Habs add Tanguay, Laraque in quest for 25th Stanley Cup Staff

8/11/2008 8:41:16 PM

With the Montreal Canadiens set to start their centennial season, general manager Bob Gainey has repatriated a pair of Quebecers in the off-season in the club's quest to win their 25th Stanley Cup.

Alex Tanguay, who was acquired from the Calgary Flames at the NHL Entry Draft along with a 5th round pick in 2008 for the Canadiens first round selection in 2008 and a second round choice in 2009 will fill the void left by the departure to Michael Ryder who went to the Boston Bruins.

Tanguay, whose streak of four consecutive seasons with 20 goals or more was snapped last season in Calgary, will likely be paired with team captain Saku Koivu.  Returning home as well as operating within a more free-flowing style than the one implemented by Mike Keenan should help the 28-year forward as he enters his prime.

Tanguay will also see time on the power play that some believe will struggle in 2008-09.  Last season, the Habs were the top team with the man advantage, but the club lost point man Mark Streit to free agency.

Brilliant puck distributors like Alex Kovalev and Sergei Kostitsyn are two options to take over the right point as the Habs hope there won't be a significant drop-off in production.

Aside from the skill of Tanguay, the Habs also added the brute strength of Montreal native Georges Laraque.

Laraque is expected to bring an intimidating element that club officials were loathe to admit was missing since the days of Chris Nilan.

The club should play bigger with Laraque in the lineup, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him occasionally ride shotgun on the top two lines as he did with Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh.

The Canadiens have over $6 million left in salary cap room, and it's debatable whether there's truly enough to money to entice forward Mats Sundin should he not retire.

In any event, it appears that the prevailing mood among the Montreal faithful is "wake me up when it's done." when it comes to the Sundin saga that has dragged on all summer.