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TONY MARINARO’s REBUILDING PLAN FOR MONTREAL CANADIENS.

  • Thoughts?

    Analysis: When Bob Gainey took over this team, they were small at center,
    lacked a powerforward and lacked NHL depth. Seven years later, the same
    problems exist. During the past couple of years, Bob has let assets like:
    Souray, Streit, Komisarek, Ryder, Koivu, Tanguay, Kovalev, and others move
    on to other teams without getting anything in return. Imagine the draft picks
    and/or prospects he could have accumulated. The goal is to win a Stanley Cup.
    Under Gainey, this team never won more than two games of Round 2. As for
    2009-10, with Gionta and Markov out longterm, Montreal will likely not make
    the playoffs. And, even if they do, take a look at the core players on Pittsburgh,
    Washington, and Philadelphia. How can Montreal get by them in the East?
    Last July, Bob Gainey was a buyer. Less than 6 months later, and in his final
    contract year, he cannot be a seller. But, its obvious this team is better off
    selling right now than buying.

    Solution: Bob Gainey needs to be replaced immediately. Geoff Molson, must
    bring in a new GM who knows the league and all the players. The new GM must
    implement a rebuilding plan. We can throw out 100 names. But, there is a
    bilingual Montrealer, who has experience in scouting and coaching. He also
    knows all the players and has won 2 Stanley Cups working under Bob
    Johnson and Scotty Bowman. His name: Pierre McGuire.

    MAIN ISSUES: SALARY CAP. No cap flexibility going forward. Salary
    2009-10: $60 million. Salary 2010-11: $46.6 million paid to 16 players /
    Salary 2011-12: $24.6 million paid to 6 players. Solution: Trade 9-10 players.
    (1) Scott Gomez. 7.357 million per season over next 4 years. Enough said.
    DESTINATION: He might be impossible to trade. But, you can try: Colombus,
    Nashville or New York Islanders. Can you get RJ Umberger or Antoine
    Vermette from Colombus in return? (2-3-4-5) Roman Hamrlik, Jaroslav Spacek,
    Hal Gill, and Paul Mara. DESTINATION: These 4 veteran defencemen should be
    traded during the week of trade deadline. Teams that are 1 d-men away from a
    cup run will probably add these players. (6-7) Andrei Kostitsyn and Sergei
    Kostitsyn. These 2 players have off-ice issues. They both need a new start.
    DESTINATION: Andrei Kostitsyn= NYR, STL? Sergei Kostitsyn= Edmonton? (8)
    Glen Metropolit. DESTINATION: To a playoff team looking for an experienced
    player. (9) Jaroslav Halak. DESTINATION: can be packaged with (MAYBE
    Plekanec) to Detroit.
    Halak and Plekanec for Fillpula? Or Halak for Helm?

    *** N.B. You hold on to Cammalleri and Gionta for now. They will assume
    leadership of the team and show the young players the way.
    As for Markov, he will return in February. Teams might be tentative to give fair
    market value because they might want to wait to see if he can be the same
    player he was before the injury. Re-evaluate his situation 1 year from now. *** .

    3 CONTRACTS TO SETTLE IMMEDIATELY:
    Solution: (1) Carey Price. When building a team you must target your
    franchise player/s and lock them up. Carey Price is the franchise player. He
    must be signed to a 6 to 8 year contract. (2) Tomas Plekanec. He is UFA at
    years end and will be top 2 point getter on the team this season. His value is
    rising. He must be signed to a 4 year deal. Why? If you decide to keep him, by
    signing him now you don’t lose him to UFA. If you decide to package him, he
    will have more value as a signed player. (3) George Laraque: he has 2 to 3
    herniated discs. He must be bought out.

    COACHING STAFF: The new GM should choose his own coach,
    however Jacques Martin is signed to a 4 year deal.
    Solution: The GM cannot ask the owner to absorb the coaches contract one
    year in. Stick with the coaches for a while. And, put emphasis on development.

    TEAM PRESIDENT. Decision to be made by Geoff Molson.

    ADMINISTRATION. Julien Brisebois, has not shown in the past that he
    has an understanding of a players real monetary value. Furthermore, he wasn’t
    able to convince Gainey to negotiate during the season.
    Solution: Ideally, his successor is a former NHLer with a business background
    and knowledge of CBA and current players. As a replacement how about
    Vincent Damphousse?

    MARKETING. Some fans might not accept a rebuilding plan.
    Solution: Must lower ticket prices across the board. And, must give the team
    back to the fans. Setup a program to get players out in the communities, like
    the Montreal Impact and Montreal Alouettes.

    PRO PLAYER DEVELOPMENT. Players not developing at NHL level.
    Solution: Need someone to work OT with some players like Claude Ruel used
    to do. Players are developed in Hamilton but once they get here they play well
    for a month or two and stop progressing. Need to hire someone hockey smart
    and versatile. And, a good teacher. How about Gaston Gingras?

