Habs Move On

The Habs’ acquisition of Robert Lang from Chicago means a couple things:

1. Mats Sundin will not be a Hab. That is with utmost certainty after Bob Gainey made that clear in his press conference. Lang will be slotted into the third line, which means that Kyle Chipchura, who is expected to make the squad, may start the season in the AHL unless he has a good camp.

2. Chicago will still be looking to dump salary, but it looks like they may actually start the season with a Cristobal HuetNikolai Khabibulin tandem as Dale Tallon had suggested they would. By dumping Lang’s $4m salary, the Hawks are roughly $1.5m under the cap, good enough to start the season, but a little dangerous should the need for injury replacements arise early in the season. The Hawks are saddled with a lot of sub-$1m rookie contracts, which makes creating room a lot more difficult because it would have to involve multiple players. There is still a chance that Khabibulin ($6.75m) get moved, and if he does that means the Hawks will have plenty of cap room to play around with. The Khabibulin to LA rumours won’t die down until he is actually moved.

3. The dominoes are starting to fall. The Habs decided to move on after Sundin stated that he will not be making a decision prior to camp, which means that more teams will do the same. A lot of players, notably Brendan Shanahan and Mathieu Schneider, will find out their new homes in the coming weeks. I would think that both players would be dealt before camp begins, although under the new CBA it looks like more and more GMs are hesitant to pull the trigger and willing to be patient. Mark Parrish, another player who is looking for a new home, may find one soon after he complained that Sundin’s indecisiveness was holding up league transactions.

4. Now that the Habs have made the first move, other East teams may do the same. The Rangers could be busy in the coming weeks, perhaps signing Shanahan or acquiring Schneider, but then of course should they choose to do that they’d have to dump some salary too.

5. The Canucks are in a tight spot. While having $10m to spend is a luxury, it’ll be interesting to see how they spend it. There were rumours flying around that should Sundin land in the Big Apple that Gomez could be in a Canucks uniform, but now that seems less likely than ever. Parrish is on the Canucks’ radar and could find himself there very soon.

This article has 2 Comments

  1. Gainey had stated that 4th line center is Chipchura’s spot to lose. I think Lapierre would be a better fit on the wing on the 4th line. His play is better suited to grind along the boards and in the corners. With Laraque probably completing that line, look for Lapierre to improve his role as agitator.
    I think Begin and Kostopoulous will be the odd men out. However, Laraque won’t need to dress for every game as some teams don’t have a legimate tough guy or fighter. Some teams like Buffalo, Tampa Bay and Washington for example play an open style so Laraque’s presence isn’t required.

    For the Rangers to trade Gomez would be idiotic. They would give up 8-9 years by adding Sundin and giving up Gomez.

    The Kings should be busy with signings as well as they are still under the cap floor and the only guy left to sign is O’Sullivan.

  2. If anything it’d be Kostopoulos who’d be the odd man out. Begin has been a valuable veteran fourth liner on that squad and his physical presence is needed on a skilled Habs squad. I think in terms of development Lapierre is ahead of Chipchura, which is why I think that if Chipchura doesn’t have a good camp he’ll start in the AHL. No doubt he’ll finish the season in the NHL though.

    I covered the potential Gomez trade in earlier posts, but according to rumours Sather was willing to pull the trigger. It’s a terrible move and I’m glad that Sather didn’t do it.

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