With the NHL’s salary cap coming down and teams able to cut players loose with no cap-strings attached due to the compliance buyout option, there will be several interesting free agents hitting the market this offseason. One player who is almost certain to be bought out of his current contract is Quebec native Daniel Briere.
Briere was one of the most highly sought after free agents of all time after scoring 95 points in the 2006-07 season with the Buffalo Sabres, ultimately snubbing his hometown Canadiens and signing a massive 52 million dollar deal over eight years with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Fans of the Canadiens were so irritated by an elite sniper from their province turning down a massive offer from the Habs, they still boo Briere when he visits the Bell Centre six years later.
The Philadelphia Flyers are in a quandary when it comes to next seasons cap and Briere will be the sacrificial lamb due to decreasing performance and his 6.5 million dollar cap hit over the next two seasons.
Briere is no longer among the league’s elite scorers as he was last time he was a free agent, but with his clutch ability and terrific playoff numbers, would he be a fit on the Montreal Canadiens?
Briere has averaged just over one point per game in his NHL playoff career, with 109 points in 108 career games. He led the playoffs in scoring just three years ago with 30 points in 23 games, leading the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals where they fell to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Flyers had a disappointing 2013 season, missing the playoffs, but in their most recent foray into the postseason, Briere posted an impressive 13 points in 11 games in the 2012 playoffs.
His 2011-12 season was a down year for him before turning it on in the postseason. Briere had only 49 points in 70 games, his lowest point total in a (nearly) full season in his career. Briere was less impressive during the most recent season, where he put up only six goals and sixteen points in 34 games.
When he hits the open market on July 5th, there will be plenty of teams seeking his services based solely on his remarkable playoff career. A player averaging more than a playoff point per game in over 100 career games is hard to ignore.
The biggest issue with him becoming a Canadien would be there really is no fit for a small, soon to be 36 year old offensive player with diminishing skills. His age and consecutive disappointing regular seasons make him a risk.
Could he bounce back if thrown into the Habs lineup? Would he even be an upgrade on David Desharnais, or is he officially over the hill?
His clutch ability and countless goals scored against the Habs over the years make him a captivating option to add through free agency.
What do you think Habs fans? At a vastly reduced cap hit, is Briere worth taking a chance on, even on a one year deal?