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Thomas Vanek


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He sure looks like he is having fun! and getting good passes off as well as recieving them. i think he may take a good hard look at staying here.

Yep, every time we see him smile I get a little more excited at the idea that he might actually sign here long term. To be honest, I think it will have a lot to do with how we play in the playoffs. We all know how exciting a playoff run in Montreal can be - I think if we can get a few rounds in it might be enough to convince him to stick around.

Also, I just wanted to say that I've been really pleasantly surprised with Vanek's passing abilities. He's had a couple of assists lately that have just been top notch, including the pass to DD last night.

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Performances like that really do give you something to salivate over. Chippy play on Kronwall to setup Desharnais' goal. Amazing work to win the face-off and tip in from the goalmouth to restore our two goal lead in the third period. He goes to the center of the ice and creates scoring chances. That's something not a lot of our other players can do with regularity. He does it every game! If people really do believe our window is in the next 2 - 5 years, then you have to throw some $$$ at him and hope he signs here.

We can deal with the bad years of the contract when that time rolls around.

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Yep, every time we see him smile I get a little more excited at the idea that he might actually sign here long term. To be honest, I think it will have a lot to do with how we play in the playoffs. We all know how exciting a playoff run in Montreal can be - I think if we can get a few rounds in it might be enough to convince him to stick around.

Also, I just wanted to say that I've been really pleasantly surprised with Vanek's passing abilities. He's had a couple of assists lately that have just been top notch, including the pass to DD last night.

Yup, he's not going to win any defensive awards any time soon but his offensive game is very multi-dementional. Really strong on the puck (how many times do you see Kronwall get knocked down like that?), great vision and passing, can score with a shot, a deflection, or by using his hands to grind one out in front of the net.

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Honestly, it's harder and harder to not want to sign him to an 8 year offer. Maybe I'm overly optimistic about this core, but Vanek is the last piece player-wise that we need to compete for the next 5 years at a major Cup contender level IMO. That makes overpayment WAY easier to stomach.

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There is a lot of uncertainty but the biggest caveat would have to be cap projections. The organization probably has access to some HRR projections and where the cap will be, we're lucky in that between Galchenyuk, Bournival, Gallagher, Tinordi, and Beaulieu (as well as whoever else could make the team out of camp) we have a lot of productive players on ELC's. Move one of Gorges or Emelin and replace them with Tinordi/Beaulieu and that's a lot of saved cash towards Vanek.

I'm of two minds, he is a big name and a bonafide scorer the likes of which we haven't had since Kovalev, but I also don't know that he's quite at the level of where his hype is anymore. It's really hard to say, if I were in Bergevin's position I don't think I'd go higher than 5 years and could maybe have my arm twisted to 6, but I also wouldn't be upset if we got him for 7/7 or something of the like. The reality is that if his offense tails off even a bit then you're paying 7M for a guy who scores 20-25 goals and does not much else. I'd feel differently if he was a Marian Hossa who is elite at both ends of the ice.

I think I'd err on the side of caution with him but I can also see the argument that Vanek doesn't really create cap problems next year (due to all those ELC's I mentioned) and with Pacioretty, Subban, and Price in their primes and Plekanec at an age where decline is a concern then you might just want to go for it. That's the interplay, do you sign him now and risk cap problems from the coming reinforcements in Beaulieu/Tinordi/whoever, or let him walk and burn another year of Subban, Pacioretty, and Price's prime at a not quite good enough stage.

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I really don't understand why all of a sudden people think we're one piece away from being a contender. The D situation is terrible and we're locked into a number of bad contracts (Emelin, Bourque, Desharnais, Briere, Gorges). Our center situation is a state of crisis: we're feeding big minutes to a soft non-possession forward (Desharnais), while our other scoring center gets older (Plekanec) and the coach has buried Eller on the fourth line and refuses to use our supposed future franchise center at his natural position. We are one of the lowest-scoring playoff teams in the conference, in part due to a sagging power play.

