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Off-season.

  • I thought I would post a place for discussion as we turn the 09/10 season over to the archives in preparation for 10/11. Things will fall into place over the course of the summer, and there will be no shortage of opinions on who stays, who goes, and for how much. What would you do? Lets hear about it.

56 Comments
  1. #1 Mats Naslund says:
    June 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    To get the ball rolling: One guy I’m keeping my eye on in the current crop of UFAs is Matthew Lombardi. If Plex isn’t going to be back (not saying he wont be), but IF he isn’t, Lombardi is an intriguing ‘replacement’. He had 58 points in 78 games with the Coyotes last year, which wouldn’t replace the 70 Plex had, but there are intangibles that would make him suitable. First off, he’s from Montreal. That could be a good thing or a bad thing really. But in a town that craves players born in Quebec, Lombardi is a guy who fits that bill. He’s also cheaper than Plex. He made $1.8 million last year and although he’ll get a raise, it won’t be anywhere near what Plex is looking for. He isn’t the big, 6’4 220 guy who everyone is searching for, but he’s got decent size at 6’0 200. The question ultimately is: is Lombardi the type of player weho given ice time and a winger can consistently put up 50 – 60 points, or was last season an anomaly? Secondarily, if you bring a guy like Lombardi in to replace Plex, what other options do you open up up front?

  2. #2 stanley says:
    June 17, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Halak traded to St-Louis??? Halak stopped Ovechkin & Crosby and almost singlehandedly saved Martin, Gomez, & everyones jobs on the Canadiens and they decide to trade him for unproven nobodies with 7 NHL games of experience. Gauthier will be a genius or fired by the end of the season! Who’s doing the cheap drugs on the Canadiens, Price or Gauthier.

  3. #3 Senet1 says:
    June 17, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Let’s not start this all over again. Last yeae Gainey made some bold moves and was criticized all year for almost every move he made. Gil was too slow, Gomez made too much money, Cammy and Gionta were too small. Our defence was no good. Then we finally get healthy and the team comes together in the playoffs and wins two incredible rounds and all of a sudden Gil is great and our defence is playing great, Cammy and Gionta were our two best offensive players and Gomez showed great leadership. Yes we had great goaltending, but name me one Stanley Cup winning team that did not have great (good) goaltending. So lets give our GM some credit this year and hopefully let him build his team. He has a lot of cap space problems and he needs to solve them somehow, Halak would have wanted a minimum of $4M per season, I believe we can get Price for under 3M. Plec is going to want $5M+ so I doubt if we sign him, which will free up some money for another FA or trade for a power forward to big centre. Price will now show you why he is and will be the better goaltender in the long run for our organization than Halak. Our defence will have to be rebuilt somewhat, with Mara, MAB gone and PK moving into their place, saving additional dollars in the short run. So lets not make the same mistake that we made lsst year criticizing Gainey all year, to find out that the moves he made were good moves after all and because of them we had a successful run in the playoffs. Now we need to improve the team, get a little bigger up front, get some balance scoring from both top lines and make sure that our third line is equipped to provide additional offensive support that they did not provide last year. But get off the criticism, because most of us were wrong last year, maybe it is time to realize that we have some smart hockey men looking after our team and they surely are smarter than most of us.

  4. #4 Mats Naslund says:
    June 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    PG started his summer shopping today signing Matt Darche to a 1 year deal worth $550,000. I couldn’t love this deal any more. Darche works hard, has decent skill, and for that money is a huge steal. Its all about cap management, and that is a great deal for a guy who is going to skate and give you effort every time on the ice. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Darche score some goals on the third or fourth line next season, especially if he gets an opportunity through injury. Obviously he’s not the final piece, but he is a guy this team really needed to keep, to ensure that there is money for others.

    In case you’re wondering, Darche’s signing leaves the organization looking like (only including players with a chance at being on the roster):

    Forwards Signed for 2010/11: Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri, Andrei Kostitsyn, Travis Moen, Mathieu Darche (Maxwell and Pacioretti).

    Forward UFA’s: Tomas Plekanec, Dominic Moore, Glen Metropolit.

    Forward RFA’s: Sergei Kostitsyn, Benoit Pouliot, Maxime Lapierre, Tom Pyatt, Brock Trotter

    Defenseman signed for 2010/11: Andrei Markov, Roman Hamrlik, Jaroslav Spacek, Hal Gill, Josh Gorges, Ryan O’Byrne, PK Subban, Yannick Weber.

    Defense UFA’s: Marc-Andre Bergeron, Paul Mara

    Defense RFA’s: Matt Carle, Shawne Belle.

  5. #5 Mats Naslund says:
    June 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    The summer spending continued today as Tomas Plekanec signed a 6 year $30 MIL deal. Thats $5MIL per season for all of you who are feeling too lazy in the heat to do the arithmetic. Too much for a small centre? Maybe to some – but when considering his numbers, you must acknowledge he’s playing for the exact same contract as Brian Gionta. He’s homegrown talent that FOR ONCE has been locked up long term by the organization. He’s a great two-way player and was listed by MANY as the best Centre available (depending on if Marleau counts as a Centre these days). Considering what Marleau will fetch on the open market – the Habs had NO shot at getting him.

    Also consider this – Plex is signed for 6 years. The way that salaries are on the rise in the NHL (especially a few years from now when the Market has rebounded) I’m sure that we’ll see his contract (assuming he stays in and around 70 points per year) as a good one. When you consider what his contemporaries in the point standings made last year – Corey Perry, Staal, Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lecavalier – his is a great contract. There would have been teams out there willing to offer more, and the Habs stepped up to the plate. Now its up to Plex to deliver. His job is just beginning with the Habs. He is now officially a leader and will not be able to have another playoff series hiding in the shadows.

    The Cap is set to go up slightly from last year’s number. The Habs will need to spend the remainder shrewdly in order to stay under the magic line – whatever it is. With that in mind, look for PG to try to promote from the AHL to fill out the bottom half of the roster. The Habs will need to have a few guys making league minimum to fill the roster.

  6. #6 Avatar37 says:
    June 26, 2010 at 3:01 am

    I ran across this article about Markov and the Canadiens, written by Chris Boyle, and I thought I’d cut and paste portions of it. Enjoy.

    ________________________________

    Gabriel Desjardins statistical analysis puts his (Markov’s)value at 3-4 wins over an 82 game season. I am a big fan of using statistics to help understand the game, but with Markov missing 61 games over the last 5 season and the Canadiens possibly losing Markov for the remainder of the playoffs I decided to go over the Canadiens record during that time period to determine how his absence actually affected the Canadiens during this time… before 2010 the Canadiens record without Markov was 5-13-2.

    Since the lockout ended the Canadiens have lived and died with the health of Andrei Markov. Without him, their record resembles a lottery team, with him they are a Stanley Cup contender. During Markov’s absence the Canadiens continually struggled to win games in regulation registering only 11 regulation wins in 61 games played, an abysmal 18%. With a healthy Markov that number jumps to 43% with 143 wins in 349 games. The Canadiens also lost close to 60% of their games in regulation without Markov (35 of 61) while losing only 115 of 349 games for only 33% of games he starts.

    This is a stark contrast to the 3-4 games that the statistical analysis would suggest. Is the statistical analysis way off? On the surface, the Canadiens record would suggest just that, but with a number with that great a contrast I decided to delve a little deeper and looked into the strength of the Canadiens schedule.

