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Everything posted by Noob616

  1. Ouch. Skinner traded to Buffalo for Cliff Pu, 2019 2nd, 2020 3rd + 6th. Doesn't bode well for the Pacioretty return.
  2. I don't think so to be honest. He isn't getting 9M (that Kucherov 9.5M comparable creates a hard upper limit IMO) but he's easily worth somewhere around 8M and I wouldn't think twice about overpaying a guy like that an extra 1M. Guys like Plekanec or Brian Boyle or Andrew Shaw get an extra 1M on their contracts more than they're worth and nobody bats an eye, but an extra 1M for a star player becomes a big controversy. I think he's probably fair value around 7.5-8.5M, but if the Habs signed him at 9M for 7 years I'd be thrilled. Kucherov, Kane, Wheeler, and Tarasenko in that order are probably the only RWs that are definitely better. Since his rookie year in 2014-15, he's 28th among forwards in points, 17th in even strength points (7th in P and 5th in EV P among RWs), and is probably the best defensive winger in the game. He also had those 62 points in only 58 games last year on an absolute garbage fire of a Senators teams. He's easily a first line scorer, and is somewhere in the top 5-7 RWs in scoring while being a Selke level defensive player and possession force.
  3. I won't hate it if they do but I'd rather they don't. I can see the logic with Weber's injury and wanting to have a veteran guy to take tough minutes and soak up some of the garbage time on a bad team, but I agree with the others that I'd rather just roll with a rotation of Reilly or Valiev or whoever.
  4. If they reportedly weren't willing to move Heiskanen for Karlsson we definitely aren't getting him for Karlsson.
  5. I don't think it's about money so much as lifestyle/amenities. He played in Saint Petersburg and Chicago, two major world class cities with anything a 25 year old millionaire could ever want. Now he plays in Columbus which is apparently a nice city to live in but it's not exactly Saint Petersburg or Chicago. If that's the criteria I think the Habs would at least have a decent chance of selling him on Montreal. It's not New York or LA but Montreal has probably the best nightlife of any NHL city and its restaurant/culture/things to spend millions of dollars on scene stacks up to (or beats) pretty much every other NHL city besides New York and LA. I know it's misleading because it ignores the metro area but Montreal proper is still the 8th largest city in North America, and the metro area population is 4M. Again, that's not New York or LA, but it's comparable to Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, and Miami for metro population so unless you're going to LA, New York, or Dallas then Montreal is a comparably sized city to the other big NHL markets.
  6. I like Haula and I think he's a good player but he's not in Pacioretty or Gallagher's class of player. I'd hope to get far more for trading either and have little interest in trading Gallagher because I think he'd be undervalued in a trade (I think Gallagher is perceived as a better version of Shaw and I think he's a legitimate 1st line RW probably somewhere around rank 15-20 among RWs), and Gallagher would be a big overpayment for Haula IMO. The Habs are relatively deep on the wing but Pacioretty and Gallagher are the only genuine 1st line wingers on the team and they're too good to trade for another tweener mediocre 2C/high end 3C. It's one thing if you're losing a bit of value to get O'Reilly back but Haula isn't enough for one of the two best forwards on the Habs, and I don't think it makes much sense to trade for a guy like Haula at his age. If he were a UFA I'd be fine to overpay to sign him as a stopgap and a useful middle-six player but trading for him is a stretch for me.
  7. Yeah I find that a really strange thing about sports/sports culture. I get that they travel a lot and spend more time with teammates than people with normal jobs would with coworkers but it just makes hockey players sound like such babies that can't handle working with someone they don't get along with. If someone is being abusive and screaming at teammates all the time that's one thing, but it seems like "character issues" goes well beyond genuine character issues and is more about enforcing arbitrary cultural norms and over the top performative anger at mistakes and losses.
  8. I'm still wondering about Arizona, it doesn't make as much sense because they'd have to sign Pacioretty to a real contract and pay him real dollars but something just makes me think Dylan Strome might be more available than we think after they went way off the board for Hayton. Strome's not the best skater and he's not on track to be an elite 1C anymore but he demolished the AHL and would instantly be the Habs best center.
