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2021-22 State of the Habs


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19 hours ago, AH64 said:

No chance we tank.  We are going to surprise a lot of people.

I think we can too.  We absolutely need a #1/#2 PMD in order for that to happen. It looks like we can score, if we can get the puck out of our end. The goaltending should be good enough, but we can't be giving up 40+ shots per game.

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I see us as being in good shape to start the season, we have well balanced forward lines and a strong and steady defence with great goaltending. That being said it would be nice to get one or two upgrades, A top PMD would not hurt my feelings nor would one more quality center but all in all in a cap world we are pretty solid. I am very interested in seeing what camp shows us in regards to some of our prospects, if one or two are strong enough to start the year on the team we may be able to move an established player for one of the upgrades I would like. I have a feeling that if Suzuki and Cole play together they are going to blow people away they just seem to find each other so well on the ice and we can give them a really good winger to help them out which spreads the load and takes a bit of pressure off as well.

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https://www.tsn.ca/travis-yost-grading-the-centres-on-canada-s-nhl-teams-1.1690637

Montreal Canadiens (C)

Well, a lot has happened here!

I don’t think there is any argument the Canadiens are better down the middle after swapping Jesperi Kotkaniemi for Dvorak. Carolina made a fascinating bet on Kotkaniemi, providing a blueprint for how offer sheets may work in the future.

Kotkaniemi may ultimately end up being the two-way dynamo the Hurricanes think he can become. But Montreal, if they are serious about returning to the postseason this year, knows the 25-year-old Dvorak is further along in development. Just last season, Dvorak tallied 39 points in 49-games; on a rate-basis, that puts him in the 82nd percentile, comparable to New York’s Mika Zibanejad and San Jose’s Tomas Hertl.

But the future of this position in Montreal will hinge on how great of a player Nick Suzuki becomes. Suzuki looked great last postseason as a 22-year-old against elite competition, scoring 16 points in 22 games.

It will be interesting to watch here is if head coach Dominique Ducharme rolls out his postseason line combinations to start the regular season; Suzuki’s play with Josh Anderson and Jonathan Drouin was fine, but I thought he developed instant chemistry with rookie sensation Cole Caufield in the playoffs. That’s a tandem that makes sense and should scare the rest of the Atlantic Division.

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After Tampa bay won the cup Suzuki went and got dressed then came back out to the bench to watch the lightning celebrate with the cup to fuel his passion to win a cup. I think Suzuki will take a massive step forward this season. 

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1 hour ago, Regis22 said:

No Kidding

https://thehockeywriters.com/canadiens-top-4-defense-need-2021-22/

Canadiens Still Need Another Top-Four Defenceman

This is my count:

- Petry is a #1

- Savard is a #4

- Romanov is a #4-5

- Chiarot is a #4-6

- Edmundson is a #4-6

- Kulak is a #4-6

- Wideman is a #6-7

So as usual, we're short two top 3 D men. Some of these guys can be moved around for short stints or play above their heads if they get strong partners, but there is exactly one D man that you can throw out comfortably in all situations. One.

 

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1 hour ago, BigTed3 said:

This is my count:

- Petry is a #1

- Savard is a #4

- Romanov is a #4-5

- Chiarot is a #4-6

- Edmundson is a #4-6

- Kulak is a #4-6

- Wideman is a #6-7

So as usual, we're short two top 3 D men. Some of these guys can be moved around for short stints or play above their heads if they get strong partners, but there is exactly one D man that you can throw out comfortably in all situations. One.

