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2021-22 State of the Habs


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2 hours ago, maas_art said:

By the way, I found this on another site, but its interesting because a lot of us forget how young some of our players are.

We will often say things like we want to keep our young players like Suzuki, CC and Evans but remember also that:

Rem Pitlick is 1 year younger than Evans.  
Kale Clague is 2 years younger than Evans.  
Dvorak is the same age as Evans,
Lehkonen is 11 months older than Evans.
Drouin is 15 months older than Evans.

All of these guys are young enough to be around for a rebuild. 

And I would move Drouin.  He potentially has the most value, and we really need to cut ties with him. He definitely needs a fresh start somewhere else. I'm comfortable keeping the others,  unless some team knocks my socks off.

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3 hours ago, maas_art said:

By the way, I found this on another site, but its interesting because a lot of us forget how young some of our players are.

We will often say things like we want to keep our young players like Suzuki, CC and Evans but remember also that:

Rem Pitlick is 1 year younger than Evans.  
Kale Clague is 2 years younger than Evans.  
Dvorak is the same age as Evans,
Lehkonen is 11 months older than Evans.
Drouin is 15 months older than Evans.

All of these guys are young enough to be around for a rebuild. 

For me, it's all about planning for your Cup window. If you want to be a top 5 team in 5 years, the answer is likely no. If you think you can be a contender in 2-3, then they all fit age-wise. After that, it becomes a question of what you expect to be paying to various players capwise at that time and who fits in as good value for the money down the line. Pitlick and Clague will likely still be cheap supporting-cast players, so I don't suspect they'll change much to us. The rest are harder to keep together, especially given they're not core players.

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6 hours ago, maas_art said:

By the way, I found this on another site, but its interesting because a lot of us forget how young some of our players are.

We will often say things like we want to keep our young players like Suzuki, CC and Evans but remember also that:

Rem Pitlick is 1 year younger than Evans.  
Kale Clague is 2 years younger than Evans.  
Dvorak is the same age as Evans,
Lehkonen is 11 months older than Evans.
Drouin is 15 months older than Evans.

All of these guys are young enough to be around for a rebuild. 

They be young enough but are they good enough :)  I see one player that is good enough and that is Suzuki.

I am hoping that CC and Dvorak are product of their enviroment. But for CC one goal in his last 29 NHL does not look good, CC. Specially when you consider the main part of his game would likley be offence.

I actually had high hope for Dvorak as well, but the more i watch him, its like he does not want the puck.

I would like another centerman like Suzuki he wants the puck all the time, i like a selfish centerman :).

Lekonen I like but we seen enough of him that on any kind  of contender  he is a 3rd or 4th line player who plays a role.

I have seen enough of Droiun as well, i think evreybody see his skill but on a contending team you better have someone else in your  top six  - he has 15 goals in his last 103 nhl games 

Pitlick, Clague vast offs by other team. 

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5 hours ago, H_T_L said:

Niku cleared as expected

 

2 hours ago, electron58 said:

I'm kinda glad. Still think he has potential.  Let's see what he does in Laval. -----> build up his confidence. 

Yeah i think its highly unlikely he ever "breaks out" as a top 4 guy but he's still potentially a 3rd pairing dman which is still worth having/keeping. 

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It's been a write-off of a year but FWIW, here are my halfway mark grades for those who have played enough to be evaluated:

Goalies:

- Allen: B... he has below-league-average numbers but still decent for the team he was playing behind.

- Montembeault: C... awful for a long while and now showing signs of life. He's still a fringe back-up for me.

D-men:

- Wideman: B-... he's probably been our best defender. Most efficient of the D men with the puck, at least somewhat useful on the PP, and best advanced stats of all D men.

- Chiarot: C... had a decent start to the year, looked very good with Petry, looks very bad next to Savard. As much as he's exceeded expectations for the year, he's been a 45% Corsi player (which is bad). He's 50.4% with Petry and 41.7% without him, so Petry largely carried Chiarot, even though we see one as having had a good year and the other a bad one.

