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2021-22 State of the Habs


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On 9/13/2021 at 5:21 PM, 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. 

I don't think so either. If we can't get it out of our end,  we will be in trouble.  Weber & Chiarot had trouble many times,  and CP bailed them out. That's what people forget.

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On 9/13/2021 at 8:19 PM, BigTed3 said:

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.

Although I feel that Savatd will be a direct replacement for Weber, it was a spent Weber he is replacing. The problem is, the defence was and is still one dimensional.  They're slow and they can't get the puck out. They're really no worse, as they were already bad.  bergebin failing to address a #2 or #3 PMD is going to hurt us. Like some have said, playoffs are a different animal. If you don't make the playoffs,  what good are 3 sloths on defence. You can't play them 25-28 minutes a game during the regular season. 

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13 hours ago, electron58 said:

I don't think so either. If we can't get it out of our end,  we will be in trouble.  Weber & Chiarot had trouble many times,  and CP bailed them out. That's what people forget.

Yes and no. Price was fantastic, no question, but in the playoffs, our slow, lumbering defense was more effective because of the box out.  They surrendered a lot of shots (that price stopped) but they also kept the lanes open so he could see pucks & basically changed the type of shots he was facing.  I think that some combination of Edmundson/Chiarot/Savard can do this effectively too, in the post season, but not during the regular games. 

13 minutes ago, jennifer_rocket said:

Regarding our D, I'm just crossing my fingers someone will surprise us in camp. Brook, Wideman, Norlinder, Romanov... If the someone can step up, and the coaching staff will make decisions based on merit instead of "experience", maybe there's a chance someone can excel in a top-four role.

I think the bolded part is most important.   I wouldnt be surprised at all if one of the guys you listed does, in fact, "step up" but will they get a chance?   Lets say Brook comes in & is awesome - as good as we ever  hoped - then he should logically slot into the 2nd pair, behind petry, but would DD play him ahead of Savard?      We all know that Savard-Chiarot is not a great pairing on paper becaues neither are puck movers... but the coaching staff will likely still play them as our second pair.

So while I actually think our D Corps is not as bad as it might seem, im not sure we will use it as effectively as we can or should. 

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1 minute ago, maas_art said:

 

I think the bolded part is most important.   I wouldnt be surprised at all if one of the guys you listed does, in fact, "step up" but will they get a chance?   Lets say Brook comes in & is awesome - as good as we ever  hoped - then he should logically slot into the 2nd pair, behind petry, but would DD play him ahead of Savard?      We all know that Savard-Chiarot is not a great pairing on paper becaues neither are puck movers... but the coaching staff will likely still play them as our second pair.

So while I actually think our D Corps is not as bad as it might seem, im not sure we will use it as effectively as we can or should. 

We all saw the way Ducharme used his D men last year. Kulak outplayed Chiarot and a couple of others in the regular season but was moved in and out of the line-up while Chiarot was a fixture. In the playoffs, DD worked his top 4 to death and kept Romanov out of the line-up most nights, even though the youngster played well in his sparse appearances. He did the same with Kotkaniemi up front, which if you believe Finnish news, is the reason Kotkaniemi was more than happy to look for an offer elsewhere. So I have little faith Ducharme will skip out on playing his gritty veterans. Even though we can all see Chiarot and Savard are not a good pairing in terms of complementary skill sets, those are the two guys DD is most likely to feel comfortable with and want on the ice the most. I can see him giving 23-24 minutes each to Ed-Petry and Chiarot-Savard and then letting a pairing like Romanov-Wideman or Kulak-Romanov play 12 minutes.

Interestingly, Rob Ramage did an interview today and a couple of things he said about the developing players:

- He sees Norlinder as being a guy the player at rookie camp with the highest likelihood at being invited to the main camp and having a shot at making the Habs. He confirmed that if he didn't, he would go back to Frolunda and not play in the AHL.

- He sees Ylonen as a player who will "get a few games with the Habs this year" indicating he likely won't start the year in the NHL but could be an early call-up.

