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2021-22 State of the Habs


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2 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

Heard the local radio station talking about the Canucks situation , then the Habs.  It's quite possible the Habs are not changing the coach NOW because then they would be paying 3 coaches AND if MB isn't  returning  , the new GM would want to hire his own coach. So it would lead to a really messy coaching scenario in Montreal ---->  fire DD  then the guy that comes in would be a lame duck coach 

For sure.  As much as we may think DD is ill equipped to run the team, the axing has to start higher (GM) and that seems unlikely until the summer.  If you start with 5 wins in 20 games, and you still have your job, you're probably here for the long haul.

 

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Not sure if this is just a rumour or if it has legs. 

NHL Buzz: Allen could start next game for Canadiens coming off injury.

Montreal Canadiens

Jake Allen could start for the Canadiens when they begin a three-game road trip against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

The goalie practiced Monday but has not been cleared to play. He sustained a concussion in a collision with Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin on Nov. 13.

"We'll see how he feels after practice today and the rest of the day, and then we'll see tomorrow if he's cleared," Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said. 

Allen is 4-8-1 with a 2.78 goals-against-average, .905 save percentage and two shutouts.

Goalie Carey Price is continuing his conditioning program, though he has not skated for a week.

"He keeps working on everything else, getting off-ice treatment and so on," Ducharme said.

Defenseman Joel Edmundson practiced but is not expected to return during the trip. He missed training camp and has yet to play because of an undisclosed injury and personal leave.

Among the injured forwards, Ducharme said Cedric Paquette (undisclosed) is the closest to returning. He hasn't played since Nov. 9.

"We'll find out if it will be Wednesday or during the trip," Ducharme said. "(Forward Mike) Hoffman (upper body), we're not expecting him this week, that's for sure. We'll have to see about next week. (Forward Mathieu) Perreault (eye) had his operation last week and his vision hasn't returned 100 percent yet." -- Sean Farrell

 

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Just now, kinot-2 said:

Not sure if this is just a rumour or if it has legs. 

Goalie Carey Price is continuing his conditioning program, though he has not skated for a week.

"He keeps working on everything else, getting off-ice treatment and so on," Ducharme said.

 

lol....swelling in the knee ?

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A look at the bottom of the overall NHL standings this evening! (one week later)

26.  Chicago        18       6       10    2     14

27. Vancouver      19      6       11    2     14

28.  N.Y.I.             15       5      8     2      12

29.  Montreal       20      5     13     2      12

30.     Seattle       18        5     12     1      11

31.   Arizona         19       4     13     2      10

32.    Ottawa         16       4     11     1       9

Arizona & Chicago with the biggest gains.  Habs 8 points out of a wild card spot.

Fight for the Wright!

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9 hours ago, electron58 said:

A look at the bottom of the overall NHL standings this evening! (one week later)

26.  Chicago        18       6       10    2     14

27. Vancouver      19      6       11    2     14

28.  N.Y.I.             15       5      8     2      12

29.  Montreal       20      5     13     2      12

30.     Seattle       18        5     12     1      11

31.   Arizona         19       4     13     2      10

32.    Ottawa         16       4     11     1       9

Arizona & Chicago with the biggest gains.  Habs 8 points out of a wild card spot.

Fight for the Wright!

Actually 8 Pt.'s isn't totally undoable. St. Louis was last in the league at Christmas the year they won the cup! Hopefully Allen is back and Edmonson comes back soon and Carey comes back fresh and strong. 

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Quarter-mark review: Canadiens' early-season pain paves road to Shane Wright

https://www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/article/quarter-mark-review-canadiens-early-season-pain-paves-road-to-shane-wright/

A snapshot of the Montreal Canadiens through the first 20 games of the 2021-22 season is almost too grotesque to look at, but we’re presenting it anyway.

Our editor asked us for a quarter-mark review — a report card of sorts.

 

This one will read as the kind you’d want to hide from your parents.

How did the Canadiens get to 5-13-2?

Let us count the ways.

They allowed more than five goals in eight of their games. Their power play scored on less than 15 per cent of its chances and now ranks 28th in the NHL, and their penalty kill is 29th after operating at less than 70 per cent. Also, only three teams have scored fewer goals per game, and only two teams have given up more goals per game.

That’s a capital F all around. It can stand for “Fail,” or another word of your choosing that starts with F.

It’s not just that the Canadiens have been bad; they’ve also been unlucky. At 5-on-5, they’ve controlled more than 50 per cent of the shot attempts and close to 50 per cent of the expected goals, but they have the third-worst shooting percentage (6.12) and the 12th-worst save percentage (91.75) in the league.