- Petry: C-... which brings me to Petry, who has largely disappointed this season, but still has the 2nd-best advanced stats on the D corps after Wideman. Needs to score more points and skate the puck more.

- Alex Romanov: C-... a year of learning for Romanov but some promising signs here and there.

- Kulak: C-... average to meh, but not as disappointing as some of his teammates.

- Clague: D... still young, but looks like a depth player.

- Niku: D... one-dimensional thus far.

- Savard: F... the worst of the bunch. He brings everyone he plays with down. The only D man who has better metrics with Savard than without him is Kulak. Everyone else got weighed down heavily by playing with Savard. He's a dead weight on the ice and he needs to be bought out. No longer an NHL player, he is the new Alzner.

Forwards:

- Lehkonen: B... sure, he lacks finish at the net, but compared to most other players, he's the guy who has best done his own job this year. By far the best advanced stats among forwards.

- Anderson: B-... he's scored a bit and at the very least we're seeing effort from him on a regular basis.

- Toffoli: C+... not as good as last year, but he's still got a bit of punch to his game.

- Suzuki: C+... had a nice start to the year but for a 1C, I'd like to see more consistency. Needs to take the next step.

- Poehling: C+... finally looks like he's taken a step to sticking in the NHL.

- Drouin: C+... hasn't been that bad all things considered. If your expectations were based on what he's shown us his entire career, he's met them.

- Ylonen: C+... I think he's shown some decent skills in his time here, would like to see him get opportunity

- Gallagher: C... he hasn't given up, albeit his production and skill seem to have fallen off a bit.

- Evans: C... he's been alright for a 4th line center. Just depends on what role we expect him to fill long-term.

- Dvorak: D-... needs to play with more conviction and enthusiasm.

- Perreault: F... one good game and a lot of bad games otherwise.

- Hoffman: F... yeah, he scores and has a good shot. Does he know about the other 160 feet of the hockey rink?

- Armia: F... what happened?

- Paquette: F... terrible.

 

Coach/GMs/Owner:

- Ducharme: F... not sure there's much debate here

- Bergevin: F... look at my lists and see which players are at the bottom of their respective positions. It's all the guys MB added this year who have been the crappiest of all.

- Gorton/Hughes: won't give them a grade yet, but at least have heard the right talk. Now let's see if they can walk the walk. Big trade deadline for this duo to move us in the right direction.

- Molson: B... waited way too long to fire Bergevin. But credit to him for making the move now and for bringing in two guys that weren't rehashes of the same crap and that weren't just hired to appease the Rejean Tremblays of the world.

 

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33 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

This Pitlick fellow appears to be making the most of his opportunity . 
 

some other players should do the same 

 


 

 

Ya, making his case for a steady job. 

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From the following interview I guess Hughes and Gorton aren't thinking rebuild

“Carey Price is untouchable because he is so important to the organization. He’s been the most important player for a decade and he has a no-trade clause. So the first question to answer is to know where it is at in terms of health. He has problems with his knee and there are still answers to be found,” Hughes told the same source.

So, there too, we will have to wait before deciding in the case of number 31. The option of a contract buyout does not seem to be in the plans, however. “I can’t answer that right now, but I don’t think so,” the GM said.

Price has a valid contract until the end of the 2025-2026 campaign and his annual compensation is $10.5 million

https://new.in-24.com/News/amp/472514

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https://www.habseyesontheprize.com/2022/1/28/22905480/montreal-canadiens-defense-dominique-ducharme-luke-richardson-habs-ducks-zegras-michigan-highlight

Bottom Six Minutes 42: The Canadiens’ defensive zone coverage is a mess

his passive box that the Habs are playing in their own zone is brutally ineffective. They are essentially giving up the perimeter, and committing everything to their defense of the slot. Against the Ducks, it at least led to them giving up less shots on net, but it also allowed for goals like the one above, and Zegras’s highlight reel Michigan goal earlier in the game.