- He says the Habs wanted Harris signed but that the "CBA gives those types of players options" and that Harris is exercising his options. Says he would like to see him in Montreal in the future but it's out of the team's control. Sounds like the team might feel Harris doesn't want to sign here.

All that to say that Norlinder +/- Brook making the team and playing well might be the only thing that saves the D corps from being weighed down by poorly-skilled defencemen. To be honest, I think the best we could do with our D would be

 

Romanov-Petry

Norlinder-Savard

Edmundson-Brook

Kulak

 

and we all know that has a 0% chance of happening. I think the best we can hope for with what DD might consider is that he doesn't put Chiarot and Savard together and that we get something like Ed-Petry, Chiarot-Romanov, Norlinder-Savard.

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48 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

We all saw the way Ducharme used his D men last year. Kulak outplayed Chiarot Romanov-Petry

Norlinder-Savard

Edmundson-Brook

Kulak

and we all know that has a 0% chance of happening. I think the best we can hope for with what DD might consider is that he doesn't put Chiarot and Savard together and that we get something like Ed-Petry, Chiarot-Romanov, Norlinder-Savard.

I’ve wanted Chiarot to be on the trade block with one more year remaining on his contract, but he has a 10 team NMC. Irregardless, If there’s any rough old time hockey with a team trying to take liberties and run over us, Chiarot is one of the few players that will drop the gloves. Josh Anderson who we don’t want fighting and Edmundson are the only other 2. In that regard, unless Ben breaks his hand in another fight, the reality is Chiarot is absolutely playing in the lineup - we can only hope that we have Romanov or Petry or someone who can skate and move on the right side of him 

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https://montrealgazette.com/sports/hockey/nhl/hockey-inside-out/canadiens-carey-price-still-not-skating-after-having-knee-surgery

Canadiens' Carey Price still not skating after having knee surgery

"With any type of rehabilitation, you're never quite sure how long it's going to take," goalie says after having torn meniscus repaired.

“I had a torn meniscus, they had to go in there and clean that up,” Price said. “I’ve been playing with that for a little while now. We wanted to take care of it and now I’m just trying to get back to health again. I feel pretty good. I haven’t skated yet. I’m just doing my rehab and making sure that I’m ready.

 

“With any type of rehabilitation, you’re never quite sure how long it’s going to take,” Price added. “It’s a process that you take day by day. I’m going every day to Brossard (the team’s practice facility), doing all the things to get better. We’re talking about trying it out (by skating) soon, but you’ve got to make sure you’re ready to go when the time is right.

“We’re doing exercises in the gym. You want to eliminate any of the guesswork when you jump on the ice and make sure there’s no risk of hurting yourself again. We had a long conversation with our doctors in Montreal before the operation, assessed the situation, and together we formulated a plan when to have the surgery and plan the rehab after it. There’s a lot of moving parts with our medical staff and our doctors but they all work together to make plans for our health, fitness and recovery.”

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3 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

I think the best we can hope for with what DD might consider is that he doesn't put Chiarot and Savard together and that we get something like Ed-Petry, Chiarot-Romanov, Norlinder-Savard.

Agree.

Edmundson - Petry is basically a 100%.  

I am almost positive they try Chiarot Savard together which is a big mistake him.  Im hopeful they will mix & match.  Wideman is still a wildcard imho.  Really curious what he brings.   Positionally, Brook probably has the best chance.

I think the team sees Edmundson, Chiarot and Romanov as locks on LD.  They see Petry and Savard as locks on RD but there's a position there for either Wideman, Brook or someone playing their off side.

I think they would make room for Norlinder (unfortunately at the expense of Romanov most likely) if he absolutely blew them away but that would be unlikely at this point. 

 

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3 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

- He says the Habs wanted Harris signed but that the "CBA gives those types of players options" and that Harris is exercising his options. Says he would like to see him in Montreal in the future but it's out of the team's control. Sounds like the team might feel Harris doesn't want to sign here.

If there are concerns, id be trying to use him as part of a package deal in a trade.   Alone, he wont bring much, but he could add substantial value to a team that trades us, say, a young puck moving defensman as he would be a bit of insurance for them.  I really like Harris but only the team knows if he's a flight risk. Its possible he just really wants to finish his schooling. Some guys do. 

