Jump to content
The Official Site of the Montréal Canadiens
Canadiens de Montreal

2021-22 State of the Habs


Recommended Posts

26 minutes ago, campabee82 said:

As I was reading this I got a weird thought, what if the plan was to play Poehling in Laval for 1 more season. Who do we play at center? What about Suzuki, Dvorak, BYRON, Evans? Since we know that Byron can play center but is not a typical 4C why not 3C? How would a lineup look then?

Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield

Drouin-Dvorak-Anderson

Armia-Byron-Gallagher

Hoffman-Evans-Lehkonen

Does this make sense or am I just over complicating things?

no, I think moving Byron to C might be our best option right now

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, habsisme said:

no, I think moving Byron to C might be our best option right now

A lot of it is going to have to do with whether Jake Evans can put up some points.

Right now we Suzuki and Dvorak who will both get great wingers and should be good for 35+ minutes a game.  Probably both do PP and some PK time.

Evans takes one of those bottom 2 spots but if he's only a shut down guy we're in some trouble because you still have Hoffman and Gallagher needing a set up guy.  IF however, Evans can actually put up 35-40 points in the role  - which is exactly what Danault did when we put him in a role like this after being a question mark when we acquired him - then it opens up a lot of options.  

If Evans is a legit #3 centre then you have any one of Poehling, Pacquette, Perreault or even Byron to play that 4th line role.   

 

Alternatively it could be Poehling stepping up & taking that #3 spot but its definitely the thing we need addressed more than anything else up front right now. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^ The Habs have already given several hints that they'll use Evans as the 3C:

- Bergevin has stated that he saw Evans taking some of Danault's minutes and that they think he can make a big leap this year

- Evans is lined up with Armia and RHP, and a lot of media members believe RHP is simply a place-holder for Gallagher, since they play a similar style game

- Dvorak, whom we thought might take on Danault's role, seems to have been placed on a more offensive line, meaning one of Evans, Poehling, or Paquette is going to have to take on the shutdown role. As good as the Dvorak line looked last night, I question whether having Drouin and Anderson out against other teams' top scorers is a great move. Neither is a fantastic defensive player.

So put that all together and it really looks like Armia-Evans-Gallagher is going to be the go-to shutdown line heading into the season. The top two lines look essentially set. So the battle now comes down to Lehkonen, Poehling, Paquette, Perreault, Hoffman, Byron, or a surprise (Ylonen, RHP, Bourque, Vejdemo, etc.) for the rest of the spots. Hoffman and Byron are both injured to start the year. I think Lehkonen, Paquette, and Perreault are all locks to make the team. But whether those players find the line-up or the pressbox is another story. The big question mark right now is Poehling. It's really his job to lose the 4C spot. If the wingers are going to be Hoffman and Byron down the line, it certainly makes more sense to have a player with more offensive upside like Poehling than a scrub like Paquette. If Ylonen makes the team, it also makes sense to have Poehling there, given they've played together and had success in the AHL. But I don't think they'll let Poehling languish in the pressbox. If he's not the 4C, I think he'll be in Laval, and he has one more year of waiver exemption left. If he has a good camp, I think they'll open with Perreault-Poehling-Lehkonen and if he doesn't, I think they'll open with Perreault-Paquette-Lehkonen. They've put each of the two likely 4th-line wingers with one of the possible 4C's and one will win out, but as I said, we essentially know who Paquette is, so it really comes down to what Poehling can show. Ultimately, I don't see Poehling having a ton of success with two defensive wingers with weak offensive upside, so if that's the plan, I can see him being shipped back to Laval 10 games into the year and Paquette taking that spot. But  you never know. If Evans struggles or there's an injury to Dvorak or Suzuki, Poehling is easily the next-best option to move into the top 9, not Paquette. So that might be his best shot at showing what he's got.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, BigTed3 said:

^^ The Habs have already given several hints that they'll use Evans as the 3C:

- Bergevin has stated that he saw Evans taking some of Danault's minutes and that they think he can make a big leap this year

- Evans is lined up with Armia and RHP, and a lot of media members believe RHP is simply a place-holder for Gallagher, since they play a similar style game

- Dvorak, whom we thought might take on Danault's role, seems to have been placed on a more offensive line, meaning one of Evans, Poehling, or Paquette is going to have to take on the shutdown role. As good as the Dvorak line looked last night, I question whether having Drouin and Anderson out against other teams' top scorers is a great move. Neither is a fantastic defensive player.

