It appears as though the Montreal Canadiens off-season plans are already well in motion. Still a few weeks away from the NHL Draft, in which the Habs have a healthy dose of picks at their disposal in the first three rounds, in will prove to be an interesting time over the next month.
While not shocking news, reports surfacing that Michael Ryder will not be re-signed is an indication that Marc Bergevin and his staff are moving forward in their off-season plans. With one more amnesty buyout still available, it's almost a guarantee that it will be used on Tomas Kaberle, to free up additional cap space.
Bergevin and his staff have now had a few weeks to sit back and fully analyze the season that was for the Canadiens, and consider what they have and what they need moving forward. And they find themselves in a situation that provides a few options.
Once the season concludes, there will be several teams looking to unload some salary to get under the cap, which will be lower next year. That could provide more of a buyer's market than what the trade deadline offered. By not "selling the farm" at the deadline, the Canadiens maintained their assets and now have the option of shopping the trade market, using their available dollars on some UFA's, or sitting tight, and allowing Trevor Timmins and his group to jump into a Draft that is considered strong, and utilize the top three rounds as best they can.
Bergevin has insisted you can't buy a winner, you must build one. It's about making a team competitive and a contender year after year. This year's four NHL conference finalists might be a great example of that, in how a little patience and building through the Draft can go a long way.
For Habs fans, the patience begins now to see what happens, starting in New Jersey at the end of June.