It was expected they would struggle coming off an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final that shortened their off-season considerably, that Christian Dvorak and Jake Evans might not be able to fully offset the loss of Phillip Danault in free agency and Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet, and that the team would be seriously challenged by Shea Weber being too injured to continue his playing career, by Joel Edmundson being too injured to play through the first quarter, by Mike Hoffman being unavailable to start and Paul Byron being unavailable until late December at the earliest.

When Carey Price checked into the NHL/NHLPA’s player assistance program just days before things got underway in Toronto, everyone knew the Canadiens would be in tough to get themselves into a favourable position in the standings.

However, with the depth of quality players still available to them and the good chemistry established on their run to the final, it was unanticipated they wouldn’t be competitive at all, that they would drop their first five games of the season by a combined score of 19-4.

With other injuries incurred and confidence plundered, the Canadiens weren’t able to do much better over the next 15 games, giving us the hideous picture described above.

Can they change it?

As unlikely as it is — especially with Price nowhere near prepared to resume playing — it’s still possible :4224:

Assuming it’ll take 97 points to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference (the New Jersey Devils are occupying the second wild-card position at the moment and are on pace for that many), the Canadiens will have to earn 85 points over their last 62 games to qualify.

There are currently five teams in the league that have produced at the clip the Canadiens need to produce at for the rest of the season, so they can draw a bit of inspiration from there.

Even if we feel the Canadiens aren’t good enough to do it, they believe they are. They believe they’re much better than they’ve shown, and they’re going to push as hard as they can to prove it.

Should they?

We asked Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin last Saturday and he was unequivocal about it.

“Players have pride,” Bergevin said. “You don’t go out there just to blow up games. That’s insane to think that way.”

We didn’t expect him to say otherwise.

For as bad as things have gone, it’s only November. Three quarters of the season remain, and hope remains and must be sold.

Tickets and merchandise must be sold, too.

But even if the Canadiens rebound this season, they aren’t structured to contend for a championship, and they won’t be for the foreseeable future if they damage their chances at drafting in the top five and perhaps even first overall.

That’s their only out here. As we suggested to Bergevin, the Canadiens didn’t try to land in the spot they’re currently in, but they’re there and it’s worth taking advantage of because they aren’t in a position to embark on a rebuild.

According to CapFriendly.com, including long-term injury reserve dollars designated to Weber, they have $84 million committed to 14 players next season. Six forwards — Dvorak, Evans, Brendan Gallagher, Josh Anderson, Joel Armia and Nick Suzuki — are signed through the 2024-25 season or beyond. Defencemen Jeff Petry and David Savard are inked for just as long. Hoffman and Tyler Toffoli are under contract for two more seasons after this one, as is Edmundson, and Price’s $10.5-million cap hit is on the books through 2026.

Bergevin would be selling these assets at major losses if he went to market at this point, especially with the salary cap expected to remain within one or two million dollars of the $81.5-million upper limit for the next couple of years.

Not that he should want to, anyway. There are good pieces to move forward with there, and a quick injection of talent through the coming draft — in addition to some promising prospects taking the next step in their development — could bring the Canadiens back to prominence in a hurry.

Still, there are steps Bergevin should take, even if he said if he manages the team to lose games he should be fired immediately.

He said it wouldn’t be right, that only generational talents like Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid would be worth potentially doing it for and they don’t come around in the draft more than once a decade.

But Shane Wright, by all accounts, is a clear-cut No. 1 in this year’s draft, and he can make a huge difference for anyone who gets him.

The Canadiens have already taken a step towards Wright with their start, and Bergevin can improve their chances of attaining him in Montreal this summer.

He can move impending unrestricted free agent Ben Chiarot to the highest bidder, trade other players on expiring contracts for depth picks, gauge the market on Byron and Jonathan Drouin (who each only have one year left under contract after this one) and try to move one or both, tell any player playing through injury to rest and heal and anyone in need of surgery to do it now before the Canadiens hurt their chances at Wright with a winning streak that likely won’t save their season and definitely won’t turn them into a Cup contender.

 

 
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50 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

 tell any player playing through injury to rest and heal and anyone in need of surgery to do it now before the Canadiens hurt their chances at Wright with a winning streak that likely won’t save their season and definitely won’t turn them into a Cup contender.

This is good advice. I hope management are thinking like this but doubt they are. 

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1 hour ago, campabee82 said:

Interesting that Kulak was given a therapy day yesterday and now skating outside of the group session today. His name has been in a lot of rumours lately, wonder if he is on the move when Edmundson returns to the lineup.

