Looking for a back-up to starter Carey Price, the Canadiens signed goaltender Peter Budaj to a two-year, $2.3-million contract. Budaj, 28, played a total of 45 games with the Colorado Avalanche in 2010-11. He posted a record of 15 wins, 21 losses and 4 overtime losses to go along with a 3.20 GAA and a .895 save percentage.
A native of Slovakia, Budaj was a second-round selection, 63rd overall, by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’1”, 200 lb, goalie has 101 career wins in 217 starts all with the Avalanche.
Known as a hard-worker and a great teammate, Budaj is a very talented goalie who simply needs to be more consistent to be more efficient as he had horrid stretches last season with Colorado. He should get around 20 starts with the Habs as the Canadiens to rest Carey Price more than last season, during which he played in 72 regular-season games in addition to seven playoff games.
After signing Budaj, Habs GM Pierre Gauthier turned his attention to UFA Erik Cole from the Carolina Hurricanes. Gauthier managed to sign Cole late in the afternoon to a deal worth $18 M over the next four years ($4.5M cap hit). Cole, who played most of his career with the Canes has been a Hab-killer over the years, scoring 14 goals and adding 11 assists for 25 points in 28 regular-season games.
Cole, a native of Oswego, New York, bounced back after an injury-riddled 2009-10 to score 26 goals and 26 assists in 2010-11 where he carried a cap hit of $2.9 million. In 620 career games, Cole has scored 184 goals and added 206 assists for 390 points (0.63% PPG ratio). He has added 35 game-winning goals.
The 32-year-old forward who has the same agent as Brian Gionta will likely line-up with Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri on the Canadiens’ first line.
Current line-up (taking into account the RFAs):
According to Capgeek, Montreal still has $8,304,490 to re-sign Gorges and White and add other players. The team will most likely add a depth forward with size and grit, and a defenseman as an insurance-policy.
Benoit Pouliot now with the Boston Bruins
Jeff Halpern and Roman Hamrlik now with the Washington Capitals
Alex Auld now with the Ottawa Senators
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About the Author: Working as a freelance sports writer and translator, Fred, 33, graduated from Laval University in Quebec City, earning a bachelor of translation in 2002. An avid fan of the Northeast division teams, he's also a long time fan of the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens. Fred also speaks fluently French and Spanish. http://twitter.com/FredPoulin98 www.traductions-quebec.com