The Montreal Canadiens swung and missed on hometown product Vincent Lecavalier, who went on to agree to a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers after he was bought out last week. With the veteran center off the market, where could the Habs turn their free agent search?
Smart money says that another French Canadian, Daniel Briere, could be a potential target of theirs. Briere was bought out by the Flyers after a down year and his being set to earn $6.5 million for the next couple of years. The Quebec native isn’t the offensive star that he was a few years ago, but is still a capable player nonetheless.
We don’t know what Briere is looking for in terms of dollars, or even years, but we do know that he’s probably interested in staying on the East Coast. He considered Philly his home and wasn’t exactly thrilled to be let go by the Flyers, so he’ll probably want to stay somewhere in the Eastern Conference.
While the Habs do have interest in Briere, as they’ve already reached out to him, is there necessarily a fit? The Canadiens aren’t in a position where they absolutely need to upgrade down the middle. In fact, they’re pretty set at the center position, though they could have the intention of moving Briere or one of their current centers out to the wing if a deal is actually reached.
There would obviously be room for Briere if they signed him. He’s a versatile player and a great guy to have around from a chemistry standpoint. But should he be a priority for the Habs? He’s clearly over the hill, and the Habs aren’t necessarily in a position where they need him. They may be better off letting him go on to another team, depending on the price.
Of course, if the price is right, then he makes some sense. We don’t know what it’ll be at this point, though. While the fact that he’s a Quebec guy makes him an intriguing target, it’s difficult to see the Habs making hard enough of a push to sign him. But we will see what happens in the next couple of days heading up to free agency.