    Out of the 61 games played without Markov, the Canadiens faced 25 teams with a .609+ winning percentage (100+ pt team), 13 games against .548+ winning percentage (90+ pt team) and only 11 of the 61 were against teams below .500. To put the difficulty of the schedule without Markov in perspective, during the last two seasons, the Canadiens have faced 45 teams with 100+ points or 27% of their schedule, during the 61 games without him that number jumped to 41%. Considering the Canadiens sub .500 record against these teams, the expectation should be a lower winning percentage. The same holds true for the lack of games against the bottom feeders with the Canadiens only facing 18% of their schedule against them as opposed to the 25% they have faced over the last two regular seasons. Also significant when you factor in their close to .700 winning percentage against that quality of opposition.

    This could explain the extreme difference in the Canadiens won/loss record without Markov, but with close to half of these scheduled games against teams beneath them in the standings, the Canadiens should have been able to perform better than a lottery team. Looking at these factors the 3-4 win projection set forth by behindthenet seems more reasonable then the 43 point differential that actually occurred.

    I also decided to look into how the Canadiens performed offensively with and without Markov in the lineup.

    With Markov (projected over 82 games):
    Goals: 248, Shots: 2454, PP 383, PPG 84, PP% 22%.

    Without Markov (projected over 82 games):
    Goals: 188, Shots: 2209, PP 297, PPG 52, PP% 18%.

    We have to take into account that the numbers without Markov were likely impacted by the quality of opposition. Nonetheless the results offer such a stark contrast to the production of the Canadiens offense when he is in the lineup. With 60 more goals and almost 250 more shots it is easy to see how the offense struggles without his transition skills and his instinctive pinching ability. The powerplay is more predictable and poses less of a threat, the 4% difference does not seem as extreme as the other numbers.

    The biggest problem the Habs seem to run into when Markov out of the lineup is overworking Roman Hamrlik. Hamrlik is no longer the offensive player he was in the prime of his career and when he is overworked he tends to suffer a large decline in performance, I don’t have the same concern in regards to Spacek because he generally takes a 2-3 week vacation every season, enough time to recover from the extra work.

    With Markov’s absence, players like Gill and Gorges are asked to carry a larger burden as well. I am a big fan of both, but they are lower pair defensemen and pushing them outside of their comfort zone generally leads to breakdowns.

    It is also interesting to note that over the last 5 seasons, the only season in which Markov did not miss any games resulted in a 104 point season, exactly the pace the Canadiens would set with him consistently in the lineup.

    Markov is irreplaceable, his importance to the Canadiens is on the same level as Sergei Gonchar, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. If you look into the team records of the following players when they were absent their teams similarly struggle.

  7. #7 Senet1 says:
    June 26, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    I am glad to see your stats prove out the point I made a couple of months ago, when I said that Hammer played well for us while Markov was out however, at his age, he just ran out of gas come playoff time, especailly against a heavy hittine Flyers team. He is no longer the player who can give you 23-24 minutes a game every game, without making mistakes due to him being tired. So also though it would be good to trade him, not because he is not a good defencemen but because he would free up some cap space room that we could use to acquire a FA.

    We all know how good and how valuable Markov is, so here is the big question. Will he walk next year being a UFA or will he take a modest pay increase and resign to stay in our organization? Could or should we offer to renegotiate his contract this year giving him a raise and extend the contract, personally I would be in favour of that but if he refuses then you have to know he will leave the organization next year, and based on that then I say we have no choice but to trade him before he lose him.

  8. #8 Avatar37 says:
    June 27, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Hammer and Spacek had their moments when they played well. However, he’s simply gotten too old to be as effective as we need, especially at $5 mil per year. He provides value somewhere more along the lines of $1.5 mil per year. To free up cap space, he should be the first candidate moved. Personally, I’d rather see his contract go to someone like Volchenkov, who is sound defensively and blocks shots. Hamrlk is too slow and gets beaten by speed to the outside.

    As to what Markov will do, only Markov can answer that. One more year will also answer the question of his health, and if he’s feeling any long term effects of his injury. I do know that his past contributions to the team have been enormous, and he’s been with the team 12 years, I’d love to see him retire as a Hab. Defensemen of his caliber certainly are rare, and Kaberle certainly isn’t in the same league as Markov is.

  9. #9 Senet1 says:
    June 27, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Here is an article on the Halak vs Price and why the trade was a good one for Montreal, by Steven Hindle, there is also a video of Lars Eller play, looks like he could be a top player in time.

    After a weekend of rest, and some time to think about what Pierre Gauthier pulled off at the end of last week, I have come to a few conclusions regarding the Canadiens trading Jaroslav Halak to the St.Louis Blues for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.

    Franchise Needs

    Both teams filled an area of serious concern when they completed their trade.

    - The Habs are strong at drafting goaltenders, weak in drafting centers.

    - The Blues are strong at drafting centers, weak in drafting goaltenders.

    - The Habs were still not ready to invest big money in goaltending.

    - The Blues are.

    - The Habs are in need of all the cap space they can get.

    - The Blues have the most available cap space in the NHL.

    - The Habs needed size.

    - The Blues needed saves.

    These simple facts were likely all it took for both teams to realize they were the right trade partners for each other.

    But what of the eternal debate in Montreal, did the Habs make the right choice?

    Halak Versus Price

    …or is that Price versus Halak?

    The debate that seemed to have no end, found its conclusion, just as I expected.

    If you take the numbers that both Price and Halak have posted over the last 2 seasons and put them aside, it’s clear that you would take the 1st round draft pick over the 9th round draft pick. That is a no-brainer, of course, yet what happens when you do consider the numbers?

    Well, truth be told, not all that much.

    Carey Price NHL Totals:

    GP: 134 | W: 60 | L: 48 | OT: 18 | SO: 4 | Sv%: .912 | GAA: 2.73 | Min: 7,807

    - Price is 5-11 in 19 career playoff appearances.

    Jaroslav Halak NHL Totals:

    GP: 101 | W: 56 | L: 34 | OT: 7 | SO: 9 | Sv%: .919 | GAA: 2.62 | Min: 5,757

    - Halak is 9-10 in 21 career playoff appearances.

    It’s clear that Halak has had better and more consistent numbers in less games, yet it should be noted that Halak earned those totals over the span of 4 years and did not play over 1000 minutes in a season until his 3rd NHL season in 2008-09.

    Price has accrued his NHL totals over the span of 3 seasons and has not played less than 41 games a year since he arrived.

    But does that mean Jaroslav is better?

    Not at all.

    The numbers are actually closer than people like to admit and so it really came down to the true value of both goaltenders.

    Consider the facts;

    - Halak was a 9th rounder who was more or less an unknown and an after-thought when drafted. The Habs spent the minimum in developing Jaroslav over the years and had nothing to lose by having him develop into a successful netminder.

    - Price was an elite prospect and one of the highest ranked goaltenders heading into a draft in recent memory. The Habs have spent tons more money scouting, evaluating and developing him. The team then went on to spend the maximum on his rookie contract while providing him with their best tools to develop.

    Clearly this decision came down to one factor, return on investment.

    Halak provided a huge return for minimal investment while Price, an asset that has been heavily invested in, has yet to fully demonstrate what his ROI will be.

    The Canadiens also had to consider the “real-time” cost of the development of both goaltenders.

    Price, 3 years Halak’s junior, is still a Restricted Free Agent and will remain so for another few years.

