There is a good chance the Montreal Canadiens will have a new captain next season.
The Canadiens’ GM Bob Gainey informed both Captain Saku Koivu and forward Alex Tanguay not to expect a contract offer from the Canadiens before the free agency period begins.
“I’ve let them know that before July 1 it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to make them a solid offer as I have with the other two players but the possibility that we could meet again after the first of July is something that could happen,” Gainey said.
Gainey confirmed on Monday that of the 10 pending unrestricted free agents, only Mike Komisarek and Alex Kovalev have received a contract offer. Neither have given the team any indication whether or not they plan to stay in Montreal or test the market.
With less than 48 hours to go before the NHL’s biggest shopping day, Gainey is still working tirelessly to land a number one centerman. “We have five teams where we think there’s a possibility. It might be good one or it might not be good. Sometimes you have to entice the offer you made to them to get a deal done.”
Clearly though Gainey feels he needs to change the nucleus of the team. With over $33 million in cap room there is an opportunity to completely re-stock the team via trades and free agency.
“It’s necessary for us to get out there expose ourselves and have an impact. We’ve been in 8th to 12 spot for some time. Now we need to take the next step.”
Notes: Christopher Higgins, Tomas Plekanec, Gregory Stewart, Kyle Chipchura, Guillaume Latendresse and Matt D’agsotini were all received a qualifying offer.