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Christian Dvorak


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On 9/4/2021 at 8:46 PM, BigTed3 said:

FWIW, I'm all for acquiring Dvorak to replace Danault. He fills that role of being a two-way center with perhaps less shutdown ability but better offensive skill on the PP. The problem in that case is that if you pencil in Dvorak for Danault, then we essentially lost a 21-year old top 3 pick with great advanced stats for nothing and downgraded some picks along the way.

That was the original plan, DVo to replace Danault.  Just became more urgent with the loss of KK, as the Yotes wanted a first,  and the KK loss made it easier. So yes. We lost a top 3 pick, that should not have been a top 3 pick. Poehling should be able to replace KK.  But again, we lost a 21 yo. top 3 pick that should never have been a top 3 pick.

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On 9/4/2021 at 5:46 PM, BigTed3 said:

we essentially lost a 21-year old top 3 pick with great advanced stats for nothing and downgraded some picks along the way.

Not trying to start an argument, genuinely interested since i dont really look at advanced stats as  much as a lot of guys - were his AS really good the last 2 years? I know they were terrific in year one (he was very sheltered then) but i think the last 2 years they tapered off? but maybe im totally wrong on this one... 

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1 hour ago, electron58 said:

  But again, we lost a 21 yo. top 3 pick that should never have been a top 3 pick.

Hey if turns into a stud good on him , He'll be the one of the few 1st round draft picks by the Habs to actually develop into a star

 

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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.

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1 hour ago, electron58 said:

we essentially lost a 21-year old top 3 pick with great advanced stats for nothing and downgraded some picks along the way.

    we didn't essentially lose KK for nothing ...the ( somewhat downgraded ) draft picks  were used to acquire Dvorak simple as that ...Danault was long gone with more money and term which most Habs fans would have seen as an overpayment ...if Montreal lost somebody for nothing it would be him and well before the Carolina OS

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3 hours ago, maas_art said:

Not trying to start an argument, genuinely interested since i dont really look at advanced stats as  much as a lot of guys - were his AS really good the last 2 years? I know they were terrific in year one (he was very sheltered then) but i think the last 2 years they tapered off? but maybe im totally wrong on this one... 

His Corsi at 5v5 in his three seasons were 57.2%, 53.7%, and 55.4%. In this most recent season, he was 4th on the team among forwards behind only the Danault trio. Scoring chances when he was on were 55%, 52%, and 55% in favor of the Habs. Expected goals for were 57.2% in year one, dipped to 44.3% in year 2 when he didn't play as much, and then back up to 51.5% last year. His PDO has been under 1.0 in all three years, suggesting he's had bad puck luck as well and that his numbers are due for a correction and should actually be better than they are. On the PP, he was #2 on the team behind only Brendan Gallagher for scoring chances generated per ice time.

So to me, those are pretty darn good advanced stats. Yes, he was sheltered in year one and year two to some extent in terms of zone starts, although he also had weaker quality linemates than the other centers, and he was sheltered much less in year 3 and still stayed afloat pretty well. As I said, the stats suggest the Habs outchanced and outshot the opposition when he was on and that he's due for an uptick in production if he keeps playing that way. The Canes have a great analytics group and used that same type of analysis to go after players like Teuravainen and Niederreiter and Trocheck, who worked out quite well for them. My one concern for JK is that he's down the depth chart in Carolina, whereas Teuravainen had a clearer path to getting his shot. So I do think Kotkaniemi struggles in year one in Carolina as he adjusts to playing wing and being behind star players. But if Staal and Trocheck do give way to him in year two and he gets to be a 2C, I think he'll flourish there after that.

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6 hours ago, arpem-can said:

    we didn't essentially lose KK for nothing ...the ( somewhat downgraded ) draft picks  were used to acquire Dvorak simple as that ...Danault was long gone with more money and term which most Habs fans would have seen as an overpayment ...if Montreal lost somebody for nothing it would be him and well before the Carolina OS

That's weird.   That's not my quote.

