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2019-20 State Of The Habs


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38 minutes ago, ChiLla said:

It's definitely tempting but I also agree that trading one of Petry/Tatar would essentially mean no playoffs yet again next season. The more important question is though, can we actually make the playoffs next season if we keep them? I'm not sure to be honest, we would have to keep them and find a way to improve the team to be certain, which means MB needs to make something happen during the offseason.

Yeah im not sure either.  Ive been vocal that if it was my team id consider trading just about anybody that was not going to be in their "prime' in the next 2-3 years.  That includes the obvious guys like Weber, Price, Petry but also guys like Tatar and even Gallagher or Danault.  Im not saying we trade ALL of them - not by any means - but id see what any of them bring back & if the price is right, i pull the trigger.   The positive thing is that a lot of the talent on this roster is under 25 so you'd still retain guys like Domi, Drouin, JK, Suzuki, Lekhs, plus all our guys in the minors and junior/europe etc. 

But, like i said, you have to think that even if MB is safe this year, another bad year may be the end of things for him. He's got to be thinking of his job and that may mean some of his moves wont be in the best interest of the team but rather a quick fix to keep him employed.

 

9 minutes ago, ramcharger440 said:

Time to face it we are cooked for this season! i am not one for tanking but we have to take a hard look at the team and make good moves for next year and the future. i like Petry but he will get us the biggest return. i would hang onto Kovy if we can i think he brings some good tools to the team, we better do something at LHD or we are just wasting time! and please less plugs! or could we at least get better ones! i would perhaps look at moving Max too if this is all we are going to get or it is a year on year off type of thing sell now!

Im really on the fence about Kovy. I REALLY like him on this roster & i dont think resigning him would hurt us going forward. However, there's a couple of key things to consider:  1) is he going to resign with us next year.  2) what would he want (1 year 2 year?)  the money i could care less about but term is important.  If he wants just 1 year id be fine with keeping him and resigning him.

However, he may well want a chance at a cup & lets face it, we dont offer him that.  Even if we're legit contenders in a few years, he'll most likely be retired by then. 

I feel like if someone offers me a 1st or a top prospect for him, i trade him.  If its a 2nd or a good prospect, I probably do too, but id have to really have a firm idea of what he wants going forward.   If the best i can do is a 3rd rounder or something id rather keep him & let him teach Suzuki a few more things before he goes. 

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1 hour ago, ChiLla said:

It's definitely tempting but I also agree that trading one of Petry/Tatar would essentially mean no playoffs yet again next season. The more important question is though, can we actually make the playoffs next season if we keep them? I'm not sure to be honest, we would have to keep them and find a way to improve the team to be certain, which means MB needs to make something happen during the offseason.

I’m not so sure. Petry’s Spot would definitely have to be filled via FA, but if there’s anything that our quest to find a top pair partner for Weber has showed is that it’s hard to find a top pair defensmen, but we haven’t had much of a problem finding guys that make decent 2nd pair guys. Tatar, I like a lot, but we’re pretty stacked on the left side. We’d probably be good there as is. Especially if we can manage to re-sign Kovalchuk. I certainly wouldn’t guarantee we make the playoffs, I just don’t think saying goodbye to both, let alone either, or would necessarily seal our fates.

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48 minutes ago, MALMACIAN_CRUNCH said:

I’m not so sure. Petry’s Spot would definitely have to be filled via FA, but if there’s anything that our quest to find a top pair partner for Weber has showed is that it’s hard to find a top pair defensmen, but we haven’t had much of a problem finding guys that make decent 2nd pair guys. Tatar, I like a lot, but we’re pretty stacked on the left side. We’d probably be good there as is. Especially if we can manage to re-sign Kovalchuk. I certainly wouldn’t guarantee we make the playoffs, I just don’t think saying goodbye to both, let alone either, or would necessarily seal our fates.