  9. Difference to me is Sergachev was a #9 pick and a highly touted prospect who was very likely to make the NHL and become a good player in a position of need, but a San Jose (or FLA/LA/STL/PIT is at best going to be a late teens pick which is fine but nothing special. I'm not even being negative about the Habs drafting record, more just the actual draft position itself. Scherbak, Juulsen, Poehling, and Beaulieu (and Rychel for that matter) were all perfectly fine draft picks, and McCarron is the only one that was bad based on what we knew at the time. It's just such a dice roll and I'd rather at least get someone I know is an NHLer like Meier than roll the dice on another pick in the 20s. Of course I would rather get VIlardi /Borgstrom/Thomas or a 1st from a bad team (Islanders?) but by the sounds of it the market isn't really that high on Pacioretty for whatever reason and Meier might be the best player available. It's hard to say since we don't know what's being said but if the choice is between a trade package built around Meier or one built around a late 1st or a player like Bjugstad then you could do a lot worse than Meier I think. Trading a known likely top 4 D at worst for a 2RW to play at C was bad. Trading Pacioretty for a 21-year-old known middle six winger with upside is fine if the alternative is (or at least seems to be) mediocre-to-decent older centers like Bjugstad, Anisimov, or a 20th+ 1st round pick. I also think the Habs can't really be choosers when it comes to young talent. if Pacioretty gets moved for a D or C prospect then suddenly the LW depth is Domi and Lehkonen, Meier starts to look pretty nice there, especially since the RW depth is thin after Gallagher and adding Meier means you can move Lehkonen to RW. The Habs also are only comparatively deep at LW because of Pacioretty, move him and Domi/Byron/Lehkonen/Hudon is fine LW depth but nothing spectacular and there's not much in the prospect pool at LW.
  10. Meier is more valuable than a San Jose 1st IMO (I actually don't think they have their 2019 1st after signing Kane), Meier is 21 and already a proven middle six NHLer and San Jose's 1st rounder (especially if they add Pacioretty) will likely be somewhere in the 20s. The odds of getting a Timo Meier at that spot is pretty low. For example, I'd trade Juulsen, McCarron, Beaulieu, or Scherbak for Meier in a heartbeat. Granted I don't think it has much of a chance of happening, I don't think the Sharks would include Meier and I think Bergevin would be nervous to move Pacioretty without getting a center back after moving Subban, Sergachev, and Galchenyuk and still not getting a center back. Although Ducharme coached Meier in Halifax so maybe there's something there, but I just don't see San Jose moving one of their handful of young players.
  11. Maurice Richard is such a transcendent figure in Habs history largely because of the political connotations of his perseverance and dominance in a league and country that marginalised people like him. People who deeply identify with the Habs as representative of themselves and as a source of local pride are absolutely real fans even if they're not fans the same way as you.
  12. Yeah I agree, without Weber for likely 2-3 months it's hard to imagine a realistic scenario where this team makes the playoffs. The Leafs, Lightning, and Bruins are locked in as the top 3 in the Atlantic and the Panthers are a tier above the rest of the division as well. The Metro division is deep enough that you have to expect at least one of the wild card slots is from that division. I just have a hard time seeing the Habs finishing above the Panthers/Devils/Avalanche/Blue Jackets/Flyers/Hurricanes/Panthers. They could easily finish 5th in the Atlantic ahead of Buffalo, Detroit, and Ottawa, but I'm skeptical that would be enough to get a wild card spot. Price would need to have a Hart trophy level season and basically be as good for the Habs as Taylor Hall was for the Devils. It's certainly possible but that's asking quite a lot of a goalie who's already on the back nine, struggled last season, and is playing behind a porous defense. Up front, the Habs will struggle to score goals without Galchenyuk and Pacioretty and I don't think they can replace those guys by committee. Shaw and Byron out to start the season hurts a lot too, there's an argument that Byron is the 3rd most effective winger on the team after Pacioretty and Gallagher and he's not a trivial player to replace with how versatile he is. For the first two months of the year it's basically the same roster with Weber, Byron, Shaw, Galchenyuk, and Pacioretty out, and Domi, Armia, and a couple depth guys in. I think they'll just lose too much ground in those first two months unless Price single-handedly drags the team along until Weber/Shaw/Byron come back. If they manage to stay in the mix until those guys get back they have a shot at sneaking in but that's a really tall ask and I don't think it's realistic.