I don’t disagree with that assessment- Who becomes the second d-man on the power play unit (assuming they use a forward on the point)? This is where Weber’s absence is missed (even though he disappointed on our PP last year and was mostly a slapper decoy). So I believe Romanov will be pushed into that opportunity. Even though Chiarot is admired as a tough scrapper team mate, I feel he should be shopped for a trade to get something for him now as he will devalue if paired with Savard. 
I’m not worried about our D long term with an excellent pipeline of prospects but this year worries me. I know you are high on Norlinder - I’m as equally high on Jayden Struble as I believe his talents will translate very well to the pro game 

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2 hours ago, claremont said:

I don’t disagree with that assessment- Who becomes the second d-man on the power play unit (assuming they use a forward on the point)? This is where Weber’s absence is missed (even though he disappointed on our PP last year and was mostly a slapper decoy). So I believe Romanov will be pushed into that opportunity. Even though Chiarot is admired as a tough scrapper team mate, I feel he should be shopped for a trade to get something for him now as he will devalue if paired with Savard. 
I’m not worried about our D long term with an excellent pipeline of prospects but this year worries me. I know you are high on Norlinder - I’m as equally high on Jayden Struble as I believe his talents will translate very well to the pro game 

Just to be clear, I'm not saying Norlinder will be ready this year. I just like his skillset as being something special and hard to find. He may end up being a guy like Gustafsson who really can't play in the NHL because he's a liability, but he could also be a player like Karlsson or Quinn Hughes who is not great defensively but who is passable enough that his offence really shines. We need a guy who can carry the puck, transport it up ice, run the PP, and allow us to dominate possession when he's on. So I have high hopes for his upside.

As far as other D prospects go, the other guy I really like is Harris. I think he has a game that could translate well to the NHL. And that's not a knock on Struble or Guhle, and they definitely both have potential to be top 4 guys. But they're players with lower upsides IMO. IMO, Norlinder/Harris are more like Suzuki/Kotkaniemi prospects and Struble/Guhle are more like your Poehling's: dependable hard-nosed players with a little less talent and skating ability but who are physical, smart, and still useful. All of them have a shot at the NHL. I didn't list Harris and Struble because they're both already committed to University this season, and we don't even know if either will ever sign here.

So as far as this year's PP goes, Norlinder is a game-changer if he makes the team. But again, does he need to be hid in the line-up like Gustafsson or Marc-Andre Bergeron? Cause if he does, that handicaps you in other ways, and our other 5 D men are too weak to be double-shifting at ES/PK. Past that, Josh Brook also has a shot at making the team and being a PP weapon. And if neither guy makes it, I think they'll ice Wideman +/- Romanov on the 2nd wave, with Petry-Drouin or something like that on the first one.

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13 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

Just to be clear, I'm not saying Norlinder will be ready this year. I just like his skillset as being something special and hard to find. He may end up being a guy like Gustafsson who really can't play in the NHL because he's a liability, but he could also be a player like Karlsson or Quinn Hughes who is not great defensively but who is passable enough that his offence really shines. We need a guy who can carry the puck, transport it up ice, run the PP, and allow us to dominate possession when he's on. So I have high hopes for his upside.

As far as other D prospects go, the other guy I really like is Harris. I think he has a game that could translate well to the NHL. And that's not a knock on Struble or Guhle, and they definitely both have potential to be top 4 guys. But they're players with lower upsides IMO. IMO, Norlinder/Harris are more like Suzuki/Kotkaniemi prospects and Struble/Guhle are more like your Poehling's: dependable hard-nosed players with a little less talent and skating ability but who are physical, smart, and still useful. All of them have a shot at the NHL. I didn't list Harris and Struble because they're both already committed to University this season, and we don't even know if either will ever sign here.

So as far as this year's PP goes, Norlinder is a game-changer if he makes the team. But again, does he need to be hid in the line-up like Gustafsson or Marc-Andre Bergeron? Cause if he does, that handicaps you in other ways, and our other 5 D men are too weak to be double-shifting at ES/PK. Past that, Josh Brook also has a shot at making the team and being a PP weapon. And if neither guy makes it, I think they'll ice Wideman +/- Romanov on the 2nd wave, with Petry-Drouin or something like that on the first one.

