat the Bruins.

      Not to mention, I expect Subban, MaxPac, Eller and even Price to get better…..these guys are all no older than 23. This team needs some adjustments but no overhaul.

      “I kind of feel sorry for players who never got a chance to be a Montreal Canadien” – Cammalleri

  31. petefleet says:

    If I were GM of the Habs, this would be my priorities:
    1. Sign a big strong scoring centreman
    2. Add another big strong winger
    3. Sign the Wiz
    4. Buy out Gomez…..yes, use the cap increase to eat his salary on the waiver wire. He eats valuble minutes that a productive player could use to score or set one up.

    Just sayin’ !!!

    ***Habs Forever***

    • Malreg says:

      Who is this mythical big strong scoring centerman you would like to just sign? The only scoring center that is a UFA this summer is Brad Richards, and he’ll be looking for at least $7 million over 5 years(he’s also not big and strong).

      Gomez is here for at least 1 more season. He will be given a shot to turn things around, and they will wait and see if there are better buyout options in the new CBA that comes in after the next season.

      • petefleet says:

        First of all I didn’t say he had to be a UFA. Big strong centremen are not mythical. almost evey team has one except the Habs.
        Second, giving Gomer another year to “turn things around” is a mistake more costly than buying him out.

        ***Habs Forever***

        • habsfan0 says:

          Gomez WILL turn it around next year or my name isn’t Pierre Gauthier…

          • petefleet says:

            I remember watching him in NJ and thinking everytime he touched the puck that he was a threat to score. I haven’t thought that since he put on a Habs uniform. I hope you’re right but I don’t think you are.

            ***Habs Forever***

        • DearyLeary says:

          Name 10. You’re saying most teams have one? I want you to go out and find 10 big scoring centermen. Bonus points if you find one that’s available for trade or FA.

          • petefleet says:

            Vinny L
            M Richards
            B Richards
            H Sedin
            Eric Staal
            J Toews
            R Getzlaf
            R Kesler
            J Thornton
            Jeff Carter
            Joe Pavelski
            Mikko Koivu
            P Bergeron
            J Spezza

            ***Habs Forever***

        • Malreg says:

          Well, you said “sign”, so I figured UFA.

          If not sign, then trade? Put together a package that doesn’t include PK or Price for a “big strong scoring center” that another team would actually consider.

          Also, who is Boston’s big strong scoring center?

          • petefleet says:

            I said almost, not all. P Bergeron could fit that description at times. There are lots of guys not in the NHL that could possibly fill the role, PG just has to find them, like the other guys do.

            ***Habs Forever***

    • Mike D says:

      Where are you getting the cap space to do all of this?

      – Honestly yours

    • G-Man says:

      1. Who? Name 1 good 1 that is available July 1st. (Bet you can’t)
      2. Agree- Laich
      3. No money for him- he will be offered north of $5mil/season
      4.Organizations do not buy out players unless they are as stupid as the Islanders (they are still paying Yashin).
      All this crap over 1 season that didn’t go right. Gomez will turn it around because pretty much every player goes through tough years. I expect a 60+ point season if MaxPac and Gionta don’t crap the bed.

  32. Chris F says:

    Nice and safe signing. He’s a quality person and hard worker, if your looking to continue to build with character, Darche fits.

    But I will be waiting for two things to happen this postseason. It’s all we need to seriously contend. And I don’t mean pretend, we only lost by a goal to the goons, but……..we were leading 2-0 coming home. And we had a pretty solid lead in game four. If PG can make the following changes, and we stay healthy, we win.
    1) Get somebody, preferably Zenon Konopka to play the fourth line with Travis Moen and White. These three guys can play against anyone, it will energize the crowd, the team, and finally, finally, we can have some protection for our skilled forwards.
    2) We need one more top six forward who is “big” and can keep up with and complement Plekanecs and Cammy. Someone who can score 20 goals, protect the little guys, and stand in front of the net.
    ***I didn’t touch our D because I believe PG has made his choices with Markov, Subban, Gorges, Gill, Spacek, Weber, and Yemelin.
    I truly believe, if our front office has a finger on the pulse of the team, and the belief inside the dressing room, we are these two players away from going all the way.
    PG, I’m waiting for you to make it happen. And don’t wait for the trade deadline. Do it now.
    Is this possible?? Well, it should be.
    We are the Montreal Canadiens aren’t we??

    • shiram says:

      For Konopka, I might be wrong, but I read he draws on the same side as all our guy, so it might be interesting to get a lefty in there… Also Konopka, while having a cool name would not help in scoring at all.

      As for your second point, you seem to describe someone we signed just yesterday!!