  13. I think under Bergevin there's definitely been a lot of bad management/staff choices but I don't think that's a language thing so much as cronyism and a "foxhole"/old boys club thing. We're not privy to all the information but from what we know it sounds like Vaughn Karpan and Rick Dudley had a lot of sway within the Habs front office, and now the AGMs are Timmins and Mellanby, and Timmins has held the 3rd most impactful (and arguably now 2nd most) position with the Habs for 15 years. They have two Francophone scouts for the QMJHL, and the rest of their scouts are local to the leagues/regions/European countries they're assigned to. The only positions where there seems to be a strict insistence on Francophones is coach and GM and the Habs My position isn't that Bergevin and Therrien are good and the Habs made smart management hires overall, but that the bad management decisions aren't a language issue and most of their management outside of MB aren't Francophones to begin with. I dunno, do we? Just looking at the past 20 years, Julien and Vigneault are consensus high-end coaches. I could buy an argument they're both a bit behind the game now in 2018. Martin was a good coach IMO, Carbonneau was OK, and Therrien was bad. Let's stick with the Babcock comparison, let's say Babcock is better than Julien. Are Ron WIlson and Paul Maurice better than Vigneault and Carbonneau? Is Carlyle better than Therrien? Is Pat Quinn better than Julien or Vigneault? I don't think I'd take that list of Leafs coaches over the Habs last 20 years of coaches. Stephane Waite is considered one of the best in his role, Ducharme and Bouchard were two of the top junior coaches this year, Julien is widely considered a top 5 coach, and for what's it's worth I think Bergevin was actually pretty solid and definitely above average until June 2016. Other than Carbonneau every Habs coach has gone on to have success with other NHL teams as well, and it's not as if they just plucked Carbonneau out of retirement to coach the Habs either. I agree that there's a risk with having to hire a Therrien because there's no successor available, and to the Habs credit they've brought in Bouchard and Ducharme who both have established themselves as top end junior coaches and are both potential successors as head coach in 3-5 years when the Habs want to move on from Julien. I assume they intended Boucher to be Martin's successor, but unfortunately, he got a head coaching offer in Tampa and obviously accepted it. Ducharme and Bouchard are encouraging hires, and I hope the rumours of the Habs buying an ECHL team to move it to Trois Rivieres are true, because an ECHL-AHL-NHL pipeline should be used to develop multiple coaching and management talents to ensure there are multiple potential successors to take on key roles for the Habs. I guess overall I just find it frustrating that the French language stuff is such a sticking point when hockey is such an insular old boys' club to begin with, and the French coaching and GM hires at least ensures the Habs are staying out of that pool of "Hockey Men". I am just highly skeptical that the best 31 NHL GM's in the world just happens to include 31 men, 30 North Americans, 17 former NHL players, and a dozen guys with famous hockey dads. The only real outsiders are probably Dubas and Chayka, and I guess you could say Lamoriello was an outsider when he first started but he's now an institution. It just seems really disingenuous to me to focus on the Habs hiring a French-speaking coach and GM as a huge problem while Rob Blake, Don Sweeney, Ron Hextall, Doug Wilson, and Steve Yzerman (and that's just off the top of my head) all got their start as GMs or AGMs for the teams they played for.
  14. Taking a stab at it assuming Pacioretty is moved, it's hard to know what he gets traded for. If we aim low and assume it's for something underwhelming like Bjugstad or whatever then I think Drouin moves to RW and they shift all the RWs down the lineup. Domi - Drouin - Gallagher Lehkonen - Danault - Scherbak Hudon - Plekanec - Armia Rychel - Peca - McCarron Reilly - Petry Mete - Benn Alzner - Juulsen Price/Niemi Healthy Scratches: Ouellet, Deslauriers, Valiev IR: Shaw, Byron, Weber Waived: Schlemko, Chaput, Agostino, Taormina, Froese. I'm not really worried. Honestly I kinda expect McCarron to be traded to avoid losing him on waivers but after that Valiev is probably the only guy I'd be even remotely concerned about losing (Rychel too but I think he makes the team). Otherwise Taormina/Chaput/Agostino etc. are all career AHLers and every team has a handful of guys like this.
