I think it comes down to asset management. Letting all those UFAs walk a few years ago with almost no return tilted the momentum of the club. Trading for Scott Gomez didn’t look like a great trade when it went down; but who thought Gomez would be such a wash out?
That trade help attract free agents like Mike Cammaleri and Brian Gionta which led to the Habs closest run to the play offs.
But that play off run may have done more damage than good. At the end of the day we remember winners, not near winners and some of those 2nd round picks dealt for band aids like Domenic Moore could’ve turned into more PK Subbans.
The future however does look better for the Habs right now than it does for Messers Gainey and Gauthier.
It wasn’t Rejean Houle time in la belle province. There are some core assets and truly the biggest crime other than bad horse trading was overpaying for talent; but going back to when Mr. Gainey took over what agent wanted a player to go to Montreal? It should be interesting to see how the marketplace plays out which of course will depend on who Geoff Molson choses to helm this legendary franchise?
Linguistics aren’t an issue as there are two hot players in that hunt. The dreamers or the sexy choice is power agent Pat Brisson. Mr. Brisson, a Valleyfield boy knows the ins and outs of contracts as he notched some of the biggest in the game with clients like Sydney Crosby. Mike Gillis in Vancouver has shown that being an agent and turning GM isn’t the worst formula for success as he’s done a masterful job of manning the Canucks.
I actually would find this an interesting move, but am curious if Mr. Brisson has the stones to deal with all that comes with Montreal. If he did make the jump and put the Habs back cuddling with Lord Stanley’s Cup he’d own the city and all that comes with creating a cup winner in Montreal.
The dark horse and seemingly least spoken of is Pierre McGuire. There’s not much that can be said against that choice and Montreal certainly could do worse. After that come a lot of question marks and cliffs to fall off of.
Owner: Geoff Molson C I know. Not a good grade, but the farce that was allowed to happen this season just should not have occurred. Cammy, anyone named Andrei, communications with the media (or non as Montreal management has not responded to our media requests) The grade would be lower except I really like the fact that the chop to Gauthier included Mr. Gainey and bringing in Serge Savard was just a plain smart hockey move.
GM: PG – E – There’s just no justification for this season’s decisions. Ok, it should maybe be a D, but geez this guy just bugged me!
Coach: Martin/Cunneyworth C – I was never huge on Jacques Martin, but I can’t blame him for trying to run a system with players that don’t fit his system. While criticized for his early handling of newcomer Erik Cole, I think this is precisely what led to Mr. Cole having such a good season. Randy deserves something for trying to do the best with the circus he was dropped into.
Tomas Plekanec : (B) – An extremely valuable centre trapped without wingers. Whether because of injury, frustration, or just plain goofiness Tomas has cranked out his 20 minutes per night. He’d probably have 20 more points right now if he’d have had the same support as David Desharnais.
David Desharnais: (B+) – Mr Desharnais got his shot and showed he’s an NHL’er, perhaps even a very good one. He’s the glue between two power forwards and made the most of his opportunities. He’s also a bargain for Montreal playing for $850K next season.
Scott Gomez: (E) – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a star player plunge in value like Mr. Gomez? He gets point for showing some grace under disaster. He will be traded over the summer to a team needing to make the cap floor as his high cap with low salary will be attractive to a team needing to pad their cap. I still think he’s a good player, but not in Montreal.
Lars Eller: (C+) – The Great Dane is turning into an almost valuable 3rd line Centre. The problem is that Montreal had to rely on him for more than that. I’m not sure he’s a great bang for the buck. He doesn’t hurt you, but not sure he’ll win you a cup either.
Louis Leblanc: (C) – Montreal is really rooting for the young Quebecer, but he doesn’t project much more than a possible improvement over Eller right now.
Max Pacioretty: (A) – I don’t think anyone really expected a 30 goal season of this nature from Max after his injury last year. Some were worried his effective career would be over, but Mighty Max showed his pedigree.
Erik Cole: (A) – I’m not sure people expected a season like this from Erik either. 30+ goals, almost no injury time, and some much needed grit and juice. His nearly 200 hits from a Montreal forward was a rare thing to enjoy as well.
Brian Gionta: (D) – Injury and ineffectiveness led to Captain Gionta’s worst NHL season. It will be interesting to see if the small 34 year old rebounds next year?
Rene Bourque: (C-) – If his name was Michael Ryder I bet a lot of writers would be trashing Mr. Bourque whose time in Montreal did not endear him to fans. With a fat $3M+ for 3 more years Montreal may be stuck with him.
Blake Geoffrion: (NA) Mr. Geoffrion may get a chance to show he is more than a publicity stunt pulled for the former Hab management next year.
Losing Cammy and Kostitsyn has really left Montreal’s forward corps and as you can see they are in need of a major upgrading. There were even rumblings of Plekanec wanting out of Montreal. A strong management statement by Mr. Molson and a couple of good wingers to play with should silence that.
What a mess! Markov never got it going this year and frankly with his injury history and lack of play off success is not the key to the future. Losing Roman Hamrlik really hurt the Habs this year and with the loss of Hal Gill it really is a sign that it will take more than one year to rebuild.
In the meanwhile you have:
Tomas Kaberle: (C) Mr. Kaberle is what he is; a light weight D man that can get some points and play on the PP. His contract isn’t great, but it’s not the end of the world for a 40 point D man that turns 35 next year. 40 point D men are not that available in the NHL.
If Markov is available next year that means two point getters. Good thing the next two Defensemen have some grit!
PK Subban: Some would suggest that Mr. Subban had some sort of sophmore jinx or that his play was worse in his second full stint in the NHL. PK is an unusual talent and will one day be the full package if he doesn’t get injured. Yes he’s yappy; and goofy, but he also brings speed to kill, some sandpaper, and has nearly scored 40 points each of his first two NHL seasons. He also adds in 100+ hits per year. Montreal had to give this young man a wagon load of minutes this year with Markov down and chaos ruling the day.
Alex Emelin: (B) Wow! Boom Boom had quite the first NHL year. 200 plus hits and I think he could be a 30+ points D man. The hope of course is that he’d pair with Markov, but that didn’t work out this year. It might next year and one of the brightest spots of this season.
Josh Gorges: (B+) The Heart and Soul of this team. If Gionta is moved this off season Gorges most likely will be the next Montreal captain. Coming back from surgery this year he’s played like an iron man while blocking a mass of shots and giving the Habs some stability on Defense.
Yannick Weber/Raphael Diaz: (C) The Swiss clones had almost identical seasons. I think Weber has some upside to him, but didn’t get to prove that this season. Not a lot of grit to either D man; not a lot of offense.
Jared Tinordi. The future is getting closer. Imagine a defense with Tinordi and Emelin? Works for me!
Montreal got its money worth again this season from number 31. Now they have to figure out how much Carey wants to stay in Montreal. If the price tag is too high then their best bet is the block buster trade route.
In today’s cap world if you’re going to spend much more than $5M per season on a goalie they better get you a cup and stand on their head doing it.
If Price hopes to net a $7M contract the slope gets mighty slippery especially if the deal is for much more than 3 years.
The new Habs GM will have a great draft pick to start his regime. The bonus is that if Montreal doesn’t get one of the two stud Russians there is always Tomas Hertl who surely would make Plekanec one happy Hab! There is also currently a bumper crop of Free Agents available at forward to fill in a spot or two for Montreal.
What do you think Hab Fans? You can post your comments below.