All Habs Mailbag: Gomez, Staubitz, Tootoo, Schultz, Doan, Free Agents, Trades


by Robert Rice, Senior Writer, 

TORONTO, ON — As part of a new continuing feature, I have decided to re-open the All Habs Mailbag to take in and answer questions about all things Montreal Canadiens. While I have in the past taken questions and answers on my Twitter feed about Habs prospects, sometimes 140 characters is not really enough for a good answer.  This way I thought I could expand the scope of my discussions into complete coverage about the Montreal Canadiens.

This feature will run on Wednesdays, answering the most popular or poignant questions about the Canadiens. If you have any questions about the Canadiens or the farm system, feel free to submit whatever is on your mind. I’d like to kick this feature off with a strong showing so please don’t be shy!

Submissions can be mailed directly to [email protected]

Three Guidelines for Submissions:

  • This is not for hate mail or complaints. If you have an issue with what you read on these pages, this is not the place to bring it up. The mailbag is for questions about the Canadiens.
  •  As long-time readers of All Habs know, we do not publish rumours.  Therefore I will not engage in discussion of the validity of rumours — frankly I consider them a waste of time anyway.  For every rumour that was close to accurate, there have been about a thousand duds.
  •  Nothing of essay-length please. There will be other people who will have questions and it is a bit unfair if I have to dedicate the Mailbag to answering one very large question or someone who’s asking five questions at once.
Let’s open the All Habs mailbag!

Brian: What is happening with Gomez?

There is no definite word on Gomez. A buyout has not been authorized nor do I expect one. It is likely Marc Bergevin and by extension Geoff Molson are waiting on the outcome of the Collective Bargaining Agreement Negotiations to see if there is going to be an amnesty period proposed for teams to buy out contracts and not have the buyout count against the salary cap. Failing that, I expect Gomez to be sent to Hamilton or possibly even loaned to a European club.


Who will the Habs target in free agent market?

I personally suspect Bergevin will send out offers to Justin Schultz, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. I wouldn’t expect any bites but it would be irresponsible not to gauge their interests for a GM. Realistic targets likely include Brandon Prust for some checking-line grit and a potential offer to PA Parenteau, albeit I hope Bergevin does not offer anything overly generous to the 29-year old journeyman who’s without proven success away from Long Island.


Jimmy: Should the Habs attempt to make a splash with a trade for a player such as Paul Statsny or just stay the course?

At present Montreal is too short on good assets to effectively trade their way forward in the standings, barring a complete steal in a deal in my view and one can hardly plan for those. It will likely be a better season than the Canadiens just went through for the coming year and it would be prudent for Bergevin to stand with most of his present roster. Not a popular view, but with the depressed value of so many team assets, it’s also difficult to trade them away for value at present, aside from the team’s very valuable top prospects. The team’s prospect base is shaping up to help the team grow internally as well.


Waken: Its well known we need sandpaper on the 3rd/4th line, do you think one or both of Staubitz and/or Tootoo can be brought in?

I’m not sure Staubitz will be brought back. I think Bergevin may be after players with more utility like Brandon Prust, even Jordan Tootoo to reinforce the Bottom six and make it a more useful unit. Staubitz could earn a contract as the 13th forward, but I personally felt he was too limited as a player to be useful. Even if he were to be dressed for say, a Boston game, I doubt he’d stop Brad Marchand, or Chara on the other side of the spectrum from doing what they wanted to do.


FC: What do you think are the chances Justin Schultz comes to MTL? Will MTL even try to sign him even with all their D?

I would rate them as low. Schultz dropped Anaheim looking for likely the best situation he could manage for himself. In my opinion, that drops a team that finished 28th overall in the league. I have no doubt Bergevin will send an offer to him as one should always explore all options to improve their team but I do not believe the Canadiens have any kind of inside track on this race.


Troy:  I think Doan is the exact type of player that Montreal should be looking for. Thoughts?

Doan sounds enticing no doubt to Montreal fans, or fans of 28 other NHL teams. The issue is really age and intentions. Doan will be 36 when the NHL season starts and likely knows his career is coming up short and he’s thinking about what he’s never had an honest chance at, a Stanley Cup. The best choice for Doan is a team close to Contending, or Contending that can give him a shot in their lineup and let him compete for the ultimate prize. Given Montreal’s finish, I doubt Doan would want to secure himself to their wagon and count on the team rapidly moving into solid Contender status before he’s too old to get in on the action. Doan’s the kind of power the team could use on the wings, but I don’t think he’s given a single thought to signing with them.


  1. As much as we would love to see a complete reno, I agree the roster should not be shook up too badly. Let Gally recover from a year off in junior. Dump Gomez. If a trade can be made to legitimately improve the team long-term without getting fleeced, go for it. Only sign UFAs that have long-term potential, or very short contracts til the prospects develop. At the deadline, hope there are takers for Gionta and Kaberle, as well as Bouque if he has not bounced back. We will look better in 3 years. let’s be patient.

  2. Bottom six set?

    Lablanc Eller Gallagher
    Moan White Palushaj/Geoffrion.

    So really just need 1 big d-man -Bryan Allen-type if can sign for reasonable $ and term.
    And ship out 1 small top six guy in trade deal -Desharnais is likely canditate?

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