Vincent Lecavalier is now a Philadelphia Flyer. Like Daniel Briere before him, Lecavalier turned his back on his home province rather than face the pressure that’s related with playing for the Montreal Canadiens. Lecavalier has signed a five year contract worth 22.5 million dollars. Lecavalier had reportedly been confiding in friends of his reluctance to play in front of Montreal fans and especially the media. That said, a reluctance on the part of the Canadiens to commit to a five year no-trade contract might have been in play as well. Even if the Habs had matched the offer, Lecavalier was likely to pass it over.
IN 2007, Briere became a free agent from Buffalo and ignored a rich Canadiens contract offer to sign a free agent contract with the Flyers in 2007.
Kristo Traded –
There is something the Canadiens didn’t like about Danny Kristo’s game or, probably more importantly, his lifestyle off-ice. That’s only way to explain why they sent arguably the best skater in their organization to the New York Rangers in return for small forward Christian Thomas.
Thomas played one game for the Rangers last season, February 23rd against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. With the Rangers Hartford farm team he had 19 goals and 35 points in 73 games. The 21 year old Thomas is 5’9”. (The Rangers list him at 5’8″). He was drafted by the Rangers in 2010’s second round – 40th overall.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin called Thomas “a gifted goal scorer with lots of speed. Bergevin added “He has been very productive offensively at the junior level with 137 goals before adding 19 more as a rookie with Connecticut in the AHL last season. This young 21-year old forward has shown tremendous character.”
His father, Steve, a 20-year NHL veteran is a player development consultant with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Kristo had 26 goals and 52 points in 40 games with North DakotaUniversity in the 2012-13 season.
Blake Geoffrion has been the forgotten man in the Canadiens scheme of things since he suffered that depressed skull fracture at the Bell Centre in the AHL game between the Hamilton Bulldogs and the Syracuse Crunch.
At one point in March he was mulling retirement and informed the Canadiens of the possibility just before the trade deadline. While he’s still ambivalent about a return to the game, he struck a more positive note this week. Geoffrion told reporters this week at the opening of an ice rink in hometown Nashville that things have improved. “I think I’m pretty much fully recovered. I’m doing pretty well, and I’m anxious to see what the future holds.”
A decision might not be made until training camp. There will be more issues for Geoffrion besides recovery from the skull fracture.
The Canadiens, who acquired Geoffrion as part of the deal that sent Hal Gill to the Predators, continue to hold his NHL rights and have had him on their long term injury list.
Geoffrion was hip checked along the boards by Crunch defenseman J.P. Cote, son of former Quebec Nordique Alain Cote. He was sent airborne and Cote’s skate struck Geoffrion’s head. Surgery removed a silver dollar-sized chunk of his Geoffrion’s skull and replaced it with a titanium plate.
Geoffrion, who was raised and makes his home in Nashville, was drafted by the Predators in the second round in 2006.
Yannick Weber Becomes Free Agent
The Canadiens did not send a restricted free agent qualifying offer to defenseman Yannick Weber and he will be come an unrestricted free agent Friday at noon. Weber proved to be a one-dimensional player for the Canadiens will ability on the power play but offering little help defensively. He was the Canadiens third round pick in 2007. IN 115 games he scored 5 goals, most, if not all, on the power play. Like Tomas Kaberle, Weber found himself marginalized by the Habs coaching staff. He played in only six games last season.
The Canadiens also released defenseman Joe Stejskal and right wing Ian Schultz. The Habs acquired Schultz as part of the Eller/Halak deal. Schultz showed promise his first year in Hamilton but turned up in last year’s training camp so far out of shape that he wound up being passed around the ECHL.
White, Dumont, Hamilton goaltenders Tokarski and Mayer Offered Contracts
The Canadiens offered contracts to Canadiens forwards Ryan White and Gabriel Dumon along with minor league goaltenders Dustin Tokarski and Robert Mayer all of whom were qualifying for restricted free agency.