The fact that we’re seeing this in multiple games suggests it isn’t an anomaly, they’re being coached to this. If this is the best that Luke Richardson and Dominique Ducharme can come up with, they should both be replaced immediately. Losing is one thing, but losing because your defensive coverage is a constant liability is another thing altogether.

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11 hours ago, kinot-2 said:

Ya, making his case for a steady job. 

I need to see more of Pitlick, but he looks like a good waiver pickup - He lit up the USHL in his draft year, had reasonable stats for 3 years  at U of Minnesota and a half decent first AHL season in his welcome to pro hockey. Then the COVID demise hit which probably stalled any ascension or development for his last 2 seasons. Seems to have been able to score wherever he played, so I hope he finds his trajectory here.

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12 hours ago, Regis22 said:

This Pitlick fellow appears to be making the most of his opportunity . 

He certainly is. Rem Pitlick isn't letting all the distractions keep him from playing his game. A big opportunity that I hope he seizes.

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Looking ahead to next year, you' d have to think there will be a host of changes, given how bad we were this year and with new management wanting their own style of team. Now there are guys we may want to move that we won't be able to (Savard, Byron, Armia, Petry, Hoffman), but FWIW, this is the skeleton of the line-up I think Gorton and Hughes will try to build around:

CENTER:

- Top 6 centers: Suzuki

- Bottom 6 centers: Poehling, Evans

- Middle 6 centers: Dvorak

Our bottom two centers aren't bad in reality. You'd maybe like a veteran there, but it's not terrible, with the progression we've seen from Poehling this year. There's also Vejdemo who could battle for the 4C spot or be your next guy up as a winger who slides over to center if needed. But I also question if Poehling isn't better-suited to being a winger. Dvorak is another issue. He's not quite good enough to be a 2C on a successful team, so ideally there's still a need for an upgrade in the top 6, which if done, could allow you to slide Dvorak into the 3C slot and Poehling over to wing. But it's a hard job to find a top 6 center, barring finding one at the top of the draft who turns out to be ready.

WINGER:

- Top 6 wingers: Anderson, Toffoli, Gallagher

- Middle 6 wingers: Caufield, Ylonen

- Bottom 6 wingers: Armia, Byron, Pitlick, ? Poehling

I'd be surprised if Anderson or Toffoli gets traded. They're both performing relatively well if you compare them to the overall state of the team. They also haven't let up on the effort the way others have. Likewise, despite the rumors Gallagher doesn't want to be here for a re-build, I think Hughes isn't going to get a deal that sways him to move Gally. He's already on record as saying Price is the heart and soul of the team, and if he won't move Price yet, I can't see him moving Gallagher either. He could always just be saying that about Carey to prevent his trade value from falling (stating you're fine with trading him for whatever you can get makes his value weaker than if you try to convince everyone he's a valuable guy). But in any case, I don't see Gallagher being traded this season. I do think Lehkonen and Drouin, both being on contracts that expire in the next year and a half, will be trade fodder. I also think Hughes, who has said he'll look at analytics in making decisions, will see Hoffman is a terrible advanced stats player, and will do his best to ship him out. For the same reason I think Gallagher stays, I think Hughes holds on to Byron as a leader in his room, and I simply don't think they'll be able to move Armia but will hope he rebounds after a down year. Hughes has said he'll keep guys if he thinks they can be better than the numbers show (ie don't sell low on a guy you think will improve), so I think he gambles Armia can bounce back and that maybe the guy is just worn down from the long physical post-season he played and multiple rounds of COVID.