      • Malreg says:

        Konopka does shoot left, which is a bit of a problem, considering Pleks, Gomez, Desharnais, and Eller are all left-handed centerman.

        • mike3131 says:

          As I commented in before, we should maybe consider signing Jason Arnott for one year to centre the second line with Gomez as LW and Gionta. He brings great size, experience, defensively responsible, good right-handed face-off man.

          ♪ And we’re livin’ here in Allentown… ♪ – Stu (Hangover 2)

    • adamkennelly says:

      I’m fine with this signing – as long as he ends up being our 13th F – maybe he and some muscle splitting time depending on the opponent. But if he ends up in our top 9 playing everyday – I think we have problems.

    • JayBee says:

      I think more has to be done in order for the Habs to be contenders.

      A 1st line center is needed as well as a bonafied top 6 winger. Also need to address the 3rd line. I like AndreiK and Eller together on the 3rd line. They just need another gritty winger who can pot 15 goals or so.

      The D is OK with Markov signed…I still think another defenseman needs to be picked up. Plus we don’t know how Yemelin will look.

      So…I think the Habs are maybe 4-5 pieces away from being a top contender.

      Losing Muller will hurt a lot.

    • deuce6 says:

      Call me stupid, but I foresee a certain Simon Gagne becoming a Hab on July 1st…Bona fide top line winger..If he could stay somewhat healthy, he would be an 80-90 point guy…Why not take the risk?


      Yes, I’m a Hab fan..Wanna fight about it?

      • JayBee says:

        I’d be a happy man.

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        Gagné has never cracked 80 points.

        On the other hand he might look good with Pleks and Cammy.

        • deuce6 says:

          No, I agree, but he is a freakishly good goal scorer…He may not be the greatest set up guy, but he can surely finish…


          Yes, I’m a Hab fan..Wanna fight about it?

      • Mike D says:

        Cuz he can NEVER stay healthy.

        – Honestly yours

      • RS says:

        The Habs really do need someone with size on the wings. Gagne is bigger than most of the current Hab forwards, but that isn’t saying much! Unfortunately, he has too many injury problems. Other than being a fracophone, I’m not sure he’s a good fit for the Habs.

        If someone picks him up as a UFA and he stays healthy for a change, they will get a good deal. I don’t think the Habs are the team to take that risk, since he’s not the real missing piece.

        • Mike D says:

          he might have decent size (I haven’t checked but I’ll take your word for it), but he plays small and isn’t physical so what’s the point?

          I don’t know how much of a “deal” any team will get on him. Despite his injuried past and poor play last season, his potential and past successes will still get him big bucks. If we could get him for around 3.5mil then I’d be okay taking a flyer on the guy, but other than that I say pass.

          – Honestly yours

          • shiram says:

            6’1” 193 lbs.
            Not sure I’d want this guy getting 5 million per or more from the Habs, but if he can be signed for less..

      • mike.wright12 says:

        Not a bad call on Gagne, but will we be able to afford him and will he prefer to stay with Tampa, they’ve got a pretty good thing going.

      • HabsFanInTampa says:

        Simon Gagne is damaged goods, unfortunately. I’ve seen him play in person this past season and he’s not the same Simon Gagne that played for the Flyers. In fact, he’s far from that player of a few seasons ago.

  33. HabFanSince72 says:

    Signing players is fine, but if Muller leaves and it’s only JM and Perry P (and don’t get me wrong I think JM is a good coach) I am going to be worried.

  34. habs4ever2894 says:

    I really like how this team is shaping up and think that they can actually be a force in the east next season. I think that if he habs add 1 or 2 more players who bring some offense they will be poised for a cup run.

    Gionta-Gomez- Pacioretty

    Gill – Georges
    Spacek- Yemlin

    Carey price
    Ty Conklin

    • Favorite Son says:

      You like how it’s shaping up? It looks the same as this year’s lineup plus Cole…who is soft and injury prone. Like many have mentioned, I’ll be excited when they get:

      1. A big winger for 1st or 2nd line
      2. a gritty player with intensity for 4th line
      3. a shutdown defenceman

      To be fair and realistic, 2 out of 3 of those would be good.

      • Mike D says:

        Do we really need to add a shut down Dman?

        We already have Gill and Gorges so that’s two right there. Markov is great defensively which people seem to forget because he’s also greatoffensively. PK made great strides on the d-side of his game. Plus we have Yemelin, who is a bit of an unknown at this point, but the belief is he is a stay-at-home type with a physical edge.