Don't let our current playoff standing fool you; this is not a contending team. In the playoffs, we won't be able to pick on bottom-feeders. We'll be facing good teams with better coaches who will shut down our current first line, force us into mistakes, and exploit our vulnerabilities.

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Right now, we have a Norris-winning defenseman, and Vezina-goaltender, and elite goal scorer (two if you count Vanek), an elite 2-way center, and some wonderful young talents on D and forward with the likes of Galchenyuk, Tinordi, and Beaulieu. We have an elite level of depth. What we need to compete in a few years is two things:

1. A top-end scoring threat other than Pacioretty.

2. A decent coach.

The player personnel are there, and MT won't last. Get a good coach in here, and winning the East isn't out of the question, and I would say in 2 years our defense could be elite.

And a trademark of winning teams isn't a lack of bad contracts (with the exception of St. Louis), but being able to take advantage of cheaper ones. If we overpay for Vanek, well that happens IMO and the discount with Pacioretty makes it way easier to stomach.

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I really don't understand why all of a sudden people think we're one piece away from being a contender. The D situation is terrible and we're locked into a number of bad contracts (Emelin, Bourque, Desharnais, Briere, Gorges). Our center situation is a state of crisis: we're feeding big minutes to a soft non-possession forward (Desharnais), while our other scoring center gets older (Plekanec) and the coach has buried Eller on the fourth line and refuses to use our supposed future franchise center at his natural position. We are one of the lowest-scoring playoff teams in the conference, in part due to a sagging power play.

Don't let our current playoff standing fool you; this is not a contending team. In the playoffs, we won't be able to pick on bottom-feeders. We'll be facing good teams with better coaches who will shut down our current first line, force us into mistakes, and exploit our vulnerabilities.

Maybe I'm drinking the kool-aid but I'm a bit more optimistic about the near future. I don't honestly see the roster as being that far off, in my mind we're a top 4 D who can displace Emelin away from being a reasonable contender. I mean, just look at the difference in performance last year and early this year when we had Diaz in the #4 hole rather than Emelin, to me that's been the core of the problem even more than Murray, Emelin has just been god awful this year, and the Markov-Emelin pairing is brutal.

Markov-Subban

Beaulieu/Gorges-Top 4 RHD

Emelin-Weaver/Pateryn

Look at Chicago, is Keith-Seabrook really definitively better than Markov-Subban? I don't think so. What we're missing is an equivalent to Hjalmarsson-Oduya who take all the tough assignments, I think if you can get Gorges paired with a competent RH D you'll be fine, and the worst part is we already had the Gorges-Diaz pairing which did that. Early in the season Gorges-Diaz took the tough assignments, and Subban-Markov went out and steamrolled 3rd liners, it was hilarious.

I agree with you about the concerns up the middle but I don't necessarily think you need a "number 1" anymore. Once again, looking at Chicago, Toews was a huge part of their winning teams but he's followed up by Michael Handzus who has 14 points this year. DD-Plekanec-Eller is to my mind not really that far off from Toews-Handzus-Shaw. Of course you want an upgrade on DD but I don't think he precludes us from being successful, especially when his linemate is one of the best possession guys in the league.

To me where Vanek fits in is allowing us to take advantage of the trickle down and have one of the best top 9's in the league. I guess it's not so much that I think we're contenders, but that this core isn't going to get better without adding a Vanek. Subban, Pacioretty, and Price are as good as they're going to get, at their age they're pretty much at their peaks. I'd rather give it an honest shot and see how it shakes out than wait until we replace DD, because by that point Subban and Pacioretty are 29 and Price is 30.

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What is the likelihood of hiring a decent coach? What's more, the current coach is actively responsible for impeding the development of pretty much all our young players -- Tinordi, Beaulieu, arguably Pateryn, Eller, Galchenyuk, and Subban. So not only he is not a good coach, but he's having a negative impact on development, some of which could be irreversible damage unless he's fired soon. Which brings us back to the question: what makes anyone think that Bergevin will fire Therrien?

