Thread: Confirmed with Link: Brandon Prust to Montreal [4 years, $10M]
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07-02-2012, 11:39 AM
Talks to Goalposts
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Originally Posted by Miller Time View Post
i don't know when this period where we were "tough to win against" occurred? Aside from 2007-08, we've been a borderline playoff team every season, a mediocre team that might put together a positive streak or two, but always followed by an equally negative stretch...

yes, we had a deadly PP which I'm sure made some opposing players nervous (for fear of being the one to take a bad penalty/give up a goal), but otherwise we've been weak 5-on-5 and iced a smallish team with no one willing/capable to clear the crease or address liberties being taken.

Yes, Pleks is a centre and yes, in clutch moments (late in games, when score is tied/tight, down the stretch) he's obviously going to get his minutes, but adding depth to quality PK fwds is never a bad thing. Pleks is the top C for PK situations but it's much easier to give more minutes to your 2nd/3rd rated PK C if you have greater confidence in the wingers/other fwds you have to complement.
While in the EA sports world, it's fine and dandy to simply put your top rated guys in all of the important roles, in the real world, players have ego's that get affected by their stat line/media focus, and if you give a player like Pleks a few extra shifts/nights off of the gruelling PK role (he played 3:13/g on the PK last year, dropping that to ~2:30 might seem like a minor difference, but over 82 games that can have a huge impact)

We had Plekanec with Cammalleri last year... didn't do us much good.
We had Kost on the roster last year... while there were nice glimpses with Eller, neither coach seemed convinced enough to give them consistent time together.

again, while on paper it looks nice just to add in guys who have had strong offensive seasons in the past, in reality, finding the right chemistry is more in tune with production/success than simply adding skill player A with skill player B.

no doubt we still need to upgrade our top-6, but that doesn't make the upgrades we've made to our bottom-6 a bad thing.

of all the bottom-6 players we've had in recent years that coaches bumped into top-6 roles (either due to injury or to "cleverness") Armstrong has the potential to be by far the most effective.

moving forward, getting rid of Bourque and adding two players into the top-9 that have greater production potential is the objective, but finding those players is always a challenge.

Hopefully we can land Jagr, and perhaps Semin (if it doesn't require a huge cap/term commitment), or find a suitable trade partner (Hemsky?) where we won't have to give up a ton unless getting a bonafide star (Ryan?).

if not? team is better today than it was in April... with a bit of injury luck, we're right back in the playoff conversation and with young guys like Gally/Gallagher/Kristo/Collberg in the pipeline, perhaps we go the Phoenix route for the next season or two (scoring by committee, winning from the goal out, being "hard to play against"), which is still an upgrade over the past few years, and wait for the top-6 "skill" upgrades to come internally.
2010-11 they were hard to win against. They did that by loading up on offensive and defensive specialists on the bottom lines that contributed on the scoresheet in more goals for and less against. They survived an implosion on the 2nd line on that basis. The late era Martin team was sustainably well above average on 5 on 5 play.

Why does everyone insist this will help Plekanec's PK minutes go down? Prust isn't a PK C. He has no relevance to the situation. Adding another PK winger does not effect Plekanec's PK minutes, if they added a PK center we could have this discussion. However that is something that manifestly did not happen yesterday.

Cammalleri with Plekanec did plenty of good. It meant Plekanec played with a winger good enough that when faced with tough minutes he could play them at least equal. Losing him for Bourque was the step that killed the lineups ability to play power versus power against good teams. This was a move many applauded because Bourque was bigger and had scored more more recently.

With the way the Habs are currently constructed at least one line of good players is going to under perform their "scoring potential" because they will get matched in hard minutes. The way out of that is to have enough scoring depth that two lines can produce while the other plays shutdown. Montreal doesn't have the overwhelming firepower at the top of the lineup to change that. Chemistry is massively over-rated. It wasn't a matter of bad chemistry that guys production went down, its is a matter of roles that need to be played.

Armstrong isn't nearly as capable of stepping up to the top six as Kostitsyn was to start last year. That's the situation Montreal should be looking to recapitulate.

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