HOCKEY CRUNCH – Habs Messy Season End With Bubble by Jamie Gilcig 040719

In this cap age of hockey a team must be aware of its asset management or it ends up like Detroit or Chicago, or sadly, Los Angeles.

Going nowhere for the hope of a shot.

In the Habs case it’s really bewildering as it’s core has not improved this season and they managed the epic task of finishing just out of a wild card spot.

Less valuable draft pick, no post season. Well at least Geoff Molson saved some dosh on the cap this year, and probably sold more beer, but honestly, while this team was pleasantly surprising it was let down by management who clearly did not see a cup run even with an addition or two of actual consequence.

For example, the most glaring need was to find someone remotely suitable to line up next to Shea Weber. St. Louis grabbed Michael Del Zotto for a bag of pucks and they are off to take a run for Lord Stanley’s cup.

Of course that’s a tiny example. In reality the Habs simply failed to address core issues.

As I wrote a few months ago the best thing that could happen for les boys was for Carey Price and Weber to have good enough seasons to make them of trade value.

That was a success. Edmonton for example is desperate to make the playoffs next season. Send Price and Weber there and even if it means taking the Lucic contract the team can move forward.

The pluses from this season.

Tie Domi didn’t suck. He won’t such next season either. Then what?

Jeff Petry was the team’s MVP. He had about his best season in the NHL, but is 32.

Tomas Tatar, a throw in for the Patches deal, was good enough. He had the opportunity and made the most of it.

The minuses.

None of Bergy’s moves really paid off. Jordan Weal is not going to be a star all of he sudden. None of the core really evolved. Even the handling of Kotkaniemi went a bit Chucky at the end. The young rook essentially is looking like a potential Lars Eller, who’s going to the playoffs and won a cup last year. The only thing is the team had Lars Eller. Was it really worth such a high draft pick to replace him?

The biggest minus is that this team’s core is a mess.

Domi, Drouin, Gallagher, Weber, Petry, and Price simply are not where you want to be if you’re going to contend for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Their average age and CAP hit are prohibitive.

This team will now collectively be a year older. If they can’t trade Price and Weber now their returns will only be diminished. With a few assets a true rebuild just might be expedited.

The team’s D corp is a disaster. There’s some potential coming up, but other than Petry there really isn’t much there. (assuming Weber is moved).

Mr. Bergevin has clearly shown a real inability to make good NHL trades.

Claude Julien and his staff got very little respect for the turn around this season in the media. That’s interesting. Is there something we journalists see that fans don’t? While the improvement was dramatic, when you’re as bad as this team was last season is it really that hard not to improve?

Jonathan Drouin. He’s paid as a second line support forward. He is who he is and the only person surprised by that appeared to be the GM who drastically overpaid for the forward.

He might improve as the team improves, but the heat he took really wasn’t worthy. He isn’t Guy LaFleur. He never was. He was a high draft pick head case who can skate well enough to pot some points, but doesn’t have enough sand paper in his game to excel. Enjoy the ride!

Bergy spoke of character. Clearly he was wrong. Talent is important. And one of those two 2nd rounders he gave up for “Shawsy” ended up being Alex Debrincat who’s notched 41 goals at the age of 21 for the Hawks.

There’s a big mess in Montreal. It’s all on owner Geoff Molson and his GM. Geoff needs to boot himself upstairs and spend all of that beer money on bringing in the best management team possible regardless of what language they speak. This writer would start by asking Serge Savard to be team Prez and bring in a strong GM.

Because in Montreal, the real language of hockey is winning.

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