Ted, I think you are mistaken on Guhle's skating ability he is actually a really good and smooth skater. Harris and Norlinder are definitely the best offensive talents among the D prospects but Guhle is more like Jeff Petry than Shea Weber. He is big, strong and fast with a good shot, I think he will be able to put up good points in Laval as Prince Albert was a Defense first type of team and Guhle was relied on to lead that team but he also has a lot of untapped offensive ability. His skating, passing and shot are underrated as a result of Prince Albert's system not allowing him to effectively showcase them. Have a look at the link below and listen to the scouting report (I believe it is Marty Biron doing the report). Near the end of the montage the report showcases his offensive abilities and like I said he is more of a Petry type of player than a Weber in this aspect as well, as he focuses more on getting shots through to the net than shooting the puck through the net.

 

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22 hours ago, Regis22 said:

No Kidding

https://thehockeywriters.com/canadiens-top-4-defense-need-2021-22/

Canadiens Still Need Another Top-Four Defenceman

Unfortunately MB said the roster was "pretty much set" at the last press conference. 

I still think we could pry Vince Dunn out of Seattle if we wanted... and for not too much. But I feel like MB isnt even looking. 

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29 minutes ago, maas_art said:

If he was just a bit better defensively, maybe but he's just a tire fire in his own end.  He's got incredible offensive skills but he's just so much of a defensive liability... 

Yeah, there are a few ways Montreal could maybe end up with another puck-mover on D... :ph34r: But we probably just end up playing the season with the roster as it is.

Maybe we bring Gustafsson back. Maybe Romanov takes a step forward in development and ends up playing in the top-4. Maybe Norlinder makes the team (I know, I know... unlikely).

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38 minutes ago, jennifer_rocket said:

Yeah, there are a few ways Montreal could maybe end up with another puck-mover on D... :ph34r: But we probably just end up playing the season with the roster as it is.

Maybe we bring Gustafsson back. Maybe Romanov takes a step forward in development and ends up playing in the top-4. Maybe Norlinder makes the team (I know, I know... unlikely).

This is our best hope imho.    Romanov - Savard  Chairot - Kulak/Wideman  is much better than Chiarot-Savard Romanov -Wideman/Kulak imho. 

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1 hour ago, jennifer_rocket said:

Yeah, there are a few ways Montreal could maybe end up with another puck-mover on D... :ph34r: But we probably just end up playing the season with the roster as it is.

Maybe we bring Gustafsson back. Maybe Romanov takes a step forward in development and ends up playing in the top-4. Maybe Norlinder makes the team (I know, I know... unlikely).

Simply put - this team is too heavy on defense with Chiarot / Savard , Edmundson and to some extent Kulak overlapping.  Romanov plays a reasonably heavy game. We need some surprise here on Brook , Wideman or Norlinder stepping up. Chiarot is on the last year of his contract and has served us well but he would be my vote to trade. 
Usually a team has more than 1 rookie (Caufield), crack a lineup but we have a lot of question marks in Drouin, Evans, Paquette and Wideman that make it difficult to go with Ylonen, Poehling, Brook or Norlinder to make the jump 

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1 hour ago, claremont said:

Simply put - this team is too heavy on defense with Chiarot / Savard , Edmundson and to some extent Kulak overlapping.  Romanov plays a reasonably heavy game. We need some surprise here on Brook , Wideman or Norlinder stepping up. Chiarot is on the last year of his contract and has served us well but he would be my vote to trade. 
Usually a team has more than 1 rookie (Caufield), crack a lineup but we have a lot of question marks in Drouin, Evans, Paquette and Wideman that make it difficult to go with Ylonen, Poehling, Brook or Norlinder to make the jump 

Im really hoping Brook makes the jump. I know he's had his stumbles but not long ago we were looking at him as one of our top D prospects.  He's only 22 and made some good strides last year under Bouchard. 