Juulsen is a big part of this. I mean if he can actually recover, he looked like he way well be a top 4 already.  Im not sure Fleury will ever get there (definitely 3rd pair material) and Brook still has top 4 potential but has things to work on.  There's also the chance to trade for a 2nd pairing RHD.  

The problem we have is that our LD has been so weak that Weber & Petry have had to carry their respective pairings. If we had LD that you could count on then you could get away with signing a guy for the second pair...  dunno.

 

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24 minutes ago, maas_art said:

Juulsen is a big part of this. I mean if he can actually recover, he looked like he way well be a top 4 already.  Im not sure Fleury will ever get there (definitely 3rd pair material) and Brook still has top 4 potential but has things to work on.  There's also the chance to trade for a 2nd pairing RHD.  

The problem we have is that our LD has been so weak that Weber & Petry have had to carry their respective pairings. If we had LD that you could count on then you could get away with signing a guy for the second pair...  dunno.

 

Any news on him... ???

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36 minutes ago, maas_art said:

Juulsen is a big part of this. I mean if he can actually recover, he looked like he way well be a top 4 already.  Im not sure Fleury will ever get there (definitely 3rd pair material) and Brook still has top 4 potential but has things to work on.  There's also the chance to trade for a 2nd pairing RHD.  

The problem we have is that our LD has been so weak that Weber & Petry have had to carry their respective pairings. If we had LD that you could count on then you could get away with signing a guy for the second pair...  dunno.

 

Absolutely. There will probably be a few decent FA options available, but through trade is another avenue that could work. I don’t remember where, but I heard something about the Rangers maybe looking to move DeAngelo. We could always make a move to bring Subban back into the fold. Maybe we could even convince Jersy to eat some of the salary :P

Something like this would definitely be worthwhile if we could swing a deal with the Ave’s, Petry for Byram + +. I’d like to re-sign Kovalchuk, but if we can’t swing a deal before the deadline, I’d even be willing to toss him in on the deal if that’s what it would take to close it. I was looking at their roster, and personally I do think Petry would be an excellent fit. And if there looking to add some skill on the wing, which I assume they are since we’ve discussed on here their interest in Drouin, Kovalchuk might make a legit toss in.

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2 hours ago, MALMACIAN_CRUNCH said:

Absolutely. There will probably be a few decent FA options available, but through trade is another avenue that could work. I don’t remember where, but I heard something about the Rangers maybe looking to move DeAngelo. We could always make a move to bring Subban back into the fold. Maybe we could even convince Jersy to eat some of the salary :P

Something like this would definitely be worthwhile if we could swing a deal with the Ave’s, Petry for Byram + +. I’d like to re-sign Kovalchuk, but if we can’t swing a deal before the deadline, I’d even be willing to toss him in on the deal if that’s what it would take to close it. I was looking at their roster, and personally I do think Petry would be an excellent fit. And if there looking to add some skill on the wing, which I assume they are since we’ve discussed on here their interest in Drouin, Kovalchuk might make a legit toss in.

  a glitch might be that Petry has a no NMC ...he can submit 15 teams he doesn't want to be traded to 

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I don't know about anyone else, but I'd prefer that we catch TO in the standings and here's why. They are in 3rd spot in the Atlantic (granted, they have 1 game in hand), and we're only 7 PTs. back of them. Puffs are 8 PTs. ahead of us, and CBJ is 9 PTs. ahead in the WC spots. "If" we surpassed the laffs, then they would be on the outside looking in. With 24 games remaining, I don't see it as impossible. 

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1 hour ago, kinot-2 said:

I don't know about anyone else, but I'd prefer that we catch TO in the standings and here's why. They are in 3rd spot in the Atlantic (granted, they have 1 game in hand), and we're only 7 PTs. back of them. Puffs are 8 PTs. ahead of us, and CBJ is 9 PTs. ahead in the WC spots. "If" we surpassed the laffs, then they would be on the outside looking in. With 24 games remaining, I don't see it as impossible. 

