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2019-20 State Of The Habs


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23 minutes ago, HabsAlways said:

All kidding aside ... tank, win ... whatever ... I'm still trying to process Kotkaniemi's first ever fight where he man handled the other guy.    Reminiscent of Robinson's first pro fight.

Was that with Shultz?

 

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2 hours ago, CaptWelly said:

I actually think with the whole lineup back we aren't that bad of a team. We actually can compete with all the teams even the top contenders with a full lineup. Our rookies have gotten a lot of experience and some confidence with the extra time and playing. Just because we may miss the playoffs (I hope not, it might be fun to see if we slid in). I don't think we "have to blow it up or make major changes". We could compete with this team next year even. If Romanov does come over and Caulfield comes along. Instead of Weal or Cousins we'd have a deeper again roster of players to come in & out.

Moving the discussion from your GDT post into the State of the Habs thread here...

Like you, I like the forward group we have here if healthy. MB needed to find three things going into the season, if we assume Suzuki's production replaced Shaw's from last year. He needed a top-pairing LHD, he needed a scoring winger, and he needed a better back-up goalie than Niemi. He managed to fill none of those things to start the season. Now, we've managed to get production out of Kovalchuk, and if he can keep this up, then he has maybe addressed one of those needs in the short term. If healthy, he gives us the option of moving Gallagher to another line without losing too much from the Danault line (remembering that Tatar-Danault produced absolutely nothing when Cousins was there). I still think we need to do more to get better linemates for Kotkaniemi, who also can't be playing with Cousins and Weal if we expect him to produce. But Kovalchuk being here allows for something along the lines of

Tatar-Danault-Kovalchuk

Lehkonen-Domi-Suzuki

Drouin-Kotkaniemi-Gallagher

Byron-Poehling-Armia

 

What that lacks in top-end talent, it makes up for in quality depth. The major problem is that we can't afford to have injuries like we've had, because our top end can't carry around the likes of Cousins, Weal, Hudon, or Weise having to step into the top 9.

I don't think the forwards have largely been a problem this year. Where we've been lacking is on the back end. While the D has done a good job offensively, the number of odd man rushes allowed and the poor in-zone defensive coverage in front of the net have been what has sunk us more than anything. Among goalies with over 1000 5v5 minutes played this season, Carey is 19th for  save percentage but he has faced the 8th most breakaways and he is actually 9th in the league for expected goals against per ice time, meaning he's doing a pretty great job at 5v5 for what his team is making him face.

Where it gets even more iffy is the penalty kill. Carey has faced the 6th most shots per ice time on the PK. He's face the 8th highest high-danger shots against and the 9th most rebound chances. Despite that, he's 11th in the league for save percentage against those high-danger chances and 15th overall for save percentage on the PK. On average, he's saving a full goal per 60 minutes of PK time above league average. Put that together and we ascertain that Price has been about league average on the PK and slightly above average at ES, but he's putting up those average numbers while facing more than his fair share of quality chances against.

Now look at which players are most responsible for this porous defence. On the PK, the players on the ice for the highest rate of high-danger chances against are in order Weber, Thompson, and Chiarot, and that's the same order if we look at all scoring chances against per ice time as well. To put that in perspective, the top 100 penalty killers in the league are giving up less than 16 high-danger chances per 60 minutes of ice time and that trio is up the double of that at over 27 per 60. At 5v5, the worst offenders in terms of high-danger chances against are Kotkaniemi, Fleury, Thompson, and Weal, while our best players have been Petry, Kulak, Mete, Danault, Gallagher, and Suzuki. The bottom line is that team defence just isn't getting it done, especially on the PK.

If we want to be contenders, even if our forward line-up looks very competitive when healthy, the defence has to improve. On the one hand, Price absolutely has to be better than league average. He's not anywhere near as bad as we might think just looking at his absolute save percentage, largely due to the fact he's facing a higher danger on-slaught than average, but we've seen how much easier it has been for us to win games in the past week when he's on fire. The Habs need Price to be elite if they want to be competitive. And then second, the actual team defence has to be better and most of that comes down to the actual defencemen failing in their coverage in front of the net and allowing too many chances from in close. I just don't see this improving simply because of a change in scheme with our current group, nor do I think Romanov coming over is going to magically chance that either. Reilly and Folin have numbers inferior to those of the guys we still have, so their being gone is a start, but even the ones we have are not playing great, and at least on the PK, two guys everyone raves about in Weber and Chiarot have been the worst of the worst.

