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TSN 990: As per a Habs executive they are NOT re-building
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02-21-2012, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Look ladies and germs, we're neither the team that made it to the ECF, nor are we the team that's bottom feeding for a lottery pick. What we are is a team with half the roster made up of 25-and-under players. The current Habs are not a finished product; they're a mostly-young team that got stung by an inexperienced defense core and hit two serious slumps. Like them or not, none of us have a clue just how good this team really is, and neither do the players. This young half is still developing and will not be the same next year. Eller, Desharnais and Pacioretty leaped forward this year; they may get better next season, and/or we may see another young guy bloom. Now, I'm not suggesting that we do nothing and wait for our young core to magically float us to the top of the conference. They're probably not good enough for that. But they are good enough to expect an improvement as they gain maturity and more NHL experience.
I guess the message here is that one season - good or bad - doesn't necessarily predict the next season. Ask New Jersey, Buffalo, Florida or New York if they expected to be where they currently are based on last year. Montreal definitely has work to do. Management has to complement our developing young half with a strong second half of the roster that maintains leadership and adds some needed talent, especially on defense. But we're not that far off. We've blown so many close games where the difference was one goal or five bad minutes. Think of how much difference another Eric Cole would've made; think what a difference another Gorges would've made in October. Think what a difference it'll make when those two theoretical players are teamed with 11 young guys with another year of NHL experience.
That's the likely outcome, whether we like this scenario or not. We're banking on the young half we already have, and then we're probably going to the bank to buy another key piece. Meanwhile, our investments continue to gain interest with two strong upcoming defensemen in Beaulieu and Tinordi, plus the chance for a great pick in the next draft. This isn't the formula for a first-place finish next year, but it's a legitimate step on the rebuilding path beyond being a bubble team.
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