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2021-22 State of the Habs


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1 hour ago, campabee82 said:

Kotkaniemi on his way to his best season ever with another team. 

It is only 40 points on a very good team  $6,000,020 is alot of money for 40 points

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3 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

It is only 40 points on a very good team  $6,000,020 is alot of money for 40 points

With less playing time than he got in Montreal. Yes it is still a lot and MB was not wrong to let him go at that price, just stating how our development of the top 5 picks has been. 

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17 minutes ago, campabee82 said:

With less playing time than he got in Montreal. Yes it is still a lot and MB was not wrong to let him go at that price, just stating how our development of the top 5 picks has been. 

Is it a development issue or TT  not drafting the best player available at that pick. 

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23 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

It is only 40 points on a very good team  $6,000,020 is alot of money for 40 points

Its also not 40 points yet.  He's on pace for that at roughly 1ppg but as we saw over his 3 seasons here, his biggest issue has always been consistency.  I am still not sure he'll keep this up for the rest of the year. 

I still dont blame MB for not matching the OS but i do blame him for letting it get that far and not making a move for a guy like Dvorak or similar before the OS fiasco started.  Water under the bridge now though. 

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Just now, Regis22 said:

Is it a development issue or TT  not drafting the best player available at that pick. 

With Galchenyuk i think we took the player that was widely considered BPA.   With Kotkaniemi, it was a stretch and we clearly drafted for positional need.  There's little doubt he was the centre most likely to get drafted first so if we hadnt taken him, Arizona almost certainly would have.

That said, would we have been better to take Hughes (also a positional need), Tkachuk, Boqvist etc?   There are other guys who clearly look better than JK right now (Farabee, K'Andre Miller, Ty smith, Bouchard etc) but it would have been a real had scratcher to take any of them with the 3rd overall pick.  

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On 1/6/2022 at 2:22 AM, electron58 said:

The Montreal Canadiens have added forwards Michael Pezzetta and Cameron Hillis to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday. That makes 22 players.

The Montreal Canadiens added two more players into the NHLs COVID-19 protocols Friday.  Forward Alex Belzile and defenceman Kale Clague are the two latest players to be added by the Habs to the protocol.  The Canadiens have 24 players, assistant coach Trevor Letowski and goaltender coach Eric Raymond on the NHL's COVID-19 protocols list.

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39 minutes ago, electron58 said:

The Montreal Canadiens added two more players into the NHLs COVID-19 protocols Friday.  Forward Alex Belzile and defenceman Kale Clague are the two latest players to be added by the Habs to the protocol.  The Canadiens have 24 players, assistant coach Trevor Letowski and goaltender coach Eric Raymond on the NHL's COVID-19 protocols list.

I think we are winning! LOL!

 

 

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1 hour ago, electron58 said:

The Montreal Canadiens added two more players into the NHLs COVID-19 protocols Friday.  Forward Alex Belzile and defenceman Kale Clague are the two latest players to be added by the Habs to the protocol.  The Canadiens have 24 players, assistant coach Trevor Letowski and goaltender coach Eric Raymond on the NHL's COVID-19 protocols list.

Call up our ECHL team. 

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6 hours ago, campabee82 said:

Good news for those who wanted Montreal to tank is at least we are getting a top 4 pick problem is what have we done with our previous 2 top 5 picks? Galchenyuk almost out of NHL, Kotkaniemi on his way to his best season ever with another team. So we are 0-2 when picking top 5 in the last what 15 years? Last top 5 pick we had that we did anything right with was Price. 

 

4 hours ago, Regis22 said:

Is it a development issue or TT  not drafting the best player available at that pick. 

I'll say this again, but were these really missed picks or were they just weak drafts? Galchenyuk to date is probably still one of the top 5-10 players to come out of that draft. If you were re-drafting 2012 today, who would you take ahead of him? Forsberg, Rielly, Hertl, Teravainen, Vasilevskiy, Slavin... maybe Trouba or Dumba. Galchenyuk was probably the top performing player from his draft through the first five years, and he's easily the best pick among the top 4. At the time, the debate for the top 3 was really between Yakupov, Murray, Forsberg, Galchenyuk, and Grigorenko. So not drafting Slavin or Vasilevskiy with the #3 overall isn't really a miss. Forsberg and Teravainen were both traded by the teams that drafted them. Trouba's also been traded since. It just turns out that it wasn't a great draft at the top end.