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On 9/14/2021 at 3:43 PM, maas_art said:

we essentially lost a 21-year old top 3 pick with great advanced stats for nothing and downgraded some picks along the way.

 

On 9/14/2021 at 11:22 PM, electron58 said:

That's weird.   That's not my quote.

It was originally a quote from Big Ted 3 and wasn't intended to make you or Maas_art the author as you both were quoting him ....sorry for the confusion 

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2 hours ago, arpem-can said:

It was originally a quote from Big Ted 3 and wasn't intended to make you or Maas_art the author as you both were quoting him ....sorry for the confusion 

No problem.  It's just that that actual quote wasn't mine. But understood. BigTed3 has always got great info and his perspective is usually spot on. Not that others don't,  but he usually backs up his views with stats.   👍

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20 hours ago, electron58 said:

No problem.  It's just that that actual quote wasn't mine. But understood. BigTed3 has always got great info and his perspective is usually spot on. Not that others don't,  but he usually backs up his views with stats.   👍

     the stat that I'm not impressed with is 5 goals in 56 games ...maybe he becomes a great 20 goal a year man in the NHL eventually who knows ?...Bergevin did about as well as could be expected under the circumstances of being bullied into letting KK go ...to say " we essentially lost a 21 year old top 3 pick with great advanced stats for nothing "  is framing the whole process that unfolded as something that Bergevin could have controlled ...he couldn't control an OS by Carolina that was ridiculous , completely overpriced and vindictive from the get go ....otherwise he matches ....and yet I believe  Montreal still came out ahead in signing Dvorak despite what may or may not be  a downgraded 1st rounder next year and since an almost non-existant goal scorer in Danault was let go because he demanded too much money and term for the team to be cap frugal enough with Suzuki on the horizon ( as most fans agree upon  )  then , why isn't the argument framed this way?  that "we"  ( essentially) traded an unproven mostly sheltered 21yr old with no consistent scoring resume over 3 years for a proven 25 yr old responsible 2-way centre on a reasonable 4 yr contract who can win you face-offs in the defensive zone and has scored around 17-18 on average over 5 years all on a mostly bottom-feeder team  ... ?

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18 minutes ago, arpem-can said:

...he couldn't control an OS by Carolina that was ridiculous , completely overpriced and vindictive from the get go ....otherwise he matches 

This is an important point.

By all accounts that was an OS worth roughly 3x what every GM in the league thinks JK is worth.    I understand why/how Carolina did it and it may well work for them (if they then follow this up with a long term deal with a much lower cap hit) but its quite possible JK wouldnt extend the same offer to the habs if he was upset & that means what, qualifying offer at $5.1-6.1m?   MB would have to (legitimately) worry about whether JK would accept the same (next) deal to stay with us and if he didn't live up to that $6.1m deal (how could he at this stage) what sort of affect would the fans have on him & his development? If people were getting fed up at $900k... can you imagine the bell centre with him making $6.1m?

Had someone come in with a legit offer like $3m he would have matched as you mentioned.  Even $4m x multi year, he takes that but $6.1?  It was an unexpected offer. Im not MB fan but that's an offer that no one could have legitimately planned for & we have no idea what Kotkaniemi's camp was looking for in a bridge deal so you cant really say "he should have signed him before it came to that" 

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11 minutes ago, maas_art said:

This is an important point.

By all accounts that was an OS worth roughly 3x what every GM in the league thinks JK is worth.    I understand why/how Carolina did it and it may well work for them (if they then follow this up with a long term deal with a much lower cap hit) but its quite possible JK wouldnt extend the same offer to the habs if he was upset & that means what, qualifying offer at $5.1-6.1m?   MB would have to (legitimately) worry about whether JK would accept the same (next) deal to stay with us and if he didn't live up to that $6.1m deal (how could he at this stage) what sort of affect would the fans have on him & his development? If people were getting fed up at $900k... can you imagine the bell centre with him making $6.1m?