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2 hours ago, maas_art said:

Agree.

Edmundson - Petry is basically a 100%.  

I am almost positive they try Chiarot Savard together which is a big mistake him.  Im hopeful they will mix & match.  Wideman is still a wildcard imho.  Really curious what he brings.   Positionally, Brook probably has the best chance.

I think the team sees Edmundson, Chiarot and Romanov as locks on LD.  They see Petry and Savard as locks on RD but there's a position there for either Wideman, Brook or someone playing their off side.

I think they would make room for Norlinder (unfortunately at the expense of Romanov most likely) if he absolutely blew them away but that would be unlikely at this point. 

 

I am actually not sure Romanov is a lock for anything. Some possibilities...

1. He can play both left or right, so he could be on either side. If Norlinder wins a spot, Romanov could be on the right like in the example I gave.

2. He's waiver-exempt, so he could also be returned to Laval. Maybe they think he needs time as a top-pairing D there to get more ice and special teams work. They could theoretically put Kulak, Wideman, Ouellet, and/or some combination of Brook/Norlinder ahead of him to start the year.

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6 hours ago, Regis22 said:

https://awinninghabit.com/2021/08/28/montreal-canadiens-big-role-jake-evans/

Montreal Canadiens: Dominique Ducharme Has Big Role In Mind For Jake Evans

Then came the part I found interesting as he clearly stated that Jake Evans can fill the void left by Phillip Danault.

I have no problems with this perspective. Evans was a player that provided a spark for this team all year. His speed and his smarts create a lot of opportunitis much like Byron, although he is a much better version of Byron as a play maker and brings a lot of skill with his games. He was easily one of our best forwards when he was not wobbled by a dirty hit, It would be great to see him have a long injury free career after suffering the concussions he has. Truly a gem amongst the forwards on this team and hopefully still growing into his game a little.

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https://www.nhl.com/canadiens/news/ramage-on-harvey-pinard-i-just-love-this-young-guy/c-326157606?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=CHCcontent&utm_content=EN-0915-RamageQuotes

Ramage on Harvey-Pinard: 'I just love this young guy'

Player development chief, Rob Ramage, praised several Canadiens prospects as Rookie Camp began

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On 9/15/2021 at 11:48 AM, BigTed3 said:

 

 

and we all know that has a 0% chance of happening. I think the best we can hope for with what DD might consider is that he doesn't put Chiarot and Savard together and that we get something like Ed-Petry, Chiarot-Romanov, Norlinder-Savard.

You're forgetting Wideman ... so we likely see him over Roamov/Norlinder anyways

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Ok here's my take on the lines Ducharme will likely debut with

Drouin - Suzuki - Caufield

Hoffman - Dvorak - Gallagher

Toffoli - Evans - Anderson

Perreault - Paquette - Armia

Extra : Lehkonen, Poehling

 

On D (and this is where it gets sad)

Edmundson - Petry

Chiarot - Savard

Romanov/Kulak - Wideman

Extra : Either Romanov or Kulak. 

There is zero chance Wideman and Chiarot sit.    MB just signed Wideman and they over value Chiarot

 

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Just now, HabsAlways said:

Ok here's my take on the lines Ducharme will likely debut with

Drouin - Suzuki - Caufield

Hoffman - Dvorak - Gallagher

Toffoli - Evans - Anderson

Perreault - Paquette - Armia

Extra : Lehkonen, Poehling

 

On D (and this is where it gets sad)

Edmundson - Petry

Chiarot - Savard

Romanov/Kulak - Wideman

Extra : Either Romanov or Kulak. 

There is zero chance Wideman and Chiarot sit.    MB just signed Wideman and they over value Chiarot

 

Ok seeing those forward lines now on paper, I'm a little less choked about losing KK ... offensively we've improved a lot, even if you ignore any potential that KK had a breakout year.

Defenisvely ... well, maybe its not as bad as it looks as Weber was terrible for the most part last year and Savard can't be anyworse.    Its Chiarot that's the problem, they need to trade him and stick to Kulak and Romanov.

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