It's still a bit early to know how the 2018 drafted players will shake out, but to date, Kotkaniemi is the 5th-best producing player from that draft point-wise. Again here, Dahlin and Svechnikov were seen as the clear top 2 and the debate among the 3rd overall was largely between JK vs Zadina with some talk of Tkachuk as well. I'm still not convinced Tkachuk will be one of the 5 best players from this draft when all is said and done and he's overrated because he's a very visible, in-your-face type player, but he's also bad defensively and a winger, which is inherently less valuable. But at present, Kotkaniemi is thus far one of the 5 top players to come out of his draft year. That could well change with time, but he's hardly a flop. Look down the list of the rest of that 2018 first round and tell me how many stars there are from that draft (top 60 forwards, top 30 D men, top 10 goalies in the league, etc.). Hughes and Tkachuk are strong offensive players but both are lower-tier defensively. Dahlin has been somewhat disappointing as a 1st overall. I'd argue Svechnikov is really the only guy who has risen to star potential so far.

I think we just ended up having top 3 pick in mediocre drafts and we ended up picking decent players for those drafts. Did they end up being franchise players? Nope. But, there also weren't that many of those in those two drafts to begin with. It doesn't mean TT failed at his job. He made reasonable choices with what was available to him. You can't expect him to have picked Jonathan Toews and Miro Heiskanen at #3 when those players weren't available in his drafts at those spots. Unfortunately, this coming draft is really shaping up that way as well: it looks like another draft with some quality NHLers but no superstars and very few guys who will be game-breakers. Even Shane Wright doesn't have the top-end hype of most year's #1's. That's why I'd almost prefer to bank on a higher-end potential like Savoie instead of the safer bet like Wright, suck again next year, and make trades this season to maximize our chances at snagging Conor Bedard in 2023.

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5 hours ago, maas_art said:

Its also not 40 points yet.  He's on pace for that at roughly 1ppg but as we saw over his 3 seasons here, his biggest issue has always been consistency.  I am still not sure he'll keep this up for the rest of the year. 

I still dont blame MB for not matching the OS but i do blame him for letting it get that far and not making a move for a guy like Dvorak or similar before the OS fiasco started.  Water under the bridge now though. 

I would have matched the JK offer and I've explained why before. But the part that was the most irritating about this whole thing was the acquisition of Dvorak for a 1st and more AND giving up more for Dvorak than we got for Kotkaniemi. As I said at the time, I felt like Kotkaniemi was already the better player. He had vastly superior advanced stats, he was younger, and he had more potential to grow. JK was getting low minutes and poor-quality linemates. Meanwhile, Dvorak was a on a bad team, but he had not only poor possession metrics, he had bad relative advanced stats compared to his teammates and he was already getting bigger minutes there than any forward on the Habs. So all signs pointed to it being hard for him to do better than he was doing there. It wasn't like he was going to go from playing 19 minutes a night in Arizona to getting 23 minutes here and stepping up his production because he was getting more opportunity. i did think Dvorak would get more opportunity here in his first year than Kotkaniemi would get in Carolina this season, and as such, I predicted the trade-off wouldn't look bad this season. Even Don Waddell has admitted this. He interviewed recently where he said he and JK had an understanding he wouldn't be playing center in Carolina in his first season and the team expected him to struggle in transitioning to the wing and a new system. But Waddell also stated that JK has excelled as a 4C since injuries opened up that opportunity for him, and he's looked much better as a center than winger. Waddell was also clear that the Canes aren't sure what will happen with Trocheck next year and that Staal's role could become more of a defensive one down the line with lesser minutes and that there could be opportunity for JK to move up in the line-up as a center as early as next year.

Dvorak has under-performed thus far, which I didn't expect, but I think part of that has been the entire team falling off the tracks this season. I expect he'll play closer to how he did in Arizona as we move forward, but the truth is that that's middle 6 play and closer to 3C play than anything. And that's really not worth giving up a 1st and a 2nd to get. Knowing that we did make the JK trade, I'd frankly rather have kept those picks and be going into the draft with two 1st's.