So put that all together and it really looks like Armia-Evans-Gallagher is going to be the go-to shutdown line heading into the season. The top two lines look essentially set. So the battle now comes down to Lehkonen, Poehling, Paquette, Perreault, Hoffman, Byron, or a surprise (Ylonen, RHP, Bourque, Vejdemo, etc.) for the rest of the spots. Hoffman and Byron are both injured to start the year. I think Lehkonen, Paquette, and Perreault are all locks to make the team. But whether those players find the line-up or the pressbox is another story. The big question mark right now is Poehling. It's really his job to lose the 4C spot. If the wingers are going to be Hoffman and Byron down the line, it certainly makes more sense to have a player with more offensive upside like Poehling than a scrub like Paquette. If Ylonen makes the team, it also makes sense to have Poehling there, given they've played together and had success in the AHL. But I don't think they'll let Poehling languish in the pressbox. If he's not the 4C, I think he'll be in Laval, and he has one more year of waiver exemption left. If he has a good camp, I think they'll open with Perreault-Poehling-Lehkonen and if he doesn't, I think they'll open with Perreault-Paquette-Lehkonen. They've put each of the two likely 4th-line wingers with one of the possible 4C's and one will win out, but as I said, we essentially know who Paquette is, so it really comes down to what Poehling can show. Ultimately, I don't see Poehling having a ton of success with two defensive wingers with weak offensive upside, so if that's the plan, I can see him being shipped back to Laval 10 games into the year and Paquette taking that spot. But  you never know. If Evans struggles or there's an injury to Dvorak or Suzuki, Poehling is easily the next-best option to move into the top 9, not Paquette. So that might be his best shot at showing what he's got.

I don’t see Armia staying on that Evans third line on his off wing - I suspect as soon as Hoffman recovers, Mike goes to LW on that line even with some defensive shortcomings in his game. It puts a fair bit of pressure on Evans and Gallagher to be sufficient plus / minus. If Hoffman can be better than Tatar, then Gallagher flourishes with that type of player. 
The 4th is where it gets crowded with Lehks playing LW, Armia at RW and Paquette / Perreault / Poehling platooning in the press box - I could see Poehling periodically playing LW. Byron is out until Christmas or more and he’s a real stretch to play Centre. 
Agree that Poehling has to earn a commitment to be in the lineup even though he has waivers exemptions 

I need to see more of Perreault but still think he’s this years Michael Frolik. I think it’s impossible for Ylonen to make the team this year. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NHL to crackdown on crosschecking - how much do you think this will this affect the HABS - specifically the D ?

https://awinninghabit.com/2021/09/25/montreal-canadiens-cross-check-clampdown-constrict-canadiens/

The Montreal Canadiens just made run to the Stanley Cup Final.

After a tumultuous regular season that saw them get off to a great start followed by a lull, a coaching change, a bit of a resurgence and then another lull, the Canadiens pulled off an unlikely run to get within three wins of the Stanley Cup.

Though the run was surprising, it did solidify the old cliche that the Canadiens were “built for the playoffs.”

What that really means is that they have scoring, depth and good goaltending, but above all they played a physical style that wore opponents down. A big part of this was their top pairing of defenders, Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot as well as Joel Edmundson constantly putting a beating on their opposition.

A lot of that pounding from the Canadiens defenceman was via cross checks in front of the net and in the corners while battling for pucks. It sounds like a new rule, or rule emphasis, could put an end to all of that.

The league recently put an emphasis on calling slashing penalties, and it resulted in a lot of slashing penalties for a few weeks and then the standard really started to pull back towards its norm.

The same thing could happen with cross checking, and likely will. We probably see five or six penalties for that one infraction in tonight’s preseason game, but by November it will be back to what we are used to seeing, which is a terribly inconsistent and awful standard of officiating.

While the officiating had a brutal standard over the years, the Canadiens clearly built their blue line with that standard in mind. A bunch of physical, bruising blue liners are more valuable in front of Carey Price if they are allowed to really bend the rules that we see printed in the rule book.

If the league actually really clamps down on cross checking like the video suggests, and continues that standard for the entire season, it will force Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson, two of the Canadiens top four defenders, to change their approach.

 

Of course, with Cole Caufield in town for a full season and Mike Hoffman joining the Canadiens this year, the Habs power play will be a lot more dangerous that previous seasons.

