Hats off to our team that showed a lot of guts and fought hard through adversity, injury and bad luck all year.
However, a lot of lessons were learned about this team this year both positive and negative of course.
Might as well start with the negatives, since I’m not in the best of moods to have no more Habs games for some 5 long months.
The D needs to get younger and more mobile. Hammer has battled hard but his age and mobility work against him and it’s time to move on. Sopel has been good as a rental for the PK, but I can’t imagine him being kept around past this year. Same goes for Mara. I’d like to see Gill kept around with less of a burden being placed on him for his leadership and PK. But he needs far less ice time at this point of his career. Spacek is the major issue that needs dealing with. His game is inconsistent and he has no desire to get dirty in front of the net or in the corners anymore. He’s slow to move the puck and his clearings are often timid and weak. He’s just not getting it done with anymore. But at 3+ mill on a deal you can’t buyout and probably can’t trade… what to do?
Up front Pouliot might as well pack his bags right now. He’s done. I’m also tempted to say the same about the maddening Andrei Kostitsyn. I can’t take his nonchalance and inconsistency anymore. I can’t imagine committing to him long term.
Speaking of long term… How much longer will we have to deal with Gomez? I know he’s got 3 years left… but seriously… What do you do with the guy if he plays another year like this one? The Habs biggest issue is an inability to handle physical teams. Eller and Patches are a start to fixing that, But with Plek as you #1 C, can you live with someone as small and soft as Gomez as the #2? The guy isn’t good defensively anymore, and his bad penalties and blind passes to no one are killing the team. I can’t see the Habs burying him in Hamilton, but I just hope to god they find someone to take his and his last 2 seasons at lower money by the trade deadline next year.
Also as a negative-positive, I am sure Kirk Muller will be moving on to become a HC somewhere. My hat is off to him and he deserves it, but he will be sorely missed.
So many pluses this year though,
First and foremost: CAREY PRICE. Every night this guy plays you have a chance to win. He was fantastic and made PG look brilliant in keeping the faith.
Subban has progressed into an elite Dman. He still has things to learn, but his future is every bit as bright as Carey’s. Greatly exciting to think of PK and Carey being the anchor of this team for a long time.
Eller, Desharnais, White, Weber, Pacioretty… a lot of the young guys got a lot of experience and sure do look to be like winners. There’s a lot of guys with a good future to build around that were given a lot of great NHL experience for various reasons.
Wiz looks like a find as well. He might be the best in season acquisition the Habs have pulled off in recent memory. Hopefully they will find a way to keep him on a long term basis.
Cammy, Gionta, Pleks…. All played well despite injuries too.
Hats off to the grinders too like Moen, Pyatt, Halpern, and especially Darche who gave 110% and contributed in their own ways.
A healthy team next year and maybe a new face on D and things are looking good. The Habs will need to find a top 6 Forward though. Kostityn and Pouliot aren’t it. Eller might be in time but isn’t there yet.