So I agree with you that the forward group is good enough to keep this team together next year, but it's not an isolated thing to look at. If you're doing that, then you have to be able to believe Price can give you more, and to do that, the numbers support that he needs more rest (as his stats are significantly better when he comes off more than two days rest), which means you need a capable backup who can play 25-30 games. It also means that you need to invest in a top-pairing LHD. If you can get Romanov over here to be your 2nd-pairing guy, then you keep one of Chiarot, Mete, Kulak, and Scandella to be your 3rd-pairing one and more of the line-up falls into place. But short of having that elusive LHD, that to me is the rate-limiting step in terms of how competitive this team is. It makes it much harder for Weber, Petry, and Price to have to continue playing with Chiarot and Mete and Scandella in the top 4, and we just won't have success if we continue to rely on that. It's why I've said all along that Bergevin needed to pick a lane and either make a move for a top LHD like a Werenski or else sell of his depreciating assets and build for the future. He's done neither, and here we remain no man's land, headed to a finish where we are neither in the playoffs nor holding a top 10 draft pick.

 

 

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11 hours ago, HabsAlways said:

All kidding aside ... tank, win ... whatever ... I'm still trying to process Kotkaniemi's first ever fight where he man handled the other guy.    Reminiscent of Robinson's first pro fight.

yeah who knew he would come out swinging like that ? ..it's good to see him step up as his maturation continues ( and he hasn't even filled out yet ) That being said when Price is on his game this team can be impressive but at the same time still too many quality chances against for my heart ..I thought Weise played his best game of the year last night ...also it's more than apparent the team needs Armia's settling influence ...getting Drouin back will solidify the forward group ..Kovalchuk looks like he still has a couple of years left ..I wouldn't be opposed to keeping him if the price was right ( 6pts in 6 games so far ) 

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2 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

Moving the discussion from your GDT post into the State of the Habs thread here...

Like you, I like the forward group we have here if healthy. MB needed to find three things going into the season, if we assume Suzuki's production replaced Shaw's from last year. He needed a top-pairing LHD, he needed a scoring winger, and he needed a better back-up goalie than Niemi. He managed to fill none of those things to start the season. Now, we've managed to get production out of Kovalchuk, and if he can keep this up, then he has maybe addressed one of those needs in the short term. If healthy, he gives us the option of moving Gallagher to another line without losing too much from the Danault line (remembering that Tatar-Danault produced absolutely nothing when Cousins was there). I still think we need to do more to get better linemates for Kotkaniemi, who also can't be playing with Cousins and Weal if we expect him to produce. But Kovalchuk being here allows for something along the lines of

Tatar-Danault-Kovalchuk

Lehkonen-Domi-Suzuki

Drouin-Kotkaniemi-Gallagher

Byron-Poehling-Armia

 

What that lacks in top-end talent, it makes up for in quality depth. The major problem is that we can't afford to have injuries like we've had, because our top end can't carry around the likes of Cousins, Weal, Hudon, or Weise having to step into the top 9.

I don't think the forwards have largely been a problem this year. Where we've been lacking is on the back end. While the D has done a good job offensively, the number of odd man rushes allowed and the poor in-zone defensive coverage in front of the net have been what has sunk us more than anything. Among goalies with over 1000 5v5 minutes played this season, Carey is 19th for  save percentage but he has faced the 8th most breakaways and he is actually 9th in the league for expected goals against per ice time, meaning he's doing a pretty great job at 5v5 for what his team is making him face.

Where it gets even more iffy is the penalty kill. Carey has faced the 6th most shots per ice time on the PK. He's face the 8th highest high-danger shots against and the 9th most rebound chances. Despite that, he's 11th in the league for save percentage against those high-danger chances and 15th overall for save percentage on the PK. On average, he's saving a full goal per 60 minutes of PK time above league average. Put that together and we ascertain that Price has been about league average on the PK and slightly above average at ES, but he's putting up those average numbers while facing more than his fair share of quality chances against.