  15. I'm just not that convinced that the pool of competent coaches is so small that the Francophone thing is inherently an issue. Obviously if the Habs only signed Francophone players it would be nearly impossible to be competitive, but Claude Julien stacks up against the best coaches in the league, and Guy Boucher is a competent middle of the road coach who's comparable to what most teams with average coaching have. As much as people ragged on Jacques Martin he is a very good coach as well, and he immediately figured out what kind of player PK Subban was and used him as a top pair guy. Alain Vigneault too, I think he's lost some of his lustre lately but he's still a very good coach who got 100 point seasons of out old and mediocre Rangers teams. What I think is the Habs need to commit to using development leagues as a pipeline for coaches instead of hiring guys like Sylvain Lefebvre who have little shot at becoming NHL coaches. Guy Boucher is one example, although I don't blame them for not replacing Martin with him in 2010. To their credit they seem to be on this path now, they've hired Ducharme as an assistant and Bouchard as the AHL coach, and there's rumblings they're going to buy an ECHL team and move it to Trois Rivieres in the next couple seasons and presumably they'd be looking for coaches out of the QMJHL for that team as well. There needs to be succession plans in place and it's pretty obvious that's the intention with Ducharme and/or Bouchard. The players in totality but not as individuals, and they're also usually asked much less important questions. The coach is a singular figure that effectively functions as a club spokesperson for the most important company in Quebec. I do not believe translating is enough in that situation. If the Habs' sole jurisdiction was Montreal I'd agree but the team is followed by (and arguably representative of) people from the whole province and outside of Montreal it's a small portion of people who speak English, and in my opinion it's important the coach in that role speaks French. They don't need to be Quebecois but I think the language is important. Julien is from Ottawa, Bowman was an Anglo-Montealer, Bob Hartley is a Francophone, French media has been pining for Giroux and Toews as Francophone stars, etc. For me the difference is it would be virtually impossible to have a predominantly Francophone team and be successful, but I'm not convinced the marginal value between Claude Julien and Mike Babcock or the marginal difference between Julien Brisebois and Jason Botterill or whoever is an issue. Especially when these days team front offices are so much more collaborative with specialist scouts in each region and player development coaches etc etc, the person with the "GM" title doesn't even necessarily need to be the person pulling the strings. In principle, I agree with you but it's very easy for me to say that because I could follow any of 30 NHL teams, MLB teams, NBA teams, NFL teams, or basically any other sports team in Canada and have a coach that's generally representative of me. It wouldn't bother me because it isn't political for me as an Anglophone Canadian to have a Russian speaking coach of the Habs since it's not representative of anything other than a hockey team. I know that as a white Anglophone Canadian with a very weak regional Maritimes accent my language or speech will basically never be a hindrance to anything in my professional career. If I were a Francophone in Val d'Or I don't know that losing probably the most notable Francophone public figure outside of Trudeau/Macron would be something I'd just brush off. I agree, I imagine most Habs fans would get over it if the team was winning cups with Mikhail Babkov from St. Petersburg as head coach, but I don't think translating press conferences and interviews is ideal. I watch a lot of the press conferences and the translations tend to lack a lot of the nuance that comes first in the French parts, even for someone like Julien who is as comfortable in French and English. For Bergevin who's not as comfortable in English a lot of stuff gets lost in translation. Sports are political. They're always political, always have been, and always will be deeply political. Some of the most memorable moments in Habs history are Richard's suspension, Patrick Roy leading an underdog to a cup, and dynasties full of Francophone superstars in a country that did its best to suppress and marginalize Francophones. The most famous hockey memories overall too, Miracle on Ice, 1972, 2010 Olympics, Those games and Habs moments all took on deeper importance due to political implications. When Habs fans booed the American anthem after overworked US pilots on amphetamines bombed Canadian soldiers in a deeply unpopular war (and when the US was about to start another ghoulish war) that was political. When Bruins fans chanted "USA" at the Habs because their Bergeron and Julien led Bruins were beating the Habs with more American players, that was political. The Habs hiring a Francophone coach and GM is political too, and I have no problem with someone disagreeing with the decision, but I personally agree with it and think it's overblown as an issue. I just don't think it's fair to brush it off as "politics' because the whole institution of professional sports and hockey has always been deeply political and always will be. The easy counter-argument to my position is that FC Barcelona doesn't have a Catalan coach, and Catalonia is a roughly analogous minority within Spain, and arguably the issues run even deeper considering the Spanish civil war, yet their coach is from the other side of Spain and doesn't speak Catalan. It's not quite the same because Spanish and Catalan are so similar, but