    Jaroslav, on the other hand, is in his final year of RFA eligibility and holds arbitration rights.

    Taking those things into account, it only made sense to retain the cheaper option that still holds the opportunity to give the team a greater return on their investment.

    Of course, these were not the sole factors contributing to this move. There’s much more.

    Halak’s Trade Value

    This was an area of great debate.

    Did Jaro have more value than Price? Was he worth a top 6 forward? Is he truly ready to be a full-time starting goalie in the NHL?

    All of these questions hovered about in the rumour mill for a few months as the league witnessed Halak make his mark, but were slowly and definitely answered.

    Halak did indeed have more value than Price. This does not mean that Price wouldn’t have fetched a greater return, rather that the return for Halak far out-weighed the Habs lure to trade Price. Even though the Canadiens most likely received better offers for Price, they were obviously going to have to be blown away by a deal in order to accept it. That fact simply speaks to how invested the team has been in Price since Day 1.

    As I contrasted earlier, the Habs have never really invested much into Halak.

    Was Halak worth a top 6 forward?

    That would be a yes, and a no.

    The fact that Montreal received a highly sought-after prospect in Lars Eller, plus a possible power-forward project in Ian Schultz, would indicate that Montreal got what they wanted, but in futures.

    Again, the fact that Halak did not bring the highly discussed return of a Patrick Sharp or a Jeff Carter shouldn’t be all that surprising, especially when you consider that current Vezina Nominee, Ilya Bryzgalov, was a waiver wire pickup all but 2 years ago.

    The market for goalies never seems to be as strong as pundits believe it to be and GM’s prove that over and over.

    Is Halak ready to be a full-time starting goalie in the NHL?

    Yes, that much has become clear.

    Although last season was technically Jaro’s first taste of what it’s like to be a number 1 in the NHL, he handled it exceptionally well. He was mature enough to handle the pressure in Montreal, which means he should fare just fine during his tenure in St.Louis.

    When it comes to handling the load, Halak proved that it would not be a problem. Along with his 45 regular season starts, Jaro played in 7 “playoff intense” Olympic games as well as another 21 actual playoff games through May and April. He was remarkable throughout the entire run and if there is anything that Halak has indeed earned through the past few years and last season, it’s a starting job in an NHL goal.

    But wait, there’s more!

    Halak’s Market Value

    As I opined during the Olympics, I felt that “Halak was on pace to earn “Jonas Hiller-type money.”

    And I don’t think I was wrong.

    Hiller earned his money by usurping the job from an older goaltender, JS Giguere, but it never seemed like Halak was going to be able to supplant the younger Price.

    Yet that really had nothing to do with how much value Halak was accruing.

    Although GM’s were hesitant to trade for him, the certainty was that they would likely be willing to pay him.

    The better Jaro played throughout the season, the more vindicated I became in my claim that Halak was on pace to earn big money.

    Now, with Jaro on another team, clearly pegged as the Blues starter for 2010-11, I eagerly anticipate what the Blues will have to pay the 25 year old?

    I fully expect it to be north of $4 million and closer to 5.

    Considering that, and the fact that Allan Walsh will do everything within his power to make sure that Halak doesn’t get a penny less than he deserves, it was slightly obvious that the Canadiens would not have the room to commit that kind of salary to a goaltender. Especially with one of the top ranked UFA’s in Tomas Plekanec, set to hit the open market.

    The cost of retaining Halak and paying him what he was worth was not appealing enough to the Canadiens.

    Keeping Halak would have all but guaranteed that Plekanec would hit the open market on July 1st, but now, by keeping Carey and parting with Jaro, the Habs have the needed cap space to keep Plekanec, or in the very least, make him a competitive offer.

    Yet, trading Halak doesn’t necessarily mean that the Habs will keep Plekanec, especially when you consider what they got in return.

    Lars Eller and Ian Schultz are not exactly run of the mill weak prospects.

    Trading for Halak definitely cost the Blues quite a bit in futures, especially up the middle and on the wing, but they had cap space and current young talent to afford parting with these prospects for Jaro, and that is where the Habs benefit.

    I prefaced before Halak got dealt that the Habs would only take back the best possible players and wouldn’t necessarily focus on a particular position, yet in the end they managed to do both.

    Lars Eller may possibly make Plekanec expendable, maybe not for the upcoming season, but certainly in the future.

    Ian Schultz gives the Habs a big body on the wing and a physical force that some have even dubbed ‘NHL captain material’ in the future.

    The addition of both of these players strengthens Montreal’s prospect depth as well as creates cap space, two extremely important elements in building a winner in today’s NHL.

    Putting the Halak Puzzle Together

    Halak was never going to fetch a top 6 forward.

    Regardless of how amazing he played, as an unsigned RFA with arbitration rights it was highly improbable that Montreal was going to land a top paid talent for him.

    Maybe the Habs could have signed Jaro and then traded him, but that would have compromised too much of the teams time. Even then, that scenario likely wouldn’t have happened as Halak’s agent, Allan Walsh, would have undoubtedly taken the Habs to arbitration, spending time and money the Habs just couldn’t afford to burn.

    The Canadiens addressed a need and solved a problem, all without creating a cap problem for next season.

    It is a trade that will take time to grow on people, but one that, regardless of how Eller and Schultz develop, had to happen.

    The Return

    With each passing moment, I begin to realize that the Canadiens accomplished something in this trade that they have failed to do on their own for quite a few years now, land a highly desirable, top prospect centerman.

    Lars Eller may not be everyone’s favourite choice, but he plays a game that I have not seen a Montreal Canadien play since John Leclair.

  10. #10 Senet1 says:
    June 27, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Know one is suggesting the Kaberle is in the same league as MARKOV he is just an option if Markov was traded and provides similar attributes for less money. Hamrlik many forget is used far too much for his age but the coach was forced to play him 24 minutes a game becasue he has no one else who could give him what Hammer provided, I disagree that he is slow, he is a good skater but as the year progressed it did not take a genious to figure that he was tired and just worn out with all the minutes he played. He was the only defenceman that was not injuried and just played far too much hockey for his age. Having said all that I have never disagreed that he should be traded if there is someone out there willing to take on his contract. I do NOT want to trade Markov either but I also do not want to go into the end of next season without him signed and lose him to FA. If you look at our cap space there is just not enough room to sign him for 7-8 M which is what he will probably demand on the open market. However, if we could get a quality defenceman and a draft pick or a power forward that would help our team I would definity trade hime before we lose him. If we could resign him at say 6M for another five years I would go for it in a minute.

  11. #11 Senet1 says:
    June 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    It has come a time in the NHL when very few players show any loyalty to their teams and therefore very few teams show loyalty back to the player until he retires. Facts and nice to haves are great and warm the heart but they do not improve your hockey team, it is my belief that Markov will walk at the end of nice year and this is no longer a feel good situation or league, it is a business, and the fact is you cannot afford to allow a great player to walk away from your organizaiton without obtaining something in return for all the money and time you have invested in that player. It is a sad thing that this fact prevails today but somehow we have to overcome our emotions and face the facts and do what is best for the organization!

  12. #12 Avatar37 says:
    June 29, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Senet – I entirely agree with your post about Halak and Price. Everything you said makes sense, and from what I read, we got back two good prospects that address weaknesses on this team. I think management’s plan was always to stick with Price, and they gave Halak the season to make an NHL career for himself, and if he pulled it off, return some value to the team. He did both, and I am quite happy with the trade, even if a lot of fans in Montreal are not. Keep in mind that these are the same fans that held a rally to try and keep Kovalev in Montreal. I think some fans get caught up in seeing what they want to see, rather than what is really there.

