Tomas Plekanec has already signed to play for his hometown Czech Extraliga team in Kladno. Max Pacioretty and Raphael Diaz will play in Zug Switzerland and Yannick Weber with Geneva. Others will be following as the more athletically attractive members of the Canadiens ride out the NHL lockout mostly in Europe.
Plekanec was playing for Hamilton and unaffected when the NHL enforced the 2004-2005 lockout. In eighty games with the Bulldogs that season he scored 29-35=64pts and became a regular member of the Canadiens the following season. He is the only member of that Hamilton Bulldogs team still remaining in the Habs organiization.
Seven current members of the Canadiens were affected as the entire season was wiped out. Two of them, Brian Gionta and Travis Moen were sent back to their club’s AHL francises. The Devils shipped Gionta to the Albany River Rats where he scored 5 goals and 12 points in 15 games. Moen was shipped to Manchester by Chicago where he played 79 games, scoring 8 goals and 12 assists. Scott Gomez spent his winter in his hometown of Anchorage playing for the ECHL’s Alaska Aces scoring 13 goals and 73 assists in 61 games.
The other five went to Europe.
Francis Bouillon played in Leksand Sweden. (21GP 6-12 18pts)
Erik Cole – Berlin Eisbaeren – Deutsche Elite Liga (39GP 6-21 27pts)
Tomas Kaberle – Kladno, Czech Extraliga (49GP 8-31 39pts)
Andrei Markov – Dynamo Moscow (42GP 8-12 20pts)
……….Including Bouillon and Markov, fourteen members of the 2004 Canadiens played in Europe; – Alexei Kovalev went to Kazan Russia, Craig Rivet, Mike Ribeiro and Saku Koivu played in Finland; Michael Ryder, Sheldon Souray, Andreas Dackell and Jose Theodore found jobs in Sweden; Richard Zednik went to Slovakia and Jan Bulis to the Czech Republic; Niklas Sundstrom and Stephane Quintal played games in Italy. The NHL careers of both Joe Juneau and Donald Audette came to an end with the lockout.