My hope is that he was working on certain aspects of his game last season & therefore didnt have the overall stats we would have liked to have seen but will be more ready to transition to an NHL game.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, claremont said:

Simply put - this team is too heavy on defense with Chiarot / Savard , Edmundson and to some extent Kulak overlapping.  Romanov plays a reasonably heavy game. We need some surprise here on Brook , Wideman or Norlinder stepping up. Chiarot is on the last year of his contract and has served us well but he would be my vote to trade. 
Usually a team has more than 1 rookie (Caufield), crack a lineup but we have a lot of question marks in Drouin, Evans, Paquette and Wideman that make it difficult to go with Ylonen, Poehling, Brook or Norlinder to make the jump 

 There will be injuries as in every year ...that's when we'll see younger guys not named Caufileld getting their shot ...could very well be Poehling making the team out of camp ...I don't see Evans being a question mark at all ...he already showed what he's about  ..Drouin I figure will at least play to the same level or thereabouts ...I just don't have as many question marks ...the heavy defense that clears the front of the net you mentioned proved important enough in last years play-offs to merit being on the club despite criticisms  ...Romanov will step up and improve ...Wideman might surprise ...Savard will smoothly replace Weber ....I think we have a much better regular season than last with Dvorak and Hoffman ...certainly a better PP

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5 minutes ago, arpem-can said:

 There will be injuries as in every year ...that's when we'll see younger guys not named Caufileld getting their shot ...could very well be Poehling making the team out of camp ...I don't see Evans being a question mark at all ...he already showed what he's about  ..Drouin I figure will at least play to the same level or thereabouts ...I just don't have as many question marks ...the heavy defense that clears the front of the net you mentioned proved important enough in last years play-offs to merit being on the club despite criticisms  ...Romanov will step up and improve ...Wideman might surprise ...Savard will smoothly replace Weber ....I think we have a much better regular season than last with Dvorak and Hoffman ...certainly a better PP

As good as our top 4 were in the playoffs, the regular season is a different beast and Im not convinced they will be as effective.  Also, Weber was playing some of his best hockey of the year for that stretch and Im not convinced Chiarot/Savard can be that effective. 

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1 hour ago, maas_art said:

As good as our top 4 were in the playoffs, the regular season is a different beast and Im not convinced they will be as effective.  Also, Weber was playing some of his best hockey of the year for that stretch and Im not convinced Chiarot/Savard can be that effective. 

Especially with the regular season rule book as opposed to the playoff rule book.

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1 hour ago, arpem-can said:

 There will be injuries as in every year ...that's when we'll see younger guys not named Caufileld getting their shot ...could very well be Poehling making the team out of camp ...I don't see Evans being a question mark at all ...he already showed what he's about  ..Drouin I figure will at least play to the same level or thereabouts ...I just don't have as many question marks ...the heavy defense that clears the front of the net you mentioned proved important enough in last years play-offs to merit being on the club despite criticisms  ...Romanov will step up and improve ...Wideman might surprise ...Savard will smoothly replace Weber ....I think we have a much better regular season than last with Dvorak and Hoffman ...certainly a better PP

I’m hoping we can be more consistent- the heavy defense helps us get thru the playoffs. One question mark is does that D help us get to the playoffs to the same degree? Like you  I believe we should have more goal scoring punch which is a plus both 5 on 5 and the PP

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I'm really not sure why there's this sentiment that Savard will replace Weber in the line-up. Weber definitely slowed down over his time with us, and he was ineffective at loose puck recovery and not a fantastic skater. But he still had a big shot and intimated opponents, and his possession numbers were decent. The problem was never Weber the player, it was that he was more of a #3-4 D man being played as a #1-2. he was given 1st wave PP time when he wasn't producing there. He was given tons of ice time he couldn't handle. And he was given partners who didn't complement him well. But if they had found a LHD who could skate and move the puck to play with him, he would have been fine (I'm almost sad we never got to see Norlinder-Weber for example).

Now look at Savard. In 9 seasons and a bit, he's had only one where he's been a positive possession player. He's been around even at expected goals for his career. And he's been largely negative in terms of scoring chances produced vs. allowed when he's on. His PDO has been above 1 in most seasons. So what does all that mean? It means that when Savard is on, we can expect to be outshot and outchanced, and he's relied on being bailed out by his goalies to keep scoring close. It doesn't sound that formidable. He's been a non-factor on the PP too. And while he does contribute on the PK, the description I just gave sounds a lot like Edmundson and Chiarot and not much like Weber nor like the puck-moving D man we actually needed. If we were to play Chiarot-Savard as a pairing, it actually seems like a duo that would get killed at even strength, yet knowing the Habs, that's exactly what they're planning on doing.