Now look at which players are most responsible for this porous defence. On the PK, the players on the ice for the highest rate of high-danger chances against are in order Weber, Thompson, and Chiarot, and that's the same order if we look at all scoring chances against per ice time as well. To put that in perspective, the top 100 penalty killers in the league are giving up less than 16 high-danger chances per 60 minutes of ice time and that trio is up the double of that at over 27 per 60. At 5v5, the worst offenders in terms of high-danger chances against are Kotkaniemi, Fleury, Thompson, and Weal, while our best players have been Petry, Kulak, Mete, Danault, Gallagher, and Suzuki. The bottom line is that team defence just isn't getting it done, especially on the PK.

If we want to be contenders, even if our forward line-up looks very competitive when healthy, the defence has to improve. On the one hand, Price absolutely has to be better than league average. He's not anywhere near as bad as we might think just looking at his absolute save percentage, largely due to the fact he's facing a higher danger on-slaught than average, but we've seen how much easier it has been for us to win games in the past week when he's on fire. The Habs need Price to be elite if they want to be competitive. And then second, the actual team defence has to be better and most of that comes down to the actual defencemen failing in their coverage in front of the net and allowing too many chances from in close. I just don't see this improving simply because of a change in scheme with our current group, nor do I think Romanov coming over is going to magically chance that either. Reilly and Folin have numbers inferior to those of the guys we still have, so their being gone is a start, but even the ones we have are not playing great, and at least on the PK, two guys everyone raves about in Weber and Chiarot have been the worst of the worst.

So I agree with you that the forward group is good enough to keep this team together next year, but it's not an isolated thing to look at. If you're doing that, then you have to be able to believe Price can give you more, and to do that, the numbers support that he needs more rest (as his stats are significantly better when he comes off more than two days rest), which means you need a capable backup who can play 25-30 games. It also means that you need to invest in a top-pairing LHD. If you can get Romanov over here to be your 2nd-pairing guy, then you keep one of Chiarot, Mete, Kulak, and Scandella to be your 3rd-pairing one and more of the line-up falls into place. But short of having that elusive LHD, that to me is the rate-limiting step in terms of how competitive this team is. It makes it much harder for Weber, Petry, and Price to have to continue playing with Chiarot and Mete and Scandella in the top 4, and we just won't have success if we continue to rely on that. It's why I've said all along that Bergevin needed to pick a lane and either make a move for a top LHD like a Werenski or else sell of his depreciating assets and build for the future. He's done neither, and here we remain no man's land, headed to a finish where we are neither in the playoffs nor holding a top 10 draft pick.

 

 

I agree were definitely not  all there. I would like to see Primeau called up as Prices back up. Let him play 25+ games see if he is the future and help rest Price and push him a little. I've seen post where in trading everyone thinks Byram would automatically be our #1 left d if we got him , but for some reason when Romanov is either the best or second best defenseman at world juniors and Bryam really doesn't impress and Romanov is already playing in the KHL .I would think he's more ready now and could be a possible # 1 or 2 left D. I'm glad we didn't overpay for Gardnier and Ghost is way overated and poor defensively. To get a true #1 is everyone okay giving away 1st round picks  or a Suzuki or JK because they aren't given away. The broadcast actually (radio) commented on our D since Chariot and Scandela the #'s and PK have been a lot better. Some of that is also with Suzuki and Poehling get PK time also so we're not relying so heavily on a few. Fluerry hasn't looked great lately but you are going to get that with a rookie. Like Prices average it's hard to bring the #'s up later in the year . Mete was also out for a while. Even a top 5 pick isn't usually an NHL D-Man and this years draft Defenseman aren't tracking as high. A top 10 pick could be 3-4 years from helping the team at all. Price playing just to top ten standards not elite and maybe Primeau at back-up 25+ games hopefully winning at least 15 would be a huge difference alone.

