Cornwall ON – Well Habs fans here comes Max Pacioretty. The youngster, back from the AHL with some good numbers and more confidence may just be what Montreal needs to get their top six moving forward again.
82 games is a long season and of course it’s only a prep for showtime in the pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
When I worked in Hockey my philosophy was to always build for “the Cup” not to just make the play offs.
My philosophy would probably be best shown by the Philadelphia Flyers. The concept being to build a team that would physically punish and intimidate you, but that focused on special teams so that even while penalized was still very dangerous. It’s a balance of skill and size which is now in the cap era very hard to put together.
So teams have adapted to the speed kills model like Montreal and sometimes; especially if you have a big time goalie like Jaroslav Halak was last year, you can run far with it, which Montreal did until they met the big bad Flyers who made those two series wins over Washington and Pittsburgh vanish quickly. Montreal simply was over matched size wise and soon lost their appetite for what made them successful in their first two series.
Plekanec, Cammallieri, and Kostitsyn seem to click. The problem is Gomez, Gionta, and fill in the blank. I’m not sure if Max will be used by Coach Martin to fill in the blank or if he’ll simply shuffle the top six. (if Mr. Gomez is back)
I don’t see Montreal trading Gomez. Not because they can’t, but I think he was why Gionta signed here, and contract aside he still has talent and he’s proven it in the play offs. His two games off due to injury show how even when not scoring his minutes are not easily replaced. He and Mr. Gionta need a finisher and threat to let them be at their best.
Montreal has a lot of cap room because of the injury to Markov. The question is how to use it. They also have huge questions on their defense for next season. Personally I think it’s critical to resign Roman Hamrlik and probably sooner rather than later. Josh Gorges probably has a deal already in place as he’s not playing like a man looking for a contract right now. (not that he’s playing badly either) and there are question marks about Hal Gill, but if the price is right I certainly would be happy to have him on the squad again.
I still say that Montreal needs a top six forward if they’re going to make a real push in the play offs. There’s not much out there and there’s just not that much on the market. The other problem is what does Montreal give up? Last year they gave up a 2nd round pick to grab Domenic Moore. Well PK Subban was drafted with a 2nd. Can you really afford to give up 2nd round picks for short term middle of the pack players? Would you give up a 2nd right now to grab Jason Blake who might make a nice fit between Gomez and Gionta?
Former team mate Brian Rolston can be had via waivers; at least today for a salary that fits in the Habs current budget, but looks like his tank is empty. New Jersey also has Jason Arnott which is probably what the doctor’s ordered for this team right now, and who’s also a free agent next year.
Carolina has Erik Cole and Chad Larose that might be a fit. Calgary is sniffing about for offers for Jarome Iginla who Bob Gainey let slip away from him once, but that’s a mighty big cap hit and what would it take from the Hab roster to get him?
Ottawa probably will be moving Kovalev, but that’s a very risky acquisition, even if for only a play off run. Would they move a Mike Fisher to Montreal? I’m thinking not, and again for what? I’d be more interested in Dustin Penner from Edmonton even with that extra year of contract.
Andrew Brunette may be a good pick up for a play off run with some potential to stick with the squad next year. I wouldn’t want Havlat from the Wild. Injury prone players are not much fun in the cap world as Minnesota has found out.
Trading with a contending team is always a lot trickier and again Montreal, like most NHL teams, doesn’t have a lot of surplus to trade from.
One thing I would consider is a blockbuster if a team really wanted Carey Price as I’m still not convinced of his long term future with the team and his current contract adds to his trade value which may never be much better short of him pulling a Halak in the play offs this year.
As for Defense, well what Montreal needs isn’t really available, and what’s available is plentiful so I wouldn’t be too worried about acquiring an extra body if one is really felt necessary.
Yannick Weber looks like he deserves more of an opportunity to play.
So Hab fans there you have it. What do you think? You can post your comments below. Good luck Max!