DEFENCE:

- Top 2 D men: none

- Middle pairing D men: Romanov, Petry, Edmundson

- Bottom-pairing D men: Clague

- Question marks: Guhle, Norlinder, Brook, Weber, Harris

This is Hughes' biggest problem/challenge. With Petry's decline (maybe similar to what we've seen with Armia), he really doesn't have any top-pairing guys left. Now maybe Petry can rebound or maybe he stabilizes if Edmundson comes back healthy. Maybe Romanov takes a jump. Maybe Weber surprises and comes back. But there really isn't a clear dominant, puck-moving minute eater there. Chiarot likely gets traded. Kulak is also likely gone. I can't see Wideman or Niku returning either, and if Hughes is as being honest about caring about advanced stats, he'd buy out or demote Savard. The cupboard is pretty bare here, and while there's help coming down the road, there are more question marks than answers. This is why I pushed for the Habs to flip Domi and Poehling for Dumba a couple of years ago. This is why I think they should see if Samuel Girard is truly available. They need to find a guy who is mobile and skilled enough to fill in on the top pairing until some of their young guys develop, but they also want to find a player who can still be a solid veteran presence in 2-3 years when the window to win re-opens. There's no sense in signing a Klingberg to a 7-year deal or signing another past-prime 32 year-old veteran to a multi-year deal. And so the D corps is largely why I don't see the Habs being competitive for a couple of years and why they'll need to draft well, develop their youngsters, and make trades to acquire some prospects who are on the fringe of becoming NHLers or young NHLers who can take the next step to becoming impact players. Can he go and get a Broberg or a Dobson or someone of that ilk? Again, this hole is why I was saying MB should have overpaid to bring Dougie Hamilton in or trade for Jake Bean or Conor Timmins. There's a void in the organization right now to have bridged the gap from Weber-Petry to Guhle-Norlinder-Harris, etc.

GOALIE:

- Starter: Price or Allen

- Back-up: Montembeault or Primeau

I think it's clear you don't go into next year with both Price and Allen. You're not winning a Cup, you may as well try to turn at least one of them into other assets. The smart money says it's easier to get a return on Allen, with his contract being easier to trade. So I think they keep Price and try to re-establish value there. I think they trade Allen. And I think they probably use Montembeault as the back-up unless Primeau and his confidence really take a next-level stride. Primeau isn't ready to play in meaningful games.

FREE AGENTS:

So here's where we get a bit of a wildcard. Is there anyone out there who can make this team better where you don't need to give up assets? The team/city isn't likely going to be that attractive to free agents coming off a horrid season, entering a re-build, and with no fans in the stands and questions about Canada's COVID policies. Agents have flat-out said players, especially non-Canadian ones, are leery that they'll get stuck in Canada or have stricter protocols to follow here. So unless Weber and Price are both back and clearly healthy and that draws players in, there probably isn't a great fix here, but there are a few interesting possibilities:

1. PK Subban... perhaps the most interesting. He's obviously past prime, but he can skate and he can play on the PP and he's one of the few players who would probably want to come here. He's not worth 9M or even 5M, but if you can sign him for 2-3M plus incentives on a one-year deal, he's a guy who can fill in top-pairing minutes if he stays healthy and he might be a guy who brings fans back to the seats. Part of this maybe depends on whether Gallagher is still here because they clearly didn't get along, but if Plekanec is gone and Gallagher's gone and Therrien's gone and Bergevin's gone, maybe there's a place for Subban somewhere. As much as he's declined, he would still be our top D men if he had been here this season.

2. Kris Letang... if not Subban, then maybe Letang. He's also past prime but still playing at a high level. His former agent is our new GM. He may also be one of those guys from Quebec who chooses to play out his career finally getting a chance to at home, just to say he played for the Habs (like Briere did finally coming here or like Brisebois or Richer coming back here at the end of their careers).

3. Patrice Bergeron... like Letang, he's a francophone player at the end of his career and his agent was Hughes as well. The difference is that I think Bergeron is more likely in the camp of stay with one team his entire career or just retire. So I have less will to believe he'd leave Boston for one or two years in Montreal with no shot at winning a Cup, but he does instantly address one of our big holes. So he's one of those guys where if Price and Weber are back and Gallagher stays, can they and Hughes convince him this past year was an anomaly?