I have to think Norlinder should be on a 9 game trial and risk evaluation before they think about returning him to Sweden, and that impacts Chiarot or Kulak on Edmundson’s return. 
IMO Kulak is the cheap pickup for cap constrained teams but realistically does Brett get much more than a 2nd rounder or journeyman, or another down on his preliminary talent prospect? The bigger piece is Chiarot and his recent play/track record- Ben’s value goes up closer to the deadline unless we get a fabulous offer now - either way the blue line is getting crowded if the risk of mistakes  of playing Norlinder is low. 

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4 hours ago, maas_art said:

I wonder when the last time was that we got 12 out of a possible 40 points in a stretch during a season... 

When you put it like that,  it sounds even worse.  Kinda like, saying it out loud. We haven't won 2 games in a row yet. I can see being passed by the teams behind us, before moving up the ladder. 12 points out of 40.  Sheeesh. 

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2 hours ago, CaptWelly said:

Actually 8 Pt.'s isn't totally undoable. St. Louis was last in the league at Christmas the year they won the cup! Hopefully Allen is back and Edmonson comes back soon and Carey comes back fresh and strong. 

St. Louis rode a blazing hot goalie, who just got called up. Do we have anyone like that?  It would have to be CP in his prime. I'm just not as optimistic. 

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Yeah, as the article notes, its technically possible, sure, but its incredibly unlikely.  And more importantly, do we want it at this stage?  This season has been putrid. Is it better to have a great run, squeak into the playoffs (or finish just outside) or is it better to flame out & draft Wright or Miroshnichenko or Cooley,  Slafkovsky or Geekie? Right now we have 2 potential elite players in Suzuki and Caufield.  Now is the time to add another (or a few if we can trade vets for high picks/prospects).  There's just no point in squeaking by and being 'just good enough" to be in the middle of the pack. 

 

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3 minutes ago, maas_art said:

Yeah, as the article notes, its technically possible, sure, but its incredibly unlikely.  And more importantly, do we want it at this stage?  This season has been putrid. Is it better to have a great run, squeak into the playoffs (or finish just outside) or is it better to flame out & draft Wright or Miroshnichenko or Cooley,  Slafkovsky or Geekie? Right now we have 2 potential elite players in Suzuki and Caufield.  Now is the time to add another (or a few if we can trade vets for high picks/prospects).  There's just no point in squeaking by and being 'just good enough" to be in the middle of the pack. 

 

Last year was a freak show - I’m tired of quasi-mediocrity too. We need to assemble the foundation for competing in some form of window 

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18 minutes ago, maas_art said:

Yeah, as the article notes, its technically possible, sure, but its incredibly unlikely.  And more importantly, do we want it at this stage?  This season has been putrid. Is it better to have a great run, squeak into the playoffs (or finish just outside) or is it better to flame out & draft Wright or Miroshnichenko or Cooley,  Slafkovsky or Geekie? Right now we have 2 potential elite players in Suzuki and Caufield.  Now is the time to add another (or a few if we can trade vets for high picks/prospects).  There's just no point in squeaking by and being 'just good enough" to be in the middle of the pack. 

I hope you're right about the potentiality of Suzuki and Caulfield being elite. I don't think we'll get that from them, but hopefully they'll be important, contributing top-six players for this franchise for a long time.

I would agree. I don't see any point in the organization "middling" for the next 3-4 years. Just be terrible and get good picks. And then hire a GM and coaching staff in the NHL and AHL that can develop the talent.

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1 hour ago, claremont said:

I have to think Norlinder should be on a 9 game trial and risk evaluation before they think about returning him to Sweden, and that impacts Chiarot or Kulak on Edmundson’s return. 
IMO Kulak is the cheap pickup for cap constrained teams but realistically does Brett get much more than a 2nd rounder or journeyman, or another down on his preliminary talent prospect? The bigger piece is Chiarot and his recent play/track record- Ben’s value goes up closer to the deadline unless we get a fabulous offer now - either way the blue line is getting crowded if the risk of mistakes  of playing Norlinder is low. 

Yes I agree with you on all of this and actually only expect a 4th at best for Kulak, I only brought it up cause he was given a therapy day yesterday, then today when Edmundson skated with the Kulak was pulled away from the group. This could be something as simple as Kulak has a minor injury they want to monitor or it could be preventative because a deal is in motion.

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2 hours ago, jennifer_rocket said:

I hope you're right about the potentiality of Suzuki and Caulfield being elite. I don't think we'll get that from them, but hopefully they'll be important, contributing top-six players for this franchise for a long time.

