One of those sagas that Canadiens fans agonize endlessly over, but perversely enjoy, is now over. We saw it coming a long way down the road, like the Scott Gomez buyout, or the Jacques Martin/Pierre Gauthier firings, but it's still big news when it happens.
Danny Kristo, his collegiate career now over, the North Dakota team he played on for four years having recently been eliminated in its quest for the Frozen four, has finally signed his entry-level deal with the team.
There was a lot of angst over whether the team would ever see this young man in the bleu-blanc-rouge, especially with Justin Schultz's refusal last summer to sign with the Anaheim Ducks and declare free agency instead. We can finally put this to rest, and actually see what all the fuss was about, whether he's all we cracked him up to be.
While some grouse that we already have small skilled forwards, maybe too many of them, it's important to remember that Mr. Kristo has decent size at 5'11" and 190 lbs. As far as his skill is concerned, it fits in with the new system of the team, in that he can really skate. The fact that he has good hands and can finish plays is not to be sneered at, since as a team we tend to have more playmakers than finishers, although that has been alleviated lately with the acquisition of Michael Ryder, and the return of René Bourque will help the cause further.
Most importantly, as the team tries to find players on the waiver wire and tried right up to the deadline to make a trade happen, it's a big plus to add an asset to the team for free. It's kind of weird to characterize it that way, in that the player's rights belonged to us since we drafted him, so he was already ours, but in essence that's what is happening. We're getting a player who'll jump to the Bulldogs immediately, and can be recalled to the Grand Club in short order, being more mature at 22 than the usual AHL rookie and most Bulldogs likely to be recalled currently on the roster.
It's great to see a puzzle that we have been imagining for the last few seasons starting to take shape, with this contract signing, the play of Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, the flowering of Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban and Carey Price, and the auditions of Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi, and Nathan Beaulieu. The fact that the team didn't flip a whole lot of picks and prospects for players on the downslope of their career solidifies the dream that this team is finally headed in the right direction and will be built to last, for the long haul, as opposed to heaving up a Hail Mary every couple of seasons.