Additionally, nobody has addressed our issue at center. Where is the depth down the middle? Nowhere, because the only two players getting significant minutes are DD (not a long-term solution) and Plekanec (entering the downside of his career). Briere is playing at wing now. Therrien has effectively ruined Eller's confidence. Galchenyuk is still on the wing two years after we drafted him. Leblanc is a bust in all likelihood. Tell me what team makes a deep playoff run without strength at center?

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I'm looking at the roster independent of coaching because people tell me I should think more positively :P

It goes back to my earlier comment about Emelin. Management is impeding the roster, Markov-Subban/Gorges-Diaz is a better top 4 than Gorges-Subban/Markov-Emelin and I don't know how that was so hard to figure out for guys getting 6 figures to manage the team.

DD-Pleks-Eller is good enough to make some noise. Problem is as you mentioned, Eller has been neutered which means Pleks has to pull up the slack even more.

EDIT: I guess should take this to the If I were GM thread. I'll organize my thoughts there.

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What is the likelihood of hiring a decent coach? What's more, the current coach is actively responsible for impeding the development of pretty much all our young players -- Tinordi, Beaulieu, arguably Pateryn, Eller, Galchenyuk, and Subban. So not only he is not a good coach, but he's having a negative impact on development, some of which could be irreversible damage unless he's fired soon. Which brings us back to the question: what makes anyone think that Bergevin will fire Therrien?

Additionally, nobody has addressed our issue at center. Where is the depth down the middle? Nowhere, because the only two players getting significant minutes are DD (not a long-term solution) and Plekanec (entering the downside of his career). Briere is playing at wing now. Therrien has effectively ruined Eller's confidence. Galchenyuk is still on the wing two years after we drafted him. Leblanc is a bust in all likelihood. Tell me what team makes a deep playoff run without strength at center?

I'm not disagreeing with anything you're saying. But here's the way I look at it:

Good teams have good players. Vanek is a good player and fills a need, and we won't be able to compete as well without him. It's a risk, but it's one I would like to see taken.

Do we have a good coach? No.

Will we hire a good one next? Probably not.

Will all of our young talent develop properly with bad coaches behind the bench? Probably not.

Do we need to address our situation at center? Yes. Has management done it yet? Of course not. Although it's worth noting that we have the personnel to have the deepest center corps in the league save maybe Chicago.

But is it honestly realistic to expect to get a better core and roster than we have now in the modern NHL? I don't think so. I think this is as good as it gets without taking risks and going all in for the next 5 years or so. So to not sign Vanek because there are still issues is a terrible thing to do, IMO, because we can sign him and have a small chance of going far, or not sign him and have basically no chance of going far. I'll take the first one.

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I think this is as good as it gets without taking risks and going all in for the next 5 years or so. So to not sign Vanek because there are still issues is a terrible thing to do, IMO, because we can sign him and have a small chance of going far, or not sign him and have basically no chance of going far. I'll take the first one.

This is pretty much my opinion to a tee, PP. Don't get me wrong, I do understand the other point of view as well - that we're not good enough to sign a guy to a long contract that is almost surely going to hurt us in the latter years. But to the people who hold that view I ask: when will we be better?

We've got problems with our D. We've got potential problems at centre (although if DD continues to play like he has been for the latter half of this year I don't think it's actually as bad as all that, but that's beside the point). We've definitely got problems with our coaching, and probably with the rest of our management team as well. But again, at what point are most of these things realistically going to improve?

We have some young D-men coming up, but that's going to happen whether we sign Vanek or not. It's a little different at centre where we don't really have any up-and-comers in Hamilton, but the result is the same: outside of the ability to grab a centre through free agency (and overpay for him instead), the decision to let Vanek go isn't really going to affect anything here. The coaching is what it is and this signing isn't going to change that. I guess what I'm saying is that there's no real reason to think that this team will be any more ready to add a scorer in a year or two than it is right now, and if we look ahead any farther than that we start to lose players like Plekanec and maybe guys like Subban, Patches and Price.