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3 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

Moving the discussion from your GDT post into the State of the Habs thread here...

Like you, I like the forward group we have here if healthy. MB needed to find three things going into the season, if we assume Suzuki's production replaced Shaw's from last year. He needed a top-pairing LHD, he needed a scoring winger, and he needed a better back-up goalie than Niemi. He managed to fill none of those things to start the season. Now, we've managed to get production out of Kovalchuk, and if he can keep this up, then he has maybe addressed one of those needs in the short term. If healthy, he gives us the option of moving Gallagher to another line without losing too much from the Danault line (remembering that Tatar-Danault produced absolutely nothing when Cousins was there). I still think we need to do more to get better linemates for Kotkaniemi, who also can't be playing with Cousins and Weal if we expect him to produce. But Kovalchuk being here allows for something along the lines of

Tatar-Danault-Kovalchuk

Lehkonen-Domi-Suzuki

Drouin-Kotkaniemi-Gallagher

Byron-Poehling-Armia

IMO not a bad current forward mix however my question is where does this change in the next 2-4 years (defense another story)? Who gets dropped? 
Caufield likely slots into Kovalchuk spot

Danualt IMO is not a #1 scoring Centre and we have enough 2-4 Centres so that’s one of the reasons I say move him for some value now or next season.  Perhaps JK could move to the #1 line, and PDanualt goes to #3 but I still want some scoring threats. As far as depth beyond some wingers that could transition to Centre, (Suzuki), Jake Evans doesn’t cut it and Cam Hillis is a large question mark - scoring Centres are hard to find ( hoping we draft Marco Rossi or Cole Perfetti or we find the magical free agent Centre)

After kovie goes, the next inconsistent winger for scoring is either Lehkonen, Byron or age creeps up on Tatar if he is not traded. I look for scoring depth in our prospect pool after Caufield, and I see swing and a miss. Ok maybe you move up Armia and have a full 4th line defender structure but my point is we still need more scoring to get into the elite team category unless our draft this year lands another.

thoughts ? 

- I will leave defense for another day 

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3 hours ago, CaptWelly said:

I agree were definitely not  all there. I would like to see Primeau called up as Prices back up. Let him play 25+ games see if he is the future and help rest Price and push him a little. I've seen post where in trading everyone thinks Byram would automatically be our #1 left d if we got him , but for some reason when Romanov is either the best or second best defenseman at world juniors and Bryam really doesn't impress and Romanov is already playing in the KHL .I would think he's more ready now and could be a possible # 1 or 2 left D. I'm glad we didn't overpay for Gardnier and Ghost is way overated and poor defensively. To get a true #1 is everyone okay giving away 1st round picks  or a Suzuki or JK because they aren't given away. The broadcast actually (radio) commented on our D since Chariot and Scandela the #'s and PK have been a lot better. Some of that is also with Suzuki and Poehling get PK time also so we're not relying so heavily on a few. Fluerry hasn't looked great lately but you are going to get that with a rookie. Like Prices average it's hard to bring the #'s up later in the year . Mete was also out for a while. Even a top 5 pick isn't usually an NHL D-Man and this years draft Defenseman aren't tracking as high. A top 10 pick could be 3-4 years from helping the team at all. Price playing just to top ten standards not elite and maybe Primeau at back-up 25+ games hopefully winning at least 15 would be a huge difference alone.

I'm fine with giving Primeau a good look. But I also don't expect instant results from a rookie. If you're doing that, you're also kind of saying that you're probably not a legit Cup threat and you need time to get there. That said, I doubt he's any worse than the likes of Niemi and Kinkaid.

As far as Byram and Romanov, either guy could end up being the better of the two. I don't think anyone's saying Byram will be a top-pairing stud next year, just that he has more potential offensive upside and might eventually slot into that role as a #2 D man, whereas Romanov has some offensive ability but is likely more of a two-way guy with size who can play your PK and give you big minutes... he's maybe more of an Emelin or Chiarot or so on, and while he may project better as being NHL-ready right away, I don't have the sense that his top end is as high as some people are counting on it being. I certainly don't see him as being a savior and at best, he maybe stabilizes a pairing that is driven by Weber or Petry.

