There is a clear message that Marc Bergevin and Geoff Molson are sending this offseason. That message is: WE ARE BIG GAME HUNTING.
Some may have laughed at the Habs attempt to sign away #1 C S. Aho from the Carolina Hurricanes and that's their right. It also shows they don't know jack sh!t about trying to use different NHL contract rules to a teams advantage.
Sure, Canes owner and GM apparently scoffed and laughed at Bergevin's offer sheet. Some reporters who get paid living wages to cover the team even said it was a joke and that Aho didn't want to go to Montreal. That he signed the offer for the money not the team. As if that makes any god damned sense. But I still haven't seen/heard an interview with either the GM or owner that didn't sound like they were anything but teeth gnashingly pissed off at the situation.
Oh yeah, they are just so thrilled they are laughing about another team giving their best player what he wants, when he wants, how he wants while they were doing everything they could to lowball him and avoid any kind of signing bonus money (a personal policy of Mr. Dundon as I'm led to believe).
Dundon even said it wasn't a big deal to write those big checks to Aho in the first 12 months of the deal.....
So why lowball and tell everyone no signing bonuses?
Was this owner, so angry about his best player signing a contract to abandon the Hurricanes no doubt, wise to admit such things to the public? Was his ego so in need of a boost he decided he would step out like old skool Vince McMahon and tell everyone "I have sh!t loads of money you CH loving peasants!"? Was it wise for he and Waddell to publicly scoff at the amount of money they can pay?
It wasn't, but it was great for star players agents who are going to negotiate with the Hurricanes in the near future. It was music to their ears no doubt. Owner tightwad admitting publicly he will pay for anything he wants on the same level as a Canadian Beer Co. giant. Oh baby they are in for some great negotiations in the future!
Good for them for being arrogant... It's really going to help them out.... BTW, has their gofundme hit the amount needed for that first signing bonus yet? Just curious because for all the bluster they haven't formally put pen to paper in the NHL offices. They've just said (very angrily) that they intend to do it and we still haven't heard from Mr. Aho (even though we were supposed to but apparently phones aren't a thing in Finland yet, weird).
Oh, and don't come at me in the comments about "uhhhh but now the Habs are uh, handcuffed from signing other offer sheets or players! The uh picks and money are uh tied up!"
Stop reading Hurricane reporter drivel. The Habs can go 10% over the cap like every other damn team (which is almost identical to Aho's salary by the way) and if they wanted to offer sheet Marner at $14 mill they could use their 2021/22/23/24 first round picks to make that happen. There is no limiting. Hell, they could have already negotiated an offer sheet with another player for the picks involved in the Aho contract and if there's an agreement I doubt a player agent will say "B.. b... but those picks are tied up Marc". He will say "Ok, when/if the offer sheet is officially matched just send it".
WOW! Crazy thought eh?
Other than Aho it appears as though the Habs are going after another high profile Finnish player, Patrik Laine. I'm not making this up, it's reported by one of the good guys in Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period.
He also clearly states the Habs are possibly going to go hard at Maple Leafs star forward Mitch Marner as well.
Well those handcuffs the ignorant Cane's fans and reporters have mentioned for a few days appear to be of the "loose and fuzzy" variety for their ability to limit the person they're attached to. Not very limiting at all it would appear.
Rumors are Laine wants $10 mill per and for some reason the Jets are following the NHL Summer 2019 trend of "Don't pay the kids". Rumors are also out there that MTL is attempting to trade for Laine in lieu of an Offer Sheet (as this one is going to cost two 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd... Which is worth it you pick clenching cheapskates).
There is also rumors of Marner receiving an offer sheet that would require the maximum compensation to the Maple Leafs, four 1st round picks. If those picks are likely to be 20+ overall I am of the opinion that you send that sheet and let Marner decide. Looking at the Leafs draft history you will see that if they are outside the top 10 they pretty much have minimal draft success. They would likely utilize the picks to make trades, but with their cap situation they are pretty handcuffed when it comes to salary, and not those Hurricane reporter fuzzy cuffs either, real "I Screwed Up My Cap" handcuffs.
Should the Leafs be put in the position to match an offer like that I don't know what they will do. Aside from the Barrie trade, the Leafs have made some pretty crap moves in my opinion and still have arguably their best player unsigned and he's hearing that TO fans say he should take one for the team and sign for $8.5-$9 mill and he's hearing that other teams are going to pitch him offers in the $11-$13 million range... Yeah, not smart handling of this contract in my opinion.
Maybe his buddy in this tweet will help him decide where he should take his talents...
So the message is clear: Montreal is making a move, money and picks be damned. Landing Aho (if the Cane's ever do file the paperwork) would be huge and likely move Domi to the wing. Landing one of Laine or Marner for the massive hole on RW (and in the "Elite Scorer" Dept.) would be team changing as well.
Bergy and Co. might make it happen, they might not, but you can't say they aren't being aggressive because they are. In fact, this is the most aggressive the Montreal Canadiens have been since they added Gionta, Cammalleri, and Gomez (ugh) in one off season.
At this point, with the prospect cupboards bursting at the seams with potential I agree with making an aggressive offer sheet move on teams looking to keep young elite talent contracts in the "low ball" range.
Throw the money at the kids, throw the picks at the team, and let's get going on the 2019/20 season.
Go Habs Go