Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rumours & Speculation

Since I've nothing new or particularly relevant to talk about, today I'm going to touch on several rumours and questions surrounding the Habs.

Trade talk abounds. Bob Gainey was reportedly at the Rangers-Penguins game last night. Was he scouting the Penguins for Friday night's game? Probably not. Reports indicate the Rangers are interested in moving Petr Prucha. Not sure who they would want in return, but the Rangers are under intense pressure to be a dominant team this year after signing Chris Drury and Scott Gomez to huge contracts in the offseason. Prucha would obviously be an upgrade on Guillaume Latendresse for that second line, but it seems that a deal like that would send the wrong message to emerging young players in the Habs' organization.

The other rumour that's been circulating is equally mind-boggling. It's been reported that a deal with the Oilers has been discussed involving Michael Ryder for Shawn Horcoff. This is a strange deal, the Canadiens seem to have a wealth of centres already, so trading one of our first line wingers for another one seems counterproductive. What would that mean for our lines? Plekanec moving to a wing? To the third line?

If I were in charge of the Canadiens, I would put my faith in the young core of Higgins, Plekanec, Komisarek and Markov, the veteran leadership of Hamrlik, Koivu and Kovalev and of course the goaltending of Cristobal Huet and Carey Price. Unless they can get a huge return for one of the goalies in the minors or a non-roster player. The only guys I consider expendable on the current roster are Guillaume Latendresse, Mikhail Grabovski (who both have tremendous upside) and Mathieu Dandenault.

It would be nice to see Maxim Lapierre back on the team, drawing penalties and being a stitch in the side of opposing players. Another guy who has been impressive for the Hamilton Bulldogs is Sergei Kostitsyn. Andrei's little brother played his junior hockey last year for the London Knights on a line with Sam Gagner and Patrick Kane, who are both having solid starts at the NHL level. Not sure if there's a spot on the Habs for the younger Kostitsyn right now, but as long as he stays patient and continues to develop, the sky's the limit.

It's exciting to watch the Canadiens young talent emerging. Chris Higgins seems to be back at, or better than, his pre-injury form of last season. Tomas Plekanec seems to be adjusting to his linemates and getting comfortable with Kovalev at his side. Mike Komisarek is coming into his own and can now be considered a top-tier defenseman in the Eastern Conference. Latendresse has been much better and playing with great energy since being a healthy scratch.

The veterans have been great too. Koivu and Kovalev are tearing it up. Huet has been the early-season Huet we all know and love. Hamrlik never makes mistakes. He's not flashy, but he gets the job done in a huge way.

The future looks bright, let's not do anything rash.

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