Defenceman Paul Mara signed a 750-thousand dollar one-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks yesterday. Last season, Canadiens GM Bob Gainey, as part of the total rebuilding of the franchise, gave Mara 1.675 million dollars. For a number of reasons it didn’t work out and the team was not moved to re-sign him at the end of the season.  He’ll play for less than half of last year’s salary, which follows the off-season pattern of reduced contracts for the league’s second tier players.

Of the sixteen players who gained unrestricted free agency on July first, only four remain unemployed as teams head into training camp this weekend. Still without contracts are defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron and minor leaguers Mike Glumac and Michael Busto plus Georges Laraque.

Glumac had a contract with the Kassel Huskies of the German Elite League but the team folded and, we’re told, he is now considering offers from Providence, Berlin and an Austrian club.

The defensively-challenged Bergeron is destined to sit at home in Trois Rivieres waiting for the emergency call he got last year after Andrei Markov and Ryan O’Byrne went down with early season injuries.

Busto was a throw-in as part of the Scott Gomez deal and will be hard-pressed to get a contract in the East Coast Hockey League.

Georges Laraque is also a free agent after the Canadiens bought out his contract in June.  He is in a state of semi-retirement as the Canadiens complete his two-year buy-out process. 

Among the free-agents the Canadiens re-signed over the summer are C-Tomas Plekanec, LW-Mathieu Darche, plus minor leaguers D-Alex Henry, G-Curtis Sanford

Under contract to other organizations C/LW-Dominic Moore Tampa Bay (2 year contract) C-Glen Metropolit (Zug-Switzerland) and minor leaguers D-Shawn Belle (Edmonton); LW-Greg Stewart (Edmonton); D-Andre Benoit (Ottawa); C-Mikael Johansson (Sweden).

 The Canadiens signed three free-agents from other organizations – G-Alex Auld, C-Jeff Halpern, D-Alexandre Picard.