All Habs Mailbag: Bryan Bickell, Compliance Buyouts, A Day With a Hab!


by Chantal, Managing Editor, All Habs Hockey Magazine

MONTREAL, QC — The Memorial Cup has come and gone, the Stanley Cup playoffs are treating us to fantastic battles, and even though the sun is shining again and temperatures are on the rise, we all have hockey on the brain. allhabsmailbag

Do you have a question or a topic you would like us to discuss? Okay, here’s what you can do.

Let us know:

  1. who you are
  2. where you’re from
  3. if you wish, send us a photo of you in your favourite Habs gear
  4. who’s your favorite player, present or past
  5. and of course, your question

You can contact us via Twitter, our Facebook page or email at info (at) allhabs (dot) net

We’ll feature you, and your question, in the All Habs Mailbag!

Let’s get to this week’s questions:

What do you think of Dany Dubé saying Habs should sign Bryan Bickell to play with Brandon Prust?

Stéphane, Windsor

Stéphane, I haven’t heard the Dany Dubé quote, but I’m not against that idea, depending on price. There’s already a connection there with Marc Bergevin, and I’m sure he knows him well. At 6’4″, 233 lbs, he might be the big winger Habs need in the bottom six. He racked up 23 points in 48 games this season and has six points in 11 playoff games so far. He will become UFA this July, but I expect him to get a raise from his current $600,000 salary.

We all agree, although Habs brass won’t come out and say it, that Habs need to add size. If they feel he is an option, I’m confident they’ll go out and pursue him. Free agency opens on July 5th this year, so stay tuned!

Why did the Memorial Cup linesman have a three digit number (115) on his jersey?

Michael, Toronto

Hi Michael! What an odd question. I commend your attention to detail, as I hadn’t noticed the linesman’s number. After much research, we’ve found that many linesmen wear a three digit number in the WHL. Number 115 would be Nathan Van Oosten.

The three digits do seem to be limited to linesmen. Referees in the WHL go with the traditional one or two digits. I have checked the list of officials in the OHL, and the highest number there is 96. The QMJHL officials are listed without their numbers.

I don’t know why some have a three digit number, but at least now, you’ll know where they come from!

Who is the best candidate for a compliance buyout this summer?

Gabriel, Terrebonne

Hey Gabriel! Your question doesn’t specify if it’s regarding Habs or anyone in the league, so let’s do both. First, it’s important to understand the difference between a compliance buyout and a ‘normal’ buyout. With the salary cap declining to $64.3 million next season, teams have been granted two compliance buyouts where they still need to pay either 1/3 or 2/3 of the player’s remaining salary (depending on age), the difference being it will not count towards the team’s salary cap. It should also be noted that for one season following a compliance buyout, the player is prohibited from rejoining the team that bought him out.

As far as Montreal is concerned, Tomas Kaberle is the obvious answer. This will cost the Habs $3 million over two years. I’ve heard Travis Moen‘s name tossed around too, but I still believe he has a tradeable contract. Marc Bergevin will have to choose wisely, as he has already burned one with Scott Gomez.

Elsewhere in the league, three goalies come to mind:

Rick DiPietro, New York Islanders. His many, many, many injuries and the fact that he has been buried in the minors make him a candidate in my books. You could argue that the Isles have trouble reaching the salary floor, as money paid outside the NHL counts against the cap (the Wade Redden rule). A one way contract is calculated as follows: cap hit minus [minimum salary plus $375,000]. But to me, this contract was a nonsense from the beginning.  This buyout would cost the Isles $24 million over 16 years.

Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia Flyers. The main argument here, other than the fact that Bryzgalov has been disappointing, not to mention his weirdo-spaceman-bear-in-the-woods statements to the media, is that Philadelphia currently has 25 players and $70 million in cap for next season. Someone has to go. Daniel Brière is another option for the Flyers (buyout cost $3.3 million over four years), but my target would definitely be Bryzgalov. Buyout cost: $23 million over 14 years.

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks. The never-ending saga continues for Bobby Lu in Vancouver. At some point, if Mike Gillis feels he can’t get enough value back via trade, put the poor guy out of his misery. The Canucks are already over the cap for next season, with only 17 players signed. A trade would provide Vancouver with $5.3 million in cap room, but you have to assume they would also take some salary back, unless Gillis can take advantage of the CBA’s new rules and pull off a masterpiece of a trade. Yeah, a buyout seems more likely. Buyout cost: $27 million over 18 years.

Aside from them, Brad Richards is a question mark in New York right now. Mike Komisarek, now struggling in the AHL could be a possiblity even though Toronto isn’t strapped for cash. The buyout window begins on June 15, or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup final game and closes on June 30. All the buyout rules can be found on CapGeek.

What Hab would you want to spend a day with and why?

Mike, Hamilton

Hi Mike from the Hammer! What a fun question! Thinking about it, I think I would be most interested in spending a day with Marc Bergevin, just to get a feel for his workload, everyone he meets and greets in a day and a good behind-the-scenes look at the most prestigious job in the Mecca.

As far as players go, some of my favourites might not be the most fun companions. A day with Tomas Plekanec shopping for turtlenecks doesn’t do anything for me. A day with Andrei Markov in complete silence, no thanks. A day with P.K. Subban would completely exhaust me. A day with Brendan Gallagher would certainly put a smile on my face, but if I really had to choose, I would pick Josh Gorges. I think we could have good, calm conversations, it wouldn’t be awkward, and he has the cutest dog.