The Montreal Canadiens are trying to find someone to step into Shea Weber’s spot in the lineup. You won’t be able to replace him, but the Habs are going to be fishing for a right-shot defenceman.
Two pending free agents they will be in on are Dougie Hamilton and David Savard. I reported earlier in the week that Montreal has already kicked the tires on Hamilton, who was given permission to speak with other teams ahead of July 28, but I’m not sure if they give him between $7 million and $8 million per season on a long-term contract, even if that would be a swap of Weber’s deal.
The Habs had interest in Savard before the Lightning acquired him mid-season and I expect them to circle back this week once the free agent doors swing open.
Both players are the radars of a lot of teams, including New Jersey and Colorado.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens haven’t closed the door on Phillip Danault, but they’re going to explore all of their options. In addition to bolster the blueline, the Habs want to add a top-six forward and not necessarily a centre.
As I reported this week, they’ve gone back and forth with Buffalo about Eichel, but I’m not convinced they have ‘la voglia’ (the want or desire) to get it done by giving up the package the Sabres want. Jesperi Kotkaniemi would be part of the mix, but neither Cole Caufield nor Nick Suzuki are up for grabs. If the Habs want an upgrade at centre, do they focus on Evgeny Kuznetsov instead?
This is Dave Pagnotta’s section on the habs in his latest article.
The D stuff makes sense. Not being willing to give Dougie $7 or $8 million on a long-term deal is really disappointing, since he’s worth at least that if not more, and if they aren’t willing to pay him that much they aren’t going to land him.
Savard would be fine, at a decent number. I have a feeling he might get overpaid this summer, and I wouldn’t be willing to give up any more than $3 million per year.
The “not necessarily a centre” portion is perplexing. Are they really going to go with Suzuki, Kotkaniemi, and Evans as their top 3 next year?
The Eichel stuff is interesting. Good thing they’re not willing to give up Suzuki or Caufield. Doesn’t sound like they’re super interested in Eichel.
Kuznetsov is an interesting option, although I wonder what the cost would be.