Agreed, the only reason we can still have a little hope is that TO and FLA seem to be really underperforming as well, the wild card spot seems to be out of reach for us (10 points plus all teams have games in hand). Let's not kid ourselves though, 7 points in 23 games is a lot, especially in the loser point era. Also, Buffalo is probably thinking the same thing and they can still overtake us with their 1 game in hand. We basically need to catch fire and go on the mother of all streaks until the end of the season without Weber in the lineup, which just isn't likely IMO.

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10 minutes ago, ChiLla said:

Agreed, the only reason we can still have a little hope is that TO and FLA seem to be really underperforming as well, the wild card spot seems to be out of reach for us (10 points plus all teams have games in hand). Let's not kid ourselves though, 7 points in 23 games is a lot, especially in the loser point era. Also, Buffalo is probably thinking the same thing and they can still overtake us with their 1 game in hand. We basically need to catch fire and go on the mother of all streaks until the end of the season without Weber in the lineup, which just isn't likely IMO.

Don't forget, we play the laffs on the last game of the year. Could be a. picture changer. 

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8 hours ago, kinot-2 said:

I don't know about anyone else, but I'd prefer that we catch TO in the standings and here's why. They are in 3rd spot in the Atlantic (granted, they have 1 game in hand), and we're only 7 PTs. back of them. Puffs are 8 PTs. ahead of us, and CBJ is 9 PTs. ahead in the WC spots. "If" we surpassed the laffs, then they would be on the outside looking in. With 24 games remaining, I don't see it as impossible. 

 

5 hours ago, ChiLla said:

Agreed, the only reason we can still have a little hope is that TO and FLA seem to be really underperforming as well, the wild card spot seems to be out of reach for us (10 points plus all teams have games in hand). Let's not kid ourselves though, 7 points in 23 games is a lot, especially in the loser point era. Also, Buffalo is probably thinking the same thing and they can still overtake us with their 1 game in hand. We basically need to catch fire and go on the mother of all streaks until the end of the season without Weber in the lineup, which just isn't likely IMO.

Just to point out that 7 points back doesn't mean we catch them if we get 7 more points, it means that we need to get 7 more points than the Leafs in our last 23 than they get in their last 24, notwithstanding what Florida and Buffalo do (as Chilla said).

Let's say by some dumb luck that Toronto and Florida play below their season averages and each only post .500 records the rest of the way. We would still need to get to 93 points to pass them. That would be a record of 16-7 in our last 23 games. Tough to do without Weber.

I'd actually be more concerned about the Panthers though, to be honest. They have a fairly easy schedule the rest of the way, so they are probably setting the bar higher than 93 points to begin with.

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8 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

 

Just to point out that 7 points back doesn't mean we catch them if we get 7 more points, it means that we need to get 7 more points than the Leafs in our last 23 than they get in their last 24, notwithstanding what Florida and Buffalo do (as Chilla said).

Let's say by some dumb luck that Toronto and Florida play below their season averages and each only post .500 records the rest of the way. We would still need to get to 93 points to pass them. That would be a record of 16-7 in our last 23 games. Tough to do without Weber.

I'd actually be more concerned about the Panthers though, to be honest. They have a fairly easy schedule the rest of the way, so they are probably setting the bar higher than 93 points to begin with.

Pretty much spot on here.

Up until Weber got hurt i thought we had a chance but losing the last 2 games has really hurt.    As you said, even if Toronto and Florida absolutely suck, we still have to play at a pace we havent managed all year - and without Weber.   With a healthy d corps you could argue we have 2 bona fide top 4 dmen and maybe 1 other fringe top 4 and a bunch of 3rd pairing (or worse) dmen.  It wasnt pretty.  But at least we tended to have either Petry or Weber on the ice for 50+ minutes a game.  

With Shea injured we now have to rely on Chiarot, Mete, Scandella etc to play bigger roles.  The chances are not good.


So while we theoretically could still make the playoffs, we only have a short while until the deadline. The odds are overwhelmingly against us and since there's now a drop-dead point of when we can move players for assets - or lose them for nothing - its time to get realistic.  