Had someone come in with a legit offer like $3m he would have matched as you mentioned.  Even $4m x multi year, he takes that but $6.1?  It was an unexpected offer. Im not MB fan but that's an offer that no one could have legitimately planned for & we have no idea what Kotkaniemi's camp was looking for in a bridge deal so you cant really say "he should have signed him before it came to that" 

Yep! at the end of the day there was no way we were going to match that offer, how we got there is another story!

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5 hours ago, ramcharger440 said:

Yep! at the end of the day there was no way we were going to match that offer, how we got there is another story!

For sure. KK had his get out of jail free  card & was going to make sure he used it. I  guess he took his development personally. Whatever the reasons,  it's still a major disappointment. bergevin tried to rectify a messy situation.  He was already trying to get DVo to replace Danault. Which brings us to Poehling,  as the wild card, since there are no more desirable UFA's. Maybe the moral of this saga is, get your RFA's locked up early. 

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22 minutes ago, electron58 said:

Maybe the moral of this saga is, get your RFA's locked up early. 

Ok but what if you've got an RFA who is asking for too much money? It happens all the time - players go all the way to arbitration.   I have no idea what JK's camp was looking for but what if he wouldnt accept less than $4.5m  You cant be forced into taking a deal that doesnt make sense and you cant expect an OS like that crazy thing Carolina dropped. 

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16 minutes ago, maas_art said:

Ok but what if you've got an RFA who is asking for too much money? It happens all the time - players go all the way to arbitration.   I have no idea what JK's camp was looking for but what if he wouldnt accept less than $4.5m  You cant be forced into taking a deal that doesnt make sense and you cant expect an OS like that crazy thing Carolina dropped. 

True. But as a RFA, maybe his agent was talking to other teams, about trying to get KK out of Montreal. Maybe it wasn't about money, but more about how KK perceived he was treated. I agree, that you can't make a deal that doesn't make sense. That's probably why bergebin was waiting,  almost expecting an OS. It was just higher than he expected.  You don't want to keep a player that doesn't want to be here. Could bergebin have traded KK for more than a first & third? We'll never know, but, I  doubt it. After the OS bergebin did the best he could in a short period of time.  At least give him credit for that. He is learning from past mistakes,  or is he?

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7 hours ago, maas_art said:

This is an important point.

By all accounts that was an OS worth roughly 3x what every GM in the league thinks JK is worth.    I understand why/how Carolina did it and it may well work for them (if they then follow this up with a long term deal with a much lower cap hit) but its quite possible JK wouldnt extend the same offer to the habs if he was upset & that means what, qualifying offer at $5.1-6.1m?   MB would have to (legitimately) worry about whether JK would accept the same (next) deal to stay with us and if he didn't live up to that $6.1m deal (how could he at this stage) what sort of affect would the fans have on him & his development? If people were getting fed up at $900k... can you imagine the bell centre with him making $6.1m?

Had someone come in with a legit offer like $3m he would have matched as you mentioned.  Even $4m x multi year, he takes that but $6.1?  It was an unexpected offer. Im not MB fan but that's an offer that no one could have legitimately planned for & we have no idea what Kotkaniemi's camp was looking for in a bridge deal so you cant really say "he should have signed him before it came to that" 

But then the next question is "why would Kotkaniemi not want to play for the Habs?"... if you believe the Finnish newspapers, they claimed Kotkaniemi was peeved that Suzuki and Caufield were given bigger roles while he was continually being benched and pressboxed and getting the linemate shuffle. On the one hand, Suzuki certainly shined and Caufield played well in a limited timeframe, but on the other hand, you can argue Kotkaniemi was one of your best players in the bubble last year and he started the year playing well next to Drouin and Armia. But that line was broken up to try and get other players going at JK's expense, so I can kind of see where he's coming from with that. Down the stretch, he wasn't playing his best, but who was playing even worse by far was Eric Staal (who was supposedly on top of that playing hurt) and yet to start the post-season Kotkaniemi is in the pressbox and Staal is not. Then Kotkaniemi comes back and scores a huge goal for us. Sheldon Keefe says his insertion in the line-up really changed the momentum in the series and was one of the key factors leading to the Habs comeback series win. But as the playoffs go on, Kotkaniemi is victim to being removed from the line-up yet again, while other players stay in despite struggles and injuries. Anderson was no better than Kotkaniemi. Toffoli's play dropped off considerably after he was hurt. Staal had some big games but also had some stinkers. Danault and Gallagher produced little to nothing offensively. So I can understand Kotkaniemi seeing others not pay the price and wonder what he has to do. Then to boot, remember they did the same thing to his best friend on the team, Victor Mete, and then traded him away.