On the PK, I think the forward changes have done more than anything. Poehling and Suzuki have done well in that role. Like I've said many times, I know that Weber and Chiarot have done well at even strength and helped to produce offence, but they're play on the PK and protection of our crease/slot area have been abysmal. They've been two of the worst penalty killers on the team.

This year's draft is supposed to be a good one. There are quite a number of elite prospects, and if you pick in the top 6-8, you're probably getting a guy who projects as a first-line player or top D pairing or #1 goalie (Askarov). You're correct that the draft is not D top-heavy though, and only Drysdale really gets a mention in the top 5-6 picks. He's a RHD and he looks like a guy who is mobile and can produce. For a club like ours where Juulsen's career is in question, Brook has disappointed, and Fleury projects as a 3rd-pairing D man, it wouldn't hurt to draft a guy like that to be honest. I'm in agreement with you that outside of Lafreniere, most of the other picks are probably a few years away from helping your squad significantly, even a huge guy like Byfield. Raymond might be the 2nd guy on my list of who is closest to helping a squad right away. To me, that's another reason to believe that we're not getting immediate help for our current core of Price, Weber, Petry, Tatar, etc. without a trade. So what's the point of hanging on to those guys and being average for this year and next and then having to reset anyways? If you keep those guys around this year, you're likely finishing with a 10-15 overall pick and no getting the one guy in Lafreniere who makes you more competitive next season.

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13 hours ago, claremont said:

I am curious what your scouting report reveals 

yeah I'll definitely let you know my impressions ...Hillis , center , 5' 11" listed as 174 lbs ...19 years old ...I think taken 66th by the Habs ...his development has been railroaded with injuries until this year ….could be a diamond in the rough for all we know 

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1 hour ago, arpem-can said:

yeah I'll definitely let you know my impressions ...Hillis , center , 5' 11" listed as 174 lbs ...19 years old ...I think taken 66th by the Habs ...his development has been railroaded with injuries until this year ….could be a diamond in the rough for all we know 

Watch Luke Evangelista too from the knights - likely a 2nd rounder 

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FWIW, Habs have a reasonably favorable schedule over the next month. After the break it's

- Was without Ovechkin (Serving his one game ASG suspension)

-  at Buffalo

- Florida

- Columbus

- at NJ

- Anaheim

- injury-ridden Toronto

- Arizona

- at Boston

- at Pittsburgh

- Dallas

- at Detroit

- at Washington

- at Ottawa

- Vancouver

- NY Rangers

- Carolina

 

So that's 10 home games, 7 road games, many against non-playoff teams. There's a harder stretch between the Boston and Washington games but otherwise, it's a stretch where the Habs pretty much need to go 12-5 at worst to stay in the race...

 

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17 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

 

 

So that's 10 home games, 7 road games, many against non-playoff teams. There's a harder stretch between the Boston and Washington games but otherwise, it's a stretch where the Habs pretty much need to go 12-5 at worst to stay in the race...

 

Home games have not been good to the Habs. 

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Armia and Domi didn't play that well ...give a bye to Armia in only his second game back ...Domi showed flashes but was mostly a giveaway machine ….good for Cousins and the 4th line to get us this win ...I have no idea why Kovalchuk was on the ice with 2 mins left and a 2 goal lead ...he then promptly iced the puck and the guys were tired …..also  Scandella tried a 200 foot Hail Mary and bingo the game is tied ...I'd have rather had Thompson out there with Danault for face-offs ..I think Julien was trying to get Kovy another goal and it almost blew up in his face ….we'll take the win but it shouldn't have been that close .

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1 hour ago, BigTed3 said:

FWIW, Habs have a reasonably favorable schedule over the next month. After the break it's

- Was without Ovechkin (Serving his one game ASG suspension)

-  at Buffalo

- Florida

- Columbus

- at NJ

- Anaheim

- injury-ridden Toronto

- Arizona

- at Boston

- at Pittsburgh

- Dallas

- at Detroit

- at Washington

- at Ottawa

- Vancouver

- NY Rangers

- Carolina

 

So that's 10 home games, 7 road games, many against non-playoff teams. There's a harder stretch between the Boston and Washington games but otherwise, it's a stretch where the Habs pretty much need to go 12-5 at worst to stay in the race...

