I don't understand. I need some help.
A few things about me first:
-Last year was my first full season following the game again after about 10 years. So while I feel as though I picked up a lot from last season (I bought the Center Ice package), I still feel like I have a lot to learn.
-I LOVE the Habs and they've always been my team. Regardless of who sign/don't sign or if we're first/last, that will never change.
So before responding to the below questions, take this points into consideration.
1 Are you happy with our current team?
I am to a large extent, but I feel like we could do a lot more to improve it. I'm happy with the defense, but I think we need some help up front. I think guys like Bonk, Zednik and Aebischer should be dealt though or rather should have been dealt already. I think that would have freed up some cap space for a UFA. There's still time to trade them, but I don't think we'll get much. So my take is that we should have traded them for picks and then hit the UFA market.
2 Why can't we trade for a star or sign a star who is a RFA?
I'm thinking of names like Lecavalier or Bergeron (I know he doesn't want to play in Montreal, just an example of the level of player I mean). I understand not trading to division rivals (to an extent, but not always). I also understand we'd have to give up a lot to get some big names. Still it just seems that there is a pessimistic view on this forum about us getting a star player via trade. Again, I like our side and am proud of many of our players. I just think a guy like Lecavalier would be a great addition. Please don't dwell on him when answering the question though.
3 What's your take on the future?
I'm a bit worried if I'm being honest. Saku and Kovalev won't be around forever. I think some of our younger guys who have played already are still question marks. Of course hockey teams can change so quickly (a bit too quickly for me), but I hav some concerns right now.
Anyway, I'm just curious for other opinions.
First and foremost, welcome back to the game!
1) I agree with your take here. Aebischer, Bonk and Zednik are not providing enough--based on their performances last season--to warrant their salaries. That said, Zednik could rebound and have a terrific year. Bonk looked good down the stretch. Who knows what happens here. The problem is if you move these players, you still need someone to fill their roles.
On the whole, I want to see the team make some progression each season. That doesn't mean trades or UFA so much as actual on-ice progression. I think that the team's young enough that it can make progress without making any significant changes. I like the youth and the progress it made this year.
2) The team can. I believe signing RFAs is still an unwritten 'don't do it' rule in the NHL though, but trading for stars is certainly possible. The problem is always the return. Montreal has a thin group of quality players, and a large group of quality unproven young players. When those unproven young players become proven (either proven as quality, or proven duds), then Montreal's in a position of strength because of its depth. At that point, Montreal can deal some depth for some higher quality. Until then, I don't think Montreal looks to make significant moves.
3) This is an interesting point. There's a core group of youth (Higgins, Komisarek, Plekanec), who are the trio that are 'rock solid' definite core players, in my view, then a few questionables who can be rock solid types in Perezhogin, Kostitsyn, Chipchura, Lapierre, Emelin, Price. Once a few more of the players from the latter group join the former group, I think the team will be establishing a large core that can compete at a high level.
The problem is that the team still looks to be 2-3 years away from this level, and by that point Koivu and Kovalev may have slowed down significantly. And none of those players (to me) look like complete offensive catalysts; not in the same sense that Koivu and Kovalev are for the club.
So it's a bit of a predicament.
On the other hand, the optimist in me says that Kovalev--despite his immense talent, and underrated leadership ability--is replaceable on the UFA market. He's a highly skilled gamebreaking winger who's inconsistent; there's a few of those out there if you've got the money to spend. And the optimist in me says that Koivu's starting a maturation process in his game which will enable him to play a longer career than many had thought, and he'll be a very suitable center, providing Montreal with much of the same tenacity and diligence that Brind'Amour provides Carolina.
But in the end: there's too much time between now and then to really know how things will go. I think this team is a bit too young to be a real competitor this season, but that this should be the final year of the transition process in establishing a new core.
Im not worried. We need patience.
A lot of the hab fans didnt really follow a rebuilding process. Im from Quebec City, so Ive seen a complete rebuilding process from last place in the league to first place in about 5 years. But it took overall 8 years and boy of boy did the managers made some bad moves, because it could have been much faster. They did some very good moves too. In the end it gave the franchise 2 stanley cups. Bravo, now they have to rebuild for the next cycle. During that rebuilding period for the Nordiques, the habs were managing theirs assets very brillantly for a constantly winning team, they even twart the 1993 wonderfull nordiques season and won the cup.
Back to the habs: Since Gainey is here we are on a constant improvement curb(without ever finishing last in the league), I feel we are maybe 1 year/1 big move away from being a long-term contender with our current asset situation. Its not time to panic, it pays to be patient and only do the secure/logic/well thought moves. It may not be exciting for the fans, but I prefer having a long-term contender team on my hands then a do or bust project.
