Is is the time to...
I started a similar thread on another board and I'd like the habs HF boards to give its insights too.
We have some pretty good prospects. We have a very good coaching staff in Hamilton and some AHL stars veterans to help our young prospects. They all seem to do well in Hamilton. They all seem to develop very well. But watching Hossa, Ryder, Hainsey, Bulis and even Markov play with the big team I often wonder if there's not a missing link. A very important one ...
I was listening to an interview with Boom Boom Geoffrion and he was saying that the way to create a great team is to play one rookie with 2 vets. It's basic but so true. Looking at the Bruins, Wings and Avs they have guys like Forsberg, Sakic, Lidstrom, Hull, Rolston, Samsonov, etc to help out their prospects to develop correctly to their full potential. We have none of those beside Koivu and Sourray. Seriously I look at this line up and I only see vets fighting for jobs, struggling with their own carreers. In such a situation it becomes very very hard for the habs to call up their prospects at a young age and give them a chance. It's hard because those kids have to play with selfish vets trying to find a second breath to their NHL career. How can you expect Hossa, Ribeiro, Ryder, Hainsey and co to thrive, to gain the confidence required to be a good NHLer in such an environment ?
How realistic is it to ask the habs to call up their best prospects Plekanec, Komisarek, Higgins and Perezhogin ? Too much responsabilities would fall on those kids at too young of an age without anyone to help them out. They wouldn't be able to build their confidence. I really can't fault the habs for not bringing up the kids. The situation with the big team is just too difficult right now IMO. Only the best prospects will be able to step in on a bad team and succeed. Guys like Kovalchuk, Nash, etc. But guys like Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Bergeron, etc will need vet help to max out their potential and become the players they can become. We have some very good prospects but I don't see any Kovalchuk, Nash, Pitkanen, etc.
So my question is the following. Is it the time to package some good prospects for quality veterans. Look at Colombus. They went out and got Sydor to help out Klesla. They got Merchant to help out Nash. I don't know who would be available. But we're hearing stuff about Carter being available and I really think we need one or two of those guys on offense. We also need a veteran stay at home dman on the right side who can play top minutes with Markov. Obviously Rivet can't cut it. We need to do something or it's gonna be difficult to develop our prospects and our young players.
So far all the good things have been done.
1st step : draft some talent and stock the farm (Komisarek, Perezhogin, Higgins, Plekanec, etc)
2nd step : get some AHL stars and vets (Gratton, Dagenais, etc)
3rd step : good AHL coaching (Julien and now Doug Jarvis)
4th step : develop the kids at the NHL level correctly
I think we're now ready for the 4th step but if things remain the same the 4th step might be a failure IMO. And this step might be the most important one. We won't be able to get top results with our prospects if Gainey does nothing.
Is it time to trade youth for quality veteran help ? What his the solution to make the 4th step a succesful one ?
I'm really concerned about this. Any of you guys see the situation differently ? Do the habs have solutions ?
This does raise some good points. There needs to be a commitment to the youth movement in order for it to work properly. Veterans need to understand their role within the youth movement and accept it, or move on. That isn't to say the veterans should expect to see this team lose and be a non-factor in the playoffs; but more to say that this team needs to solifidy a core, and build properly. Many of the prospects are good quality and close to fulfilling their potential. This team isn't *that* far from being a consistent playoff club, in my mind.
I disagree with some of the conclusions you make though. In order for this team to succeed in the long-term, you can't deal youth for veterans. Especially when many quality veterans are available for a cheap price. Look at Scott Mellanby, a captain in Florida, dealt to St.Louis for future considerations. He would be a very nice fit in Montreal.
Columbus went out and got Sydor, but dealt a veteran to get him. They brought in Marchant, but signed him as a free agent. No youth dealt out. That's the proper method of doing things.
Right now, I would say the best route for the Habs is to bring in the kids that are close to NHL ready. That means Komisarek, Higgins and Plekanec should be in the NHL. There's some quality vets with the club right now that can play with youth and help them along (Koivu, Bulis, Zednik, Quintal, Souray and even Rivet, for all his mistakes on the ice, along with good veterans like Begin and Langdon).
Let the youth grow together a bit. There's a lot of offensive skill among them, and a lot of good character. Stick a veteran on each line, and the team would work hard. In the offseason when players like Dackell, Juneau and Perreault can be shed, look to maybe pick up a veteran that's comfortable with this situation.
This is how young teams like Colorado, Ottawa, and New Jersey were developed. There were a few quality veterans in place (and Colorado felt the need to deal Sundin to solidify their leadership), but if the dead weight is moved, I'd wager you'd see the presence of players like Koivu, Souray, Quintal and Langdon shine through a heck of a lot more. But until then, the softies still outnumber the leaders, and that's not good for the kids....
By the way, another very good example of how to build a team is Carolina.
