Fantasy Impact: Montreal has signed the recently-bought out Danny Briere to a two-year, $8 million contract.
The Canadiens get:
A versatile forward who has a lot of big game experience. Among active players, Briere ranks fourth in all-time postseason goals with 50 (behind Jagr, Marleau, and Zetterberg). He's coming off a disappointing 2013 campaign - six goals in 34 games (hence the buyout). At the dollar amount and with a two year term, this is a low risk move by Montreal. Briere is small, but he is a guy who goes to the tough areas to score. He will improve their even strength offense tremendously in addition to adding a new dimension on the PP with his shot. However, his overall game has been in quite a decline over the past few seasons. Can he get back on track or is it more a sign of things to come?
Fantasy Players Impacted:
Briere will welcome the fresh start, but playing in his home province will bring a lot of added pressure. He would have bounced back in all 30 NHL cities relative to last season, but perhaps playing in front of family and friends will be even more of a motivator. And unlike Vincent Lecavalier, the Habs didn't have to go beyond a short contract term to get this done.
He can play center and right wing, and I'd guess he moves over to the right side in Montreal, as David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, and Lars Eller are the top three centers (although Eller can play on the wing).
Here is a bit of a scathing review of the move from a Montreal blog, for some perspective of the other side:
Briere has been sheltered at close to 55% offensive zone starts and played against 3rd line competition ever since he joined the Flyers. This, combined with a healthy dollop of great luck over the years, allowed Briere to outscore his opponents while being outplayed, but this has come to a sudden crash over the last two years.
Montreal may have to find a role for Briere by sheltering his minutes and giving tougher minutes to other forwards. Good thing they have some strong defensive forwards (particularly Eller and Plekanec).
Ideas for potential lines (assuming no other trades on the way):
But where does Gionta fit in? This has to be a precursor to something. Another possible combination:
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
2. Eller (if Briere plays on the wing)
3. Plekanec (if Briere plays on the wing)
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Desharnais (redundant)
2. Gionta (redundant)
3. Gallagher (competition for ice time)
4. Louis Leblanc