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02-10-2009, 12:45 AM
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Let's look at our team's future!

With all the negative threads, I figure this could be a refreshing thing, even if it's been done 10000000 times before.

Let's face it, despite injuries destroying our chances for a great season, it allowed us to develop some rookies and some other players that shined when they got the chance.

So, I decided to do an evaluation of our players this year

Up to now, the positive list of young(er) players would be :

Lapierre - Becoming a very dependable 3rd and 4th line center. He has stopped being an ******* to rile up other players and concentrates on playing a good game now.

Latendresse - Really started doing what everyone expected of him for a long time now, playing a good match on the 3rd or 4th line and bringing energy to the team. (fingers crossed that he still remembers his role when he comes back)

D'Agostini - He's shown that he's a really good sniper as long as he's playing with a competent playmaker.

Pacioretty - Not as physical as he was claimed to be (could just be because of his age), but he's been very good in the situations he's been used in and he keeps playing hard even when he's put with floating linemates. He still has a lot of learning to do I think, and I imagine next year he will go through a sophomore slump (hopefully that's not the case), but he will be a valuable asset if we keep him long enough.

Halak - He's shown improvements to his rebound control (which is still horrible but at least manageable now). He's capable of being the #1 goalie, so I put him in this category because a lot of people consider him just a #2. Unfortunately, I think he will be traded away for a veteran back-up in the future because he definitely wants to be a #1.

I'm not going to talk about the older guys in this thread but players that I think have had a positive impact this year : Koivu, Dandenault, Markov, Hamrlik, Lang, Kosto

Guys that are in the middle of the pack in terms of improvements :

Higgins - It seems that he's been stuck at this level of play for the last few years. Injuries didn't help but he's not really progressing. He's still missing open nets and hitting posts every other period. On the other hand, he hasn't really been a bad player this year, so I'm keeping him in the middle for now.

Komisarek - It just seems he hasn't been the same every since his injury last year. He's regressed but not to the point of being bad (well, maybe the last few games he has). I expect him to be consistent and right now that's hasn't happened so I can't count him as a positive.

O'Byrne - Since his call-up, he's been doing what's expected of him, and I even see him helping the offense once in a while, so I almost want to put him in the positives. However, his dismal start to the season is not something we should forget so quickly. If he can keep playing the way he is currently, he will definitely be a positive in the near future and a permanent member of our blue line.

Gorges - I was going to put him in the positives but he's been terrible for the past month, and I can't just ignore that. He's improved from last year and he gives a good effort, so it's hard to put him in one category considering his season so far.

Price - As good as he has been, I put him in this category because of one reason (that I'm sure a lot of you disagree with) : his shaky confidence. It's clear as day, everytime we lose he looks like he's going to cry to the camera, and it shows he's still a young guy. Obviously, he's improved a bit over last year and I don't doubt he can do good in the playoffs if we reach them this year. If he can find a way to manage his emotions a bit better, he will without a doubt be a #1 goalie for a long time. Right now, it's hard to judge his perfomance because of how the defense is playing but I think he's playing at the same level as last year, and I think he can be better yet.
(Just because I can predict them : I consider Price better than Halak but I'm judging by improvements, so Price being in a lower category isn't to say he's worse than Halak).

Older guys in this group : Tanguay (produce but floats too much for me), Begin, Bouillon (he tries but other teams take advantage of his size disadvantage).

Guys that have dissapointed to this point :

Andrei Kost - He's shown that he can be a great goal scorer. He's shown that he can use his size to get the puck and get in the crease to get hard-working goals. He's shown that he has the talent to make beautiful plays or snipe from hard angles. Unfortunately, that was last year. This year, we saw glimpses of that, but we mostly saw that he can also be very inconsistant and that when he's not interested, his play will greatly suffer. If he could consistantly put in a big effort, he would definitely be a top line winger, but right now, he's regressing and is not showing any signs of recovery.

Sergei Kost - Pretty much the same as his brother, except he doesn't have as big a body so the effort is even more crucial for him.

Kovalev - (The negative ones are more important so I will write about them I guess) - He hasn't been that bad, but everyone knows he can be better. He puts in effort, but I think the problem is that he's been trying to do too much by himself and ends up losing the puck when he goes for dekes. He's producing at the level I imagined he would, but the rest of his game as downgraded significantly this year.

Brisebois - He's getting old, and he's not getting any better. Get him his 1000th game and for the love of god let this be his last year. He does some good things once in a while but the cons far outway the pros in his case.

Plekanec - He just hasn't been the same. I think last year, he wasn't known around the league so he wasn't getting covered by other teams as well as he should have. This year however, his size disadvantage is showing. He's putting in a large amount of effort so I can't blame him for that, he's just not producing. A very dissapointing season from him and it could possibly cost him his spot on the team for next year.

Laraque : Well, being injured all year hasn't helped him, but we have an enforcer that doesn't want to fight. He doesn't offer anything else that our other guys can't do so I don't see any reason to keep him. He was supposed to protect our player but that has definitely not been the case.

Carbonneau : Last year, the players seemed to listen to him and trust him, but this year his coaching method doesn't seem to be working at all because half the team floats every match. We added more speed this summer but instead of adapting his system, he kept his defensive system (which we had abandonned last year in favor of speed). He's not a bad coach but he needs to take a step back and analyze what he's done that has worked and what he's done that hasn't worked. He also needs to stop giving the 4th line so much time (before and after commercial breaks...) and mixing our lines every other period (putting Kovalev with Begin won't help his productivity). Overall, he doesn't seem to know what he's doing this year, and I hope that will change.

Hamilton Call-ups
For the most part, they have done well. I think Begin will get replaced by Stewart soon enough, as they are the same type of players but Begin isn't getting any younger.

No one except those already mentionned really stood-out for me, either positively or negatively.

Well, that's how I see our players right now.
Personally, I think if we get rid of a few of our floaters in the offseason and get some leadership (a good center) and that the players in the middle section pick up their game, we could have a good future. We have some good DMen in our system that will be on the team in a few years replacing Brisebois, Bouillon, Dandenault and possibly the others if they get traded/become useless. We need a temporary fix for our PP DMan though.

I really think this offseason is a perfect opportunity for us to get rid of some of our "talented" forwards for a top6 with more grit (albeit they need skill and talent of course). I don't think we will ever have success building around speed and talent only (especially with this coach) so we need to adjust.

Feel free to post your own evaluations of each player or to critize my choices, they are only my opinion.

Last edited by mlandry: 02-10-2009 at 12:52 AM.
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