1. Im happy with the management.
2. Doing the right move takes time and takes the good situation. We are now building to get to that situation.
3. I think the correct picture is that pleckanec-perezhogin-higgins are yes future core player, but have never been evaluated to be as good as those coming in the next years. Kostitsyn development is important for the organization as a whole because in my minds hes the only one with that extra potential upfront. Carey Price and Fischer are the 2 other core player that could have that extra factor.
well said if i do say so myself. i think the problems around here mostly come from lack of patience and negativity based on years past. any true hockey fan, who actually watches more than 10 habs game a year should be able to see were finally turning that corner. we were mired for a decade in mediocrity and boring hockey. all trades blew up on us, we had ridiculously poor coaching and scouting, and the only stars we got were near the end of careers or somehow slumping during their stay in montreal. by slumping i mean stinking because of the enviornment and other players. but this team for the last 2 seasons is growing up a bit, and changing the complexion we used to have. i for one love my team to death, and i think this is the start of something good. but like the previous poster said..this could be the last season or near the last one of transition. after watching some of the young guys mature, well get a better view of how far off we really are. and by the salaries given out already this ufa period, i like the idea of seeing how our prospects turn out before giving them away. they could be here for 5 6 7 8 years some of them who knows? were finally building a farm system with promise. and if you dont agree, i bet theres at least 20 or more other organisations that would kill to have our depth of prospects. yeah sak and kovy wont last forever, but their both here for the transition faze to be completed...thats more than enough time to see what our future really looks like. hope i gave you my opinion on all questions asked..i tend to ramble :)
Wow. Great responses guys, thanks.
1 I think after going back and reading my initial post that I didn't make it clear how much I love the Habs and the majority of our players. Again though I would reiterate that I just started watching the Habs again last season (saw 3/4 of the games) for the first time in 10-12 years and anything I'm saying can't really take into consideration the last 10-12 years. That said, I LOVE Begin. Absolutely love the guy. Saku is a no brainer and I really wish I'd been following the Habs for the last how many years to appreciate the guy even more. Higgins impressed me from the beginning of the season, not just in the second half. Love the kid and he's a real supporter. I could go on and on. Anyway, I still think the guys I mentioned really need to be dealt. Danis will be fine as Huet's backup. Bonk improved down the stretch, but not enough for me. Zednik was just brutal. Anyway I would deal them. I know we'd need replacements for Zednik and Bonk, but Zednik after last season is easily replaced and we've probably got the guy to do it. So that just leaves Bonk. There's gotta be somebody we can get. Anyway, while I don't think we need big changes, we could really (or could have really) improved the squad. If we'd have gone after a UFA or two I would have even traded Bonk and Zednik for picks just to offload their salaries.
2 I realize we don't have a ton of trade bait, but all the unproven guys are expendable IMO if teams will take them in a package deal for somebody proven. That's why I don't mind the RFA option. I'd deal first round picks for a proven RFA considering how a number of our #1's have panned out. Still I can see why you'd want to wait.
3 Again it's the wait and see game. My concern with group of young guys who aren't as proven yet as say Higgins or Komisarek is that they're still gambles. Now if they pay off the organization will look great. However if they don't pan out they'll look like gambles that pay off. Either way it's a tough call. I don't have as much faith in Kostitsyn after seeing him play live, but that was only one game. Actually the only guy that impressed me that game was Huet, but then he turned out pretty good.
I thought we had a good season last year. Considering the management changes along with the incorporation of the youngsters it went quite well. The rollercoaster ride definitely had it's rough spots, but I think the injuries (Kovalev during the season and Saku in the playoffs) played a big role during the down turns.
As for Gainey, I have a tendency to think he's not doing a great job. Then I think about the moves he's made that I know of and I think he's done well. I'm just looking for a big player of some sort in the future to help us get to that next level.
1. Overall, I'm happy with the team. Just like you say, there are still some definite areas where the team can improve
2. Well, as easy as it sounds that we can trade/sign for a star, its not quite that easy. I mean, the team that currently holds the rights to that player will do everything in their power to sign him back. Teams build their squads around these types of stars and will overpay sometimes just to keep him. I mean, it was tough to compete with that elias contract that has him stay for an astounding 7 years and we all know what it took for vinny to stay in t-bay. But as mike said, we have alot of unproven talent and until that talent transitions to proven, its tough to make deals for these kinds of players.
3. The future looks bright of course. As of right now, we could use some jam on our top 2 lines and there doesn't really seem to be that kind of player in the system other than what latendresse may bring. So that's an aera that concerns me. Obviously, the lack of prospects on D and the lack of depth on our current D is another concern that needs to be adressed. As promising as some of our propsects are, I dont expect any of them to become the players that are the calibur of koivu and kovalev. By the time that our young guys have solidified themselves, koivu and kovalev will be at the twilight of their career but it doesn't mean that they cant be useful. They can get by without a major star if their scoring is balanced like it was with buffalo this season and koivu + kovalev can only add to that balanced scoring while providing essential leadership, and experience. I do forsee balanced scoring to be a strength for the habs going on forward. The Goaltending pipeline looks promising with Danis and Carey as does the current duo of Huet and Aebischer. No worries there.
All in all, the team continues to move in the right direction.
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