in terms of the politics Catalonia and Quebec are very similar regional identities within a larger nation with concerning histories of mistreating them. That's probably proof of concept that the Habs could hire a non-Francophone coach and be fine, but I guess I'd split hairs with the language because 99% of people in Barcelona would also speak Spanish while English is a wholly different language that isn't mutually intelligible. I guess agree to disagree then. I don't believe the language thing is a stupid issue, nor do I think it's holding the team back. You could make the same argument about the Leafs and "Good Ontario Boys". They have Brown, Hyman, Kadri, Leivo, Marner, and Tavares as "Good Ontario Boys" and they're generally all well liked by fans. You could make the same argument about them having half their forward group from Ontario when proportionally it should be 3/12 or something, and how that wouldn't be smart because of how thin the NHL talent pool is. (Granted, I think many Leafs/Doug Ford fans wouldn't consider Kadri a "Good Ontario Boy", it's pretty obviously a dog whistle that applies to "John Tavares" and not "Nazem Kadri" for obvious reasons). But of course it isn't an issue, the issue with "Good Ontario Boys" is when they're David Clarkson or Dave Bolland, not Tavares or Marner. Same as how the Francophone stuff is an issue if it's Briere or Therrien, not Hudon or Ducharme. There's also an argument to be made that the Habs could do better by hiring Francophones because they're generally outside the old boys club and cronyism of Hockey Canada and the general "hockey men" community which tends to heavily skew Anglophone. Therrien is a counter to that but I think looking at guys like Vigneault, Julien, and Boucher who got their start with the Habs and went on to coach two of the biggest American franchises and an up and coming Tampa Bay team is perhaps an argument in favour of it. I guess I just look at Burns, Demers, Laperriere, Tremblay, Vigneault, Therrien, Julien, Gainey, Carbonneau, Martin, Therrien, Julien, and likely later Ducharme/Bouchard and have a hard time seeing that as a notably bad record compared to other teams. That's four very good coaches in that record plus Boucher who came through the Habs organization and has established himself as a godo coach. Is that list different than most other teams? I dunno.
  16. It's certainly possible but not sure why you'd believe that right now. When Poehling was Kotkaniemi's age he had 13 points in 35 games in college. Kotkaniemi just had 29 points in 57 games in a high-end professional league. Poehling had a big jump in his draft + 1 season but that's still only 31 points in college which is far less impressive than 29P in the 4th best pro league in the world even without considering age. I like Poehling a lot but he's not in the same class of prospect as Kotkaniemi IMO.
  17. The Habs are going to have a French-speaking coach and GM. That's all there is to it. It's not even "politics" (even though I believe the "politics" of representation for French Canadians in one of the few big French-Canadian institutions in a highly Anglophone Canadian business climate is more important than a sports team's success (and I also don't believe it's hampering the team)). It's just business, the Habs have by far the biggest francophone fanbase of any hockey team in the world and it is important the coach and GM be able to function in a fan/media relations capacity as well. Hiring Claude Julien, or Dominique Ducharme, or Stephane Waite, or hypothetically Julien Brisebois isn't the problem, it's hiring Michel Therrien and (not firing) Marc Bergevin and JJ Daigneault. Hiring a non-Francophone management team is not going to be some panacea for all the Habs' problems. Do we believe that if the Habs got anglophone management it would be Mike Babcock and Stan Bowman? We'd get Randy Carlyle and Jim Benning. The problem is the Habs have the Francophone versions of those two, not that MB and Julien are Francophones. The common refrain is "what about Scotty Bowman?" Yeah, Scotty Bowman from Verdun who speaks fluent French.
  18. Yeah that was my intention for the thread but I think for a lot of people it's impossible to separate the two. I guess you could argue that the only reason MB has had to make generally good decisions of firing coaches and replacing with a new staff and drafting well with a #3 pick are because of his past mistakes, but I kinda intended the thread to just be about the last 8-12 months or so.
  19. It is pretty funny that the Habs are now doing a rebuild 2 years after a massive "win now" trade lmao. I voted B just in the context of the last year, only move I really dislike is Domi for Galchenyuk and I honestly don't know if it was a net negative as a trade. I think the Habs stumbled into a good trade for the wrong reasons (I highly doubt the rationale was based on Domi's substantially better possession game over Galchenyuk's). After that I like most of the coaching and draft decisions and some of the dice rolls on free agents. I guess I can understand why people still don't credit that because they're too late, but at least the team is moving in a reasonable direction now and I'm just glad to finally have some decent prospect depth. If I were voting for the whole tenure it's an easy D, squandered the primes of Subban/Price/Pacioretty and Petry was the only net addition to the core going into season 7. Only saved from an F because so far every mistake made is more or less salvageable and the next GM will have more or less a clean slate and now a solid prospect pool and young forward core to start from. This could have easily gone south with a big Bozak contract and trading 1sts for O'Reilly or something.