        – Honestly yours

      • habs4ever2894 says:

        I think this years edition will be better then last years for the following reason:

        1) Markov and Georges- If able to stay healthy they will give the habs much needed help 5-5 offensively and defensively , Markov is world class and Georges with gill is a nice shutdown pairing.

        2) the difference a year makes- Eller, Pacioretty , Desharnais , White ,Subban and Weber will all be a year older and i think that they all willl have better seasons then this past one. Eller has all the tools to be a very strong offensive centerman and it likely that he will break out especialy playing a more defined role with more offensive wingers. Pacioretty can hopefully build on his success last season and be a force in front of the net on the pp , DD had 22 points in 43 games which would put him on pace for around 40 something points in his first year as an nhl player , he’s a very gifted offensive player. Subban = superstar and Weber will be a nice 2nd wave pp quarterback with that shot

        3) Carey price – Can single handedly win a cup

      • mike.wright12 says:

        A big scoring winger is imperative.

        Your gritty player with intensity for the 4th line is white. The mentions of Konopka are very appealing. A great faceoff man that is physical and will stand up for his teammates. That would be a solid 4th line. Moen-Konopka-White.

        This team has a couple shutdown defencemen already. Gill and Gorges are great at that. Looking at Yemelin’s physicallity, he could jump into a shutdown roll aswell. Markov and Subban, Gill and Gorges, Spacek(ugh) and Yemelin. But I can also see Markov and Gorges then Gill and Subban. That looks like a pretty good D to me. If they can find a way to get rid of Spacek and sign Wiz, were golden back there.

        Cammy – Pleks- ___?___
        Pac- G-Love- Gio
        Kush – Eller – Darche
        Moen – Konopka – White

        Markov – Gorges
        Gill – Subban
        Spacek – Yemelin
        Weber – Mara(?)


        That missing peice, and we look like a real good hockey team.

  35. habs-hampton says:

    Great signing!
    Good for PG getting a guy like this for $700K. It’s too bad the cap-era forces you to try and low-ball guys. I personally wish they would give him another $500K under the table. If a team had 20 guys with his heart and character, they’d never lose.

  36. RS says:

    Call me crazy, but how about Alexei Ponikarovsky? He had a crap year last year in LA, but he’s a big guy that has scored 20 goals a few times. He’s 31, so he’s not done yet.

    He might look ok alongside Plek and Cammi, or alongside AK and Eller.

    He’s a UFA. His crappy year won’t help his value, but there’s always a market for guys that are 6’4” and can score 20 goals.

    • habs03 says:

      I wouldn’t touch him with a 5 foot pole, whats the point of being 6’4 if you play like your 5’4, the only thing he had going for him was he could score, but that was only in T.O. when he was getting PP time because they had no one else to put out there.

      • RS says:

        I agree that he’s not really a power forward. But we’re not going to get Cam Neely in his prime!

        Ponikarovsky had about the same number of hits last year as AK, who led the Habs.

        True about the Leafs and powerplay time. The Habs don’t have anybody either that is a big body to stand in front of the net.

        Seriously, he’s lazy, slow and not very talented, but the guy would be a significant upgrade over Moen or even Darche (god love em!) on an offensive line. Probably too expensive though.

    • habs4ever2894 says:

      How about eric cole? . he’s big and has been a hab killer for as long as i can remember. He would look good next to plek and cammy

      • RS says:

        Cole is a decent option. Okay size, can score, but he was a disaster in Edm.

        Overall, I’d be surprised if he didn’t re-sign in Carolina. He’s not going to play with anybody as good as Eric Staal on another team. He had a good comeback year last year, but I’m not sure he can do it again, especially if he played without Staal.

    • mike.wright12 says:


      If the Leafs don’t want him, just stay away.

  37. geo_habsgo says:

    Great signing. IMO Darche has way more upside than most give him credit for. He is an underrated player. As a third line player who goes to the net he helps us by adding depth and the ability to chip in on the powerplay. He is also a veteran french player who seemed at times to get through to some of the younger players, most notably Pouliot who played well in a few stints on Darche’s line. He’s the kind of character player and workhorse that fill out hockey teams. PG has made all the right moves so far this offseason I think.

  38. mrhabby says:

    its a safe signing. the guy works hard and cheap money under the cap for what he does.
    i still want the habs to get harder to play against and i don’t mean 1 line consisting of goons……but it would be a nice change from seeing some of our little players getting mugged and bounced around all season.

  39. DearyLeary says:

    Help us Vancouver, you’re our only hope. Hell, we’re past Obi-Wan, you’re Luke Skywalker, you just lost your hand, you can still win this!

