HOCKEY CRUNCH – Habs Improved After Draft & Free Agent Frenzy. Eichel not best Choice for Centre Addition. By Jamie Gilcig

July 31, 2021 – With Covid-19 impacting the globe it’s no surprise that it would impact the hockey world.

Choosing all the way down at 31st the Habs either could trade up; dump the pick, or go all in and draft Logan Mailloux who normally would not be available at 31.

After enduring a social media shite storm things have calmed down. What the Habs clearly have done is focus on bringing in more Francophone players which isn’t a bad idea in a market in Quebec. The trick is to get chez nous that actually can help the team.

David Savard in to help replace Shea Weber who’s out for the regular season if not his career is ok. Not great, but ok. Cedric Paquette to play 4th line and beat up the opposition on the forecheck isn’t bad either. I like Matty Perrault who actually may for at least one year dim the pain of not overpaying for Phil Danault who frankly played himself out of Montreal by not taking the huge contract offered to him by Bergy a year ago.

LA is counting on him for 40-50 points and stellar D paying him $5.5M on a contract taking him into his 30’s. That’s a bad contract that will probably end ugly for Danault and the Kings.

Bergy added two more Centres in the 2nd round with Olivier Kappanen actually looking interesting. William Trudeau in the 4th has some potential if he can double his current profile. Joshua Roy in the 5th is a great lottery ticket type pick. Goal scoring is never a bad thing. Joe Vrbetic in the 7th is a huge goalie. Goalies are always interesting to scout and it should be interesting to see if he develops.

In Free Agency the Habs are hoping to Toffoli again by signing up Mike Hoffman who’s a goal scorer with a history of still being able to produce in the playoffs.

The buzz was that Bergy made a play for Buffalo. Supposedly the Sabres wanted Suzuki, but there were rumblings of KK and Caulfield. Frankly I’d send out both for Eichel if I felt that Jack’s neck issue wasn’t career threatening. (which this writer believes isn’t career threatening)..

But, and this is a big but, there are better options with lower risk and cost and some are even Francophones!

My first stud to go after would be Max Comtois. If you’re going to give up a top chip like a KK or Caulfield you need a shiny long term asset. While Max has been playing a lot of wing he has the potential to be a good 2C. He won’t cost $10M per year any time soon either.

Mr. Dubois. While he only has one year left, with the Peg resigning Stasny that would put Dubois on wing or 3C. If you’re going to give up an asset, again, getting a C like Dubois for Mtl would not be a horrid thing. Would I give up KK for Dubois? If Dubois resigned, yes.

Next level down would be a Sean Monahan, Sean Couturier, Dylan Larkin,

Finally, value picks might include a Adam Henrique and Ryan Johansen.

There are others, but the big reality is that there’s not reason to overpay for Jack Eichel with his contract and medical concern.

The team is deeper. The loss of Danault is not as big as some thing. Same for Weber. It creates opportunity for players like Jake Evans and young Romanov. Adding a proven scorer like Hoffman is low risk high gain. The team has inched forward overall, but needs to address its core which is aging fast.

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