By Bob Trask – While the Canadiens have been looking to strengthen the team at center for a long time, a quick look at the organizational depth chart (not including those on the NHL roster) it becomes apparent that there is a lack of right-handed shooting wingers. Once you get past Jesse Ylönen and Blake Biondi the cupboard is bare.
It’s true that a lot of left-handed shooting wingers play the right side but for the purposes of this list, we are only considering right-handed shooting wingers.
No general manager in his right mind will choose a mediocre right wing prospect over an exceptional player at any other position, however it is worth knowing who is available. As with our ranking of the centers available, the same caveat applies. We may have overlooked one or two and we may have also unintentionally listed a winger as a center in this table.
By Bob Trask – Predictions are floating around that the Montreal Canadiens will be making some big changes this summer. They include the trading Jeff Petry or Jonathan Drouin, the potential of moving Carey Price to LTIR, buying out Joel Armia or Paul Byron while drafting Shane Wright and handing him a regular spot in the lineup.
There are many, many more. Everyone has their own version of what will be done or what should be done. The salary cap and the Canadiens’ contract situation is often brought up as a reason why the team needs to make changes. But is that really the case?
Suppose the Canadiens surprised everyone and went with stand pat lineup, more or less. What if they simply re-signed players from within the organization to fill roles on a somewhat temporary basis?
What would the cap situation look like? Using some arbritrary figures on what it would cost to sign any UFAs or RFAs, the 23 man roster could look something like this.
Total Cap Hit
Cap Space Available
Shea Weber – LTIR
The benefit of not using the buyout option on any players is that for every year that player remains under contract, it cuts two years off his buyout term. Take Joel Armia, for example. If the Canadiens were to buy him out this year, he would be on the books for six more years. But if the teams doesn’t urgently need the cap space for next year, why tie up the books for six years. Maybe it’s better to bite the bullet this year and create more cap flexibility down the road when the team is competitive and really needs it.
While this is an unlikely roster, without any cap pressures and no urgency to make the team into one of the Cup favourites for next year, GM Kent Hughes could afford to sit and wait for the right deal to come along.