  20. Yeah I'm happy with Kotkaniemi. I think he's a really strong prospect and it wasn't a big reach to take him over Zadina. If it were me drafting I probably would have just taken Zadina instead but I don't think I can fault them for taking Kotkaniemi. 29P in the Finnish league at 17 years old is really impressive and if Kotkaniemi ends up being 90% as talented as Zadina while playing a more possession driving and playmaking game at center we'll be pretty happy. It's a gamble and we'll see if it pays off but I have a hard time second-guessing the decision. Kotkaniemi is an excellent prospect and he's not another Lars Eller. Kotkaniemi scored as much at age 17 as Eller did at 20.
  21. Scherbak is the only player I care about in that list and I'm pretty confident he makes the team. Evans is a good prospect but he's waiver exempt and he should be starting in Laval (and again, if he is actually an NHL level center from day 1 they will shift Drouin to the wing). McCarron/DLR/Rychel are fine but failed former high pick redemption projects are a dime a dozen, and if they can't beat out Peca or Deslauriers for a roster spot then it's time to move on. Audette is organizational depth and probably well into the 20s on the forward depth chart. Froese, Agostino, and Chaput are all older than Peca and as old as Deslauriers! Despite consecutive coaches known to be demanding of young players with reputations of favouring crotchety veterans, both Hudon and Lehkonen took roster spots from veterans last year and made their mark in the NHL, and that's without the opportunity and benefit of the doubt that high picks like McCarron/DLR/Rychel get. Mete won the job of being Weber's D partner out of camp as a teenager. Philip Danault played his way onto the Habs first line from age 23-25. Armia carved out a strong two-way role on one of the deepest teams in the league. Gallagher was a first line forward from age 20. Juulsen is probably in the top 6 this year at 21. Scherbak has likely secured himself a spot at 21. At some point these players have to actually show something at the AHL level, let alone in the NHL. I agree that he's taking a roster spot but that's fine. I'm totally 100% comfortable with using a roster spot on Tomas Plekanec instead of one of any interchangeable replacement level players in Laval. Plekanec isn't what he once was but he's still an NHL level player and is probably the Habs 2nd best overall center. They don't need to cut Plekanec if he gets outplayed, if Evans outplays him they'll make Evans the 2C and put Drouin on his wing and cut one of the 4th liners. Hudon and Lehkonen also seemed to get a lot out of playing with Plekanec on tough minutes shutdown lines, and if anything I think he's helpful in sheltering those players so they're not adjusting to both NHL play and tough minutes at the same time. I mean they've kinda been vindicated on Tinordi which is kinda what I'm getting at here. IMO it's more akin to signing Bouillion (a serviceable bottom pair NHL defenseman) to play over Dalton Thrower or Matt Taormina or Eric Gelinas or Simon Bourque or Darren Dietz or Morgan Ellis. I remember we were all mad about the Habs not giving Dietz or Ellis a shot and they're playing in Europe now after washing out of two or three NHL organizations. The Habs don't have a forward equivalent to Beaulieu or Pateryn in the AHL right now and I think they have a lot of Tinordis who are replacement level players at best, along with a lot of very solid forward prospects that are still raw and need experience in development leagues. At some point you need to ice an NHL lineup. We pretty much know these guys are replacement level, and if I'm wrong about that it means Deslauriers gets cut and not Plekanec. We saw how DLR and McCarron handled relatively soft minutes at age 20, 21, and 22, and each time they got torched and lost their spots to Mitchell/Froese/Deslauriers/Carr etc. I would be livid if the Habs went out and signed Roussel or Beagle like the Canucks to long term big money deals, but 1 year for a Habs legend to play 3C and soak up tough matchups and fetch another 2nd at the deadline is not a problem at all.