They will benefit from extra power plays as well, but that big, physical, punishing defence is going to have to adapt if cross checking is now called as it was always intended.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

NHL to crackdown on crosschecking - how much do you think this will this affect the HABS - specifically the D ?

https://awinninghabit.com/2021/09/25/montreal-canadiens-cross-check-clampdown-constrict-canadiens/

The Montreal Canadiens just made run to the Stanley Cup Final.

After a tumultuous regular season that saw them get off to a great start followed by a lull, a coaching change, a bit of a resurgence and then another lull, the Canadiens pulled off an unlikely run to get within three wins of the Stanley Cup.

Though the run was surprising, it did solidify the old cliche that the Canadiens were “built for the playoffs.”

What that really means is that they have scoring, depth and good goaltending, but above all they played a physical style that wore opponents down. A big part of this was their top pairing of defenders, Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot as well as Joel Edmundson constantly putting a beating on their opposition.

A lot of that pounding from the Canadiens defenceman was via cross checks in front of the net and in the corners while battling for pucks. It sounds like a new rule, or rule emphasis, could put an end to all of that.

The league recently put an emphasis on calling slashing penalties, and it resulted in a lot of slashing penalties for a few weeks and then the standard really started to pull back towards its norm.

The same thing could happen with cross checking, and likely will. We probably see five or six penalties for that one infraction in tonight’s preseason game, but by November it will be back to what we are used to seeing, which is a terribly inconsistent and awful standard of officiating.

While the officiating had a brutal standard over the years, the Canadiens clearly built their blue line with that standard in mind. A bunch of physical, bruising blue liners are more valuable in front of Carey Price if they are allowed to really bend the rules that we see printed in the rule book.

If the league actually really clamps down on cross checking like the video suggests, and continues that standard for the entire season, it will force Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson, two of the Canadiens top four defenders, to change their approach.

 

Of course, with Cole Caufield in town for a full season and Mike Hoffman joining the Canadiens this year, the Habs power play will be a lot more dangerous that previous seasons.

They will benefit from extra power plays as well, but that big, physical, punishing defence is going to have to adapt if cross checking is now called as it was always intended.

I was wondering the same thing.  As good as the "big 4" were in the playoffs, all of them got away with a fair number of questionable hacks and checks in front of Price.

There's a fine balance. I cant see the league allowing opposing players to charge the net, but for sure some of the stuff Weber & co were doing last playoffs would be called under a more strict rule. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

https://thehockeywriters.com/montreal-canadiens-niku-wideman-seventh-defenseman/

Canadiens’ 7th Defenseman Comes Down to Niku and Wideman

The Montreal Canadiens didn’t bring defenseman Chris Wideman back from the Kontinental Hockey League just to bury him in the American Hockey League. That much is obvious based solely on the fact his one-year, $750,000 deal is a one-way contract.

 

Meanwhile, even if Sami Niku signed a two-way, $750,000 deal, the Canadiens similarly didn’t bring him aboard simply for giggles. He’s no longer exempt from waivers, meaning, if he gets cut from training camp, the recent Winnipeg Jet, who got his previous contract terminated, can just as easily play somewhere else altogether next season.

Niku vs. Wideman

So, the Canadiens have a decision to make. It’s not necessarily a huge decision on which the outcome of the 2021-22 season hinges, but it is a difficult one. Assuming they stick with seven defensemen, do they go with the unproven Niku who may have higher upside or do they go with the veteran Wideman, who, despite having been an NHL cast-off at one point, led all KHL defensemen in scoring last season (nine goals, 41 points in 59 games)? Of course, there are other options, but, realistically, it comes down to those two, as the Canadiens have made some degree of commitment to them that they haven’t to others, in the form of their respective deals.

n some ways, it’s like choosing between six eggs over easy or half a dozen scrambled for dinner. Sure, they say it’s an all-the-time food, but who really eats eggs at any point other than for breakfast, unless it’s the only thing you’ve got left in the fridge? And that’s largely the point.

The top six spots on defense are theoretically set with Shea Weber projected to be out for the season: Jeff Petry and Joel Edmundson on the first pair, Ben Chiarot and David Savard on the second and Brett Kulak and Alexander Romanov on the third. Either Wideman or Niku are slated (at least at this point) to get the odd game and only play regularly in the event of injury. In other words, you’re only going to play them under specific circumstances.

 

Who Plays with Romanov?