At that point we need to decide if we are moving on from guys or trying to set ourselves up for the future.  Even if MB decides he's keeping Tatar and Petry, one has to assume guys like Thompson, Weal, Peca, Scandella etc - will not be in our plans going forward - thus we should just get whatever we can get for them.   I wouldnt firesale quality players who are either under contract or in the plan for next year but anyone who doesnt fit that bill should be shipped off, at the very least. 

 

Now, having said that, if we somehow manage to win all 5 of the games leading up to the deadline, who knows. I might change my thinking, but i dont see that happening. 

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Scandella is an interesting one …. he might even bring a 3rd round pick but he's one of those guys that has probably reached his max in salary ...in that regard if the season is lost (after the next 2 losses ? )  Montreal will have the luxury before season's end  of knowing whether Romanov will come over to fill that spot and /or still  have a decent chance of re-signing Scandella who is an adequate LHD .( just maybe not for $4 mill )  .The same goes for guys like Peca and Weal . They could re-enter the organization if need be for about the same coin if available . In this way it makes sense to get what you can for fringe players . It's not like KK, Poehling and Evans couldn't take those spots for the rest of the year . Even if you still believe Montreal has a chance after a couple of more losses it wouldn't hurt to bring the kids back up as they are certainly part of the long term plan  anyway.

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Just now, arpem-can said:

Scandella is an interesting one …. he might even bring a 3rd round pick but he's one of those guys that has probably reached his max in salary ...in that regard if the season is lost (after the next 2 losses ? )  Montreal will have the luxury before season's end  of knowing whether Romanov will come over to fill that spot and /or still  have a decent chance of re-signing Scandella who is an adequate LHD .( just maybe not for $4 mill )  .The same goes for guys like Peca and Weal . They could re-enter the organization if need be for about the same coin if available . In this way it makes sense to get what you can for fringe players . It's not like KK, Poehling and Evans couldn't take those spots for the rest of the year . Even if you still believe Montreal has a chance after a couple of more losses it wouldn't hurt to bring the kids back up as they are certainly part of the long term plan  anyway.

The way Scandella has played for us, id much rather not have him as part of the plan next year.   He's not Alzner-bad, obviously but i see no real advantage he brings over Mete, Chiarot, Kulak and others.   He's not necessarily blocking a space for any guys in Laval (aside from maybe Leskinen) as most of our LD prospects are not ready yet, but even if Romanov doesnt come over next year (and i think he will) I feel like we're ok without Scandella.    That said, he's looked better in the past, so im not sure if there's room for improvement or if he's on some sort of decline. 

I think there's a decent chance MB trades him before the deadline. 

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16 minutes ago, maas_art said:

The way Scandella has played for us, id much rather not have him as part of the plan next year.   He's not Alzner-bad, obviously but i see no real advantage he brings over Mete, Chiarot, Kulak and others.   He's not necessarily blocking a space for any guys in Laval (aside from maybe Leskinen) as most of our LD prospects are not ready yet, but even if Romanov doesnt come over next year (and i think he will) I feel like we're ok without Scandella.    That said, he's looked better in the past, so im not sure if there's room for improvement or if he's on some sort of decline. 

I think there's a decent chance MB trades him before the deadline. 

Agreed, he's not an upgrade on any of the guys we alreay have at LD, no point in trying to extend him really.

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Here are my 3/4-way grades:

GOALIES:

- Price: B-... a crummy stretch followed by a very good stretch through December and January. Just not enough to make up for how bad a D corps we have.

 

DEFENCEMEN:

- Petry: B+... quietly our best D man over the course of the season, yet again.

- Weber: B-... strong offensive year, but a weak defensive one, especially on the PK.

- Fleury: C... did okay for a rookie, but his max potential is looking like a 3rd pairing guy only.

- Kulak: C... not as good as last year but okay in the long run.

- Mete: C-... started off the year showing a bit more offence, but has kind of come back to last year's Mete since: good puck movement, not much to show for it.