    As for Markov, we can agree to disagree. Markov is the longest serving veteran on the team, and if his english was any better, he’d be captain. Heck, I’d be tempted to make him captain anyway, throw the alternates on Cammalleri and Gionta, and let them handle the press. I would do everything in my power to work with Markov to come up with a contract that satisfies his needs without bankrupting the team. The reality is that he is worth the same money as Pronger and Neidermeyer, whether we want to pay that kind of money or not. After overpaying Hamrlk at $5.5 mil per year, is it any wonder that Markov will want a pay raise? We’ll have to see what the cap does, but this is an issue for the GM to work out. As the stats bear out, if we lose Markov to FA or a trade, it will hurt the team, and this isn’t simply an emotional response, this is cold, hard facts.

  13. #13 Senet1 says:
    June 29, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Avatar37, you are reading me all wrong, I do not disagree with you, if we can somehow, convince Markov to say and we can afford him I am all for it. I am only being realistic, and do not want to take the chance of losing him for nothing.

  14. #14 Senet1 says:
    June 29, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    I am not convinced that Markov has the same loyality to the4 team and you do, I hope I am wrong, that is why I suggested that we offer to renogiate his contract this year, providing me have some cap space room. If he agreed then that shows his loyality if he disagrees that will tell you whether he has plans to leave of stay. I am betting that he will not accept a modest raise now to say 6M and graduated over five years to 8M.

  15. #15 Donnie says:
    June 30, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Senet…you under-estimate the stupidity of this teams management. Plekanec worth 5mil for 6 years my ****. Two things was all I didnt want these yahoos to do this off season. 1. Don’t Trade Halak (although, dont think they had a choice there), and 2. Don’t Sign Plek to 5 mil a year. This little p*ssy is getting this much money…for what?
    For not being a playoff performer, for not being a leader, for not being consistent, or for getting just over 70 points. Which one of these acalades makes him worth anywhere near that?

    My stomach is actually turned. The closest I have ever come to giving up on this organization. Another year of dry, drab, sh*itty hockey, with the same small, weak sh*theads. NICE. And now that these FOOLS have give Plec that much money, you know whats next…..even less points. He has his money now, same thing Kovy and a few more have done. Try hard during a contract year to fool management into a big signing….guess I had too much faith that Gauthier wasn’t this big a fool.

    Plek is NOT NOT NOT a 5mil / yr player. But there are some bigger, better centers out there who are. Another year of watching this sh*t hockey. And if anybody calls our “flukey” run in the playoffs a success, my stomach will turn again……it was because of a run by 1 player who played great in net, and who, by the way, we decided to trade, lol.

    Habs…when, if ever, are you going to try for a good team again? This is getting old. 80lb forwards and slow D, and now, back to a goalie who pouts and gives up when a goal is scored on him. Your moves are brutal and so is your organization….finally I’ve had enough.

  16. #16 Mats Naslund says:
    June 30, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Donnie, I can’t agree with your assessment of Plex. While determining someone’s “worth” to an organization is a messy business, by most measures Plex is worth at least $5Mil. All of the players around him in the scoring charts make more than him. He out-performed players on his own team that make as much or more than him. While we would all love to see the Habs sign some big, powerful forward who scores 100 points a season – they simply aren’t available. Lecavalier, Staal, Zetterberg, Datsyuk all scored 70 points and make at least $1MIL more than Plex.

    Did he struggle in the post-season? His scoring certainly dropped off. You could say that about a lot of guys who make a lot more than he does too. Playoff production is an important factor, but it certainly isn’t the defining factor in determining contract value. Its why Joe Thornton can pull down $7.2Mil every year. In the grand scheme of things $5MIL for a player of Plex’s skillset is entirely reasonable. Most people agree that Plex probably left a fair amount of money on the table by signing early with the Habs.

    I DO think that it is time for Plex to step up. Its one thing to make under $3Mil, and to over-achieve. Its completely another to make the money and to carry the team. Last year was a great year for #14. He’s going to have to follow it up with an even better one to make the Montreal fans feel good. But when Gionta makes $5, and Cammalerri makes $6 and Gomez makes $7 – its very hard not to see how Plex is worth $5.

  17. #17 Senet1 says:
    June 30, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Sorry, Donnie I agee with Matts, I think you are way off base. And just remember if we played such sh__y hockey just think what the 15-16 other teams that finished lower than us played. Me thinks you protest too much. Any We have been all over this Halak vs Price thing for far too long. Halak had to go we simply could not afford to give him 4M because he had 3 months of good play. In this salary cap world we had to keep Price. I think you should read some of the things that have been said by not only me but also by the experts and vertually everyone thinks Price was the best goalie to keep. Enough said.

  18. #18 smitty says:
    July 1, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I have been watching this site for quite some time. Being from PA. I never felt I was “qualified” to respond as I don’t get to see the Habs play as musch as you guys. But I felt that I should stick up for Donnie some what. I can sense his frustration with this organization and I totally agree with him. It seems for too long now that most fans have come to accept a mediocre team. That the goal every year was just to MAKE it to the playoffs. This years playoff run certainly whetted my appetite to once again have a successful, competitive and exciting team! Unfortunatly the Flyers(I hate the Flyers!) brought out this teams lack of size and hustle. I saw Price play a couple of games against the Hershey Bears in the playoffs and he was amazing. I’m not sure he’s played that well since. I suppose Pleks deserves 5 mil especially if Gomez is getting overpaid at 7. When is the last time the Habs have had a legitimate scoring threat? Damphousse? I just think Gauthier has not done anything to improve on this years team.

  19. #19 Senet1 says:
    July 1, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    It is noble for you to stick up for Donnie, we feel his frustration believe me, however, Price has played some very good goal for the habs many games the team let him down but if you look at his goals against and his save percentage it is just a matter of the team playing better around him. He lost a lot of one goal games where the team did not score many goals. I can remember on game he had 56 saves and lost the game 2-1. So I have faith in Price if the fans get off his case and let him mature inthe the goaltender we all know he can be. Looking at Halak at 22 years old and he was not as far advanced as Price, and Halak could not lead the Hamilton team to a Calder cup but Price did at age 19. Five years from now I believe we will be wondering why we even had this converation. There are so many other issues you have to consider in why Halak was traded, cap, time and money invested in him and the longer term viability of the team. Plex was the second best FA centreman on the market, if we did not pay him 5M there were a number of other teams that would have and if we did not sign him who would be our second line centre. Centres are hard to trade for and that left the GM with a difficult decision to make in a short period of time. So my only other comment is to let the GM try to build his team, we Criticized Gainey all year and look what his decisions did for us, now lets quite second guessing our new GM and support his moves. If they are wrong then so be it. To me in the last five years we have made a lot of progress from the late 90s and early 2000′s Conference champtionship, semi final showing. The team is gradually getting better, but it takes time. Sometimes you have to take one step backwards in order to take two steps forward. That is how I see it anyway.