  22. Like who? Scherbak will get a spot, and Hudon/Lehkonen are locks. Rychel and DLR will have every opportunity to win the 4LW spot from Deslauriers, and given Shaw's injury history there will surely be a shot for McCarron at some point at 4RW. If DLR and McCarron can't beat out career AHLers like Matthew Peca and Byron Froese to win a 4C job on the 3rd worst team in the league at 23 years old with lots of pro experience then it's time to move on. After that the Habs have a ton of raw prospects with no North American pro experience, and even if one of them exceeds expectations they'll just move Drouin to the wing and run Danault-XXX-Plekanec-Peca. I just can't get behind the idea the Habs are blocking their young forwards with veterans. Last year they ran Pacioretty, Plekanec, and Byron and then 9 forwards age 26 and under. This year it's going to be Byron and Plekanec and then every other forward will be 27 and under and there's always injuries. They were great with young players last year, Lehkonen and Hudon had very long stretches with little production and they got a long leash and kept getting regular top 9 ice time, and Scherbak got a long look at the NHL level despite little production as well.
  23. Yeah there's no doubt in my mind he took less money, I'm sure other teams offered 12M or more over the same term (and the Islanders would have offered 8 years which is inherently more money). I'm not really talking about Tavares specifically because it's obvious that Toronto itself is a factor since it's his hometown, but I think if the Habs had a young core like Matthews, Marner, Rielly, and Nylander they would have been in the discussion and had a good chance at signing him, or down the line maybe a player like Pierre-Luc Dubois or (far future) Alexis Lafrenière, or looking ahead to next year maybe Panarin or something. That's why Alzner signed here and left money on the table, in his perception he saw the Habs win the Atlantic division with Weber and Price as key players, a well regarded defensive coach, and figured he would perfectly fill the gap at LD and could play with Weber and help the team be competitive. He turned out to be wrong because the Habs let Markov and Radulov walk, didn't replace them, downgraded overall, and Price/Weber had nightmare seasons, but the reason he chose Montreal was that he thought he could play a core role on a great team and help push them over the edge to be a true contender.
  24. Yikes. I'm sure he'll be fine going forward though, NHL defensemen in their mid-30s are well known for easily recovering from two major surgeries in a row.
  25. I hope Tavares going to the Leafs means we can finally stop crying about taxes. Tax rates in Toronto/Ottawa are only a fraction of a percent lower than Montreal and they managed to get the biggest UFA signing since Chara. The Habs have a good record of getting solid players as UFAs, no truly elite players but IMO in recent years Chara, Hossa, and now Tavares are the only truly elite UFA signings. Niedermayer I guess but that was a unique situation with his brother. Spacek, Gill, Prust, and Moen were all solid depth players who came here, Cole, Petry, Cammalleri, and Gionta were good top 4 D/top 6 F players that signed in Montreal, and Kovalev, Radulov are/were both strong first line (and borderline elite) forwards, and none of those signings were really big overpayments besides maybe Prust. Not to mention how many European UFAs they've signed, Radulov, Sekac, Jerabek, the two Czech defensemen this year, and apparently they were in on Shipachyov but got outbid. Outside of the language stuff (which I don't think is a huge deals for millionaires in a city with a large Anglo community), all the negatives about Montreal also apply to Toronto. The weather is nearly as bad, the fans are just as ravenous, the media is just as bad or possibly worse, and the taxes are close enough that Toronto real estate prices would eat up any tax savings over Montreal. Even Alzner, it was a bad signing and I thought it was a mistake from day 1, but Alzner was easily the 2nd most in-demand UFA defenseman in 2017 after Shattenkirk. He shouldn't have been, but the fact remains that Alzner is the archetypical gritty DFD that GMs overvalue and I'm sure lots of GMs on July 1st, 2017, thought Bergevin snagged a big prize by signing him, and I bet Alzner had similar offers to what the Habs gave him. Don't forget that players on Canadian teams are paid in USD but pay their living costs in CAD, that makes the money go a long way (eg. Price's 13M signing bonus is 17M $CAD). The Rangers, Kings, Sharks, and Ducks have high taxes as well, and they all have insane real estate markets but they have no trouble attracting UFAs. Right now the Habs suck and will have to be content with the Xavier Ouellets and Matthew Pecas of the world, but if they rebuild this team properly I see no reason the Habs shouldn't be able to get marquee UFAs in the future considering they were very successful in free agency until recently. We can't forget that this is still Montreal we're talking about here, and that counts for a lot more than just the Canadiens themselves. I feel bad for the Jets having some of the highest taxes in the league in likely the single least attractive NHL city, but Montreal is one of the coolest cities in North America with some of the best nightlife of any NHL city and one of the best food/culture/entertainment/restaurant scenes that's only clearly beat by New York and LA.
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