    PRO PLAYER MENTORING. Players need to live with a teammate or a
    family. Players are rock stars here and city has too many temptations.
    Solution: Do exactly what Pittsburgh did. It worked.

    AMATEUR SCOUTING IN QUEBEC. There is an inability to recognize
    francophone talent playing in the QMJHL. Can no longer miss out on Patrice
    Bergeron’s or David Perron’s of the QMJHL.

    Solution: Denis Morel and Michel Boucher must be let go. Try to hire a former
    offensive player from the QMJHL. The ‘‘Q’’is known for wide open hockey and
    offensive hockey players. There is a former NHLer who was an offensive player
    in the QMJHL and can recognize offensive talent. He is 2nd alltime goal scorer
    and point getter in QMJHL. He also coached in the QMJHL. His name: Stephan
    Lebeau.

    AMATEUR SCOUTING OVERALL. Trevor Timmins, would like to have
    a mulligan on the 2003 and 2004 drafts. However, to his defence those were his
    first 2 years drafting with Montreal. In 2003, he worked with Andre Savard and
    Pierre Dorion. So, it wasn’t all his fault. Since then, he has drafted many
    NHLers, two of which I believe are home runs: Carey Price and PK Subban.
    Solution: Trevor Timmins , can continue running the Amateur Scouting
    Department BUT the GM has to make some changes to the existing staff.

    FRANCOPHONE PRESENCE. A rebuilding phase is not easy for fans
    or the media. Adding a few francophones who want to play here will help.
    Solution: Identify all francophones or Quebec born players in the NHL. Try to
    determine who might be available and who could be a fit. Players must be
    affordable as the goal is to create cap space. Examples: ANTOINE VERMETTE
    (CLMB), P-LUC LETOURNEAU LEBLOND (NJ), P-A PARENTEAU (NYR), ALEXANDRE
    PICARD (OTT), DAVID LALIBERTE (PHI), MATTHEW LOMBARDI (PHO), TORREY MITCHELL
    (SJ), STEVE BERNIER (VAN), ALEXANDRE BURROWS (VAN),MATHIEU PERREAULT (WAS).

    ***Maybe even consider acquiring Angelo Esposito from Atlanta and send him to Hamilton.
    N.B. Some players on the above list might not be available BUT you might
    want to consider trading a superior player to try to acquire them.

    PRO SCOUTING DEPARTMENT. Needs to be restructured. Since
    Pierre Gauthier has been in place 38 trades have been made. Probably 2 have
    worked out. Gauthier, Gordie Roberts and Doug Gibson must be replaced.
    Solution: Try to pry Montrealer, Blair Mackasey from Minnesota. And, move
    Vaughan Karpan from Amateur Scout to Pro Scout. Many hockey people
    believe Vaughan has a good eye for pro talent. Hire 2 more pro scouts.

    CENTRE ICE POSITION. Small at Center. No elite centerman on team or
    in system. Top center prospect is Louis Leblanc. He is at least 3 years away.
    Solution: Draft a centreman with your 1st pick. Ideally, Tyler Seguin RH Shot.

    POWER-FORWARD. Currently, no legitimate top 6 is a powerforward.
    Solution: You try to develop Pacioretty into one. If not, what’s Andrew
    Conboy’s potential?If not, you must identify one and trade for him.

    BACK-UP GOALIE. Trade Halak. Need a veteran to backup Carey Price.
    Solution: Scott Clemmenson from Florida would be a great choice.
    He used to backup Brodeur, he would be a great mentor for Carey Price.

    ENTERTAINING HOCKEY. During a rebuilding phase you will lose more
    games than you will win. However, you can still be entertaining. The key is to
    put together a young, FAST, dynamic team.
    Solution: Trade for speedy players like: Cogliano, Vermette, Lombardi, Helm.

  1. #1 stevehab says:
    November 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Some very interesting thoughts from Tony Marinaro. I have to say I think he’s telling it like it is. The Habs need an overhaul and unfortunately I believe alot of off ice personnel will be gone.
    A thought, do anyone think the Habs would have any chance of getting Scotty Bowman to oversee the whole Habs operation??? I think they’d need to sign him to at least 3-5 years but I don’t know if Scotty would be willijg to commit to that at this time of his hockey career. (I also know he LOVES working side by side his son in Hawksville.)

  2. I like some of Tony’s ideas, especially the over haul of our scoutdepartment. This is long overdue. I also like Andre Savard as a potential GM. Actually if you look at the more recent top draft picks, they were engineered by Savard not Gainey. Actually I think he would make a great GM. Trading the entire team is a little off the wall, although there is nothing wrong with trying it but saying and doing are two different things. So by trading deadline and if we are in the same situation we are in now then I say give it a try. You could probably expect at least 30-50% of those ideas come true.