  20. #20 Avatar37 says:
    July 2, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Donnie – You say that there are bigger, better centers out there who are worth $5 mil per year and presumably available, name a few? Personally, I felt he was worth somewhere in the $4 mil per year range, however, market also dictates price. This could turn out to be a great contract or a bad one, depending on how he produces, and what the terms of his NTC are. As for our playoff success being due entirely to Halak, I think you need to rewatch the playoffs. We experienced success because the team bought into a trap system and suddenly played a very defensive game, limiting chances to the outside, clearing rebounds, and covering the front of the net. Did Halak play well? Yes. Was he the only one? No. He was pulled in one game after giving up 4 goals.

    Also, to suggest a team that is right on the salary cap edge is not trying for a good team is simply ridiculous. We brought in Gomez so we could get Gionta and that lead to getting Cammalleri. Cammalleri is one of the best snipers in this league, and well worth his salary. He had 13 playoff goals, putting him right up there in the company of H. Richard, if I’m not mistaken. You can bet that Calgary is crying over having let him get away. This team is certainly trying to the best of it’s ability, and the ability of the market. Sometimes, you are limited as to who is available, and when. If they let Pleks walk with no compensation, who would have been their second line center? He’s a defensively responsible center who had 70 points last year. In his entire career in Montreal, he’s only finished one year with a negative +/-, and that was the 2008-2009 season when the whole team sucked.

    As for their run being a fluke, well, perhaps winning one 7 game series vs the president’s trophy winners might have been considered one, except they repeated that process against the Stanley Cup champions. Yes, they faltered vs the Flyers, but not due to a size issue, it was an energy one. They had nothing left in the tank. The one game they played with energy, they blew the Flyers out 5-1.

    Smitty – Perhaps none of us are “qualified”, otherwise, we’d be NHL GMs. =) This is a forum where people get to discuss ideas and thoughts, populated by Habs fans, although I’m sure we’d also welcome constructive conversation from fans of other teams.

    I understand your sense of mediocraty, I believe the early 90s, the team was certainly being run that way. I believe that bringing Gainey in signaled an end to that era. I believe this year, the Habs served notice that we’re here to compete. Unfortunately, you can’t simply build a Stanley Cup winning team overnight, especially without being a really bad team first (for the high 1st round draft picks). Chicago had that. Pitts had that. I don’t believe the fans in Montreal are patient enough to wait through 5 years of being one of the worst teams in the NHL to build through top draft picks.

    I do believe that we’ve managed to put together a pretty damn good team regardless. We got lucky to draft Price, taking him 5th overall. Remember the player who we were supposed to draft instead? No? Gilbert Brule, who hasn’t even hit 20 goals in his entire NHL career. If the fans are this impatient with Price, Brule would have been run out of town a long time ago. When Gainey picked Price over Brule, it caused quite an uproar. I think time has vindicated Gainey.

  21. #21 Mats Naslund says:
    July 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Just to recap the roster thus far (and possible lines?):

    Gomez – Gionta – Pouliot
    Plekanec – Cammalerri – AK46
    Boyd – Moen –
    Eller – Pyatt – Darche

    Markov – O’Byrne
    Subban – Hammrlik
    Gill – Gorges – Spacek

    Price – Auld

    Thats how the lineup shakes down at the moment. Things to note: Lapierre and Price were given an offer sheet, and thus will more than likely sign with Montreal once Gauthier can coordinate with their respective agents. The question becomes: what will happen with AHLers that were on the bubble last year – like Max Pac, Ryan White, and Ben Maxwell?

    Defensively the addition of PK brings the Habs up to 7 D – which isn’t a bad thing.. but I don’t know if I can stomach another year of watching O’B get benched every time he makes an honest mistake. Gauthier and Martin will need to have a plan going forward.

    You have to wonder about this year’s roster. Losing our best goalie (and he was last year), as well as guys like Metro and Moore will come at a price. Can the Habs take a step forward with the young players they have and contend – or are we looking at another bubble team that will need to get lucky to be in the post-season?

  22. #22 Senet1 says:
    July 2, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    The way I see it as long as the fans in Montreal stay off Price’s back he will prove that he is better than Halak. Our defence is every bit as good as last year and if we have Markov for 80 games instead of 40 along with PK giving us a better puck moving D, we should have a better defence than last year, besides with a healthy Markov, Hamrlyk should not have to play 20+ minutes and therefore should not have to play tired. That is if we do not trade him. Overall I think our defence should be better. Our forward lines have a full season playing together, that should make them better and we may get more out of AK46 without his brother here to distract him. I would still prefer a trade though. My biggest concern with the forwards is who is going to replace Moore. I was hoping we could sign him. Moore gave us more offense from the thir line especially in the playoffs, something we did not have all year. I would rather sign him than Lapierre. Overall if we can sign someone like Moore to fill in our third line that would provide us with a balanced attack. Maybe Eller and Boyd can fill that gap? I still have not given up on a power forward to make our first or second line stronger. We will not be able to compete against teams like Philly without someone who can go to the net against the Pronger type defenceman. That is how I see it anyway.

  23. #23 Avatar37 says:
    July 3, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Eller and Schultz are still a few years away from the NHL. I was really hoping Metro would find his way back into the lineup. As for a power forward, Pouliot is supposed to be it.

  24. #24 Mats Naslund says:
    July 3, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Shultz won’t makethe NHL this year, but don’t be suprised if Eller makes the team or at least gets a long look at the begginning of the season. He was close to cracking the Blues and PG will need cheap young players to produce much more this year than last.

    I agree with you Senet1 about the D. Subban is an automatic upgrade. The experience that Gorges had with Gill in the playoffs is also priceless. We’re going to be very good defensively if we can get Markov back and healthy.

  25. #25 Senet1 says:
    July 3, 2010 at 9:54 am

    As I wrote many times, I never liked the Poutiot trade, like Price Latendresse was not given the appropriate time to develope. Seems he has found a home in Minnie now and doing well. He to me was out power forward in the waiting and only needed time to mature. Pouliot unless he was injuried did not stand up to the playoff style of game and if I could trade him I would.

    The one other FA I was hoping we would sign was Moore, to me he is a professional and gives you 110% all the time, Boyd will give us some similar traits but to have both of them would have been great. Cap space is getting thin and we still need to ink Price, so I still see a trade to either move Spacek,Hamrlik or AK46 to free up some space.Gill is also a possibility.

  26. #26 Senet1 says:
    July 3, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not trading away our entire defence one of the three would give us some room. I will be interested to see how AK46 responds now that he does not have to deal with his little brothers problems. I cannot help but think that this had a negative affect on andrea because lets face it he had to listen to this every day, seven days a week. Over time this had to affect his play? If he responds positively that line could be our best line.

  27. #27 Avatar37 says:
    July 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    lol I wouldn’t mind if you traded all three. Gill played well enough during the playoffs to wipe out how he played during the regular season, maybe he generated some interest from other teams we can take advantage of. The Harmlk/Spacek experiment didn’t work out, it would be nice to see both of them moved, which would free up nearly $9 mil in cap space.

  28. #28 Senet1 says:
    July 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I do not necessary disagree with that move, however, Hammer and Gil are the most logical to move because they both have on year left on their contracts. I thought the Hamrlik-Spacek combo played really well until Specek got hurt and them Markov went down. I think we are criticizing Hamrlik unjustly, he was forced to play far more minutes per game than he is capable of playing, he held our defence together last fall when Markov was injured, he just had to play too many minutes and gradually his old body just got tired that is why I think our defence will be better next year because as along as we can stay healthy Hammer will get his 16-18 minutes raqther than 22-25 minutes which he cannot handle at his age. Having said that moving his contract would be best for the organization, but it will be very tough to do.