  40. higginrs says:

    Darche signing makes me happy because he’s had to fight his way into a role on the team and has made it clear he WILL put in the effort. Darche was consistent in going to the net and taking the beats.

    Signing AK was the right thing to do. Sometimes he frustrates me with his lack of focus and blurry decision making. I won’t say anything more because it’s already been said.

    BTW – I love reading posts around here that talk about such and such a player being worth so and so many million(s) a year. While the players do work hard, put themselves at risk, and have to make some personal sacrifices (travel, demanding schedules, etc), I just can’t see why any player should make more than 1 million a year. The actual contribution they make to society (besides any volunteer work they might do) is entertainment! It’s not like they’re inventing the cure for cancer or anything.

    Lastly, I want to concur with every poster who has demanded more Habs news on this site. With the announcement of these two signings I can finally start thinking about, discussing, and getting excited for next season. Enough about the Bs and V already. Who gives a shiza! Like it was said in the National Post today, neither team deserves to win (on a moral level). Both teams have demonstrated lack of class. Time to look beyond this year and into next year.

    • Say Ash says:

      higginrs, you need to take an economics class right quick.

      • HalifaxHabs says:

        exactly… if the players don’t make those millions then the owners get to hoard it all, and the owners represent an even smaller group in our society.
        The revenue is there, so it should be shared “somewhat” equally between the players who earn it by putting their health and future on the line, and the rich men who bankroll the whole thing.

        • Mike D says:

          While I understand the underlying point, the reason there’s so many millions to go around is because us fans pay a fortune for tickets and licensed items (jerseys, etc.).

          When you really think about it, paying $200+ for premium seats for a 3 hour event is excessive. For a lot of families, that could be two weeks worth of groceries.

          – Honestly yours

        • higginrs says:

          …so let’s see the reasoning here:

          One man’s greed excuses another. Is that how it works?

      • higginrs says:

        Say Ash,

        Which economics class would you like me to take?

        The current “global economic crisis” alone should be enough to make anyone think twice about the b.s. they teach in universities.

        No thanks! I wouldn’t subscribe to any current economic model our societies have created. Someone always gets ripped off so that someone at the top gets to live decadently.

  41. CHsam says:

    Q: What time is it?

    A: 12 past Luongo

  42. MikeMcLaren says:

    Excellent news – I don’t think there’s anyone out there who won’t be happy with this. It’s nice to have such a capable player with a good cap hit, but also glad that he got a raise. It’s sort of scary that when you focus so much on cap hit and that sort of thing that, oh, a $200,000.00 raise is pretty good money.

    So does this mean they aren’t signing Max Talbot? 😉


  43. mike3131 says:

    Love it! Great signing!

    ♪ And we’re livin’ here in Allentown… ♪ – Stu (Hangover 2)

  44. Mike D says:

    This is a FANTASTIC signing!!!!! I absolutely love Darche! Also glad he got a bit of a raise cuz he definitely deserved it.

    In a salary cap world you need guys making less than 1mil who always play hard and never take a shift off. He’s a great example to the youngsters and a guy who will keep the vets honest (hopefully).

    Congrats Mathieu!!!!! Welcome back!!!!!

    – Honestly yours

  45. secretdragonfly says:

    I’m liking the signings so far….keep up the good work PG!

  46. Kooch7800 says:

    He is a steal at 700 k. Works hard every shift and can pop some in on the powerplay.

    10 more points and he would have been more productive than Gomez!

  47. habsfan_61 says:

    havent posted in awhile so here’s my 2 cents. good signings with ak46 and darche. lets get am signed and if possible wiz to hamrs’ contract more or less. looks like a decent dcorps for next season IF everything pans out.also resign the bald one to backup carey and give him more games in 11-12.we also need someone to replace eller while on ir(not coming back from shoulder surgery until late 11), preferably within the organization.#57 must go, getting sick of seeing him trip over the blueline on multiple occassions on a game in game out basis.

    please canucks beat boston. i dont think i could stomach a boston win. that and listening to my bs fan friend’s rant all summer long.

  48. Ton says:

    written this morning. we should sign Zenon

    “New York Islanders are rumored to be aiming at bringing back Trevor Gillies and Micheal Haley both to 2-way contracts, but are also rumored to not be interested in bringing back Zenon Konopka.”

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Or Gillies – let that Cro Magnon loose on the Bs.

      • _Habsoloutly_ says:

        Yup, for one season, and one season only, I’d like to see PG put together a goon 4th line just to f*ck with Boston and the other goon teams in our conference. You go after one of our players like PK, be prepared to get the beat down. Because we’ve seen the NHL isn’t gonna do squat about Boston, why should we think anything is gonna change next season?

