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Short contracts at (very) high prices: a plan considered by the Habs for July 1
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There’s a growing sense that the Habs intend to make progress in their rebuild next year. Without necessarily becoming a Stanley Cup contender, we sense that the club wants to take a step forward.

Because sooner or later, it’s going to take results.

So, at the end of the season, Jeff Gorton opened the door to the Canadiens being active on the free agent market. It was a rather vague statement, but one that hinted at Habs action on July 1.

And tonight, we may have an idea of the Tricolore’s plan.

In a text published in the last few minutes on The Athletic, Pierre LeBrun mentions the idea of the Blackhawks trying to sign short-term free agents, but with a big salary… and he adds the following sentence afterwards:

It’s also a plan the Habs are considering internally, I believe: signing free agents who fit short-term needs. – Pierre LeBrun

One example we can use to illustrate LeBrun’s point is that of Dmitry Orlov. Last summer, the defenseman signed a two-year contract in Carolina that pays him a whopping $7.75 million a year.

Orlov obviously isn’t worth that kind of money, but the Hurricanes figured they only wanted him for the short term, hence the idea of boosting his salary to entice him to sign.

This summer, the Canadiens will have room under the salary cap. This will give them the opportunity to take such bets, and one wonders if guys like Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Marchessault, who have been linked to the Habs, might consider such offers.

Because in the short term, the Habs’ most pressing need isn’t in front of the net or on the blue line, but up front.

We’ll see if Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton are able to come to terms with players this way, but it would be a good way to improve the club in the short term without creating congestion for the youngsters in the long term.

And that’s where the Habs’ payroll comes into play this summer.


Of course, the danger with such a strategy is that not all players will be willing to turn down a long-term contract, even for a huge salary over two (or three) years.

Hughes and Gorton will have to find a way to identify those who would be willing to do so… because there won’t be 1,000 of them.

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