In today’s Montreal Canadiens news and rumors roundup, Claude Julien addresses the fans request to tank for the top pick, Mike Ribeiro gives his thoughts on the Shea Weber/PK Subban trade and his future, plus, the potential CBA modifications as the NHL/NHLPA continue to negotiate. Finally, will Alexander Romanov be able to play?
Claude Julien Addresses Tanking, and the Positives of the Play-ins
In a recent phone conference interview, Julien was asked his thoughts on fans wanting the team to tank for the first overall pick. He stated although it would be great to have a player like Alexis Lafreniere, it’s not a guarantee and he believes the only way to take a step forward is to go out and play hard and try to win.
Julien admitted they were not counting on playing for the Stanley Cup. If they knew what they know now back at the trade deadline, they never would have traded players like Nick Cousins, Marco Scandella, and Ilya Kovalchuk. He does believe, however, this will be a great opportunity for the young players to gain valuable playoff experience.
“The only way to take a step forward is to go out there and play hard and try to win and do the best you can. And if we win, then we’re getting better as a team.
There’s excitement there, there’s an opportunity to grow, I think we need to take this situation and run with it,”Claude Julien
Mike Ribeiro on the Weber/Subban Trade and His Future
Riberio was in Montreal recently and gave his thoughts on the Shea Weber/PK Subban trade in a podcast interview. The former Canadiens center, who played with Subban in Montreal and Weber in Nashville, didn’t hold back on his thoughts. When asked about the trade he said he didn’t understand why Nashville made the trade. Subban is a “cartoon” while Weber is a presence and a professional and that the Habs were lucky because Weber is a better player.
Related: Subban – Weber Trade Revisited
Ribeiro has never formally announced his retirement but has been out of hockey for three seasons. Although he would have liked to have played his entire career with the Habs, he still believes he had a great career. With 793 points in 1074 games, He feels he could have been better if he didn’t have off-ice issues.
Ribeiro says it has always been a dream to win a 25th Cup with the Canadiens, but now says it would have to be as a coach. If Julien should be replaced, he thinks Guy Boucher should be the successor and Riberio would like to be an assistant coach. In the meantime, he wants to speak to young teens and help them understand that partying and the NHL don’t mix.
Potential CBA Modifications
The NHL and NHLPA are close to signing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that would carry through until the 2025-26 season. The salary cap seems to be on the forefront, where the cap will remain flat for next season at $81.5 million and could stay there until revenues reach $4.8 billion. This season’s playoff fund – bonus money players earn the longer their teams are in the playoffs – will be increased to $32 million due to the extra number of teams involved.
Olympic participation in 2022 and 2026 are guaranteed pending agreement with the IOC. The minimum salary will rise to $750,000 and again to $800,000 by the end of the agreement. Other modifications are players with no movement or no-trade clauses will have those clauses move with the player if they get traded to another team. Players who are 35 and older can sign multi-year deals and if they retire before the contract is over there will be no cap hit to the team. finally, there will be no changes to signing bonuses.
The Habs can benefit greatly from these changes, especially the cap hit being flat. Marc Bergevin’s frugal ways have put Montreal in a good spot to make trades with cap-strapped teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs to improve the Canadiens roster.
Will Alexander Romanov Be Able to Play in the Play-ins?
The question still remains whether or not the players signed from the KHL will be eligible to play in the play-ins/playoffs. The NHL and NHLPA are still in discussions about this but according to Bob McKenzie, its highly unlikely that Romanov, as well asKirill Kaprizov with the Minnesota Wild and Ilya Sorokin with the New York Islanders will be eligible to play when the league returns to play.
This is bad news for the Habs but not unexpected, Romanov would have provided a nice spark for the team and give the fans a good look at the future blue line star. There is still a lot of work to be done before the season restarts but the players have been making their way back to Montreal for camp and if all goes well should have a great series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Habs Birthdays: Artturi Lehkonen, 23 – July 4th, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, 20 – July 6th, Xavier Ouellet, 26 – July 26th
Trege Wilson lives in Nova Scotia and is a member of the RCN. He is a life long Habs fan and is creator and co-host of the popular Canadiens podcast Habs Unfiltered.