CFN – And the first puck has dropped in pre-season in what’s looking to be an interesting chapter of NHL history. With the cap dropping after the shortened 2012/13 NHL season teams have adjusted. Some players are still unsigned, and buyouts have changed the landscape for some names like Vinny Lecavlier.
On hockeybuzz.com they’re talking about a trade between the Habs and Nucks revolving around Tomas Plekanec and Alex Edler.
There had better be someone else in that pot as it makes utterly no sense for Montreal to even have that discussion if those are the two primaries.
Tomas Plekanec doesn’t seem to get enough respect in Montreal. He’s an incredible two way forward who has had his offensive numbers limited by his defensive assignments and the fact that Montreal hasn’t been able to put the right forwards at his sides.
While not in the top third of First line centers he certainly isn’t in the bottom third and would probably be one of the best 2nd line centers on the right squad.
And seeing as this is my first hockey piece of the season I will focus on the Habs to start.
Marc Bergevin got his real first off season challenge and I can only give him a C grade. Failing to pick up Lecavlier is something that will most likely haunt Montreal; especially if you compare what they paid for Daniel Briere.
He also lost out on Sam Morin, again to the Flyers, in the first round of the draft. Gone are Colby Armstrong, Blake Geoffrion, Yannick Weber, Michael Ryder, and Tomas Kaberle.
Did he address the teams regular season needs and playoff needs? Did he strengthen the cap position of the team? Did he buy low and sell high?
Sadly the answer so far is not really. George Parros? Really? I did love the Douglas Murray acquisition, especially as it’s cap friendly.
The Habs got out to a quick start in a short season last year and the media made the most of it. As we got closer to play off hockey we started to see the real issues with Montreal; chiefly that there is no real chemistry on the team yet.
Who are our lines? Are there natural matches? I don’t see it yet.
For example will we get the most out of Max Pacioretty with David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher on a line?
Tomas Plekanec with Rene Bourque and Brian Gionta when he come back?
Lars Eller with anyone? How to use Briere best, and protect him so he doesn’t get beaten up and can score some points. Does young and talented Alex Galchenyuk move to Centre this year?
On defense none of the issues were addressed other than signing Murray to a safe one year deal to fill in for Emelin until he returns from his latest injury. Will Boom Boom be the same player when he returns?
Who plays with PK? Who plays with Markov who clearly isn’t as fast as he was before his surgeries and can still be valuable on the PP, but a bit scary 5 on 5 until Emelin comes back. I’m not sure a Murray and Markov tandem would work?
What the heck do you do with Raphael Diaz? Jared Tinordi will get his shot this year; but with who?
In goal I won’t share on Carey Price as I have before. It’d be awesome if he could be in the Vancouver talks even if it meant losing Pleky. I’d even consider an Edler and Luongo deal for Price & Desharnais with some bits and bobs coming back to Montreal to eat the extra in the Luongo contract capwise.
The pantry in the farm system also isn’t as full as you’d like it to be with nobody really looking like a star in waiting or real trade bait for the big team.
Right now Montreal isn’t a very good team. It’s a hot mess. It actually has more break up value than team value. Marc Bergevin is no Dale Tallon at this point. And while you don’t want to see bad deals made this team will not be able to change solely via the draft. .
As they look as I write this and in the new division they’re in ( Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings,Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens,Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs.) I only see them possibly finishing ahead of Buffalo, Florida, and Tampa.
This is the defining year for Mr. Bergevin. He still has a small team with an occasionally talented, but weird coach. And that team isn’t built for the playoffs…yet.
Their first preseason game is today against Buffalo.
What do you think Hab Fans? You can post your comments below.