There’s admittedly always a chance one of them beats Kulak out for a spot beside Romanov, with the latter being a natural leftie. Both Niku and Wideman are right-handed shots, while Kulak shoots left like Romanov. However, that’s realistically about as much of a factor as the weather outside the day a decision needs to be made. Romanov played the right side often last season and he can do so again. He’s also gone on record as saying he can play both. Yes, he’s a leftie and it may be less than ideal, but it is what it is at this juncture.

onsidering Kulak has been with the Canadiens for three seasons, has experience playing with Romanov and is just a few seasons removed from effectively playing top-four minutes beside Petry, don’t kid yourself. It’s Kulak’s spot to lose. He’s got the inside track and there’s not much more if anything at all either Niku or Wideman can offer that Kulak can’t.

Related Link: Canadiens’ Wideman Adds Scoring Depth to Blue Line

Of course, Kulak’s set to hit unrestricted free agency next summer. So, the Canadiens do have to start thinking about the future. That might mean giving prospect Mattias Norlinder (or Kaiden Guhle) a go when the time comes or even re-signing Kulak or Wideman, because, as unproven as Niku is, ultimately Wideman is only on a one-year deal himself before he becomes a UFA again.

Wideman vs. Radulov

If you thought Alexander Radulov had a lot to prove when he first came back from the KHL to play for the Habs back in 2016-17, at least he had been a proven top-six forward when he left the NHL initially. Wideman played less than 14 minutes per game during his most productive season in the NHL in 2016-17 when he scored 17 points for the Ottawa Senators.

For some perspective, Victor Mete averaged 14:09 with the Habs last season. So, if Radulov had to start back at zero when he returned to North America, Wideman’s into negative digits. Maybe his time in the KHL unlocked some previously untapped potential, but chances are good, with ex-Hab Darren Dietz tallying a third-ranked 37 points league-wide last season, the KHL is just better-suited to his skillset.

At 31, Wideman is arguably out of his prime, unless he drinks from the same fountain of youth as Petry. On the other hand, Niku is just 25. He’s going to be a restricted free agent next summer and the Canadiens simply have more to gain nurturing him instead of Wideman, especially considering how highly touted of a prospect the former was once upon a time in the Jets system, as an ex-Eddie Shore Award winner in the AHL. However, it’s worth mentioning Wideman won it with the Binghamton Senators three years earlier.

The Case to Waive Niku

It could very well be that Niku doesn’t pan out and the Jets did all they could to get him to develop into a dependable defenseman. However, in terms of asset management, the best play for the Habs is to give Niku as much playing time as possible. It’s at least possible he outplays Kulak and wins a spot beside Romanov, but, likelier than not, that means trying to sneak him through waivers to play him in the AHL. If he does get claimed, so be it… the Canadiens are in the exact same spot they were at this point last week, without anyone so much as anticipating Niku being a Hab.

Theoretically, the Canadiens can go with eight defensemen out of training camp. It’s hardly an unorthodox strategy. However, the Canadiens went with seven defensemen out of training camp last season, and it was like pulling teeth for Mete just to get dressed for a game.

While the Canadiens did lose Mete to the Ottawa Senators for nothing and there’s a real risk of the same thing happening to Niku, there are simply more worthwhile forwards to use on that last roster spot. True, Niku’s outgrown the AHL at this juncture and he may need regular NHL playing time to grow as a player. It’s just not coming with the Habs barring an injury. The signing was a good move on the part of general manager Marc Bergevin. Best to file it under the nothing ventured, nothing gained category, though. He added depth on defense without giving up anything and, if he just as soon loses it, no harm, no foul.

e same is undeniably true with respect to Wideman. However, the Canadiens need someone to fill the role of seventh defenseman. It may as well be him. NHL fans should know at this juncture what they would be getting in Wideman, whereas Niku remains a bit of a question mark. Hopefully everyone finds out sooner rather than later what they’ve got in him too. Chances are good it won’t be with the Canadiens, though… at least not this coming 2021-22 season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, maas_art said:

I was wondering the same thing.  As good as the "big 4" were in the playoffs, all of them got away with a fair number of questionable hacks and checks in front of Price.

There's a fine balance. I cant see the league allowing opposing players to charge the net, but for sure some of the stuff Weber & co were doing last playoffs would be called under a more strict rule. 

