All Habs Headlines: Monday July 9, 2012
On this day in hockey history… In 2008, the Montreal Canadiens re-signed Josh Gorges to a bargain three-year, $3.3M contract. Happy Birthday to Chris Campoli (28).
ALL HABS HEADLINES
► Ranford invited to camp: Even if training camp is still over two months away (rookie camp begins September 14th), it was revealed late last week that forward Brendan Ranford, nephew of legendary goaltender Bill Ranford, had received an invitation to attend camp in Montreal. Ranford, 20, is a 5’10″ winger who was taken in the 7th round in 2010 by the Philadelphia Flyers. Despite solid numbers playing for the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers (where last year, he was a teammate of Montreal’s Tim Bozon), including 40 goals and 92 points in 69 games for his final junior year, he didn’t receive a contract, and as such becomes an unrestricted free agent.
About the Canadiens’ invite, Ranford is quoted as saying, “That’s where I’m thinking of going, but we’ll see.” Many were critical of this nonchalant attitude, but you can’t blame a guy for thinking there may not be much room for another small winger in this organization given how crowded the Hamilton Bulldogs appear for the coming season. With his stats, he is likely to get an invite elsewhere as well, so him being in Brossard in September isn’t yet a sure thing.
► Marcoux moves on: Speaking of camp invites, goaltender Etienne Marcoux, who attended Montreal’s second development camp in June, will attend the Philadelphia Flyers’ prospect camp beginning today. Neither Marcoux nor fellow invitee Maxime Lagace particularly stood out as try-outs with the Canadiens.
► Bulldogs update: While Hamilton’s blueline is quite full for the coming season thanks to the graduations of Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi, Morgan Ellis, and Greg Pateryn, the team still had room – and perhaps need – to add some sort of veteran presence to the back end. Perennial AHL star Garrett Stafford left the club to sign with the Washington Capitals’ organization, and tough guy Zack Fitzgerald opted to join the Adirondack Phantoms on an AHL deal instead.
Thus, the Bulldogs filled a need last week by inking local product Kyle Hagel to a one-year AHL contract. Hagel, 27, is a thick 6’0″ d-man who played only 7 games with the Peoria Rivermen last year, but can fill an enforcer role like Fitzgerald did last season. In 2010-11, Hagel racked up 245 PIMs in 77 games with the Rockford IceHogs. His presence will compliment Ian Schultz in looking out for the young prospects on the roster and protecting them from the opposition’s more aggressive checkers. His addition to the back end should also relieve fighting responsibilities from Jarred Tinordi, who is far more valuable on the ice than risking injury in a scrap and then sitting in the penalty box.
Read more: Bulldogs sign Hamilton native Kyle Hagel
► Remaining free agents: Some expected the trade and remaining UFA market to open up after Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed in Minnesota, but movement has continued to be slow in the days following the Wild’s big score. It is believed we may find out the future of Shane Doan today (Monday) or tomorrow, with important news on the future of the Phoenix Coyotes pending. Some other top names still up for grabs include Alexander Semin, Andrei Kostitsyn, Peter Mueller, Wojtek Wolski, Jason Arnott, Carlo Colaiacovo, and Michal Rozsival. A few former Habs remain without deals, notably Chris Campoli, Mathieu Darche, Tom Kostopoulos, Jeff Halpern, Jaroslav Spacek, Alexandre Picard, Brett Clark, and Corey Locke.
Read more: CapGeek – 2012 Free Agents
► Robinson moves on: Legendary Canadiens defenseman Larry Robinson was a favourite to become the Habs’ new defense coach in the minds of many of the team’s fans. While it was unclear whether or not Robinson was interested in leaving New Jersey, Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien opted for J.J. Daigneault to fill the role with the Canadiens instead. Yesterday, it was revealed that the 61-year old Robinson is indeed leaving New Jersey, accepting the title of Associate Coach with the San Jose Sharks.
► Diaz files for arbitration: After making $900,000 as a rookie last season, Canadiens defenseman Raphael Diaz has filed for salary arbitration. He is one of 16 players to opt for it this summer (former Hab Sergei Kostitsyn is another), and dates will be scheduled between July 20th and August 4th. The Canadiens may choose whether they want an arbitrator to rule on a one- or two-year contract if Diaz isn’t signed prior to the hearing, though it is said that talks between the two sides are on-going. The Swiss native is one of four remaining restricted free agents in Montreal, along with P.K. Subban, Blake Geoffrion, and Aaron Palushaj.
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