4. Hampus Lindholm... no real attachment here, but one of thew few guys out there who could be a fill-in on the top pairing. He'd probably take a longer contract than we want to give out, but if he's interested in getting big minutes somewhere, you could play the "ice time and PP is yours" card.

Past that, there are other guys who improve your top end, like Forsberg, Malkin, Kadri, Hertl, Trocheck, Neiderreiter, Klingberg, and so on. But would these guys actually come here? Would they be worth the contracts? Obviously, if you can add a Hertl and a Forsberg to your top line, you're instantly back in the playoff conversation. But there isn't a quick fix to the D corps, so I think you'd be adding up front and then looking to trade some of Gallagher, Dvorak, Toffoli, Drouin, or Caufield to try and fix your D, and frankly I don't see Gorton deviating from a plan to re-build in the next year.

Putting all of that together, this is what I think we might be looking at as an outline of a possible line-up:

 

Toffoli-Suzuki-Ylonen

Caufield-XXX-Anderson (possibly keeping Drouin as a center or inserting a top pick like Wright if we end up getting him)

Poehling-Dvorak-Gallagher

Byron-Evans-Armia

Pitlick, Vejdemo

 

Romanov-Letang/Subban

Edmundson-Petry

Guhle-Clague

Brook

 

Price

Montembeault

 

 

 

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55 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

GOALIE:

- Starter: Price or Allen

- Back-up: Montembeault or Primeau

I think it's clear you don't go into next year with both Price and Allen. You're not winning a Cup, you may as well try to turn at least one of them into other assets. The smart money says it's easier to get a return on Allen, with his contract being easier to trade. So I think they keep Price and try to re-establish value there. I think they trade Allen. And I think they probably use Montembeault as the back-up unless Primeau and his confidence really take a next-level stride. Primeau isn't ready to play in meaningful games.

Question for discussion ( and not directed at you BT )  but how did Primeau get chosen or assumed by all to be  the goalie of the future .

Every second game is a stinker , and I understand the team is crap, but why do people insist that he's the goalie we need to keep to build around for the future ?

Is it the last name , the fact that his father and uncle played in the NHL .  What exactly is the love affair 

 

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6 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

Question for discussion ( and not directed at you BT )  but how did Primeau get chosen or assumed by all to be  the goalie of the future .

Every second game is a stinker , and I understand the team is crap, but why do people insist that he's the goalie we need to keep to build around for the future ?

Is it the last name , the fact that his father and uncle played in the NHL .  What exactly is the love affair 

 

I think it's because he was so stellar in his collegiate career. He really looked like he had a chance to be starter material in the NHL. Big goalie, good positioning, good rebound control... and to be fair, he hasn't been terrible at the AHL level, considering the teams he's had in front of him haven't been great. But he's been very inconsistent in his brief stints in the NHL. Way too early to give up on a goalie as a prospect, but certainly less hope that he can the goalie of the future, and without him, there really isn't another top prospect anywhere up and down the organization.

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37 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

I think it's because he was so stellar in his collegiate career. He really looked like he had a chance to be starter material in the NHL. Big goalie, good positioning, good rebound control... and to be fair, he hasn't been terrible at the AHL level, considering the teams he's had in front of him haven't been great. But he's been very inconsistent in his brief stints in the NHL. Way too early to give up on a goalie as a prospect, but certainly less hope that he can the goalie of the future, and without him, there really isn't another top prospect anywhere up and down the organization.

One goalie I would look at is a very good undrafted French Canadian playing in the NCAA by the name of Yaniv Perets. He is leading in the NCAA in both winning percentage and GAA. His GAA is 0.84 and his S% is .948 through 16 games. He would be worth keeping an eye on as the NCAA frozen Four wraps up. Since he is Quebec born maybe he would be interested in signing and at least give Primeau some healthy competition.

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10 hours ago, campabee82 said:

One goalie I would look at is a very good undrafted French Canadian playing in the NCAA by the name of Yaniv Perets. He is leading in the NCAA in both winning percentage and GAA. His GAA is 0.84 and his S% is .948 through 16 games. He would be worth keeping an eye on as the NCAA frozen Four wraps up. Since he is Quebec born maybe he would be interested in signing and at least give Primeau some healthy competition.