So I'd maybe turn that question around and ask, if the Habs don't continually overplay veterans and French-Quebecers and gritty role players and fail to give them the same treatment that they spare for younger skill guys, does Kotkaniemi feel more welcome here? Does he stay for a more reasonable deal knowing he has a legit shot at being the 2C this season? On paper, JK had to feel pretty good about his odds of beating out Poehling, Evans, and Paquette for the 2C spot, so he didn't leave and sign with a team with more center depth (where he's supposedly going to play LW) to improve his situation. He did it because he seemed to think he wouldn't be given a fair crack at keeping that 2C role. The Habs have a history of punishing young players for small mistakes and not being patient with them. We've seen it with Galchenyuk, Subban, Pacioretty, Beaulieu, Tinordi, Pateryn, Andrighetto, O'Byrne, Romanov, and others too. Make a mistake, and YANK, you're on the bench. The Habs would do well to use more carrot and less stick and try to coach these guys to learn from their mistakes. Might have spared them this fiasco.

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1 hour ago, BigTed3 said:

But then the next question is "why would Kotkaniemi not want to play for the Habs?"... if you believe the Finnish newspapers, they claimed Kotkaniemi was peeved that Suzuki and Caufield were given bigger roles while he was continually being benched and pressboxed and getting the linemate shuffle. On the one hand, Suzuki certainly shined and Caufield played well in a limited timeframe, but on the other hand, you can argue Kotkaniemi was one of your best players in the bubble last year and he started the year playing well next to Drouin and Armia. But that line was broken up to try and get other players going at JK's expense, so I can kind of see where he's coming from with that. Down the stretch, he wasn't playing his best, but who was playing even worse by far was Eric Staal (who was supposedly on top of that playing hurt) and yet to start the post-season Kotkaniemi is in the pressbox and Staal is not. Then Kotkaniemi comes back and scores a huge goal for us. Sheldon Keefe says his insertion in the line-up really changed the momentum in the series and was one of the key factors leading to the Habs comeback series win. But as the playoffs go on, Kotkaniemi is victim to being removed from the line-up yet again, while other players stay in despite struggles and injuries. Anderson was no better than Kotkaniemi. Toffoli's play dropped off considerably after he was hurt. Staal had some big games but also had some stinkers. Danault and Gallagher produced little to nothing offensively. So I can understand Kotkaniemi seeing others not pay the price and wonder what he has to do. Then to boot, remember they did the same thing to his best friend on the team, Victor Mete, and then traded him away.

So I'd maybe turn that question around and ask, if the Habs don't continually overplay veterans and French-Quebecers and gritty role players and fail to give them the same treatment that they spare for younger skill guys, does Kotkaniemi feel more welcome here? Does he stay for a more reasonable deal knowing he has a legit shot at being the 2C this season? On paper, JK had to feel pretty good about his odds of beating out Poehling, Evans, and Paquette for the 2C spot, so he didn't leave and sign with a team with more center depth (where he's supposedly going to play LW) to improve his situation. He did it because he seemed to think he wouldn't be given a fair crack at keeping that 2C role. The Habs have a history of punishing young players for small mistakes and not being patient with them. We've seen it with Galchenyuk, Subban, Pacioretty, Beaulieu, Tinordi, Pateryn, Andrighetto, O'Byrne, Romanov, and others too. Make a mistake, and YANK, you're on the bench. The Habs would do well to use more carrot and less stick and try to coach these guys to learn from their mistakes. Might have spared them this fiasco.