- Chiarot: C-... not as bad as I thought but not good. Weber carried him but he's shown a lot of lapses defensively too and doesn't make for that offensively.

- Scandella: D-... he really hasn't been very good. Lots of puck bobbles, not very crisp.

- Folin: F... just not an NHLer.

 

FORWARDS:

- Suzuki: A... he's a candidate for a Calder nomination. One of the few bright spots this year.

- Tatar: A... he's gotten past the bad penalties he had at the start of the season and is producing like a champ. His trade value will never be higher.

- Armia: A... his best year in the NHL to date and so strong on the puck.

- Lehkonen: A-... he's surpassed most expectations. Very strong year.

- Gallagher: B... decent season, but feels like he isn't showing up as regularly as he used to.

- Kovalchuk: B... he's come in and done what he needed to.

- Drouin: B... giving him a decent grade, since he was good before his injury. Needs to find something again.

- Danault: B-... also a decent year, but with some lapses on the PK, which is where he should be stellar.

- Thompson: C... a decent 4th line center, but not a long-term solution there.

- Kotkaniemi: C-... hasn't put it together, but a lot of this seems to be confidence and not having the coach's support.

- Domi: C-... a disappointing year with problems with effort and consistency. After last year, you would have liked to see him build more.

- Cousins: C-... had a decent start and then mostly downhill from there.

- Weise: C-... vintage Weise to some degree, but just doesn't have the skillset to match his heart.

- Weal: F... not very good. No future here.

- Byron: F... nothing new to add, but a disappointing year all in all even when healthy.

 

COACH and GM:

- Julien: C-... I don't think a lot of this season's woes are on coaching, given how bad the D corps was put together and given the absolute lack of a back-up goalie, but coaching needs to be better at special teams, and coaching needs to give more opportunity to some of the younger guys instead of Weal/Cousins on the PP.

- Bergevin: F... 4th playoff miss in 5 years. Yeah, he's won some trades, but he's failed to fill the holes that needed filling. As a GM, that means you aren't doing your job.

 

 

 

 

 

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 Brian Wilde, in his post-game Call of the Wild tonight says that Bergevin and the Habs have to have the guts to trade Tatar and Petry now. He says this year, they could/should get a 1st and a top prospect for each, whereas at next year's trade deadline with only 6 weeks left on their contracts, they likely only get a 2nd rounder for each. He adds that the Habs haven't changed their core roster this season but have had worse injury luck and worse stretches from Carey this year compared to last. He states that when everything went right last year, this was team was a 96-point team and with some issues this year, it might be an 86-point team. He says that you can't possibly look at the roster and think this group will be a 105-point team next year and that even keeping Petry, this will likely be an 86-96 point team again, depending on luck.

He's bang on what we've been saying for weeks now. This team isn't a contender and at best if everything goes right next year, it's a fringe playoff team. So why bother keeping Petry and Tatar if that's the best you can hope for with them. Wilde adds that we have some good prospects coming but that they won't be able to make any kind of difference to the standings next year. He says the smart thing to do is to trade your assets who won't help you past next season and get a return of assets that can help you longer term. Finally some smart commentary from a mainstream media gut that echoes what we've been advocating for all along. This isn't a knock on the Habs to think they need to reset and plan for the future. A GM without a plan would hang on to Petry and Tatar in desperation. One with a plan would trade them.

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5 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

 Brian Wilde, in his post-game Call of the Wild tonight says that Bergevin and the Habs have to have the guts to trade Tatar and Petry now. He says this year, they could/should get a 1st and a top prospect for each, whereas at next year's trade deadline with only 6 weeks left on their contracts, they likely only get a 2nd rounder for each. He adds that the Habs haven't changed their core roster this season but have had worse injury luck and worse stretches from Carey this year compared to last. He states that when everything went right last year, this was team was a 96-point team and with some issues this year, it might be an 86-point team. He says that you can't possibly look at the roster and think this group will be a 105-point team next year and that even keeping Petry, this will likely be an 86-96 point team again, depending on luck.

