Friday, September 12, 2008

Habs acquire Lang

The Chicago Blackhawks today announced the team has acquired a second round draft choice in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft from the Montreal Canadiens (via the Toronto Maple Leafs) in exchange for center Robert Lang.

“Robert is a quality guy and we appreciate that he gave us everything that he had but this move gives one of our great young players an opportunity to step up,” Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon said. “We are excited about adding a second round draft pick in 2010 as we continue with our philosophy of building from within. “
>> team release
You can conclude two things from this deal: (1) Chicago's back under the salary cap and is stuck holding onto Nikolai Khabibulin and (2) Montreal's given up the wait for Mats Sundin.

That's not set in stone, but it certainly looks that way. (Of course the Canadiens could always toss their latest acquisition overboard.)

Lang's still a serviceable player in the right role, and even at 37 can chip in 20 goals and 50 points. He will make $4-million this season and is an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Montreal also signed defenceman Patrice Brisebois today to fill out its back end.

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At 6:24 p.m., September 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the Hawks signed Lang & Perreault last year they were always viewed as stopgap roles until the kids were ready, and apparently they're gonna give BEach a real long look at camp along with moving Konttola up.

That the Habs were willing to take on his salary and give up a 2nd for the privilege is just gravy.

At 7:26 p.m., September 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two thirds of the Kovy-Lang-Straka line reunited?

At 8:16 p.m., September 12, 2008, Blogger savardwalsh said...

(2) Montreal's given up the wait for Mats Sundin.

That's not set in stone, but it certainly looks that way.

Bob Gainey's quoted on as saying "the Mats Sundin saga is over."

At 10:09 p.m., September 12, 2008, Blogger Texas Youth for Political Awareness said...

This is a great step for the Hawks to continue developing their young players. Is this the path to Pittsburgh 2.0? It very well could be...

At 11:21 p.m., September 12, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

I just don't think it's a good fit. This seems like Bonk and Smolinski all over again. You could've said either of those players could be looked at for 15-20 goals, 20-25 assists or so as well when they came on.

It's very little risk, but I just don't see a worthwhile reward.

At 11:42 p.m., September 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Habs would have had to make a deadline move like this anyway. Making the move right now is much cheaper. Solid.

At 12:44 a.m., September 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant to disagree with Saskhab and back it up with stats, but I think he's right.

Bonk came out of the lockout in a different role on a different team. He got 3 fewer ES minutes per game, an incredible 3.5 more SH minutes per game, and a telling 2.75 fewer PP minutes per game. He actually scored more even strength goals per minute in Montreal than in his last season in Ottawa.

Smolinski's a similar story, except that he went from playing a full season to about three quarters. His total ES ice time dropped by nearly half in Montreal, and per game ice time by 2 minutes. His total power play ice time dropped by over 85%, and went from 3:15 a game to 0:35. He scored 7 ES goals last year, but only 8 two years ago, despite playing nearly twice as much ES ice time.

The same thing will happen with Lang. He'll probably go from 14 ES goals and 7 PP goals to about 10 ES goals and 1 PP goal--unless Montreal actually uses him as the type of player he was when they decided to get him. He'll play worse minutes with worse players and get fewer assists, too. But it's not a bad move, because the alternate is to put the money in the bank and hope that pick gets lucky.

At 1:28 a.m., September 13, 2008, Blogger Julian said...

I'd think Bonk and Smoke were brought in for that role, a tougher minutes role and more PKing. Lang might see his PP time cut with all the weapons the habs have up front, but I doubt Gainey has brought him in to fill the same role those other two guys did two years ago. That's just not Robert Lang.

At 3:49 a.m., September 13, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Lang's linemates will likely be decent offensive players. His wingers will most certainly be 2 of Higgins, Latendresse, Sergei Kostitsyn, and Tanguay, with Koivu getting the other two wingers.

So it's not quite like Bonk/Smolinski in that his role won't be primarily defensive. The move is predicated on the thought the Habs need a big strong presence down the middle and a potential replacement on the top two lines should Koivu or Plekanec get hurt. To me, Lang is a pretty vanilla solution to both concerns at this point in his career.

Hopefully I'm wrong, but at age 37, he's not the horse I would've hitched on to.

At 12:08 p.m., September 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been many a year since we've had a club as talented as this in Montreal.

Good veterans.
Good kids.
Good goalies.
Best Fighter.
Future looks bright.

Thank you very much Mr. Gainey. You've accomplished your mission.


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