No club in the National Hockey League made the number of changes the Montreal Canadiens made this summer, bringing in seven new faces - the biggest off-season roster overhaul in team history.
After a failed attempt to land Vincent Lecavalier from the Tampa Bay Lightning in June, general manager Bob Gainey turned his attention to the New York Rangers, acquiring Scott Gomez the night before the free agent signing period. The Canadiens' rebuilding process continued with the signing of big-ticket free agent Mike Cammalleri and Gomez's former linemate in New Jersey Brian Gionta. The Habs also added big winger Travis Moen and defencemen Jaroslav Spacek, Paul Mara and Hal Gill.
The off-season saw a mass exit of players, as Gainey did not re-sign any of the team's 10 unrestricted free agents - including 10-year captain Saku Koivu and fan favourites Alex Kovalev and Mike Komisarek. On top of that, winger Chris Higgins and former first-round pick Ryan McDonagh were shipped to the Rangers in the Gomez deal.
The Canadiens snapped a five-game losing streak on Tuesday, defeating the Thrashers 2-1 in front of a home crowd and improving their record to 3-5. They hope to build on that momentum tonight when they host the New York Islanders on TSN.
So here's Dave's question to you: "What was Bob Gainey's best, or worst off-season move?"
Here are the answers that Dave liked best:
Hal Gill gives them size on defence, but the league is simply too fast for him. He's a slower skater than me. - Ian,
Gainey should have kept Kovalev. Even if Alex sleeps for half of the year, he makes up for it in the other half. - John, Vancouver
Gainey's worst move was his failure to acquire Vinny Lecavalier. A full-blooded Montrealer who could wear the ‘C' and thrill the fans with highlight-reel goals is exactly what the Habs need. - Justin,
Signing the ‘three smurfs' will be Bob Gainey's last curtain call as Montreal GM. - M. Olly
And Dave's reply to all:
There was also support for Scott Gomez and Mike Cammalleri, and especially for Brian Gionta, whose signing will be my choice for Gainey's best move. Gionta leads the team in goals with four, having scored in each of the three victories, and he's a plus-three on a minus team. If you want to accuse Gainey of building a forward line too small, go ahead, but after he traded for Gomez and signed Cammalleri, he went even smaller with Gionta, and that seems to have been a good idea.