Canadiens Continue Rebuilding, Sign Andreas Engqvist


Jul 13, 2009

The end
of the 2008-09 season brought some serious unrest to Montreal — and not
just because the Canadiens were swept out of the playoffs at the hands
of one of their biggest rivals. Change seemed to be in the air, and as
the first winds of free agency swept through the land, change came with

A lot of it wasn’t good.

First, five-year Canadiens veteran Alexei Kovalev
who led the team in both goals and points last season — ditched
Montreal to sign a two-year, $10 million deal with the rival Senators.
Apparently, fan demonstrations outside the Bell Centre weren’t enough to keep the winger in town.

Then, Steve Begin signed with Boston (They really stress loyalty in Montreal, don’t they?). Bob Gainey shipped Chris Higgins off to New York in exchange for center Scott Gomez.

To compensate for their losses, the Canadiens signed a slew of players: forwards Mike Cammalleri, Travis Moen and Brian Gionta, defensemen Jaroslav Spacek, Paul Mara and Hal Gill.

Now, they can add another name to list — although almost nobody will be familiar with it.

The Montreal Gazette reports that the Canadiens came to terms with Swedish forward Andreas Engqvist,
a 21-year-old invitee to the team’s development camp. No, he wasn’t one
of the top 40 prospects who took part in the camp; no, he probably
won’t cause any fan demonstrations outside the team arena anytime soon.
But it’s a start for a team that seems to be on the warpath toward
rebuilding after only a couple weeks of free agency.

Engqvist, a 6-foot-3, 196-pounder, registered nine goals and seven
assists in 31 games with the Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Elite League
last season before missing the final 24 games with a wrist injury. In
126 total games in the Swedish Elite League, he has notched 15 goals
and 17 assists.

A start. The Bruins shouldn’t be shaking in their boots yet, but it’s a start.

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