COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS POWER POLL DEPTH CHARTS CURRENT ODDS
Dan Di Sciullo, NHL Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
It's every NHL player's dream to win a Stanley Cup title, and Marian Hossa is certainly no exception.
HABS, LEAFS GET BUSYCanada's two most prominent NHL franchises were in the spotlight on Wednesday, as the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs made a series of moves on the first day of free agency.
The Canadiens had already made a splash by acquiring veteran center Scott Gomez on Tuesday in a seven-player trade with the New York Rangers. Montreal didn't stop there, as they also signed four players the following day, inking forwards Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta as well as defensemen Hal Gill and Jaroslav Spacek.
Toronto, meanwhile, traded Pavel Kubina and Tim Stapleton to Atlanta for Garnet Exelby and Colin Stuart. The Leafs also added toughness by signing enforcer Colton Orr.
But the Maple Leafs' biggest move came when they signed defenseman Mike Komisarek away from Montreal. With youngster Luke Schenn blossoming on the blue line, Komisarek gives Toronto another big body to help in the defensive end. Not to mention, the five-year, $22.5 million price tag for Komisarek is palatable, and leaves general manager Brian Burke room to maneuver during this rebuilding process.
The Habs, on the other hand, seemed to commit a great deal of money to a handful of players without improving their team by all that much. Gomez is scheduled to make $8 million next year, while Gionta and Cammalleri were given an average of $5 million and $6 million, respectively, over the next five seasons.
Cammalleri did have a huge year with the Flames in 2008-09, registering career-highs in goals (39) and points (82), but that was while playing on a line with Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow. The rabid fans in Montreal will expect him to duplicate those numbers next year with the Habs, and it could get ugly if he fails to live up to last year's output.
To be fair to the Canadiens, they have made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons and are not in full-blown rebuilding mode like the Maple Leafs, who have missed the postseason for four straight years. That, of course, makes it more difficult for Montreal to improve its club, and also makes it hard for the Leafs not to improve theirs.
There will be a slew of new faces when these clubs renew their fierce rivalry next season, but my guess is it won't take long for Habs and Leafs fans to memorize which players they are supposed to hate.