 

The biggest thing moving forward is winning all the division games and next our conference games. Which I would say Washington is the toughest but they will be without Ovie. I know Boston , Florida , Carolina are in there but we have played all those tough along with Toronto and they all are beatable. Even Detroit is beatable! Some years no matter the record a team will have another's #? So it is doable, we'll just have to see what happens.

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IF my math is correct, to finish the season with 97 points we need to get an additional 46 points in the 32 remaining games...1.43 points per game average...a record that looks something like 23-9-0, 22-8-2, 21-7-4.

I'm loving what I'm seeing from Kovalchuk, and expect that we may be able to get something decent for him by the February 24th trade deadline.  MB likely made an asset out of thin air on this one, nicely done, another little win by MB.

 

 

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Florida 3 Toronto 3 Buffalo 3 Carolina 1 Detroit 1 Boston 2 TBL 1 Ottawa 1 NYR 1 NYI 2 Columbus 1 Pitts 1 Wash 2

13 Division games clean wins no OT gives us 26 Pt.s without giving those were chasing any

8 more conference games need clean wins

non conference Points to bank

Nope not easy though not impossible. We really need to win in division and conference.

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50 minutes ago, CaptWelly said:

Florida 3 Toronto 3 Buffalo 3 Carolina 1 Detroit 1 Boston 2 TBL 1 Ottawa 1 NYR 1 NYI 2 Columbus 1 Pitts 1 Wash 2

13 Division games clean wins no OT gives us 26 Pt.s without giving those were chasing any

8 more conference games need clean wins

non conference Points to bank

Nope not easy though not impossible. We really need to win in division and conference.

basically 6 points behind Toronto and Florida for a division spot ...that seems possible 

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24 minutes ago, arpem-can said:

basically 6 points behind Toronto and Florida for a division spot ...that seems possible 

Especially since we still play Florida and Buffalo 3 Toronto and Ottawa 2 Detroit, Boston and Tampa 1 each that's 26 points up for grabs right there in our own division we own the season series vs the Leafs, Tampa and Boston are probably losses though and Detroit has had our number for a while so say 20ish points that are possible from within our division alone

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Another benefit down the stretch will some practice time. With all the injuries and changes I am not sure Julien has had the time to run some decent practices. WIth Kovalchuk playing in all situations Julien is betting on experience of youth and I suspect we will see more of that as the season winds down and the points become more valuable. The addition of Ilya has greatly improved our forward lines with the return of Drouin and Byron coming soon. Scandella is a big addition to the backend as well. This is the group that needs to get some extra practice time. Our PK and PP are starting to look good and with the return of Armia should only get better. This team may be one of the few who could suffer 2 eight game losing streaks and still turn it around. Looking forward to seeing what we can do. 

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18 hours ago, arpem-can said:

basically 6 points behind Toronto and Florida for a division spot ...that seems possible 

If you look at point totals over 82 games based on current pace :

Toronto 95.4 pts

Florida  99 pts

So to take 3rd place in the Division, we essentially need 100pts.     49pts in 32 games.

Looking at the WC situation ... 

Columbus 98.4 pts

Carolina 98.7pts 

Again, 100 pts to get into the playoffs without worrying about tie breakers.

49 pts in 32 games ... that pace is 126 pts over 82 games ... a 0.768 winning percentage.   Unless all 4 of those teams we are chasing suddenly implode, its near impossible the Habs make the playoffs.     Toronto looks like they're imploding due to injuries ... but Florida has won 4 in a row and is 7-3 in their last 10.     That makes 3rd in the division unlikely.       The WC spot might be more open ... Columbus is 8-2 and on fire, but Carolina is 5-4-1 in their last 10.    So we'd need to leapfrog them, Toronto, Flyers and Sabres.    So maybe 97 pts is enough ... that's still 46 pts in 32 games for a 0.718 winning percentage.

I really don't see a scenario where the Habs win at that pace.

 

 

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