He's bang on what we've been saying for weeks now. This team isn't a contender and at best if everything goes right next year, it's a fringe playoff team. So why bother keeping Petry and Tatar if that's the best you can hope for with them. Wilde adds that we have some good prospects coming but that they won't be able to make any kind of difference to the standings next year. He says the smart thing to do is to trade your assets who won't help you past next season and get a return of assets that can help you longer term. Finally some smart commentary from a mainstream media gut that echoes what we've been advocating for all along. This isn't a knock on the Habs to think they need to reset and plan for the future. A GM without a plan would hang on to Petry and Tatar in desperation. One with a plan would trade them.

Yep, sounds very familiar. After the horror show in 2018, last season was a welcome surprise and nobody really expected this team to be in the playoff race right until the end. For that to happen, we needed career years from a bunch of players, Tatar surprising everybody with the way he bounced back, KK making the team right out of camp, and no major injuries. Essentially, everything went our way and we still failed to make the playoffs. Then Bergevin added Chiarot, Cousins, and Kinkaid, traded Shaw for picks, and thought we had a real shot? Right. Let's also not forget that Suzuki replacing Shaw (at least production-wise) couldn't realistically be expected from a rookie at the beginning of the season. Hell, most people thought he might be better of in the AHL for a season. Yet he's been amazing and without him in the lineup, this season could have easily been way worse (think even more of Weal, Peca, and Cousins on the PP and in the top 6 worse).

I'm not opposed to trading both Tatar and Petry for the right offer (not for the sake of it though!). As you've said, their value is as high as it'll get and if e.g. teams like Colorado or Edmonton (who both could make very appealing offers) are in fact willing to pay the price for a deep playoff run, not even listening to them would be gross negligence. Yes, trading them would likely mean no playoffs again in the next couple of years, but keeping them doesn't mean we'll actually qualify. Barring major changes, which I don't think will happen with Bergevin, we'll just be a bubble team again that needs everything to go right to have a shot at the wild card spots. Like Wilde said, you trade them now and get real value in return, or you trade them next season and maybe get a couple of picks for them. Considering where this team stands, I know what I'd do. It's easy for me to say because I don't live in Montreal anymore – trust me I know it sucks for the entire city when the Habs are bad – but I'm confident that moving one of them or both would go a long way towards building a team that can actually compete consistently.

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3 hours ago, ChiLla said:

Yep, sounds very familiar. After the horror show in 2018, last season was a welcome surprise and nobody really expected this team to be in the playoff race right until the end. For that to happen, we needed career years from a bunch of players, Tatar surprising everybody with the way he bounced back, KK making the team right out of camp, and no major injuries. Essentially, everything went our way and we still failed to make the playoffs. Then Bergevin added Chiarot, Cousins, and Kinkaid, traded Shaw for picks, and thought we had a real shot? Right. Let's also not forget that Suzuki replacing Shaw (at least production-wise) couldn't realistically be expected from a rookie at the beginning of the season. Hell, most people thought he might be better of in the AHL for a season. Yet he's been amazing and without him in the lineup, this season could have easily been way worse (think even more of Weal, Peca, and Cousins on the PP and in the top 6 worse).

I'm not opposed to trading both Tatar and Petry for the right offer (not for the sake of it though!). As you've said, their value is as high as it'll get and if e.g. teams like Colorado or Edmonton (who both could make very appealing offers) are in fact willing to pay the price for a deep playoff run, not even listening to them would be gross negligence. Yes, trading them would likely mean no playoffs again in the next couple of years, but keeping them doesn't mean we'll actually qualify. Barring major changes, which I don't think will happen with Bergevin, we'll just be a bubble team again that needs everything to go right to have a shot at the wild card spots. Like Wilde said, you trade them now and get real value in return, or you trade them next season and maybe get a couple of picks for them. Considering where this team stands, I know what I'd do. It's easy for me to say because I don't live in Montreal anymore – trust me I know it sucks for the entire city when the Habs are bad – but I'm confident that moving one of them or both would go a long way towards building a team that can actually compete consistently.

