Habs on the Precipice – Buyers or Sellers? NHL Play Off View at Half Season – January 8, 2012

CFN – So as we approach the half way mark of the NHL season the Habs are in a strange position.     The odds of them making the play offs are not terribly good right now.   The odds of this team drinking from Lord Stanley’s Cup are near non existent.

The job that Pierre Gauthier has done as GM is pretty deplorable.   Addressing team needs in the off season.  Filling needs during the season.    Having the right players for his coach or the right coach for his players.

Fail to.   Montreal has now won two in a row making things a tad more interesting.  Mighty Mite Brian Gionta is back.  Scott Gomez may return; maybe even Andrei Markov, but those are not keys to the magic kingdom of play off hockey.

This team was run this season like a roti league team.  Some interesting contracts and pick ups, but at the end of the day it’s not built right.   There are lots of bright lights and good signs, but if Carey Price is given a Josh Gorges contract; PK Subban the same where will the team be?

With players like Tomas Plekanec and Cammy playing like they are frustrated with this mess where does that leave the Habs and do they have the right people to do what’s needed to be done.

As an armchair GM if I saw the geography out there and thought that by pulling the trigger on a big trade I could go deep in the play offs I’m there, but the Habs don’t have a lot of chips to play with.

They can mortgage their future and let go of a 1st.   They have some interesting spare parts and some enigmas, but will that land them a big ticket?

Giving up a 2nd rounder for a rent a player like they did with Domenic Moore isn’t the smartest of moves.  It was a second rounder that landed PK Subban.

Right now Geoff Molson, and maybe Bob Gainey have some big decisions to make; like Bryan Murray learned last year in Ottawa sometimes you have to make big decisions.   Sometimes you have to put it on the line.    This is most likely the scenario that Montreal has to decide really really soon.   IF they can’t pull off a bit of magic to make a run for this year then they have to gear up for next year.

Things can change fast in the NHL with parity.

If I’m GM I’m listening to offers.  You can get a 2nd for Hal Gill; maybe a prospect into the deal too with injuries this year. Same goes for Moen who’s the kind of player that can help play off teams.

I still don’t know what to do about Alexei Kostitsyn.  I love his talent, but when Chris Neil has a higher rate of shots per game I’m not sure what do to with him.  I guarantee that if the Habs move him he notches 30 goals next year, but Montreal has to either resign him or move him this year.    Can you get a 1st + for him?

Gionta?  If I get a serious chance to trade him it’s bye bye.    There are not too many untouchables on this squad.

This season has shown the future of the team.    The big move by Bob Gainey yielded a good play off run.   Nobody could predict that Scott Gomez would be the complete and utter failure he’s been.   I think Mr. Gainey rolled the dice and changed this team; but the ownership change seems to have sunk is play.

Carey Price has to decide if he wants to stay in Montreal.   If he can be signed for a reasonable deal great.  If he holds out for a premium I trade him as he’s the one cog in Montreal that they can really max a return on .   Teams would be lining up to snatch him up.

The bottom line is that this all relies on a good horse trader in the GM seat; something Montreal can’t claim to have at the moment.

The big money question for Geoff Molson is to allow his current crew to deal with this or get someone in who could do a better job?

Players respond to strong management from top down.  Agents respond even more.   Get in a good GM and coach and players want to be there.   It’s not complicated.

There are a lot more buyers this year than sellers and the there’s going to be a premium on some players this play off season.    Toronto looks like the real deal and Ottawa is very very close.  I’m personally rooting for them.   They are completely at the mercy of injuries as one to any of their key players would be brutal; but I like this team in the play offs.

A top six forward can really up the ante for them and a stronger back up goalie.

Toronto is interesting.   They seem always in any play for a top player on the trade market.  They have some real strengths this season.   New Jersey will need some help to maintain a play off spot although they are playing some strong hockey now.

Pittsburgh is playing without Crosby and Staal.  They’re gritting it through.  They have some gifted forwards, but need some help on D.  A puck mover like a Tomas Kaberle would probably be the ticket for them.    Washington should power up now that Alex Ovechkin wants to play again.   I expect the Caps to not trade Semin as long as they are clicking on all eights.

Winnipeg is missing a stud. They have played better hockey in the second quarter of the season, but need help.

St. Louis is on fire under Ken Hitchcock and really zooming.  Vancouver is on course; I see LA making a move and nipping by Dallas where injuries are taking their toll.

What do you think hockey fans?  You can post your comments below.

Video Preview

Leave a Reply