Kinda what I was hinting at. All the more reason losing Joel Bouchard was a huge loss. 

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1 hour ago, BigTed3 said:

But then the next question is "why would Kotkaniemi not want to play for the Habs?"... if you believe the Finnish newspapers, they claimed Kotkaniemi was peeved that Suzuki and Caufield were given bigger roles while he was continually being benched and pressboxed and getting the linemate shuffle. On the one hand, Suzuki certainly shined and Caufield played well in a limited timeframe, but on the other hand, you can argue Kotkaniemi was one of your best players in the bubble last year and he started the year playing well next to Drouin and Armia. But that line was broken up to try and get other players going at JK's expense, so I can kind of see where he's coming from with that. Down the stretch, he wasn't playing his best, but who was playing even worse by far was Eric Staal (who was supposedly on top of that playing hurt) and yet to start the post-season Kotkaniemi is in the pressbox and Staal is not. Then Kotkaniemi comes back and scores a huge goal for us. Sheldon Keefe says his insertion in the line-up really changed the momentum in the series and was one of the key factors leading to the Habs comeback series win. But as the playoffs go on, Kotkaniemi is victim to being removed from the line-up yet again, while other players stay in despite struggles and injuries. Anderson was no better than Kotkaniemi. Toffoli's play dropped off considerably after he was hurt. Staal had some big games but also had some stinkers. Danault and Gallagher produced little to nothing offensively. So I can understand Kotkaniemi seeing others not pay the price and wonder what he has to do. Then to boot, remember they did the same thing to his best friend on the team, Victor Mete, and then traded him away.

So I'd maybe turn that question around and ask, if the Habs don't continually overplay veterans and French-Quebecers and gritty role players and fail to give them the same treatment that they spare for younger skill guys, does Kotkaniemi feel more welcome here? Does he stay for a more reasonable deal knowing he has a legit shot at being the 2C this season? On paper, JK had to feel pretty good about his odds of beating out Poehling, Evans, and Paquette for the 2C spot, so he didn't leave and sign with a team with more center depth (where he's supposedly going to play LW) to improve his situation. He did it because he seemed to think he wouldn't be given a fair crack at keeping that 2C role. The Habs have a history of punishing young players for small mistakes and not being patient with them. We've seen it with Galchenyuk, Subban, Pacioretty, Beaulieu, Tinordi, Pateryn, Andrighetto, O'Byrne, Romanov, and others too. Make a mistake, and YANK, you're on the bench. The Habs would do well to use more carrot and less stick and try to coach these guys to learn from their mistakes. Might have spared them this fiasco.

Perhaps KK is a prima donna? boo hoo he got sent to the press box it has happened since the begining of hockey? he sure is getting a lot of defence for a guy who was drafted too high and never played up to the level the team hoped he would. In my opinion he was overated he is going to be a pretty good player but not as good as many think. 

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32 minutes ago, ramcharger440 said:

Perhaps KK is a prima donna? boo hoo he got sent to the press box it has happened since the begining of hockey? he sure is getting a lot of defence for a guy who was drafted too high and never played up to the level the team hoped he would. In my opinion he was overated he is going to be a pretty good player but not as good as many think. 

Very good alternative perspective- it is an easy route to be so critical of Habs management when things go awry. Coaches are paid to win and perhaps it was quite the 50-50 coin flip to take Staal’s deficiencies over KK’s weaknesses. KK was going to have tons of chances to play future playoff games, so maybe he was immature impatient? If KK was performing to expectations, there shouldn’t have been any need to obtain Staal - So you could argue KK’s play (regardless of line mates and the so called set me up for success….), was the author of his own misfortune and demise. 

