TSN “Hockey Insider” Darren Dreger rounds up what the Canadian franchises are planing here:
From Dreger’s report we can surmise that the Habs’ front office has taken a look at the current depth chart and, like sensible people, noticed that they have holes in two key positions: A left wing for the Tomas Plekanec – Brian Gionta line (Mike Cammalleri’s old job) and a top 4 defenseman to round out the group of Subban, Markov and Gorges.
To meet the LW need internally they have:
– Rene Bourque who was a magnificent failure last year and likely no better than a third line offensive threat going forward.
– Lars Eller who is better on at center, not very good on wing and would open up another hole at center.
For defense there is:
– Tomas Kaberle who has great offensive talent still but can’t defend against real opposition anymore.
– Alexei Emelin who has obvious 2nd pairing level overall skills and a fine physical game but isn’t a 2nd pairing defender (yet).
Obviously some help from outside the organization is warranted.
This attention to the needs of the current lineup from Dreger is at least superior to that of Mathew Coller and the “ESPN Insider,” who in Hockey Prospectus’s “Plugging Holes” article series ( http://www.puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1335) noted that what Montreal really needs right now is a playmaking top six right wing. Presumably they didn’t know Erik Cole plays on the right side (NHL.com is often wrong on these things) and Brian Gionta has returned from injury. Thus there suggestion for off-season acquisition was PA Parenteau. How much the desire to link a French-Canadian name to the Habs played into their decision is an open question at this juncture.