Piece of puzzle

Archived from 1998-99 season.

NHL teams



Canadiens transactions

Canadiens roster

Just before getting blown out by Philadelphia Wednesday night, 7-1, the Montreal Canadiens received the first good news in a long time when GM Rejean Houle announced that the team had re-signed Saku Koivu to a two-year contract.

Terms of the contract were not released, but it is believed to be incentive-laden and worth about $3 million a year.

"Saku is our franchise player, our player of the future," Houle said. "He's one of our top three players, but he has to produce like he did two years ago -- that is at least one point a game."

Two years ago Koivu was fighting for the scoring title when he injured a knee. He scored only 14 goals last season and was hampered by a groin injury suffered in the Olympics, where Koivu was the captain of the bronze medal winning Finland.

"Everybody is happy," Houle said. "He's a character player, a marquee player. He's a leader and the kind of guy we want around to help our young players."

Signing of Koivu still leaves the Canadiens without several other key players. Restricted free agents Martin Rucinsky, Vladimir Malakhov and Brian Savage are still unsigned and Shayne Corson is holding out in a contract dispute. However, the word is that Martin Rucinsky is close to signing.

"There's no priority for us among the players who are left," Houle said. "We're still working on them."

The Habs are still facing an uphill battle this year. Even if they sign all the remaining free agents and Corson, the Habs are still a very different team from last year with the loss of Andy Moog, Marc Bureau, Peter Popovic, Zarley Zalapski and Sebastien Bordeleau. It might take a few years before the team can repeat last year's playoff run or return the Cup to Montreal.

Contact The HockeyNut - Front Page - Archive

Copyright©1998 The HockeyNut