Is Yaniv Perets considered an UFA? If so, then he could be signed after his season is over?

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1 minute ago, electron58 said:

Is Yaniv Perets considered an UFA? If so, then he could be signed after his season is over?

He is undrafted in his 2nd season in the NCAA and never signed an NHL contract. I believe that qualifies him as a FA, I could be wrong though.

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Not saying any of these players can help, but these appear to be 5 of the best European UFA's soon to be available.
1.  Andrei Kuzmenko  RW right hs
5’11”, 194 lbs, 26yo. Feb.
This is Kuzmenko’s seventh straight season improving his KHL point totals, and he now sits 2nd in league scoring for 21-22. His p/g has been above the KHL FA average for five of the past six seasons, a big reason why there is so much NHL interest surrounding him. Relatively stocky, he uses his leverage in puck battles and getting off a heavy shot from tight to his body.

2.  Sergei Tolchinsky  LW left hs
5’8″, 170 lbs, 26yo. Feb.
Tolchinsky embraces the reckless style of play he must employ to compete for pucks with much larger defenders. He was 2nd on Avangard in points last season while playing 2nd line minutes, then went on to lead them in playoff scoring en route to the Gagarin Cup, and KHL playoff MVP. Tolchinsky loves to use the entire offensive zone, forcing defenders to move around before deciding on his time to strike.

3.  Denis Alexeyev  C  right hs
6'0", 190 lbs, 24yo. Oct.
Alexeyev is mostly known for being a playmaker, he sinks into the offensive zone and waits for open ice. Once he’s below the circles he can draw a defender in and capitalize on the opened passing lane.

4.  Jiri Smejkal  C/LW left hs
6’4″,  203lbs, 25yo. Nov.
The fact that he was able to rise to the top of two pro leagues is evidence that Smejkal drives his own offence, even if he does score a lot on clean up duty and rebounds. 

5.  Filip Chlapik  C left hs
6'2", 194 lbs, 24yo. June
Former Ottawa Senator.

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12 hours ago, campabee82 said:

One goalie I would look at is a very good undrafted French Canadian playing in the NCAA by the name of Yaniv Perets. He is leading in the NCAA in both winning percentage and GAA. His GAA is 0.84 and his S% is .948 through 16 games. He would be worth keeping an eye on as the NCAA frozen Four wraps up. Since he is Quebec born maybe he would be interested in signing and at least give Primeau some healthy competition.

Apparently,  another.

Jeff Marek said that Barrie Colts (OHL) 21-year old goaltender Mack Guzda is getting interest from the Toronto Maple Leafs and at least six other teams.  “(Guzda) is someone that the Maple Leafs are very much trying to sign. Their pursuit, I’m told, is very aggressive. They met with the netminder this week, I believe on Thursday, but they’re not the only team trying to sign this netminder, who’s having a great season in the OHL. The Penguins, the Rangers, the Preds are all considered frontrunners but also the Ducks, Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes are said to be interested.” I know,  he's not French, but.......

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35 minutes ago, electron58 said:

Apparently,  another.

Jeff Marek said that Barrie Colts (OHL) 21-year old goaltender Mack Guzda is getting interest from the Toronto Maple Leafs and at least six other teams.  “(Guzda) is someone that the Maple Leafs are very much trying to sign. Their pursuit, I’m told, is very aggressive. They met with the netminder this week, I believe on Thursday, but they’re not the only team trying to sign this netminder, who’s having a great season in the OHL. The Penguins, the Rangers, the Preds are all considered frontrunners but also the Ducks, Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes are said to be interested.” I know,  he's not French, but.......

Agreed we should be looking at these types of goalies instead of investing narrow mindedly on one single prospect. It is what we do with all of the other positions we have many irons in the fire instead of just one.

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