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07-10-2012, 02:40 PM
Slew Foots
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The Habs have way too many veteran forwards

During my lunch break, my brother told me to start a blog about the Habs, so I did:

There are already tons of Habs blogs out there, I'm well aware, but I figured it's time that I spent my time doing something I actually enjoyed for a change...

In my first blog post, I'm positing that the Habs have way too many veteran forwards (in my assessment, anything above the age of 28 is considered a "veteran"). If you look at the past 3 cup champs, those teams didn't have a lot of veteran forwards.

The Habs signed two UFA forwards this offseason, and are rumored to be interested in Doan. Some veteran leadership is good, but the reality is that forwards beyond the age of 28 start to decline, and we now have way too many declining assets at the forward position.

Accordingly, I'd stay far away from Shane Doan, as much as he's still a useful player (today anyway).

Do you think we have too many veteran forwards on the team?

EDIT: Since it seems as though people aren't reading through my blog post to understand my point, I'll add the argument from the blog post here:

My gut tells me that the winning recipe is: skilled young forwards with size, good veteran D, good goalie. My gut also tells me that you don't win cups by having too many 30+ year old forwards. The infamous summer of 2009 was always ill-advised, because you don't win cups these days with high-priced UFA forward signings. My hypothesis is that the makeup of the Habs is fundamentally flawed, and that there are far too many aging forwards on the team. Comparing the current Habs makeup to the makeup of the 2012 Kings, 2011 Bruins and 2010 Blackhawks may not prove my hypothesis is correct, as it's a rather superficial assessment, but, in the interest of time, I think it's interesting food for thought just the same. It's often said that forwards peak at the ages of 27-28, so I will list players aged 29 and older on each of the aforementioned cup winning rosters when assessing our current roster, since you could say these are declining assets.

The only significant forwards on the 2012 Kings above the age of 28 were Jarret Stoll, age 30 and Justin Williams, age 30 (Simon Gagne, age 32, only played 34 regular season and 4 playoff games). TOTAL: 2 players above the age 28.

The only significant forwards on the 2011 Bruins above the age of 28 were Michael Ryder, age 31, Chris Kelly, age 30, Shawn Thornton, age 32, and of course, Dr. Mark Recchi, age 43. TOTAL: 4 players above the age of 28.

The only significant forwards on the 2010 Hawks above the age of 28 were Marian Hossa, age 31 and John Madden, age 37. TOTAL: 2 players above the age of 28.

As it stands right now, the Habs current roster will the following players above the age of 30 come the 2013 playoffs: Colby Armstrong, age 30, Rene Bourque, age 31, Erik Cole, age 34, Brian Gionta, age 34, Scott Gomez (don't laugh - he's still on the team), age 33, Travis Moen, age 31, Tomas Plekanec, age 30, Brandon Prust, age 29. TOTAL: 8 players above the age of 28.

Eight forwards above the age of 28. Four more than the 2011 Bruins. Six more than the 2012 Kings and the 2010 Hawks.

Our team needs to get much younger. In today's game, you can be a successful forward at a younger age than in the past. You need veterans to play D, but playing forward is easier and quicker to learn. You don't need eight veteran forwards. You just don't.

Bergevin needs his forwards to get much younger. Younger forwards have the requisite energy to forecheck hard and last a full 82 game season + playoffs. Younger forwards cost less money and eat up less cap space too. Bergevin does not need to sign any more UFA forwards (i.e. he does not need a Shane Doan).

Let me be clear here: I'm not saying you don't need veterans to win. Veterans are absolutely necessary to mobilize a team and keep a team focused on the prize.

Essentially, my claim is that the differential in performance obtained by spending a lot of cap space on several expensive veteran forwards as opposed to relying on younger forwards and using the cap space elsewhere is sub-optimal.

Last year, you saw what happens when you use your cap-friendly roster spots on defencemen. The performance gap between a veteran D-man and a young D-man is typically greater than the performance gap between a veteran forward and a young forward. The past cup winners have shown that a more optimal mix is to try to maximize the number of cap-friendly roster spots given to young talented forwards.

Thus, the return on invested capital (ROIC) when spending cap space on veteran forwards vs. younger forwards appears to be typically lower than the ROIC when spending cap space on veteran d-men vs. younger d-men, so the opportunity cost of foregoing cap spending on veteran forwards is lower than the opportunity cost of foregoing cap spending on veteran D-men.

Last edited by Slew Foots: 07-10-2012 at 04:54 PM.
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