To sum it all up, it all really boils down to my belief that this roster isn't likely going to get any better than it is now other than through the natural growth of guys already in our system or through minor changes (cutting some dead weight, minor trades and signings). There's no use waiting two years or whatever to grab the next Vanek when we're more ready, both because we will probably never be much more ready and also because there probably won't be another Vanek available. I say we've got to give him our best offer now, accept that there will be an overpayment and give it our best go over the next half decade.

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I think the complaint about DD is a little unforgiving. As a young playmaker he has meshed with Patches and now with Vanek he can use his speed and creativity. Defensively he has show he can be as responsible as any other forward on this team. Therrien wants to play a defence first system so goal scoring spread across the line-up is a bonus. Vanek is going to make it difficult to match up against our top lines.

I don't se how past or future contracts are going to impact anything we do this year and I am sure Bergevin will make the changes to make this team get better. When Weise, Moen and Prust are back we will have enough presence at forward to make Elle, Bourque or any other forward that is struggling irrelevant.. We have much better depth at all positions going into the playoffs and are going to be very tough to play against. The addition of Vanek alongside the playmaking of Desharnais and the hard nosed game of pacioretty could make this a very good line for a long time. I would like to see 5 years at 37Mil. for Vanek and hope he takes it.

We would still be able to manage all of our other big signings (ie. Markov and Subban) but may need a trade or two to make sure we have cash for others moves next year.

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Right now, we have a Norris-winning defenseman, and Vezina-goaltender, and elite goal scorer (two if you count Vanek), an elite 2-way center, and some wonderful young talents on D and forward with the likes of Galchenyuk, Tinordi, and Beaulieu. We have an elite level of depth. What we need to compete in a few years is two things:

1. A top-end scoring threat other than Pacioretty.

2. A decent coach.

The player personnel are there, and MT won't last. Get a good coach in here, and winning the East isn't out of the question, and I would say in 2 years our defense could be elite.

And a trademark of winning teams isn't a lack of bad contracts (with the exception of St. Louis), but being able to take advantage of cheaper ones. If we overpay for Vanek, well that happens IMO and the discount with Pacioretty makes it way easier to stomach.

Who is there out there that would be better? Your selection is very limited due to the coach needing to be bilingual

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No roster is going to be perfect, particularly in a salary-capped league. And while you certainly don't want to be playing the likes of Murray, Bouillon, and Parros over Tinordi, Beaulieu, and Bournival, this team doesn't really need to play that first group of players. If you take our actual best 23 players in the organization right now, this team is good enough to compete for a Cup. Are we one piece short of building an Olympic-caliber roster? No. But that's asking the impossible. We don't have a Crosby or Toews, but we have a Subban, a Pacioretty, a Price, a Plekanec, and now a Vanek. Those are pieces all teams would die to have in building a championship contender.

If we look at Montreal's record against other playoff teams in the East (or in contention):

- Bos: 3-1

- Pit: 2-1

- TB: 1-0-2

- NYR: 1-1

- Phi: 1-2

- CBJ: 2-1

- Was: 1-1-1

- Tor: 3-2

- Det: 1-1-1

The only team against whom we have a sub-500 record there is Philadelphia, we've beaten every team at least once this season, and we're 5-2 against the only two teams ranked ahead of us in the standings. Yes, the coaching could be better. Yes, the team is floating some dead weight in this line-up. But it's also being buoyed by some very good players and while there was a 2 month period where we played a frustratingly-bad system, it's a credit to the talent on the roster that the team continued to put up decent point totals despite the poor coaching weighing us down. I'd certainly like to have one more top-3 defenceman on the team (and Beaulieu at this point is the closest thing we're going to get), but this roster can compete with anyone we might face in the East, and once you get to the finals, anything can happen.