    I personally do not think we have that bad of a team, I think it needs direction by better coaching and probably better management which includes scouting. It also needs a go to guy we seem to have a go to line, but the one superstar is always important to have. We have a solid 3 and 4th line and a good first line. We don’t have a good second line, potential is there but it has not shown up yet.
    Our defence is average, could be better than average if Markov comes back healthy. Our PP is killing us right now and that is something we have depended on for that last three years. PK has improved lately but a lot of that has been that our goaltending has improved as well.
    Anyway I am in favour of the majority of the ideas that Tony has put forward. This is what we need more of in our blog rather than what we have been seeing lately.
    Thanks Tony for putting your ideas forward.

  3. #3 Mats Naslund says:
    November 20, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I agree with a couple things suggested by Marinaro, but disagree more often than not. If being GM was anything like NHL10 on my xbox, then his suggestions would be plausible. Unfortunately it is NOTHING like NHL10. Gainey has made some poor decisions. That is known. He would probably admit to them. That said, there isn’t a team in the league that couldn’t catalogue their near-misses, and disapointing results. His solution is ridiculous – Trade 9-10 players? He suggests it like its even a possibility. Its not – at all. One trade is hard enough to make in the NHL without getting completely ripped off by the other team. Marinaro suggests making bad trades to land Quebecois players… is he kidding?

    This simply shows how easy it is to build a championship team when reality is no factor. Gainey unfortunately operates within the uncomfortable confines of the real world, and as such is bound to its laws and effects. My only question is – how has the Montreal escaped its kung-fu grip?

  4. Matt’s I am curious, I have suggested that if possible, I would like to see a couple of bigger forwards with some offensive skill upside at least to bring in for our second line or possibly one for each of our top two lines and moving Cammy to the second line with Plex. Of course my thought is that a couple of bigger forwards would provide us with the crash the net type players who would be harder to handle and maybe we would get a few more garbage goals. What are your thoughts on this, and what ideas do you have?

  5. If we target the teams at the bottom of the standings, who are struggling like us, there must be some players who are struggling who fit the bill. I suggested Cole, Horton, and Stall as examples but not necessarily the guys we want.

  6. #6 Mats Naslund says:
    November 21, 2009 at 11:52 am

    The problem with trades is that while you always think that there is a deal somewhere out there to be had, the other team is thinking the exact same thing. It is HARD to land an impact player without seriously jepardizing your future. Think about the Gomez trade. Gainey trades Higgins who has struggled for two years, Janick who was an add on and a prospect (McDonaugh) who had fallen in the eyes of the organization, and was nowhere near being able to crack the Habs and Valentenko (who was never going to report from Russia) roster for Gomez and Pyatt (who has played 7 games in the NHL this year), along with Busto who is in the AHL. Montreal got the best player and a player who was able to step up immediately – and yet Gainaey gets heat for taking on a bad contract. These deals dont come together very often. It was a coup for Montreal to get a top centre for a guy who has 5 points in 20 games. Unless Montreal can find a similar deal – with a team who needs us as much as we need them – then we can forget a trade.

  7. There are certain teams who have certain players that either are not performing or they need to get rid of them due to cap space or both. Horton is one in Florida, there are teams struggle with offence and teams who need defence. We have players with potential to score who are not scoring, we have an abundance of defence. Right now the way the way the defence are playing without Markov, Gill could be potential for trade bait if not now then at the trading dealine. Personally the way Mara is playing steady stay at home defenceman, and he is big, Gill is probably expendable. Everyone complains about how slow he is, my concern is what kind of shape will he be in by the time he is healthy. We could use his cap space and Mara could then be signed longer term as he is UFA end of the year. That also makes room of webber or Suban next year. I do not like a gun put to my head and that is why Sergie has to be traded before he jumps ship for the KHL. If we get more by trading him as his brother then I say they both go. I believe that Andre will show that he can score 25-30 goals for any team in his first year, but what about long range. Florida are looking to rebuild, so they want productive youth, we should be able to engineer a three for one to ge Horton. We need to give Plex some encouragement to want to sign next year if he sees he is going to get second line support then he is more likely to sign, if we had the cap space Gainey could afford to give him a decent raise which is deserves the way he is playing this year. Perhaps even the letter “C”. He is just coming into his own this year, minus Kovalev is the best thing to happen to him. I agree with you about the Gomez trade, the cap space is a problem hopefully over time we can work around that though. Possible renegotiate a lower salary over longer term? Anyway these are some of my thoughts.

  8. Althought I agree with Tony about locking up Price long term, 5 years would be my target, we do not want to get in the same position that the Islanders did and have a big contract long term for a goalie that does not play due to constant injury.

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