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9 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

I would have matched the JK offer and I've explained why before. But the part that was the most irritating about this whole thing was the acquisition of Dvorak for a 1st and more AND giving up more for Dvorak than we got for Kotkaniemi. As I said at the time, I felt like Kotkaniemi was already the better player. He had vastly superior advanced stats, he was younger, and he had more potential to grow. JK was getting low minutes and poor-quality linemates. Meanwhile, Dvorak was a on a bad team, but he had not only poor possession metrics, he had bad relative advanced stats compared to his teammates and he was already getting bigger minutes there than any forward on the Habs. So all signs pointed to it being hard for him to do better than he was doing there. It wasn't like he was going to go from playing 19 minutes a night in Arizona to getting 23 minutes here and stepping up his production because he was getting more opportunity. i did think Dvorak would get more opportunity here in his first year than Kotkaniemi would get in Carolina this season, and as such, I predicted the trade-off wouldn't look bad this season. Even Don Waddell has admitted this. He interviewed recently where he said he and JK had an understanding he wouldn't be playing center in Carolina in his first season and the team expected him to struggle in transitioning to the wing and a new system. But Waddell also stated that JK has excelled as a 4C since injuries opened up that opportunity for him, and he's looked much better as a center than winger. Waddell was also clear that the Canes aren't sure what will happen with Trocheck next year and that Staal's role could become more of a defensive one down the line with lesser minutes and that there could be opportunity for JK to move up in the line-up as a center as early as next year.

Dvorak has under-performed thus far, which I didn't expect, but I think part of that has been the entire team falling off the tracks this season. I expect he'll play closer to how he did in Arizona as we move forward, but the truth is that that's middle 6 play and closer to 3C play than anything. And that's really not worth giving up a 1st and a 2nd to get. Knowing that we did make the JK trade, I'd frankly rather have kept those picks and be going into the draft with two 1st's.

It's too bad that the previous regime did not believe in advanced stats. It began after the Subban/Weber trade, when the stats guy vehemently disagreed with that trade, and got fired. So,  good riddance to that previous regime!

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1 hour ago, electron58 said:

It's too bad that the previous regime did not believe in advanced stats. It began after the Subban/Weber trade, when the stats guy vehemently disagreed with that trade, and got fired. So,  good riddance to that previous regime!

It's funny though, because many of Bergevin's best trades or pick-ups were ones that brought us players with strong advanced stats. Many think of Petry as his best trade, and Petry is a player who had bad absolute possession metrics in Edmonton, but he had strong relative metrics. Translated, that means he was a good player in a bad system. So to see through the weak team metrics and snag a player with a lot of promise to be better in the right system was genius. Brett Kulak was another guy with very strong metrics. Tyler Toffoli likewise. I know MB knew Phil Danault from his days in Chicago, but Danault also had strong possession metrics in is brief time in Chicago and was another strong steal for Bergevin. Those guys all continued to have strong possession stats in their times here, Petry and Kulak being probably our two strongest defencemen by advanced metrics and Danault being our top forward by those measures, while Toffoli has also been strong and one of our few positive possession players this season (along with Wideman, Lehkonen, Gallagher, Petry, Paquette, and Evans). Shea Weber also had reasonably decent possession metrics with Nashville, albeit not as good as Subban's, and despite being written off as done, Tomas Tatar had amazingly strong metrics with Detroit and still had good ones with Vegas. Two more guys who had success here with the Habs afterwards.

Meanwhile, players like Dvorak, Savard, Alzner, Merrill, Edmundson, Domi, and Anderson had red flags with their possession metrics before arriving here, and then there were players like Perreault and Hoffman who had once been strong by advanced stats but who had clear drop-offs for 2-3 years before coming here. A few of those guys bring interesting elements to their games here, but for the most part they have all been weak possession guys in their times with Montreal as well and under-performed relative to what we were sold on their being by Bergevin.

So do with that what you want. Gorton has said he plans to use advanced stats as a tool, and frankly the guys you want to try and pull from this type of thing in trades are ones who might have average standard metrics but strong relative advanced metrics like Petry did. Find the guys who are underrated by traditional hockey minds and the media but who are likely being dragged down by playing in bad systems and who might excel if placed in the right one. A few guys whose stats might fit that bill... Vince Dunn (who we've talked about acquiring before), Brock Boeser (who may be available out of Vancouver), Clayton Keller and Conor Garland in Arizona, Dominik Simon in Pittsburgh, Eric Robinson in Columbus, Jesse Puljujarvi and William Lagesson in Edmonton, Jason Robertson in Dallas, Jakub Zboril in Boston, Alex Iafallo in LA, Jake Walman and Dakota Joshua in Stl, Kaapo Kakko with the Rangers (a team Gorton has connections with and who might be disappointed with Kakko falling short of where they thought he would be, akin to JK here), Evan Bouchard in Edm... these are all guys (some good and some relative unknowns) who might be predicted to have bumps in their level of play after a trade.

