Okay so there were no superstar signings – did you really expect any? – but newish Habs GM Marc ‘Dashing Man’ Bergevin did not so bad on free-agency-day aka Canada Day aka Moving Day aka Spain Day.
Bergevin went shopping on Sunday, nabbing tough-guy forward Brandon Prust from the New York Rangers, right winger Colby Armstrong from the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Frankie the Bull aka Francis Bouillon from the Nashville Predators.
All good in my view. It’s not gonna instantly make a bad team good but it’s a few steps in the right direction. All of a sudden one of the wimpiest teams in Bettman’s League is a lot tougher. Earlier last week, Bergevin signed Ryan White to a one-year-deal and Jokerman Bergevin also signed Travis Moen to a whopping four years and $7.4 million.
In other words, when opposing teams start pushing Carey ‘Man in Black’ Price around and yapping at P.K. ‘Malcolm’s Brother’ Subban, there will be any number of guys – Prust, Armstrong, Bouillon, White or Moen – to say ‘Hey pal, touch Pricey again and I’m gonna make you look like that guy that got trampled by the bull at the last rodeo Price attended.’
It’s a whole new thing for the Habs. This is the team that – under the misguided G&G regime (eds. note: Misguided? Methinks some stronger language is needed here!) – used to work with the philosophy that size and toughness was highly over-rated and that the Smurfs was the best movie to come out of Hollywood in the past decade. When they finally got an enforcer, they went and picked up Georges ‘Commensal’ Laraque, who was more interested in organic fiddleheads than crushing heads.
I really liked what I heard from Prust in the Canadian Press piece by Bill Beacon.
“It’s good to have a little more team toughness,” said Prust. “Other teams coming into our building will know they’re in for a long night.”
Yeah $10 million over four years is a lot of dough for a guy who had five goals and 12 assists last year with the Blue Shirts but I think what Bergevin liked more in Prust’s stats was the 156 penalty minutes.
Armstrong is the biggest question mark here. He only played 29 games last year with the Loafs, plagued by injuries and the jury is out whether he’ll really help the Habs. But if he’s healthy, that’s another big – six-foot/195-pounds – forward to make room for the Habs’ pint-sized skill guys showcase that skill.
Bouillon is a great guy to get back. In fact, he’s just a great guy and you have to wonder why they let him go to Nashville in the first place. Oh yeah, the out-of-it team brass had no idea what they were doing back then. He’s small but super tough and is all heart – the perfect guy for a team that played like it had no heart most nights last season.
All guys who seemed suited to new coach Michel ‘Hey I Got a New Suit’ Therrien’s lunch-bucket style. So yeah good news.