        • HalifaxHabs says:

          Hopefully Shanny will bring a little more consistency to the role of Head Disciplinairian… but we certainly can’t bank on it.

          Offer Konopka 2 mil over 2 yrs.

          • HabFanSince72 says:

            I don’t think he will. As Jeff Blair put it so well in the Globe yesterday, ex-players look at infractions through the perpetrator’s eyes.

            We need a completely independent committee whose mandate is to put an end to head injuries, and who are not there to serve the owners or the NHLPA.

          • HalifaxHabs says:

            yeah, you’re probably right

            ***gnashes teeth in frustration***

    • Jan_pronounced_Yan says:

      If we were to look for an enforcer, Konopka would be the guy I’d target, simply because he can actually play a bit. He wins faceoffs and he can play on the penalty-kill.

      However, I’ve heard that his demands might be too high for the type of player he is. I wouldn’t want to get stuck in another Laraque-type contract for a fighter.

    • HalifaxHabs says:

      sold… my fantasy 4th line in our first game against the B’s next year is:

      White Konopka Moen

      based on the fact the Konopka only made $600000 last year, he won’t be expensive at all.

    • Mike D says:

      If his salary demands are reasonable then I would like Zenon on the 4th line and PK duties. Basically, he makes both Pyatt and Halpern expendable and gives us a bit more size and grit which we could use. Him on a line with Moen and White would be fun to watch!

      – Honestly yours

  49. The risk on Darche last year really paid off well. He deserves every cent of the $700k. Honestly, I would have been okay with giving him a solid million. Good, solid signing by PG.

  50. HabsoluteFan says:

    Good signing ! What do you guys think is going to happen with DD ? Do we play Eller as 3rd line C or do we convert him to the wing to make room for DD ? Desharnais can’t be wasted on a 4th line and Eller looked way better as a centerman than a winger this season.
    Thoughts ?

    • Mike D says:

      DD showed he can play effectively at the wing, while Eller showed he cannot. Both showed they can do well at C. I expect Eller will remain at the C position and DD will likely play wing.

      With Eller being out for the beginning of the season, DD will likely take his C spot until he returns.

      At least that’s how I see it.

      – Honestly yours

    • JayBee says:

      As much as I like DD…I just don’t see a spot for him. He doesn’t fit on the 4th line. I also don’t like him on the 3rd and deff not in the top 6.

    • DearyLeary says:

      3rd and 4th lines need to get bigger. At this point if I were Gauthier I’d be testing the waters to see if I could grab a pick for Desharnais at the draft.

  51. HalifaxHabs says:

    good signing by PG… keep taking care of this business in the next few weeks so we’ll have the full picture of what we have to spend, and what holes we have to fill come UFA day(July 1st).

  52. twocents says:

    This is good too.

  53. joewindsor habfan says:

    Booner, realistically do you think the Habs can sign a free agent power forward and if so who are you putting your money on?

    • habs03 says:

      I think we should look at Tomas Kopecky, isn’t a top 6 players, very good 3rd liner but can be used in the top 6, big guy, plays gritty, can play LW,C, or RW, and has some hands.

      • HalifaxHabs says:

        I like him too, but I do have one warning… I talked to my buddy, who is a die hard Hawks fan, about him.(he watches every game, follows the Hawks the way I follow the Habs)

        He says he is has good size, great hands, and is versatile, but is too slow… and when I think of the Habs game style, I wonder if his speed could get in the way of signing him.

  54. Bripro says:

    So far, so good.
    There seemed no doubt he’d be back. He’s too committed to let pass.
    And we all know what a great role model he is for the up-and-comers.
    As for AK, let’s hope he pushes hard this year for a large contract, then maybe he’ll finally play to his exceptional talent.
    I’m more interested in seeing what PG does with the defence.

  55. HabinBurlington says:

    A very good role player for this team. Assuming no real tangible change to his salary this is a good move. We just need to add another frontline winger so that Darche/Moen are not asked to play more than 4th line and spot 3rd line duty work.

    Great Effort Boys, PG get to work this Summer!

    • Tony McLean says:

      Moen is a sixth line player.

      “Little Myth Koivu.”

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I recognize Moen is not a scorer, we cannot be having him on our top lines. But unless I am mistaken when Anaheim won their cup, he played a solid role on their checking line. I don’t think they were rolling six lines either. But no doubt we can’t have a repeat of last year where JM was playing him on 1st/2nd line duties.

        Great Effort Boys, PG get to work this Summer!

  56. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Sweet. Another great signing…PG is doing his work and doing it well.

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