Every team hacks and crosschecks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

Both Niku and Wideman are right-handed shots,

Niku is a left handed shot. He's played right D for a large portion of his (short) NHL career, but those who have seen him regularly say he's better at LD.  That, to me, gives Wideman the inside track if the team is indeed looking for players to play their natural spot.


(I know you were just quoting the article)

 

30 minutes ago, habs1952 said:

Every team hacks and crosschecks. 

True. But we based our whole defensive zone system around it last playoffs.  I dont think anyone did it more than us last post season.  And, aside from a couple of our D, we dont really have the horses to play any other way, thats the bigger problem. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Carey Price Wanna bet he's out until Xmas ( or longer )

 

The Canadiens' bench boss also provided a brief update on the health status of goaltender Carey Price, who hasn't participated in training camp practices while he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery.

"We're taking it day by day. Not much more right now. He had to take a couple of days off the ice just to make sure there's no swelling and stuff," explained Ducharme. "We'll see what happens next week."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, maas_art said:

Niku is a left handed shot. He's played right D for a large portion of his (short) NHL career, but those who have seen him regularly say he's better at LD.  That, to me, gives Wideman the inside track if the team is indeed looking for players to play their natural spot.


(I know you were just quoting the article)

 

True. But we based our whole defensive zone system around it last playoffs.  I dont think anyone did it more than us last post season.  And, aside from a couple of our D, we dont really have the horses to play any other way, thats the bigger problem. 

Not too sure about the cross checking thing we got crosschecked a lot in the post season too! that has always been playoff hockey I think we all just forgot what it was like as we had not been there or that far in so long.....lol!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

Norlinder with a lower body injury and is expect to miss a few days to a week. He won't play this weekend, but "could be back for the game after that." This likely doesn't help his chances of sticking with the Habs this year.

Yeah I was hoping to see him get a bit more ice to see if he would settle in. This will hurt him for sure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Regis22 said:

Carey Price Wanna bet he's out until Xmas ( or longer )

 

The Canadiens' bench boss also provided a brief update on the health status of goaltender Carey Price, who hasn't participated in training camp practices while he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery.

"We're taking it day by day. Not much more right now. He had to take a couple of days off the ice just to make sure there's no swelling and stuff," explained Ducharme. "We'll see what happens next week."

Yeah at this point, with Price, I take everything with a grain of salt. Im fairly confident Allen should be ok at least for the first 1/3 of the season. He sometimes has a history of having problems when he plays a lot.

 

1 hour ago, BigTed3 said:

Norlinder with a lower body injury and is expect to miss a few days to a week. He won't play this weekend, but "could be back for the game after that." This likely doesn't help his chances of sticking with the Habs this year.

Norlinder, Brook, Ylonen (self induced) ... sucks - those were 3 guys i really wanted to see play and i think at least 1 of them had an outside chance of making the team. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, maas_art said:

Norlinder, Brook, Ylonen (self induced) ... sucks - those were 3 guys i really wanted to see play and i think at least 1 of them had an outside chance of making the team. 

Unfortunate but that’s top shelf hockey - you will get hurt - it’s just a question of when and severity. Problem with some of these is knees which I suspect is Brook and Norlinder 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

Norlinder with a lower body injury and is expect to miss a few days to a week. He won't play this weekend, but "could be back for the game after that." This likely doesn't help his chances of sticking with the Habs this year.

Yeah.  I'm going to say, 99.9% for sure, Norlinder will be sent back to Sweden.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, maas_art said:

Norlinder, Brook, Ylonen (self induced) ... sucks - those were 3 guys i really wanted to see play and i think at least 1 of them had an outside chance of making the team. 

Yeah.  Me as well, although, now that we have acquired Sami Niku, I'm rooting for him, hoping a change in scenery will do wonders.  The talent is there, and he has played a few more games in the NHL, so for this year anyway, SN > MN.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, H_T_L said:

Reports are that Molson offered MB a contract right after the finals but he turned it down. 

The thinking is either:

- He wants more $
- He wants to move into a position like President of Hockey Operations and have someone else take over as GM
- He wants to leave
- He's undecided


Im surprised with all of these although i will say this for Bergevin: I dont agree with everything he's done (altough he's been a lot better the last few years) but you cant question his desire to build a winner. Thats true of pretty much all of our past guys. Houle was an abysmal GM but I have no doubt he WANTED to succeed... he just wasnt very good. MB lives and breathes hockey and he may just want a break. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...