The Molson brothers made it official yesterday by announcing their deal in principle with George Gillett Jr. to buy a controlling interest in the Montreal Canadiens. Terms were not announced, but it’s believed the winning bid could be as high as $550 million.
On the surface, this deal does little to affect the Boston Bruins are the other clubs in the division other than clear up any uncertainties about the Habs organization and make it a more stable environment for the front-office people and players that are associated with Montreal. But the sale could mean more than that in the not-so-distant future, as the new owners might look to make a big splash via trades and/or free agency.
It seems that there are always rumors of Vinny Lecavalier heading to the Habs, and he’d be a perfect centerpiece for the new owners to use in trying to prove their seriousness as far as building an actual Stanley Cup contender. A trade for Lecavalier might be tough to swing without enough assets to offer Tampa Bay, but the Habs have plenty of cap room to add two or three huge names — ones big enough to shift the balance of power in the Northeast.
While the Bruins, and namely general manager Peter Chiarelli, try to keep last season’s club in tact and improve at least a smidge in a couple areas, the Habs are looking at a big-bang summer and the Toronto Maple Leafs — whose courting of goaltender Jonas Gustavsson finished yesterday — seem to be making strides. So defending their title is already getting more difficult for the Bruins.