So maybe something to consider if Gorton is making trades and looking for guys he can go after. I've suggested Boston as a team where we can try to trade someone for a 2023 first and capitalize on Bergeron potentially retiring and Marchand getting older. A deal of one of our vets for a 2023 1st and Zboril, for example, could be a steal. Kakko and Puljujarvi could be guys to pull from their respective teams where they're not appreciated. Jake Walman could be a depth D man you get as a throw-in in a trade, and Stl has been rumored to be interested in Chiarot or maybe even re-acquiring Edmundson if he comes back. So these are things I think Gorton could look at...

 

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Just for fun how many actual NHL level players are ready to play on this roster right now? between guys that are hurt and covid it is a bit of a joke! How many of our core players have been out since the begining of the year? or for large parts of the year? Webber we knew about the Price thing well that is unfortunate then there is Eddy where the hell has he been seems like there is always some new issue with him Drouin is made out of glass Gally is getting hurt more as well then there is Byron, Anderson it just goes on! I am on board for the rebuild but something fishy is going on here, we have a few guy like Drouin who you just can't rely on to be here and others who are at that point where it is catching up with them like Gally and the mystery guys like Eddy. There is some odd issue with the makeup of this team I can't put my finger on it but with Webber gone it seems like there is a lack of comitment or heart and as for all the injuries it seems systemic.

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3 minutes ago, ramcharger440 said:

Just for fun how many actual NHL level players are ready to play on this roster right now? between guys that are hurt and covid it is a bit of a joke! How many of our core players have been out since the begining of the year? or for large parts of the year? Webber we knew about the Price thing well that is unfortunate then there is Eddy where the hell has he been seems like there is always some new issue with him Drouin is made out of glass Gally is getting hurt more as well then there is Byron, Anderson it just goes on! I am on board for the rebuild but something fishy is going on here, we have a few guy like Drouin who you just can't rely on to be here and others who are at that point where it is catching up with them like Gally and the mystery guys like Eddy. There is some odd issue with the makeup of this team I can't put my finger on it but with Webber gone it seems like there is a lack of comitment or heart and as for all the injuries it seems systemic.

Don't think it's just this year... go back through recent seasons and guys like Weber, Price, Gallagher, Drouin, etc. have missed substantial portions of seasons with important injuries. Remember the Price injury a few years ago where Bergevin kept saying he would be back after another week or two and then it ended up taking months. This year, it's just amplified by COVID, but this team has always had a ton of mysterious injuries that they're not upfront about. In some ways, this year may be a bit of a blessing since we're already out of the playoff running. May as well tank as best you can and at the same time give the opportunity for younger guys to show what they have.

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When you look at the 4 players you mention there that was the core of the team! over the course of a few seasons we were just spinning our wheels! For me Price as great as he is has held us back for a long time because the team would settle for other things thinking Price would pull us through! From day one letting go of Sergachev for Drouin was just plain stupid! as MB had no other options for LHD that set us back for years! it is not about the value of each player it was about what we actually needed! Gally was great we should not have given the term we did I understand why MB did it but he should have moved on! As for the Webber for Subban trade I was for it and still am I just think we should have got more at least a prospect or draft pick. At the end of the day it is easy for me to sit here and look back and say this was a bad move or not but we are in a position to move on and get younger and better I truly hope Gorton gets this right!

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In the spirit of the re-build, here are some of the moves Gorton was able to make as GM of the Rangers:

- Acquired DeAngelo and a 1st for Stepan and Raanta

- Acquired a 1st, 7th, Spooner, Beleskey, and Lindgren for Rick Nash; turned Spooner into Ryan Strome

- Acquired a 1st, 2nd, Howden, Namestnikov, and Hajek for McDonagh and JT Miller. Namestnikov turned into Nick Ebert and a 4th.

- Acquired a 2nd and 3rd for Mats Zuccarello

- Acquired Brendan Lemieux and a 1st for Kevin Hayes

- Acquired Bergman, 4th, and 7th for Adam McQuaid

- Jimmy Vesey for a 3rd

- Brady Skjei for a 1st

 

He also made some other big trades/signings to bring in quality players the other way:

- Zibanejad and a 2nd for an aging Derick Brassard and a 7th

- Adam Fox for two 2nd's (albeit Fox expressed desire to play only for NY)

- Trouba for Pionk and a 1st

- Panarin as a UFA

- Georgiev as an undrafted free agent

 

All this to say that Gorton managed to turn a lot of aging past-prime players into a large number of 1st rounders, which is what we need to do. He also found a way to bring in game-changing talent via trade and free agency. He seemed to bring in better talent than he sent out, and he did it with a substantial net positive gain of 1st's. So all that is a big plus and shows an understanding of how to build a team. As I've said, what I'm less enthusiastic about his his drafting record in NY. He made fairly obvious choices in Lafreniere and Kakko but most of his other 1st's are looking like flops or are yet unproven (albeit Miller looks promising). So I'll reiterate that I still think he needs help with who to choose once he's set himself up with those high draft choices.