Suzuki, when he's not being asked to be like the only top 6 centre we have, I think will be an 85-90point 2 way centre. To me that is elite. Caufield, while he's had a rough start this year, showed me a vision i have not seen on this team since maybe... kovalev?  He was just always in the right place - and not by fluke. You'd watch him watch the play, make the calculations and get to the right spots. You couple that with his release & Id actually be shocked if he's not (soon) a 40+ goal scorer.  HIs size is the only thing but he's a shifty enough skater (and he's pretty solid on his skates) that I think he'll be fine. 

2 hours ago, jennifer_rocket said:

I would agree. I don't see any point in the organization "middling" for the next 3-4 years. Just be terrible and get good picks. And then hire a GM and coaching staff in the NHL and AHL that can develop the talent.

Better still, lets trade some assets now too - so we're not only guaranteeing a couple of good years of high picks but also acquiring other teams' too. 

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2 hours ago, jennifer_rocket said:

I hope you're right about the potentiality of Suzuki and Caulfield being elite. I don't think we'll get that from them, but hopefully they'll be important, contributing top-six players for this franchise for a long time.

Suzuki is definitely capable of being a PPG player. He's done it for stretches in his career already and now just has to work on not having similar stretches of 5-6 games where he goes pointless. I think he's a definite 1C and top 32 center in the league and it remains to be seen if he can become a top 5-10 center. We all have our own definitions of elite, but to me, it's someone who can be top 5-10 at their position in the game and a player who can really take over games and lead their team to victory. As far as centers go, I'd classify McDavid, Crosby, Barzal, Stamkos, Aho, Barkov, Mackinnon, Draisaitl, Point, Matthews, Eichel, and Bergeron as being in a higher class than Suzuki right now. I'd probably pop Nick in a second tier along with the likes of Scheifele, Pettersson, Hertl, Larkin, Couturier, Zibanejad, Tavares, ROR, and others. They're all great players, they're all 1C's. Not sure I'd say Suzuki is elite yet, but agreed that he has the potential to get there.

Caufield is a bit more of an uncertain case. He has the potential to be an elite shooter, but he needs work in other areas of his game still and being small, it's still possible other teams find ways to neutralize him. I think the odds are high that he remains a quality NHLer capable of 20 goals a year and maybe more. Is he going to get to a Pacioretty level where he's good for 30-35+ consistently? Remains to be seen. I do think Norlinder has that potential ceiling as much as Caufield does. Norlinder plays a more important position and he has a skillset that's rare. Again, remains to be seen if he can correct other areas of his game to make himself a more complete player, but the vision, passing, skating, and puck skill are all there. And I'll take a 60-point D man who can quarterback a PP like Karlsson over a 30-40 goal sniper like Vanek any day. Past that, not a lot of guys with elite ceiling in the organization. Kotkaniemi definitely had a high ceiling, albeit who knows if he ever gets there. Harris is also intriguing but sounds like he'll never play here, and I think we're looking at more of a Dan Boyle or Bryan Rafalski type player (solid top pairing guy) as his top potential than a Scott Niedermayer truly elite type.

At the end of the day, we're playing a hand with a lot of good supporting cast players but few to no dominant/elite players at present. Would be nice to end up with a top pick in a draft where the talent isn't below average, and again, personally I have more hope for the 2023 draft than the 2022 one.

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15 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

Harris is also intriguing but sounds like he'll never play here, and I think we're looking at more of a Dan Boyle or Bryan Rafalski type player (solid top pairing guy) as his top potential than a Scott Niedermayer truly elite type.

Ted, can you tell me a little more about why you expect Jordan Harris to not play in Montreal? Is he a free agent after his fourth year of college?

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11 minutes ago, jennifer_rocket said:

Ted, can you tell me a little more about why you expect Jordan Harris to not play in Montreal? Is he a free agent after his fourth year of college?

Once you draft a player, there are different statutes on how long you retain that player's rights. For US college players, I believe they become UFA's if they are older than 20 and go unsigned for more than 30 days after finishing their college careers OR if they have completed 4 years of college and still haven't been signed. In Harris' case, he's in his 4th year now, and the Habs only have until the end of this season to sign him without losing his rights for nothing. This is what happened with players like Justin Schultz, Jimmy Vesey, Kevin Hayes, Mike Reilly, and others. They were drafted but never signed with the team drafting them and were lost to free agency. Adam Fox is probably the most notable name in recent past, where he was drafted by the Flames and then traded to the Canes and told both those teams he wouldn't play for them and wanted to go to the Rangers. So both those teams traded him and he signed with the Rangers.

