Cornwall Ontario – I only made playoff pics for the Canadian teams in round one. I went four for five including the Rangers to defeat Montreal in six games. (I wish I was wrong on that one, but the curse of Rejean Houle may be too powerful to ever defeat)
I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of a playoff system that has the Penguins playing the Caps in round two? I think the Caps will have enough to overcome Pittsburgh, but it should be a bloody and amazing series to watch. It may even go seven games.
I’m predicting Nashville in 5 games. I think PK will brightly shine in this series.
Edmonton and Anaheim will be an amazing series as well, but I think that Anaheim’s defensive depth and core leadership will nudge them to the next round.
I’m going to throw logic out of the window and pick Ottawa over the Rangers in six games. Not sure why, but I think Bobby Ryan and Derrick Brassard have something more to prove, and I think the Habs series took a lot out of NY. Now the Rangers should blow the Sens off the rink, but beating Montreal may have taken the emotional strength out of their legs and Ottawa is a hungry team. Both are well coached. NY of course has the edge in goaltending, but King Henrik is beatable.
The Canadiens are at a huge juncture, especially in the cap age. There are some huge questions on which path to take.
They are a veteran team which may or may not be good. They are not a fast team and their fast players tend to be a bit light. They are also currently not a team that is playoff built, but get to the playoffs and that’s just way too Rejean Houle for this writer’s liking.
The players are logged on below with the perception that they’d fit their lines on a good team, not an average or weaker team. IE, as much as I adore Alex Radulov, he’s not ideally a 1st liner on a championship team. That’s not to slur the Russian as I’d have him on my team any time and you need players like him to win a cup.
1St Liners: Max Pacioretty $4.5M 2 years.
2nd Liners: Alex Radulov UFA, Alex Galchenyuk (as winger) RFA
3rd Liners: Plekanec $6M 1 year, Shaw $3.9 x 5, Gallagher $3.75×4, Byron $1.16 x2, Danault $912K x1, Lehkonen $839K x 2 (he should be a 2nd liner next season)
4th Liners: Steve Ott UFA
Should not be on a high caliber roster: Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell, Nikita Nesterov. Any other forwards or D Men not mentioned from the current roster simply don’t fit any of the above roles.
1-2 D men: Shea Weber $7.8M x 6
3-4 D Men: Jeff Petry $5.5 x 4
5-6 D Men: Andrei Markov UFA, Alexei Emelin $4.1M, Jordie Benn $1.1M x 2, Nathan Beaulieu RFA
Goaltenders: Carey Price is a high level starting goaltender. Al Montoya is a high level back up.
So essentially you’re missing 3 top six forwards, critically at Centre, and 2 top 4 D men. Looking at the farm there is no imminent help. Many feel that Sergachev has the potential to be Markov 2.0. None of our other current hopefuls chart out to be top six or top four.
Trends in the NHL are not showing that Free Agency can resolve quick fixes. Trades for top six centres require top assets moving back.
If I were the GM of the Habs, and I’m not, but if I were, I’d be moving Shea Weber while he has value, and I doubt his value will ever be higher than it is right now moving forward. Not having a NMC or NTC helps.
I’d be trading Carey Price even if he wanted to stay because the risk to benefit ratio isn’t strong enough for this team paradigm, and frankly the Carey Price will lead us to Nirvana mantra hasn’t worked. I’m not a fan in tying up major cap dollars in goalies to start with though so I may be jaundiced.
I’d be trading Max Pacioretty too even though the team has no ready replacement simply because of the asset that could be reclaimed with his current value and friendly cap hit that most likely will not occur again. Max simply hasn’t shown enough to my liking other than scoring goals during the regular season.
Tomas Plekanec would hopefully be taken by Vegas, and if not the team can play out his season and see if he’ll take a reasonable contract to finish his career with the team or he should be moved out too.
Andrew Shaw’s contract should be dumped ASAP. I really have no idea what Bergy was thinking. People complained about paying Brandon Prust $2.5M, and 2 2nd round picks and this contract make no sense frankly.
The GM and ownership would at that point decide if making the playoffs next season or near tanking would be the way to go.
There is some good news in that the Habs do have some interesting prospects. I’d like to see Hudon get a full NHL season. Lehkonen just might be a replacement for Patches on LW if Galchenyuk isn’t with the team or isn’t kept at Centre which looks less and less likely.
I like Brett Lernout a lot, and he just might be able to replace Emelin shortly.
And Charlie Lindgren just might be a suitable replacement for Price even if he never is as good. Those extra cap dollars might get him more protection in front.
The PK Subban trade was the unravelling of this team. It just made no sense in 2017, nor was the loyalty to Michael Therrien or JJ Daignault who certainly didn’t bring much improvement to our D squad.
Of course most of this will not happen, and most good GM’s will smell blood in the water if the Habs do shift.
And mostly Marc Bergevin has proved that he’s not the GM to really make strong moves after five seasons. The NHL isn’t Rotisserie or fantasy hockey and never will be.
The Fans of Montreal deserve a winning team. Short of Toronto there are no more loyal in the league.
What do you think hockey fans? You can post your comments below.