Paul Byron (Photo by Joel Lemay / Agence QMI)

by Chris G, Digital Radio Producer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

LAVAL, QC. — Several Canadiens alumni still playing hockey in the conference finals. We tip our hat to Lars Eller, Devante Smith-Pelly, Jakub Jerabek, Mikhail Sergachev, Peter Budaj, Joe Morrow, Ryan McDonagh, Stefan Matteau and Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant as they battle on with their respective teams trying to win the Stanley Cup.

Here are my top 5 takes of the week:

      1. Canadiens Twitter 2.0 – The Canadiens Twitter account drew a lot of attention last week when it decided to throw a jab at Bruins forward Brad Marchand following his latest licking incident. Marchand quickly replied putting the Canadiens account into its place. There has been a lot of mixed reaction to the Canadiens new humorous approach to their social media, but I am on the side that thinks that this is a positive and needed change. Even though they lost their Twitter battle against Marchand, it got people talking about the team. Even though some of the conversation was negative, in my opinion, that is the goal of social media. This season, the team lost a lot of fans. To get interest back in the team, a bigger presence on social media is necessary.
      2. Danault contract talks – It was reported that talks between Philip Danault and Marc Bergevin recently began. Danault is a restricted free agent on July 1st, so he ain’t going no where. One thing that is certain is that he will get a raise from his current salary of $912,000 annually. I would sign Danault to a 3-year, $9-million or 4-year, $11-million extension. Danault should be a number three centre on the Canadiens but due to a lack of depth down the middle, he was forced into the number one and two slots. I think he did a good job despite playing above his talent.
      3. Dudley not replaced – As mentioned in a recent edition of Take 5, I suggested that Rick Dudley shouldn’t return with the organization. Dudley’s contract with the Canadiens was due to expire on June 30th and work had already begun on an extension. But instead, Dudley decided to go to Carolina accepting the position of Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations. In recent years, Dudley had worked with Trevor Timmins and Shane Churla on the amateur side. In the Canadiens press release, Marc Bergevin said, “Rick has not only been a valuable advisor and confidant, but also a great friend I could always count on.” The press release went on to say that “the position of senior vice president, hockey operations will not be replaced within the hockey management group.” While I have nothing to base this on, I have a feeling that the organization felt that they were not getting their money’s worth from the role. 
      4. Bouchard’s future – On Sunday, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armanda’s season came to an end with a loss in game six of the QMJHL final. I think it will be announced before the NHL draft that Joel Bouchard will be a member of the Canadiens organization. There’s a head coach vacancy in Laval, but I don’t see Bouchard filling that role. Despite his lack of pro experience, I expect that Bouchard will be named to an assistant-GM role helping with amateur scouting. His role with Hockey Canada should have given him good knowledge of top CHL prospects. This role will help prepare him, as personally, I see Bouchard as the next Canadiens General Manager.
      5. Injury list – The Canadiens have announced that Paul Byron (shoulder) and Andrew Shaw (knee) underwent surgery. The recovery time of their respective injuries will lead into the month of October. I am disappointed that Byron wasn’t shut down before the end of the season in order for him to be ready for the start of training camp. In Shaw’s situation, the team’s transparent press release specified that they waited for him to recover from the concussion before performing surgery. The bad news in that case is that Shaw won’t be part of the off season changes.

Leave your comments below. I am looking forward to interacting with all of you.