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On 9/4/2021 at 8:36 PM, BigTed3 said:

Arpon Basu basically just summed up the transactions as this:

Habs essentially traded Kotkaniemi and a 2nd round pick

FOR

Dvorak, 3rd round pick, and a possible move down of 1st round picks.

 

If I had proposed that deal to anyone here a week ago, who would have taken that? Who would have turned JK into Dvorak AND had two top-end-of-the-draft picks potentially end up worse as well. I wouldn't have even made the trade straight up, never mind the picks getting worse. Here are a few other guys from the same draft year as Dvorak who are interesting comparisons:

- Adrian Kempe was a late 1st round pick in the year Dvorak was a late 2nd. He has 132 points to Dvorak's 146. Probably similar trade value. Would you give up a 1st and 2nd for Kempe?

- Kevin Labanc is a RW and not a center but has 177 pts to Dvorak's 146. He's on a similar value contract. Worth a 1st and 2nd?

- Victor Arvidsson has put up 239 pts in his career and has two 30+ goal seasons. Now he's 2 years older than the rest of the draft class in 2014, but he's also a superior player to Dvorak and it's not even really that close. He just got traded this off-season for a 2nd and a 3rd. No 1st rounder.

- Jared McCann was a 1st rounder and has 155 pts to Dvorak's 146 and has been traded a couple of times. He was just swapped for a mid-level prospect and 7th rounder and then claimed in the ED. Hard to envision anyone was paying a 1st and a 2nd for him.

- Nick Schmaltz was also a 1st rounder and has 182 points in his career.

- Jakub Vrana is another 1st rounder and has 168 pts in his career. HE was just packaged with a 1st for Anthony Mantha.

- Nick Ritchie is a 1st with 137 career points.

- And Sam Bennett, a top 5 choice from that draft year who has 155 points in his career and is maybe one of the better comparables for Dvorak... just dealt this year with a 6th rounder for a mid-level prospect and 2nd rounder.

 

So you look at guys from the same draft year as Dvorak and you see the ones with comparable point totals and they really don't look like a bunch you would/should be giving up a 1st rounder for. The advanced stats suggest Dvorak is not a strong player and he doesn't look like a player who will ever be more than a middle 6 center who can score 15-23 goals. Less good than Kotkaniemi now and less room to grow going forward. JK will have issues getting ice time in Carolina, so that in itself might hold him back and make this day look less bad than it could have, but Bergevin got burned here with what he gave up.

He's a better center than all these guys. That why he's more valuable than everyone of them.

 

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If JK took the least amount of responsibility for his own development, instead of blaming management and pouting over Suzuki's success and Staal's commitment to play the type of game that gave our team the best chance to win, he would still be a Hab.  Maybe Carolina can get through to him, if not he may join Galchenyuk circling the drain to the KHL where good salaries are paid to guys with great potential who don't like doing the hard things required of a professional athlete..

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12 hours ago, ramcharger440 said:

Perhaps KK is a prima donna? boo hoo he got sent to the press box it has happened since the begining of hockey? he sure is getting a lot of defence for a guy who was drafted too high and never played up to the level the team hoped he would. In my opinion he was overated he is going to be a pretty good player but not as good as many think. 

i think people just like to take dumps on the habs organization whether it be bergevin molson or the crest itself.

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1 hour ago, AH64 said:

i think people just like to take dumps on the habs organization whether it be bergevin molson or the crest itself.

Yep there are plenty of things that MB and the Habs have screwed up but there are also things they have done right like all teams! KK is a classic example the screw up was drafting him 3rd the good thing was letting him go and picking up a good proven center, sometimes you have to let go. Suzuki was a great move! and trusting that CC would be able to play in the big leagues was another. Then there are the Karl Alzner moves and letting go of the entire left side of the D in one off season...... all in all we are just like every other team some good moves some bad. What we need is more good less bad! LOL!

