Will he stay or will he go?

Now that the Canadiens' season is officially over, and the Habs are staring at an enormous amount of free agents (and a team with lots of needs), off-season moves are being discussed ad nauseam. Mathieu is one of the 10 unrestricted free agents.

Here are some "he will go" thoughts:
"Montreal GM Bob Gainey is expected to try and re-sign just three of the 10 UFAs. Saku Koivu, Alex Tanguay and Mike Komisarek sit atop the Habs' list of players they want to bring back next season, which means Alex Kovalev, Robert Lang, Mathieu Schneider, Patrice Brisebois, Tom Kostopoulos, Mathieu Dandenault and Francis Bouillon aren't likely to return." (from The Fourth Period)
Reasons Montreal may not resign Mathieu include, but may not be limited to:
  • age: if you haven't heard already *insert eyeroll here*, he'll be 40 this summer

  • injury: surgery is still mentioned as something he may undergo this summer

  • cost: he's got a HUGE contract; no way Montreal will be in any position to offer anything close to what he's got now

Reasons Mathieu may not resign with Montreal include, but may not be limited to:
  • huge pay cut: personally, I think he's going to have to accept a giant cut to sign anywhere, but Montreal may be requiring a bigger cut than others may offer.

  • more mentoring: Mathieu has been mentioned as a key mentor for youngster Yannick Weber. Not a bad thing, as he enjoyed that role with youngster Zach Bogosian in Atlanta. But he also wants to, and is capable, of playing himself. His stats in Atlanta were atrocious for him and he's capable of better if he's allowed to play.

  • the family: His and Shannon's kids are getting older (and almost all school aged) and they are all very tired of moving. California is home, and Montreal is very far from the Golden State.

  • it's Montreal: that team has so much drama going on right now.

Here are some "he will stay" thoughts:
"Even though Schneider was brought in as a rental player, the Canadiens might consider keeping him if the price is right, especially if they lose Komisarek and another defenseman or two." (from Kevin Allen / USA Today)

Reasons Montreal may resign Mathieu include, but may not be limited to:
  • more mentoring: Yannick Weber is going to need to veteran help.

  • down a defenseman or two: if Komisarek does go, they'll be down at least one D. Weber is ready to come up, but he's a newbie.

  • good power play: Um, if you didn't notice, Mathieu was quite successful at helping the Montreal power play, which struggled since they lost Mark Streit.

  • he's still good: Again, his numbers with Montreal were on pace to best his previous seasons. His offense is still there. Montreal could use all the offense they can get.

Reasons Mathieu may resign with Montreal include, but may not be limited to:
  • more mentoring: He liked working with Zach Bogosian, and has mentioned that it means a lot to him to help the younger players break in.

  • he knows his role: He's a special teams player, and he is able to do that with Montreal. He knows the system (and plays well in it).

  • he likes Montreal: Despite being a pressure cooker, he's been in it before, and I think he's personally able tune most of the media craziness out. If anything, he, too, has got to be tired of moving.

These are all my opinions, taken from media reports and what I have long known about decisions Mathieu has made in regards to where he has played. I could be totally off on all of it. I guess we will see sometime this summer what happens...

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