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No roster is going to be perfect, particularly in a salary-capped league. And while you certainly don't want to be playing the likes of Murray, Bouillon, and Parros over Tinordi, Beaulieu, and Bournival, this team doesn't really need to play that first group of players. If you take our actual best 23 players in the organization right now, this team is good enough to compete for a Cup. Are we one piece short of building an Olympic-caliber roster? No. But that's asking the impossible. We don't have a Crosby or Toews, but we have a Subban, a Pacioretty, a Price, a Plekanec, and now a Vanek. Those are pieces all teams would die to have in building a championship contender.

If we look at Montreal's record against other playoff teams in the East (or in contention):

- Bos: 3-1

- Pit: 2-1

- TB: 1-0-2

- NYR: 1-1

- Phi: 1-2

- CBJ: 2-1

- Was: 1-1-1

- Tor: 3-2

- Det: 1-1-1

The only team against whom we have a sub-500 record there is Philadelphia, we've beaten every team at least once this season, and we're 5-2 against the only two teams ranked ahead of us in the standings. Yes, the coaching could be better. Yes, the team is floating some dead weight in this line-up. But it's also being buoyed by some very good players and while there was a 2 month period where we played a frustratingly-bad system, it's a credit to the talent on the roster that the team continued to put up decent point totals despite the poor coaching weighing us down. I'd certainly like to have one more top-3 defenceman on the team (and Beaulieu at this point is the closest thing we're going to get), but this roster can compete with anyone we might face in the East, and once you get to the finals, anything can happen.

About the only thing that will keep us from going as far as we can, is bad coaching decisions regarding the personnel MT plays, and a system that may or may not work against different teams.

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No roster is going to be perfect, particularly in a salary-capped league. And while you certainly don't want to be playing the likes of Murray, Bouillon, and Parros over Tinordi, Beaulieu, and Bournival, this team doesn't really need to play that first group of players. If you take our actual best 23 players in the organization right now, this team is good enough to compete for a Cup. Are we one piece short of building an Olympic-caliber roster? No. But that's asking the impossible. We don't have a Crosby or Toews, but we have a Subban, a Pacioretty, a Price, a Plekanec, and now a Vanek. Those are pieces all teams would die to have in building a championship contender.

If we look at Montreal's record against other playoff teams in the East (or in contention):

- Bos: 3-1

- Pit: 2-1

- TB: 1-0-2

- NYR: 1-1

- Phi: 1-2

- CBJ: 2-1

- Was: 1-1-1

- Tor: 3-2

- Det: 1-1-1

The only team against whom we have a sub-500 record there is Philadelphia, we've beaten every team at least once this season, and we're 5-2 against the only two teams ranked ahead of us in the standings. Yes, the coaching could be better. Yes, the team is floating some dead weight in this line-up. But it's also being buoyed by some very good players and while there was a 2 month period where we played a frustratingly-bad system, it's a credit to the talent on the roster that the team continued to put up decent point totals despite the poor coaching weighing us down. I'd certainly like to have one more top-3 defenceman on the team (and Beaulieu at this point is the closest thing we're going to get), but this roster can compete with anyone we might face in the East, and once you get to the finals, anything can happen.

This.

The only 2 questions right now in my mind are: how good will price be and, can MT coach us properly for the playoff drive. If those two are both positive, we can contend.

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Guest mrsmarkov

He sure looks like he is having fun! and getting good passes off as well as recieving them. i think he may take a good hard look at staying here.

Idk. He said as early as Tuesday that his mind is still set on going elsewhere. Minnesota obviously...lets hope for a long playoff run, maybe that will persuade him a bit.

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Idk. He said as early as Tuesday that his mind is still set on going elsewhere. Minnesota obviously...lets hope for a long playoff run, maybe that will persuade him a bit.

Can you source that? I'm not doubting you, I'd just like to read it.

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