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4 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

In the spirit of the re-build, here are some of the moves Gorton was able to make as GM of the Rangers:

- Acquired DeAngelo and a 1st for Stepan and Raanta

- Acquired a 1st, 7th, Spooner, Beleskey, and Lindgren for Rick Nash; turned Spooner into Ryan Strome

- Acquired a 1st, 2nd, Howden, Namestnikov, and Hajek for McDonagh and JT Miller. Namestnikov turned into Nick Ebert and a 4th.

- Acquired a 2nd and 3rd for Mats Zuccarello

- Acquired Brendan Lemieux and a 1st for Kevin Hayes

- Acquired Bergman, 4th, and 7th for Adam McQuaid

- Jimmy Vesey for a 3rd

- Brady Skjei for a 1st

 

He also made some other big trades/signings to bring in quality players the other way:

- Zibanejad and a 2nd for an aging Derick Brassard and a 7th

- Adam Fox for two 2nd's (albeit Fox expressed desire to play only for NY)

- Trouba for Pionk and a 1st

- Panarin as a UFA

- Georgiev as an undrafted free agent

 

All this to say that Gorton managed to turn a lot of aging past-prime players into a large number of 1st rounders, which is what we need to do. He also found a way to bring in game-changing talent via trade and free agency. He seemed to bring in better talent than he sent out, and he did it with a substantial net positive gain of 1st's. So all that is a big plus and shows an understanding of how to build a team. As I've said, what I'm less enthusiastic about his his drafting record in NY. He made fairly obvious choices in Lafreniere and Kakko but most of his other 1st's are looking like flops or are yet unproven (albeit Miller looks promising). So I'll reiterate that I still think he needs help with who to choose once he's set himself up with those high draft choices.

with the way things are structured, I'm much more concerned with who is replacing Timmins, and Ducharme, than who is replacing Bergevin. Gorton is the guy

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11 hours ago, habsisme said:

with the way things are structured, I'm much more concerned with who is replacing Timmins, and Ducharme, than who is replacing Bergevin. Gorton is the guy

Absolutely agreed. As long as they don't hire a Francophone with no experience and just try to shove Gorton out in 2-3 years as the plan off the bat. Was just showing the type of trade Gorton has made and how that really set NY up nicely in their re-build. I didn't mention a lot of the great moves that happened for Boston in his brief time as GM there because it's unclear to me how much of those decisions were his.

But yes, going forward, we'll need a strong head scout to complement Gorton, and one would have to figure Lapointe has got the inside track to keep that job, given he wasn't cleaned out with Timmins. I guess they're keeping him through the draft at least because it would be hard to start scouting over from scratch. So we'll find out post-draft if he's still in the plans. Coach is going to be the biggest decision because we absolutely need to not recycle another washed up name. I know Jacques Martin was in NY with Gorton but he's a re-tread. Vigneault would be a re-tread. So would Carbonneau. It's time to think outside the box a bit and find someone different/new who can adapt to the modern game. Bouchard is still the best option I'm aware of. I've heard Guy Boucher's name tossed around a bit too. Apparently he didn't get along with Bergevin (who did really?) but now that MB is gone, he seems to be back in the discussion. Hoping there are other guys being discussed we're not aware of.

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11 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

Absolutely agreed. As long as they don't hire a Francophone with no experience and just try to shove Gorton out in 2-3 years as the plan off the bat. Was just showing the type of trade Gorton has made and how that really set NY up nicely in their re-build. I didn't mention a lot of the great moves that happened for Boston in his brief time as GM there because it's unclear to me how much of those decisions were his.