  29. #29 Avatar37 says:
    July 3, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    My criticism of Harmlk is his price tag, of course. He plays like a $1.5 mil defenseman, not a $5.5 mil defenseman. If he was being paid $1.5, I wouldn’t have a complaint. He just doesn’t have the legs anymore, he’s slow and frequently gets beat to the outside. I don’t question his desire, I don’t see him floating out there, he does try, but this is a result oriented league. I’d try moving him in the off season, if there are no takers, then wait for some team to experience injuries during the regular season and engineer a trade then. Spacek should also be moved, his $3.3 mil might be easier.

  30. #30 Senet1 says:
    July 3, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Well I agree with the idea of moving either defenceman, although to me Hamrlik was not getting beat to the outside earlier in the season, he was our best defenceman in the fall, as the season wore on though the 25 minutes a game just got to him and he did not have the ability to recover quick enough, to me he was just played to much for his age.

  31. #31 Senet1 says:
    July 3, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Hammers salary is what is wrong with the league salary structure, because we pay them based on what they did in the past rather than what they can provide for us today. It is always difficult to know when a player is going to slow down. Some say Ottawa improved but did they really, they got Gonchar but to me he is in the twilight of his career and like Hamrlik he has seen his best days and they lost their big shot blocking defenceman, so basically they traded a good young stud defenceman for a over the hill defenceman that can know longer log the ice time that he once did 5 years ago???

  32. #32 Senet1 says:
    July 3, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    To me the teams we are going to have to watch are the Leafs, and Islanders, especially if they sign Kovelchuk. I would not be surprised if Ottawa does not make the playoffs. Buffalo may also have trouble, I believe we have as good an chance as ever, but somehow we have to land a power forward to put us a step higher than we were last year.

  33. #33 Mats Naslund says:
    July 5, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I’m looking forward to hearing about who looks good in the Habs’ upcoming development camp Tuesday. Not that there will be any “news” per say, but it does give the organization a chance to take a good look at some young players that may be with the team in the not-so-distant future.

    Alaxander Avtsin was a kid that I was interested in since the Habs drafted him in 09. That year he put up 110 points in 76 games in the Russian “First League” which is roughly comparable though not the same as Junior B. Last year he was injured, but Avtsin has decided he’ll leave Dynamo and join either the Canadiens or the Bulldogs this season. Hopefully he can regain his scoring touch, after an injury filled season last year.

    It will be fans’ first chance to check out Lars Eller, and Ian Shultz, as well as Jarred Tinordi. Hopefully they can learn some things from a couple of the “vets” like Pk Subban and Ryan White.

  34. #34 Senet1 says:
    July 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    I like the young blood that we have coming and if they all live up to their potential we should have some good players ready soon. That will give us more room to make trades and bring in some additional quality players.

    I have two forwards that I would like to move before X-mas, if all else pans out. Ak46 and Pouliot. These two guys disappeared in the playoffs and we cannot have that happen again. I hope that both of them come to play this fall but if not they have to go. Surely some of our younger players well be ready to make the move by Christmas. I will be interested to see if AK46 plays better now that he is not distracted by Sergie. Pouliot for some reason stopped working in the latter part of the schedule and never did recover in the playoffs. If we can trade two of our older defenceman probably Gil and Hamrlik and upgrade those positions with Younger or better quality people for less money.

  35. #35 Mats Naslund says:
    July 6, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Pouliot has been on a workout regimen to gain muscle. Clearly the organization had a sit down with him after the season and said “we’re going to sign you – but this is what we want you to be”. There were some that implied that he was out of shape during the playoffs which is why he ran out of gas. I have no idea whether or not that is true, but he is the owner of a large frame that IF used properly would be a perfect compliment to Gomez and Gionta as a power forward. He’s already worn out his welcome in one town, so we’ll see how he responds this summer.

  36. #36 Senet1 says:
    July 6, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    As I said he has to show he belongs by Christmas or I would be trading him. I hope he is dedicated to improving his strenght and condition. He has the ability to score goals, and he could be the power forward that we are looking for, I sure hope so. Pacioretti is anothe power forward that has to start to show he belongs. He could be an excellent winger for the Plex line, if he uses his body and provides some offence. These are the type of players we have been looking for but they have to start to produce. Lars Eller although a centre may also fit on this line. Or he could be a third line centre that could provide some upside of offence from that area. He is a little weak defensively but is improving in that area.

  37. #37 Avatar37 says:
    July 7, 2010 at 1:52 am

    I am disappointed by the decision to not resign Metropolit. He brings the kind of character and grit to the team that all championship teams that win seem to have. While the argument is that there isn’t room under the cap, I’d argue that his value to the team wasn’t valued properly because if it had been, they would have found the room. At any rate, I wish him all the best with whatever team does sign him, he brings his best every night.

    I hate giving players 1 season to “prove their worth” or they get traded. Montreal has made the mistake of trading players away too soon only to have them blossom with another team. Desjardins and LeClair are two good examples that come to mind. I think Pouliot has already proven that he can fit in on the first line, now the trick is to get him to where he can do so consistently. The same goes for AK46, he is a very talented sniper when he’s on his game and adds a great dimension to the Pleks-Cammalleri line. He just needs to also work on his consistency.

    Here’s the dilemna: If those two players become consistent and add great value, they will become too expensive to keep around and we’ll lose them anyway because we don’t have the room to sign them. If they don’t, then fans will want them gone anyway. Seems to me like it’s a lose-lose situation.

    As for Eller, I’d like to see him develop properly, even if that means a season or two in Hamilton. I hate seeing a player with great potential rushed, only to have the pressure of playing with the big club and in front of fans that will boo you at the drop of a hat, ruin them. Remember the Pouliot trade? Latendresse is doing great now that he’s living and playing somewhere without a microscope up his backside. I suppose it just bothers me that, as soon as a player shows some adversity, the fans instantly stab them in the back rather than being supportive while they struggle through hard times.

  38. #38 Senet1 says:
    July 7, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    To me it would have been nice to sign Moore and Metro but I guess it was not in the cards. Pouliot and AK46 I agree they have talent but how long do you wait for them to start to show their abilities consistently. AK46 has been with us for 3-4 years now and every year is shows he has the skill and the talent but then disappears. Besides he is making over 3M a season so I do not see him in Plex or Cammy class as far as salary is concerned. I would be nice if he showed that I am sure that by next year Hammer’s salary will be gone and Gill too which frees p almost 8M to distribute. Some of that will have to go to Markov if he agrees to resign, next year, if not then we have 14M to obtain some talent and pay those who should get a raise. As far as Eller is concerned he has been in the minors and played a few games with St. Louis so he should be ready to move up, lets hope so because we need a third lne centre, who has the ability to move up to the first or second line if we have an injury.

  39. #39 Avatar37 says:
    July 7, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Well, Pouliot just joined the club last year. You’re right, AK46 is making $3.25 mil, Pleks is making $5 mil and Cam is making $6 mil, so I’m confused as to the comparison. Spacek makes $3.833 mil, so who do you think contributes more for the salary, Spacek or AK46? Given the choice, I know who I’d pick. Next year, AK46, Gorges and O’Byrne all become UFA with rights to arbitration. Pouliot, Eller, Pacioretty, Maxwell, Boyd, and Pyatt are all RFA. Markov, Hamrlk, and Auld are all UFA. I assume that Hamrlk, if he hasn’t been traded, will be allowed to explore other markets or retire. Markov will resign with the club until he retires, probably. The only way I don’t see that happening is if his play is significantly affected and he demands a large salary. Crosby becomes an UFA in 2012-2013, and his favourite team growing up was the Habs, so I suppose anything is possible. The team, unfortunately, have Gomez, Gionta, and Cammalleri all locked up until the year after, so the only way I see Crosby even being a possibility is if Gomez is moved. The only defensemen we have under contract for next year are Spacek and Subban, so as I have been preaching all year, this defense needs revamped. It will be interesting to see how management handles things, I think this year’s draft pick was partially due to next year’s contracts.

