Canadiens sign D Campoli; what’s the motive? Habs also announce cuts

This afternoon TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that the Canadiens had signed former Blackhawks D Chris Campoli for 1 year and $1.75 million. The first thing to enter my mind upon hearing this piece of news was “$1.75 million?” That’s a lot to shell out at this stage of the offseason (however, Campoli did receive a $2.5 million arbitration award this offseason). Here are some other thoughts:

-If this is replacement/insurance for an injury, that’s bad news. Andrei Markov, of course, is still rehabbing what feels like his bajillionith knee injury. The first theory thrown out there was that his recent setback was more serious than originally thought/reported. However, McKenzie tweeted that Markov gets swelling in his knee if he goes too hard in rehab, but there has not been a major setback. This is reassuring news, even if the fluid drain the other day set him back a little. The Canadiens signed Markov to a fairly rich 3-year contract this summer, and it obviously all depends on Markov’s health. However, it looks like Campoli’s signing is not an admission that something is wrong with Markov, here is his fill-in for the time being.

-An interesting idea presented by Kevin Mio of the Montreal Gazette is that not Markov, but PK Subban is the one we should be worrying about. Subban had sustained some sort of back injury during offseason training and has only played in 1 of the Canadiens’ 5 preseason games. His ailment is much more cloudy than Markov’s, which obviously makes it easier to speculate wildly. I hope the preseason game did not aggravate the injury in any way. Right now, because of the lack of reports about him, it seems as though Subban has not suffered a major injury. But no one really knows right now.

-Of course, this signing could just be a depth move. Arpon Basu of CTV thinks that promising defensemen Alexei Yemelin and Yannick Weber have been underwhelming at best. In the case that management for some reason or other decides not to play these 2 on a somewhat consistent basis, Campoli would presumably either take their spot or fight with them for it. As if it wasn’t murky enough before, the Canadiens now have an extremely crowded back end (Subban, Markov [?], Gill, Gorges, Spacek, Yemelin, Weber, Campoli). We will presumably see (when Markov is healthy) some combination of Spacek, Yemelin, Weber, and Campoli as the bottom pairing. Assuming, of course, the Habs don’t make a trade which seems almost too likely right now.

Now for the cuts:

-Olivier Archambault was returned to his junior team (Drummondville). Archambault had shown off some sweet moves and good hands, but was awful in the defensive zone.

-D-man Nathan Beaulieu, the Canadiens’ 1st round pick this year, was sent back to St. John. Keeping him up this year just didn’t make sense.

-D-man Morgan Ellis was sent back to his junior team, Cape Breton.

-Brendan Gallagher, a junior-aged “phenom” who has wowed in camp and preseason this year, remains with the team. There has been a lot of hype about his possibly making the team, and this lends credence to that. In the end, I think there’s little to no chance he makes the Canadiens, although that would be a lot of fun.

Stu Krantz-the Puck Schmuck- is on Twitter. Hit him up @StuKrantz

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