But yes, going forward, we'll need a strong head scout to complement Gorton, and one would have to figure Lapointe has got the inside track to keep that job, given he wasn't cleaned out with Timmins. I guess they're keeping him through the draft at least because it would be hard to start scouting over from scratch. So we'll find out post-draft if he's still in the plans. Coach is going to be the biggest decision because we absolutely need to not recycle another washed up name. I know Jacques Martin was in NY with Gorton but he's a re-tread. Vigneault would be a re-tread. So would Carbonneau. It's time to think outside the box a bit and find someone different/new who can adapt to the modern game. Bouchard is still the best option I'm aware of. I've heard Guy Boucher's name tossed around a bit too. Apparently he didn't get along with Bergevin (who did really?) but now that MB is gone, he seems to be back in the discussion. Hoping there are other guys being discussed we're not aware of.

Usually I thrust your research but after that Marc Denis gaffe, I have to re-examine…. 
I like the trades Gorton made with NYR for building and stockpiling high draft picks in a young man’s game vs holding on too long with “proven winning vets”. The picks that don’t pan out are easy to blame your scouts but the fact is when you play the draft wheel of fortune the odds catch up with you and some picks just don’t make the grade. Is that poor scouting, poor farm system development and coaching opportunities, flawed analytics or poor player character assessment- myriad of reasons but just because a kid is good at 17 is no guarantee of success at higher peer levels. 
I still agree with the approach of building thru the draft, but also trying to get some other prospects from other teams providing the price is right. I hope Gorton shows us a plan and follows his previous methods 

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https://torontosun.com/sports/simmons-says-maple-leafs-cup-window

 

 It’s not dissimilar from what Jeff Gorton left behind with the New York Rangers when he was strangely shown the door last May. Gorton had a most remarkable 62 days in 2019: Stealing Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox from Carolina at the end of April, signing goalie Igor Shesterkin out of Russia in the first days of May and nabbing Artemi Panarin in free agency on July 1. That’s three franchise-changing players. And all that came after he had already traded for Mika Zibanejad. If he can do anything like that in Montreal, anything close, they’ll be celebrating his hiring for years

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4 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

https://torontosun.com/sports/simmons-says-maple-leafs-cup-window

 

 It’s not dissimilar from what Jeff Gorton left behind with the New York Rangers when he was strangely shown the door last May. Gorton had a most remarkable 62 days in 2019: Stealing Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox from Carolina at the end of April, signing goalie Igor Shesterkin out of Russia in the first days of May and nabbing Artemi Panarin in free agency on July 1. That’s three franchise-changing players. And all that came after he had already traded for Mika Zibanejad. If he can do anything like that in Montreal, anything close, they’ll be celebrating his hiring for years

a lot of that was simply a matter of being New York, he wouldn't have got those players if he were here

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10 hours ago, claremont said:

Usually I thrust your research but after that Marc Denis gaffe, I have to re-examine…. 
I like the trades Gorton made with NYR for building and stockpiling high draft picks in a young man’s game vs holding on too long with “proven winning vets”. The picks that don’t pan out are easy to blame your scouts but the fact is when you play the draft wheel of fortune the odds catch up with you and some picks just don’t make the grade. Is that poor scouting, poor farm system development and coaching opportunities, flawed analytics or poor player character assessment- myriad of reasons but just because a kid is good at 17 is no guarantee of success at higher peer levels. 
I still agree with the approach of building thru the draft, but also trying to get some other prospects from other teams providing the price is right. I hope Gorton shows us a plan and follows his previous methods 

From my end, I'm actually more impressed with what Timmins and company did in Montreal via the draft than what Gorton did. Timmins found a bunch of gems outside the 1st round with guys like Gallagher, Halak, Romanov, Lehkonen, Subban, etc. Gorton has fewer of those hits to his name. He was able to find a lot of extra 1st rounders and some may yet pan out, and he ended up winning the draft lottery twice and nabbing blue chip prospects. If the Habs had ended up with the Rangers' 1st overall that year, I have no doubt they would have drafted Lafreniere too. So I'm not so much impressed with Gorton's drafting record as I am his philosophy for re-building and his ability to go after 1st rounders. You build your core through 1st rounders. You're right that none are guaranteed and that there are steps in between, but the data is very clear that top 5 picks are superior to 6-10 picks, which are superior to later 1st's, which are superior to 2nd and 3rd's, and so on. Past the 3rd round, picks are low-probability to hit and almost interchangeable.

So yes, we need good scouting, good development, good player deployment, and some luck. But what I like about Gorton: recognizing the need to dump vets and do a re-build the right way and his statement that you build through speed and skill. Very different from what we heard from Bergevin, who neither wanted to trade away his 1st's to get better now nor trade his vets for futures. He was happy being stuck in no-man's land if it meant a low risk of being criticized for a big mistake.

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