  40. #40 Senet1 says:
    July 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    I don’t think you understood what I said or I did not understand what you wrote? Your comment if I understood it was that you did not like to see players traded away before they had their chance to prove themselves. Basically my point is the AK46 has already had 3+ years to show what he can do, if he does not start to show that he can consistently perform this year then I say he should be gone, if on the other hand he does show he can be consistent then I do not see him demanding more than Cammy, Plex etc. so it would nto take too much to increase his salary to 4M+ because he already makes over 3M. That was my point and we get that money from the large defenceman contracts like Hamrlyk etc. I personally think it is good that we have Plex, Cammy and Gionta locked up for a few year, it gives us some stability and as the cap goes up we have more room to sign other players thare are worth the money to sign. Signing Crosby I think is a pipedream, he is a franchise player and like most canadian born franchise players they remain with the team they started with unless they are traded like Gretzky. I hope you are right about Markov, but I have a suspicion that like many Europeans it is all about the money not the team. If we cannot afford to pay him 7.5 to 8M next year then he will be gone to FA. That is how I see it anyway.

    As for Pouliot, I was never sold on this trade, I like Latendresse and I felt he was progressing, nicely as a 21 year old player. His stats improved every year, however, for some reason we expected him to score 30-40 goals playing on the third and fourth lines. Minny put him on the first line and he produced very well, even better than Pouliot who got the chance to play on the top line. Pouliot disappeared in the playoffs, some say he was out of shape and could not stand the grind of the PO. If so then hopefully he will work hard to get in better shape for the start of next season. I hope I am wrong but I expect we have seen the best of Mr. POuliot.

  41. #41 Avatar37 says:
    July 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Sorry, I misunderstood, I thought you were comparing him to Pleks and Camm right now. My own personal thoughts are that they have a very dangerous line, one of the most talented overall in the NHL, in AK46, Pleks, and Cammalleri. I think it makes a great 1-2 punch with Pouliot, Gomez, and Gionta. I don’t think AK46 has reached his potential, but I do think he contributes and I don’t see him as overpaid. It’s just frustrating to watch him when he’s hot and think, wow, why can’t he play like this every game?

    I think that Pouliot needs to develop his consistency more than AK46 does. He needs to work on his strength and conditioning, which I hear he is doing this off season. The forward lines don’t concern me that much, except what’s happened to the third line. In not bringing back Metropolit and Moore, we’ve now gotten rid of our third checking line. Who is our third checking line now, Boyd-Moen-Pyatt? No, I think a one year contract to Metropolit would have been a good thing, I thought he proved his worth last year.

    I also liked it when we brought up the top line from the Bulldogs and used it as our fourth line. I thought it gave us the best fourth line in the NHL, and really helped tip things in our favour. I would love to see them get rid of Lapierre and Maxwell and bring up that line again. I would also love to see Subban and Belle make the roster this year, and Tinordi should be ready in a year or two. Defensemen take a bit longer than forwards to develop, without seeing him play, it’s hard to say. I know O’Byrne benefited a lot from his time in Hamilton, then learned a lot during his first NHL season.

    I know you dislike the Latendress – Pouliot trade, but I think it was a good one. Latendresse simply wasn’t doing the job we’d asked of him, which is what Pouliot did when he arrived here in Montreal, which is, to be a power forward for the first line. Use your body, hit, and go to the front of the net and cause disruptions. Pouliot started off doing that very well, he needs to get back to doing it. I do agree with you in that I think expectations for Latendresse were high, you’re right, fans had expectations that were too high for Latendresse, but the same can be said for Price, fans have expectations that are too high for him as well.

    As for Markov, I sense something different with him. He’s not outspoken, he’s quiet, he lets his play on the ice speak for him. I just don’t get the sense that it’s all about money for him, he just wants to be treated fairly, and I have no problems with that. If he proves his worth then he should be paid fairly for it. Seriously, Markov and Hamrlk make almost the identical salary, who would you rather have? I know my choice. I like Markov as a player, and I don’t say that about a lot of Russians.

    Yeah, signing Crosby is a pipe dream lol I agree. It’s a nice dream though, kinda like winning the lottery. The only reason it has any credibility at all is how much Crosby loves the Habs. There was a recent commercial with Crosby shooting pucks in his basement and on the walls, you could see hanging Montreal stuff. He is an UFA in a few years, so anything might be possible! If only the fans would stop booing him at the Centre Bell… Oh well, at least, it’s nice to dream. To sleep, perchance to dream.

  42. #42 Senet1 says:
    July 8, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I disliked the Pouliot Latendress trade because like Pouliot and AK46 they did not give him a chance to develop. Lets face they brought him in at 18 years old and every year he improved is points totals, and more importantly his plus/minus. When we still had the chance he should have been sent to Hamilton for at least a year and I believe he would have been the power forward that we all expected him to be. He went over to MINNY got the chance to play on the first line and scored 27 goals, that was twice Pouliots output and Latendress was starting to use his body to his advantage. He never did get the chance to play our first line last year before he was traded. Always on the third or fourth line. Sorry he was being played out of position. That is why I did not like the trade because Pouliot only played well for about a month and then he disappeared. Many players play well when they first come to a new team because the want to impress their new coach but gradually they fall back into their shell. So I still believe it was a bad trade in the long run for the habs and if we had a chance to get Latendress back I would go for it. How many players did we have on our team this year who scored 27 goals?

    Our third line will be Lars Eller at Centre probably Moen and Platt. Our fourth line will be Boyd, Lapierre, Darche with Maxwell as the swing man. , if Eller does not make the team and is sent back down to HAMILTON then Maxwell will centre the fourth line and Boyd the third.

    That is how I see it anyway

  43. #43 Senet1 says:
    July 8, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I really hope you are right about Markov, we surely need him at least until PK matures. You have to remember we got hammer at a time when he was a productive defenceman he always had a good plus/minus most of his career and I do believe had Markov not got hurt he would have given us the same steady season he has given his entire career. Unfortunatley, at his age he is not cabable of playing 23-25 minutes a game anymore and due to our injuries on defence we were force to over play him. So a lot of the criticism he recieved in my mind was not deserved. As far as his contact is concerned it is a classic example of signing a player at the peak of his game and he as gradually slowed as he has got older, whereas Markov showed he had potential and got a good contract and next year if he continues his good play will be considered at the peak of his potential and draw the extra money, my only hope is that we does not wear out just like Hamrlyk has as he got older. Markov has a few years on Hammer so he should give us or someone another 5 to 8 years of excellent hockey.

