With the loss of Markov to long-term injury, the Habs are faced with another blow to the roster. General Manager Pierre Gauthier of the Montreal Canadiens made a public announcement that Josh Gorges would undergo season ending surgery on his knee.
The Habs are passed the rebuilding stage, and I believe its safe to say their immediate interest is to win, and solidify a playoff spot, because as they proved last year, anything can happen in the playoffs.
With two key components out of commission, and an invisible Andrei Kostitsyn in the top 6, it seems as though the Habs have two needs that need to be addressed asap.
Need #1: A first line goal scoring winger to compliment Tomas Plekanec
Need #2: A third line winger with grit and scoring capability
While the Habs do have a gaping hole on the blue line left by Markov and Gorges, the acquisition of James Wisniewski has done wonders for the team, and there have been rumblings across twitter, and the interwebs that suggest Pierre Gauthier spoke to the Wiz, and mentioned something along the lines of wanting to sign him long term at one point. While we can debate and speculate that we need another Dman, so far the Habs seem to be doing alright on D for now...
A Top line forward is a glaring need that has been a consistent problem for as long as I can remember. Pierre Gauthier has revealed what kind style of GM he is, and has already expressed his desire to make deals now, as opposed to the Trade Deadline to avoid paying top dollar, and for the new players to bond for a longer period of time with the team. Gauthier has stated that he refuses to overpay, and it is apparent that he has an aggressive style of dealing, he seems to favor young players with great potential, speedy players, players at a low cap hit, and players that can fit in either immediately or in the not so distant future. If I were PG I'd be targeting the following players:
Jakub Voracek, he is a speedy, flashy offensive player, his cap hit is cheap but he would definitely cost the Habs a pretty penny, but would be worth the gamble as Columbus has been rumored to need a shake up, and are willing to move roster players, -except for Rick Nash- to get it done. Gauthier would be wise to target this young fellow as he fits the JM system well, he would bring an intense amount of talent, skills in the defensive zone, and great speed. Jakub Voracek has a legitimate shot at being a force in the NHL, and a first line player in the not so distant future.
Niclas Bergfors, has been having a rough time in the Thrashers system, and a change of scenery would do him wonders. He has plenty of offensive skill, and wouldn't cost nearly as much as Voracek. While Bergfors does have the potential to be a top line player, given his age (23), and progression so far, he is more likely to be a 2nd line skilled player, with potential to have 60-65 point seasons, the Habs need abit more then that, and while he wouldn't cost much, Bergfors might turn into a Benoit Pouliot situation, where people want instant results.
Michael Frolik, has been rumored to be available as Florida continues to prepare for a rebuilding phase. Frolik brings 2 seasons of over 20 goals, a boat load of talent, and pure goal scoring capability. Frolik can set up players, but his true forte is scoring goals, given his cap hit,age, and potential, Frolik is a possible candidate for PG, as he fits the needs, and would not only be an immediate fit into the top 6, but a player the Habs could keep for the future.
Martin Havlat, Havlat has always been an extremely skilled player, and has had success in the NHL before, producing 60-70 points a season when healthy, and some years, had he not fallen to injury would have been on pace for 80+. While he isn't exactly a spring chicken (29 years old), he is still young enough to have a good six to seven years left in him if he can avoid injuries. His cap hit is a bit of a deterrent, and the fact that he has been known to be as fragile as bridge made of toothpicks, could cause teams to think twice before offering a package for him. If Havlat is to leave the wild, -which has been speculated in the last month, with the possible destination being Montreal- his cap hit, and injury proneness would certainly soften the blow of what the asking price would be for such a skilled player. The one glimmer of hope that could be what everyone is looking to is that Marty Havlat has been healthy for the most part for the last three seasons which believe it or not is a personal best. This could be a target worth going for because while Havlat's cap hit is high, it isn't particularly horrendous as he brings speed, skill, a great shot, great pass, and is the former teammate of Tomas Plekanec from the Winter Olympics on team Czech Republic, which could develop into some jaw dropping chemistry, and lets face it, a line of Cammalleri-Plekanec-Havlat isn't half bad.
Those are the names that have been mentioned around the web, twitter, and everywhere else you can think of, they aren't outlandish, and everyone has a price.
I will be back with another piece on need #2: A third line winger with scoring capability.
Until then...What would you do? And just for the fun of it, not to create rumors, but to know your opinions, what would your packages be?