Thread: Center problem
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09-03-2013, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by NAF View Post
Come on. The guy's eyeball exploded. He's half-blind out there. No coach is going to play him and no club would insure him in his current state. He should just retire.
Alan Vingneault did not stop trusting or playing Maholtra, Gillis did. Maholtra got by far the most SH time on ice per game (2:47) for Vancouver and was still used in a heavy defensive zone start role (25% ozone, that's crazy). Vigneault also used him for faceoffs a lot in his 9 games, he took about 10 per game and won 65% of them. He did get bumped down to 8 minutes per game at evens, but really that's all you'd expect the 4th line center to get anyways. At the end of the day Maholtra played 10-12 minutes per night in a heavy defensive role for a quality club last season, and it was concerns over safety not effectiveness that was the supposed reason for his banishment. If he feels fine and his vision is improving there is no reason he shouldn't get a chance, he's still managed to be effective enough to fill a role. Lets be honest with Gordon in tow the 4th line center is just going to have to be capable defensively, at draws, and on the PK to be a great fit. Maholtra on the wing or as a sub could also be a good fit. No question he helps the PK immensely, is an excellent option to win a crucial faceoff, and at worst isn't going to kill you on the 4th line. Sounds like a reasonable option to me, as it was to one of the NHL's elite coaches.

Also the year before, his first with the eye injury, was no different, in fact it was better:

77 games playing nearly 10 minutes per game at evens (12th out of all regular Canucks)
2:24 on the PK. (1st on Canucks)
58.5% faceoff (insane, only 3 players in the NHL with at least 500 draws were better and not by much) in over 900 draws (3rd most on Canucks)
13.2 Ozone start (insane, 1st on Canucks and the NHL)
Also his quality of competition was very comparable to all the other Vancouver centers, i.e. they did not shelter him.

The fact is before the eye injury he was an elite 3rd line center, now he's a very good 4th line center. Sure he fell off big time but he was a truly excellent player before the injury. Maholtra's demise is fairly overstated IMO, his play was never the concern despite his inability to be as effective as he once was. The coach never stopped trusting him.

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