    It would be nice to have a player the caliber of crosby but I do not see us paying 10M+ for any player other than our own draft picks if they develop in our organization. The only other way we would pay that kind of money would be for a French Canadien star that the Montreal fans have not had since Guy Lafleur. Can you imagine what our salary level would have been back in the 70′s based on todays numbers. We would have had three defenceman in the 5M-7M range, Shutt, Lafleur and Lemaire would have each made 6-7 M then you have Gainey and Carbonneau defensive specialists who would have made 3M each. Our goalie would have been in the 5M category too. Wow we would havd had to dismantle the team. There would not have been 4 or 5 cups in a row. That is why a dynasty today is almost impossible.

  44. #44 Senet1 says:
    July 8, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Why is my comment awaiting moderation???????????????

  45. #45 Avatar37 says:
    July 8, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I think it’s too early to judge, although the way Pouliot played is better than how Latendresse was playing, so I think in that sense we won out on the trade. Latendresse was tried out on the first line a few times, he just never played well enough to stay there. I’m not talking about point production, I’m talking about the kind of play that’s necessary, hitting in the corner, and going to the front of the net. Pouliot at least uses his body and is willing to go to the areas we need him to, so we’ll see how well he does this year. Don’t forget, Pouliot is also only 23 years old, same as Latendresse. I agree that I don’t think Latendresse was given enough time to develop, but do keep in mind that he was a 2nd round pick vs Pouliot who was a high first round, which doesn’t mean too much, just how the players were valued. Pouliot wasn’t doing well in Minn, and Lat wasn’t doing well here, so we swapped. Both players and teams seem to have benefited, we’ll see how both players do in a full year with their new teams.

  46. #46 Senet1 says:
    July 9, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Well obviously I am rooting for Pouliot now but I will not be surprised if Latendresse ends up being the better player of the two over the next five years. Every player develops differently, to me Latendresse was improving every year, and his body was starting to develop into a mans body last year, every player develops physically differently. Latendresse did not get much ice time on the first line, he did play first line with Koivu off an on for two years, and he did improve is PLUS Minus every year and scored more goals than Pouliot every year that they have been in the NHL. Pouliot was allowed to develop in the AHL for three years with call ups to NHL every year for a few games. Latendress had a harder task because he was asked to develop in the NHL. Wrong decision, because you are asking a player to go in the tough places before he is physically ready to do so, therefore, he is not given the opportunity to gain confidence in his abilities. Yet he still improved his play every year and has scored 73 NHL goals. Pouliot has played less in the NHL but still has not shown any consistency in going to the net and going to the tough places to me any more than Latendress did. Pouliot is a shooter and is more affective from the circle and not in front of the net and Latendress handles the puck more and to me is more effective down low at the corner of the net. So it will be interesting to see how each player matures. But if I had to guess which player will be the best player five years from now my money would be on Latendress.

  47. #47 Senet1 says:
    July 10, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Another interesting stat, in the four years since they each turned pro. Latendress has scored 73 goals all NHL, Pouliot has scored 67 goals of which 38 were AHL.
    Latendress plus minus for those four years was -21 of which -20 was in his rookie year Pouliot is a -19 of which -17 was in his rookie year and -16 of those were in the AHL. So as much as Pouliot was allowed to develop in the minors he did not perform as well as Latendresse did in the NHL. So at this point I am not convinced that Pouliot is the better or has been the better player. Yes neither was doing well but I truly believe had Latendress been given the same opportunity on the first line for as many games as Pouliot had he would have performed as well if not better, and would have gradually gain the confidence that he developed in Minnesota. You cannot put a offensive player on the third or fourth line where they are expected to check the other teams best lines and expect them to perform offensively when they are in a defensive role. That is the way I see it anyway.

  48. #48 Mats Naslund says:
    July 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I read a blog by an LA Kings Blogger Mathew Barry today that made a very interesting point which most people have long forgotten: We’ve already seen what run-away salaries have done to the NHL.

    His point was obviously regarding the immanent signing of Ilya Kovalchuk. Barry’s point was fantastic – he reminded people that prior to the lockout, salaries had escalated to ridiculous levels. The highest paid player in league history (with bonuses) for one year was Jaromir Jagr who made a “comfortable” $17.4 Million. Joe Sakic made $16.45 in 97-98. And while many could make the case that those guys were worth big time money, you cannot deny that in terms of the numbers we’re used to seeing post-lockout, they are just crazy.

    But what if the Owners who now compete year in and year out to un-do the gains that they won during the lock-out have stumbled upon a new way to ruin the sport? I’m talking about the type of deal where a player signs for ludicrous amounts over very long terms – like we’ve seen in the past and are hearing about with Kovy? $10MIL may be reasonable for Kovy at 27, but what about at 37 in the last year of a 10 year deal?

    In 1997-98, Chris Gratton made $10.15 Million thanks to a $9 Million signing bonus. First of all – let me give you a moment to soak that in….. The question is – if the Flyers were willing to dole out a huge signing bonus, what if they had offered him a 10 year deal as well? That literally would kill a team.

    Sure, you could say that it is a way different gamble in paying a 40-50 goal guy in Kovy $10 million, than in that example – but what about a guy like Rick Dipietro who signed a 15 year $67.5 Million Contract in 2006? He’s played less than 80 games since ’07. Not to dump on the Islanders, but what about Alexei Yashin? He was signed by Mike “Please listen to me because I really DO know something about the game” Milbury for a ludicrous 10 year contract that was the biggest joke in the league.

    Now that every team is falling all over themselves to sign high-impact players for ridiculous terms to lower the cap hit on huge contracts, we’ll probably see a lot more of this sort of thing. While there is a lot of griping about Gomez’s contract – at least its term is manageable. Gomez will be 34 (turning 35) when his contract ends, and while the cap hit isn’t what Habs fans wish it was – at least we won’t be paying it until he’s 42 which is how old Ilya would be if he signed the recently rumored 15 year deal.

    My point is this: a little cap bending never hurt anyone. Its helped keep guys like Johan Franzen on teams who need the space like Detroit. But there is a time – in the near future – when some team, somewhere is going to make a catastrophic mistake that will lead to serious, un-manageable Salary Cap problems. The Blackhawks had to have a talent fire-sale this year already. They’re just lucky they won. The next team (LA?) might not be.

  49. #49 Mats Naslund says:
    July 21, 2010 at 11:15 am

    As an addendum to my previous post:

    Clearly the NHL has agreed with my previous post. Most people can agree that the deal was an absolute slap in the face to good-faith bargaining. Nobody on earth expects Kovy to play until he’s 45 years old, for the league minimum. It was only a matter of time before a team (Toronto?) went out and bought a super team signed to 30 year deals to keep the cap down. They have made a bold first step towards ending the cap-circumvention that happens when teams front-load deals like in this case.

    The problem that emerges is this:

    How does the NHL approach this deal in a way that does not act in contradiction with the past deals that are similar in nature? If Marion Hossa can sign a contract (that the NHL approved) that assumed he would still be playing at 42, what can be done about the Kovy deal? The precedent has been set in the NHL to allow teams to massage contracts to fit under the Cap. Any regulation against this type of action now would certainly be fought by the NHLPA who under the CBA have every right to fight for the maximum earning potential for each of it’s members. The NHL’s new problem is not an easy one to navigate:

    Regulate front-loaded contracts and risk the backlash from having a two-tiered system in which the teams that were early abusers benefit. Do nothing and risk having the CBA made a mockery by clubs who circumvent the Cap in signing deals which they have no intention of fulfilling.

  50. #50 Senet1 says:
    July 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    I agree Mats, the League has to deal with this right now or there are going to be some stupid contracts. Kovy will not be hear past his 37-38th birthday.

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