Let's say you swap out Petry, Tatar, and Weber but are able to add a couple of guys from the list of Matt Dumba, Evan Bouchard, Noah Dobson, Bowen Byram, Jake Bean, Oliver Wahlstrom, Kristian Veselainen, or so on. I think you would not be a contender next season, but I think you could still very much be in the mix in 2-3 years, especially if you keep Price and je manages to stay in form. You would still potentially have the likes of Gallagher, Danault, Domi, Drouin, Lehkonen, Armia, Suzuki, Kotkaniemi, etc. plus whatever you acquire to build around, and if we added a few 1st rounders via trade on top of adding some of Romanov, Ylonen, Evans, Caufield, Brook, Norlinder, and our own first rounder from this year (which could be a plug and play guy if we fall low enough in the standings) you could absolutely be ready in 2-3 years, especially with teams hitting issues with the cap and having to deal with the expansion draft. In two summers, if you have very few veteran assets to protect yourself and you have a multitude of younger, ED-exempt prospects and high draft picks, you would be very well set up to swap some of those for high-end talent. Look how many GM's panicked last ED and made terrible trades. I think you could easily fill out your 2nd or 3rd line or your 2nd D pair at that time with a couple of guys who are being dumped for cap/ED concerns. The problem for us has always been adding elite talent. We have lots of 2nd line forward talent and 2nd/3rd pairing D men. But if you want to fill out the elite aspect, you have to be willing to part with the likes of Tatar or Petry while they're playing well to go out and get a Bean or a Bouchard or a Byram who have the potential to be first-pairing guys but aren't there yet. You have to be willing to trade away vets and finish badly this year to get as good a shot at Lafreniere or Stutzle or Drysdale as possible.

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32 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

Let's say you swap out Petry, Tatar, and Weber but are able to add a couple of guys from the list of Matt Dumba, Evan Bouchard, Noah Dobson, Bowen Byram, Jake Bean, Oliver Wahlstrom, Kristian Veselainen, or so on. I think you would not be a contender next season, but I think you could still very much be in the mix in 2-3 years, especially if you keep Price and je manages to stay in form. You would still potentially have the likes of Gallagher, Danault, Domi, Drouin, Lehkonen, Armia, Suzuki, Kotkaniemi, etc. plus whatever you acquire to build around, and if we added a few 1st rounders via trade on top of adding some of Romanov, Ylonen, Evans, Caufield, Brook, Norlinder, and our own first rounder from this year (which could be a plug and play guy if we fall low enough in the standings) you could absolutely be ready in 2-3 years, especially with teams hitting issues with the cap and having to deal with the expansion draft. In two summers, if you have very few veteran assets to protect yourself and you have a multitude of younger, ED-exempt prospects and high draft picks, you would be very well set up to swap some of those for high-end talent. Look how many GM's panicked last ED and made terrible trades. I think you could easily fill out your 2nd or 3rd line or your 2nd D pair at that time with a couple of guys who are being dumped for cap/ED concerns. The problem for us has always been adding elite talent. We have lots of 2nd line forward talent and 2nd/3rd pairing D men. But if you want to fill out the elite aspect, you have to be willing to part with the likes of Tatar or Petry while they're playing well to go out and get a Bean or a Bouchard or a Byram who have the potential to be first-pairing guys but aren't there yet. You have to be willing to trade away vets and finish badly this year to get as good a shot at Lafreniere or Stutzle or Drysdale as possible.

I’m in your campaign too except I seriously doubt we will ever be able to trade Weber. We cannot keep losing with the same core supplemented by some B-C level plugs. Your key point is finding some ELITE pieces, which IMO has better odds thru draft and develop vs free agency. I would be happy if we got a good deal for Tatar as a minimum and overjoyed if the same happened for Petry (despite I’m a fan of his play and contributions)  - it is hard to see good players depart but Business decisions have to be made. 

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