While many Habs fans are in the doldrums over the team’s epic fall from grace including a record month of losses pressure is mounting on GM Marc Bergevin.
The Wunderkind is under the gun to resolve issues on the team that simply have not been addressed. As Zack Kassian provides exactly what he was supposed to provide to Montreal on the right wing for Edmonton heads are scratching. Watching Ben Scrivens in goal this weekend in his loss shows why one should never trade for a former or current Leaf goalie.
Dumping Alex Semin while short on right wingers is also perplexing as there were players performing worse than the big Russian.
As many writers are focusing, the issue is not just the loss of Carey Price. The Habs top line of Plekanec, Pacioretty, and Gallagher is good, but not Stanley Cup grade. While Alex Galchenyuk may not be a dramatic improvement over Plecky, surely that should be the goal if the Habs believe in their young player?
Montreal has never really had a wing mate for Plekanec. It’s time to either find one or trade our Centre for a better fit while he has value.
Washington recently reached out and nabbed Mike Richards. It shows that solutions can be found.
The Habs focus on “Character” is also perplexing as I’ve never heard of Lord Stanley’s Cup going to the nicest or most polite team. Hockey is a big business, and it’s all about winning. Character is nice, but Montreal’s Dynasty of the 70’s was not full of choir boys. There were wild parties, drugs, booze, and all sorts of fun stuff. There were also Stanley Cup parades.
As this writer has mentioned several times there are some key issues Montreal needs to resolve in the short and medium term.
A #1 Centre. That probably won’t be resolved this season, even as a fill in.
Help on D. Jeff Petry is nice, but is essentially a step up from Josh Gorges. PK Subban still needs a line mate, and Andrei Markov is getting old very quickly.
Size. Montreal’s record against the Western teams shows a real issue.
Lars Eller will never be a number one centre, but he does have success when he’s in the right position. It seems every time he gets comfortable the coach breaks up the chemistry.
Chemistry. It could be frustration or desperation, but Michel Therrien’s team had its best success this year when the lines were stable. All teams deal with injury and issue, but the blender mix of lines is really not good for building team chemistry.
Therrien himself. Bergevin invested and doubled down on “Mike”. There were reasons why Therrien was dumped by the Penguins, and those reasons just might do him in this season.
For a team that some considered Cup contenders to a bubble team that’s a single point away from falling out of a Wild card spot the heat is clearly on Therrien to find solutions with the hand that he’s been dealt.
If he doesn’t he’ll be replaced faster than you can say Guy Boucher!
Ultimately in the cap age asset management is critical. Dumping Jared Tinordi for a pile of pucks really didn’t make the GM shine, nor the handling of Zach Kassian.
The good news is that there are a lot of bright spots. Mike Condon really has done a super job all things considered.
The Habs big guns are all near their averages or better statistically. They don’t need a rebuild, but they do need a GM that will focus more on key issues than scoring Rotiserrie type mini trades.
What do you think Hab fans? You can post your comments below.