Bergevin, in an interview a few days ago, was asked about Harris and said "if he decides he likes Boston or New York and prefers to play for the Bruins or Rangers, there's not much we can do about it." It kind of gave the impression he wasn't confident in signing him and that the team suspected he had an alternative destination in mind. It does seem that since the pandemic started that certain players prefer to play in Canada or play in the US. Bergevin also seemed to say that Corey Perry, for example, chose Tampa not for the money or term but because his family was based in the US and the pandemic restrictions made it difficult for them to get into Canada or for travel back and forth to be realistic.

In any case, it sounds like the Habs haven't advanced talks with Harris very much. Most people thought he was ready to step into an NHL line-up last year, and there's clearly an opportunity for him to become top 4 on the Habs D almost right away. So it was a bit surprising to see him renege on that opportunity and play out his last year in college.

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19 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

Once you draft a player, there are different statutes on how long you retain that player's rights. For US college players, I believe they become UFA's if they are older than 20 and go unsigned for more than 30 days after finishing their college careers OR if they have completed 4 years of college and still haven't been signed. In Harris' case, he's in his 4th year now, and the Habs only have until the end of this season to sign him without losing his rights for nothing. This is what happened with players like Justin Schultz, Jimmy Vesey, Kevin Hayes, Mike Reilly, and others. They were drafted but never signed with the team drafting them and were lost to free agency. Adam Fox is probably the most notable name in recent past, where he was drafted by the Flames and then traded to the Canes and told both those teams he wouldn't play for them and wanted to go to the Rangers. So both those teams traded him and he signed with the Rangers.

Bergevin, in an interview a few days ago, was asked about Harris and said "if he decides he likes Boston or New York and prefers to play for the Bruins or Rangers, there's not much we can do about it." It kind of gave the impression he wasn't confident in signing him and that the team suspected he had an alternative destination in mind. It does seem that since the pandemic started that certain players prefer to play in Canada or play in the US. Bergevin also seemed to say that Corey Perry, for example, chose Tampa not for the money or term but because his family was based in the US and the pandemic restrictions made it difficult for them to get into Canada or for travel back and forth to be realistic.

In any case, it sounds like the Habs haven't advanced talks with Harris very much. Most people thought he was ready to step into an NHL line-up last year, and there's clearly an opportunity for him to become top 4 on the Habs D almost right away. So it was a bit surprising to see him renege on that opportunity and play out his last year in college.

Yeah, the feeling i got was that the habs were ready to give him a shot with the big club if he went pro this summer. Now it is possible that he just really wants to finish his degree but reading between the lines the team doesnt seem confident they can resign him. Its a shame because he's a guy I have really liked for a while and is one of our most developed players outside the nhl.

Speaking of Perry, point production really dropped off this year (like 3 points in 18 games or something this year).  He could still bounce back but walking away from a 2 year deal from him this summer doesnt look like the worst choice in hindsight. 

 

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24 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

Once you draft a player, there are different statutes on how long you retain that player's rights. For US college players, I believe they become UFA's if they are older than 20 and go unsigned for more than 30 days after finishing their college careers OR if they have completed 4 years of college and still haven't been signed. In Harris' case, he's in his 4th year now, and the Habs only have until the end of this season to sign him without losing his rights for nothing. This is what happened with players like Justin Schultz, Jimmy Vesey, Kevin Hayes, Mike Reilly, and others. They were drafted but never signed with the team drafting them and were lost to free agency. Adam Fox is probably the most notable name in recent past, where he was drafted by the Flames and then traded to the Canes and told both those teams he wouldn't play for them and wanted to go to the Rangers. So both those teams traded him and he signed with the Rangers.

Bergevin, in an interview a few days ago, was asked about Harris and said "if he decides he likes Boston or New York and prefers to play for the Bruins or Rangers, there's not much we can do about it." It kind of gave the impression he wasn't confident in signing him and that the team suspected he had an alternative destination in mind. It does seem that since the pandemic started that certain players prefer to play in Canada or play in the US. Bergevin also seemed to say that Corey Perry, for example, chose Tampa not for the money or term but because his family was based in the US and the pandemic restrictions made it difficult for them to get into Canada or for travel back and forth to be realistic.

In any case, it sounds like the Habs haven't advanced talks with Harris very much. Most people thought he was ready to step into an NHL line-up last year, and there's clearly an opportunity for him to become top 4 on the Habs D almost right away. So it was a bit surprising to see him renege on that opportunity and play out his last year in college.

Thank you for that.

That seems disappointing. I never really knew much about him, but it sounds like he was a promising prospect.

I wonder if this is something that will change during future collective bargaining. It seems odd to draft a U.S. college player and they just have the opportunity to say, "No thanks, I am going to finish my degree and go where I please." As far as I understand, in terms of a team's rights to a player, no one else can do this.

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