Thursday, July 4, 2013
Briere follows his heart to Montreal
By Pierre LeBrun
In the end, Daniel Briere followed his heart.
There were competitive offers from the Nashville Predators and New Jersey Devils, but the allure of finally playing for the Montreal Canadiens could not be passed up by the French-Canadian veteran forward.
In summer 2007, Briere spurned the Habs for Philadelphia, and the fans at the Bell Centre routinely booed him during his games in Montreal.
All is forgotten now.
The key for Habs GM Marc Bergevin, who turned his attention aggressively toward Briere about two days ago, was the term. One of the reasons Bergevin lost out on Vincent Lecavalier and won’t be able to get unrestricted free agent Ryane Clowe is that he doesn’t want to get locked into long-term, UFA deals.
At two years and $8 million, the term is perfect for Bergevin, who believes he has some young, promising talent in the system that isn’t quite ready yet. Players such as Briere can help bridge the gap.
Speaking of Clowe, the Habs were willing to do a short-term deal with him, but it’s believed the UFA power forward wants to get a bit more security and who can blame him. Keep an eye on the Devils; I believe they are the front-runners for Clowe.
The Devils need a replacement for power forward David Clarkson, who has drawn a ton of interest as the headliner in this year’s UFA crop, including from Ottawa, Toronto and Edmonton.
• Ray Emery is likely leaving Chicago, where he loved it, to procure a job that will give him a bigger role. He’s not going to get that behind Corey Crawford with the Blackhawks. Philadelphia and Edmonton are among the teams that have reached out, and I think the Flyers are the odds-on favorite to get him, with Emery and the Flyers comfortable with each other after their time spent together before. If the Flyers do get him, Emery will compete for starts with Steve Mason.
• Daniel Alfredsson has three real choices in front of him: stay in Ottawa, join Boston or join Detroit. Multiple teams reached out to him, but the Bruins and Red Wings are really the only options if he were to leave the Senators. The Swedish connections run deep with Detroit (Niklas Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg). Alfredsson spoke directly to both the Bruins' and Red Wings’ front office Thursday to gain more information. I still believe he likely stays in Ottawa, but it’s interesting to see how much Alfredsson is deliberating on all this.
• The Predators lost out on Briere -- and not just him. A source told ESPN.com that Nashville had also spoken to Boston about Tyler Seguin before the Bruins shipped him to Dallas in a blockbuster deal Thursday. Nashville needs to find offense somewhere.