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3 hours ago, AH64 said:

i think people just like to take dumps on the habs organization whether it be bergevin molson or the crest itself.

 let's face it if Carolina had taken the draft picks in the Aho OS people would still be grumbling about the cap hit the tying of the organization's hands in the future ( see: Suzuki )..If you go a step higher and lose more 1st rounders and pay more salary than what the Habs offered ( apparently according to some it should have been the latter ) the grumbling would be even worse unless Aho was THE saviour and scored 50 goals a year and led the team to the Cup which is highly unlikely ....given the way this whole affair played out I'm more inclined now to think it played into Bergevin's hand ....he knew right away he wasn't paying KK 6.1 for 1 year with no guarantees and started working the phone lines immediately ...there was no extended term offered KK by Montreal and  the Canes and Habs were talking trade just a week prior ....guaranteed it   involved the "coveted " KK so it appears the Habs  were already willing to let him go regardless....I also believe it was always Bergevin's plan to try and obtain Dvorak to replace Dano even if it cost picks ...Carolina basically handed the Habs the picks to acquire him ...there are a lot of ways to look at this and not every one include Bergevin being an idiot ...

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20 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

But then the next question is "why would Kotkaniemi not want to play for the Habs?"... if you believe the Finnish newspapers, they claimed Kotkaniemi was peeved that Suzuki and Caufield were given bigger roles while he was continually being benched and pressboxed and getting the linemate shuffle. On the one hand, Suzuki certainly shined and Caufield played well in a limited timeframe, but on the other hand, you can argue Kotkaniemi was one of your best players in the bubble last year and he started the year playing well next to Drouin and Armia. But that line was broken up to try and get other players going at JK's expense, so I can kind of see where he's coming from with that. Down the stretch, he wasn't playing his best, but who was playing even worse by far was Eric Staal (who was supposedly on top of that playing hurt) and yet to start the post-season Kotkaniemi is in the pressbox and Staal is not. Then Kotkaniemi comes back and scores a huge goal for us. Sheldon Keefe says his insertion in the line-up really changed the momentum in the series and was one of the key factors leading to the Habs comeback series win. But as the playoffs go on, Kotkaniemi is victim to being removed from the line-up yet again, while other players stay in despite struggles and injuries. Anderson was no better than Kotkaniemi. Toffoli's play dropped off considerably after he was hurt. Staal had some big games but also had some stinkers. Danault and Gallagher produced little to nothing offensively. So I can understand Kotkaniemi seeing others not pay the price and wonder what he has to do. Then to boot, remember they did the same thing to his best friend on the team, Victor Mete, and then traded him away.

So I'd maybe turn that question around and ask, if the Habs don't continually overplay veterans and French-Quebecers and gritty role players and fail to give them the same treatment that they spare for younger skill guys, does Kotkaniemi feel more welcome here? Does he stay for a more reasonable deal knowing he has a legit shot at being the 2C this season? On paper, JK had to feel pretty good about his odds of beating out Poehling, Evans, and Paquette for the 2C spot, so he didn't leave and sign with a team with more center depth (where he's supposedly going to play LW) to improve his situation. He did it because he seemed to think he wouldn't be given a fair crack at keeping that 2C role. The Habs have a history of punishing young players for small mistakes and not being patient with them. We've seen it with Galchenyuk, Subban, Pacioretty, Beaulieu, Tinordi, Pateryn, Andrighetto, O'Byrne, Romanov, and others too. Make a mistake, and YANK, you're on the bench. The Habs would do well to use more carrot and less stick and try to coach these guys to learn from their mistakes. Might have spared them this fiasco.

I think it might be easy for us to look at what we see on the ice and conclude that some of these other players were just as unproductive as Kotkaneimi. But maybe the difference was in the things we don’t see. Staal definitely had his bad moments and lulls in productivity. But maybe it was his effort, attitude and cognizance of these deficiencies, his attentiveness to the coaching he was receiving that saw him remain in the lineup. And visa versa for Kotkaneimi. Of course this is pure speculation, but from MB’s presser, it sounds like this was an area Kotkaneimi struggled with, so it might not be too far off base 

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