The Hurricanes had all the right ingredients except the proper drafting. The team was banking on their kids developing decently, and went into a quick rebuilding phase. Before they had much chance to rebuild, they jumped the gun; seemingly feeling they had a good amount of young talent. They went out and signed Ron Francis, traded for Gary Roberts (dealt Giguere!), Glen Wesley (gave up 3 first rounders -- one of which was Samsonov), Sean Hill, Rod Brind'Amour, Martin Gelinas and some quality veteran depth.
Then they brought up youngsters like Jeff O'Neill, Sami Kapanen, Josef Vasicek, Erik Cole, Bates Battaglia, Tanabe, and a few others. The only problem was, they dealt way too much youth in order to attain the veterans to surround the young nucleus they had built; very similarly to how you're proposing the Habs surround their youth.
Now, not all was lost in the Hurricanes' rebuild. Jeff O'Neill wouldn't be the same player he is today without the tutelage of Gary Roberts, for example. But, the team is now an 'in betweener'. The veterans are starting to get ready to retire or move on to greener pastures (a la Wesley last season, Roberts earlier), and there isn't much youth left to tap in the organization. But the club did surround the youth with a fantastic group of veterans, who worked hard on and off the ice, and have given the franchise an identity for years to come.
The Habs can do the same, but need to do so with shrewd moves, and not giving up valuable assets. (Just imagine the Canes with Giguere, Samsonov, and a couple more first rounders to their name.)
Don't you think that it would be suicide to bring up kids like Komisarek, Plekanec and maybe Higgins in the situation we are in right now ? I just don't see how they could develop properly.
I really hope Gainey makes some moves cuz I just don't see the situation as a healthy one. It really concerns me that Audette and Perreault are up there going through the motions. I don't hate Rivet but this is turning into another Brisebois situation. Too much is asked out of him right now and he just can't do it IMO. We have some nice veterans like Quintal, Sourray and Koivu. But they aren't enough. Did you see Zednik in a 2 on 1 with Hossa tonight ? Is he the kind of veteran that will help out kids like Hossa get better ? I doubt it.
Frankly I don't give much of a damn about where we end up in the standings. I just want to see the habs do what's right for the future. And I just don't see it right now.
There were some quality veteran free agents out there, but Montreal didn't pursue them for two simple reasons: (1) the payroll is high enough as is; (2) there's too much dead weight on the roster. It needs to be cleared out before bodies can be added.
I do believe if Higgins, Komisarek and Plekanec are brought up, that they would develop properly. There's some good leaders on the roster right now, they're just overshadowed by the many lazy players on the club.
I know I'm impatient but I'm growing tired of seeing other teams bring in prospects at young ages while our most promising prospects like Komisarek, Plekanec and Higgins are still down (while being perfectly capable of playing in the NHL IMO).
I hold the belief that Bergeron would still be in the Q if he was playing with us and that Zinovjev would be playing in the RSL or AHL.
EDIT : assuming that we would be able to drop a lot of vets. This was just for argument's sake. I would like to see such a line up but it's not realistic to dream about this at this point.
I agree Boom Boom makes a good point that each line should have a rookie to make you a great team because you will always have two vets helping him develop and learn the game better anbd faster.
But it has seemed to work through just sure youth movements and patience in Ottawa and Tampa Bay.
If Habs fans and management are willing to go that way I would be all for it, but look at how some Hab fans re-act now when we lose, with a a full blown youth movement it would happen more often than not. But in the long run we could be the next Ottawa and Tampa Bay teams.
My line up 2004-05:
(Ward, Langdon & Begin for toughness/grit)
Theo - Garon
*Not including potential 2004 draftees or possible trades.
I feel with the solid goaltending and the 4 vets on D and with Bulis, Saku, Zed and Riberio we woould be able to handle a youth movement because Ryder, Plekanec, Perezhogin and Higgins are ready for sure by then for fulltime with Balej, Kastsitsy and Urquhart the biggest questionmarks IMO for 2004-05 fulltime NHL play.
A very intelligent thread that unfortunately forgets the one important factor when dealing with the 'chaff' on the team. For certain getting the youth into the lineup is a priority, and I would say that's so even in Gainey's mind. However that 'chaff', i.e. Audette, Perreault, etc, etc, is making a lot of money to play. And as much as Gainey et al. said they wanted only the best players in the lineup, can you imagine the fallout if the Bulldogs were making more than the Habs?
The real problem with the club lies in the choker collar of contracts. The Habs have a group of players that cannot be moved because no one wants them. People have been suggesting moving Audette for about a year now, but even on waivers there are no takers - he's stuck in Montreal until the end of his contract.
No matter how you look at it, management's hands are tied at the very least until the end of the year. There's a chance we'll be able to move one or two of these guys towards the deadline, and even a smaller chance that Gainey can snare some GM on a binge to take someone, but realistically, we're stuck with what we have.
I like Boom Boom's ideas, but I'm not in complete aggreeance. I think the thing that matters most in the NHL is a work ethic. Unfortunately, this is why Hainsey continues to fail. Of course, it's why kids like Pleks, Higgins, and Komi should probably be up here.
I think the team's direction is good right now, but it's at a standstill until we can get rid of some 'chaff'.
A concerned fan.
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