So if Edmundson-Petry is your first pairing (already questionable having Edmundson on the top pair), then it makes more sense to pair Savard with Romanov, Kulak, or Norlinder on the left and it makes more sense to pair Chiarot with Brook, Wideman, or Romanov on the right. And frankly all of those pairings really feel like 3rd pairings, so I'm not sure where this is going. Looking back at the Bergevin tenure, this off-season has been highly-reflective of what he's done the entire time. Our winger situation has never been stronger and he ended up protecting his goalie duo to have that as a potential strength too. But most hockey people know that center and defence tend to be the positions of greater importance and those are the two areas where Bergevin has failed. We got weaker at center in swapping out Danault and Kotkaniemi for Dvorak and maybe Poehling. And he failed to address the longstanding need for left-handed puck-moving D men. So we may end up saying that we like Dvorak or that Hoffman was a strong signing or that Perreault is a nice depth addition or so on, but if your team is only as good as its biggest weakness, Bergevin completely missed the mark on addressing those. He absolutely needed to go after a puck-moving D man, he absolutely needed to find a higher-ability or higher-potential top 6 center, and he needed to swap some of his wing depth out to address those other holes. There's not much point having 8 wingers who can play in the top 9 but then have them all get 12-14 minutes of ice time while Chiarot, Edmundson, and Savard all log 22-24 minutes a night. I'd rather have gone after a top D man who spends a lot more of the game on the ice. There's a reason centers and D men are more vital than wingers and I think we're going to find that out this season.

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https://thehockeywriters.com/canadiens-news-rumors-waite-norlinder-dvorak/

 
 

Former Canadiens goaltending coach Stephane Waite made an appearance on the French radio station 98.5 FM last week and provided several insights, including his view on Phillip Danault testing the market and ultimately leaving Montreal.

“I adore Phillip, but Danault sees himself as bigger than what he actually is. He’s a good third-line player and no winning team can afford to pay a third-line center $5.5 million in a salary cap structure.”

– Stephane Waite
 
Waite also shared his take on why the Canadiens traded for Dvorak.

Replaced Phillip (Danault) with a better player in Dvorak and I do believe Dvorak is there to replace Danault.”

– Stephane Waite

 

He went on to explain that a player like Jake Evans can provide much of what was lost with Danault leaving and that the coaching staff has confidence in him. While his opinions aren’t surprising, it does come from someone who was on the inside and can give some context as to why the Canadiens had set a maximum value on Danault, especially with the salary cap becoming an issue with other young players that will be needing contract extensions soon.

Waite then spoke of Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s development, which many blame on the Canadiens for rushing him into the NHL. However, Waite said:

“If KK questions his development, he needs to look in the mirror to see who has some of the blame, but he will be a very, very good player once he gains maturity mentally and physically.”

–Stephane Waite

Waite argued Kotkaniemi was in the team’s plans and that their goal was to give him more responsibilities this season, but the Carolina Hurricanes’ offer sheet forced general manager Marc Bergevin’s hand into making a decision he didn’t want to make. Waite is also still in touch with Carey Price and said he is recovering very well, training well and will be ready for training camp.

He also confirmed that the injuries reported before the Expansion Draft was calculated. Price asked to waive his no-movement clause so that the team could protect Jake Allen, the goaltender who helped carry the team into the playoffs last season. By keeping Allen, the Canadiens could again have one of the top goaltending tandems in the NHL.

The Seattle Kraken ultimately didn’t select Price because of the uncertainty of his health and ability to start this season, coupled with his hefty contract. The decision to play a high-stakes game of chicken was not only his choice, but it did provide the team with the outcome they wanted for Price and Allen to remain in Montreal. 

 
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