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The "Balls or No Balls" thread

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Old
07-19-2013, 12:38 PM
  #1
Lshap
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The "Balls or No Balls" thread

After one year, Bergevin's become the preacher of slow rebuilds, solid draft picks, safe trades and cautious contracts. Blockbuster deals and "Free-Agent Frenzy"? No thanks, we're on a strict diet. Well… maybe just a little nibble of Prust and a mini Briere brioche, but not too much or too long or it goes straight to our hips.

Bergevin took a franchise that was stuffing its belly with fatty contracts and stop-gap 30-year-olds, and turned it into a prudent, cap-conscious, youth-obsessed team of calorie-counters. In a red-meat league, we've become the vegetarians. During the trade deadline, draft day and free agency, while so many teams were dealing like drunken sailors, Montreal was the designated driver.

So we've trimmed the fat and look ten years younger. But now that the Habs are looking healthier, are we in danger of being TOO conservative? Nobody wants to go back to the days when we got hustled for assets, draft picks and cash, but are we afraid to make the bold move that separates real contenders from merely good teams? Look at most other Cup-winners and you see a balance of caution and balls. LA built much of its core through great draft picks, but then made two major deals trading big assets for Carter and Richards. Boston has spent big money on Chara and thrown the dice big-time dealing assets to get Rask and Seguin, and now Eriksson. Even Chicago, with the best group of draftees in the league, purchased big UFA, Marian Hossa.

The question is: What's the best balance of caution and balls for the Habs? Right now, I see a lot of caution, little balls. Bergevin says he's building through the draft, yet he was unwilling to do what it took to trade up for a higher pick. He says we need size, but hasn't been willing (so far) to part with assets to fill that gap. Make no mistake -- I'm not talking about throwing stupid contracts at mid-tier players, I'm talking about targeting a high-end need and doing whatever it takes to get him. Our strong prospect pool doesn't include a Drouin, Kane or Toews, nor do we have a wealth of 1st-line talent soon to explode like Edmonton. Our core and upcoming youth are good, but not elite. If we want a Stanley Cup, we'll need to trade or purchase a superior game-changing player or two.

Maybe the prices have all been too high. Maybe key players are already in discussion. I'm patient for now. But I expect to start seeing some ballsy moves between September and next trade deadline. Package some roster players, spend some serious money, I don't care. At some point, Bergevin will have to stop saying, "Thanks, we're good!" or "I tried", and start saying, "What will it take?".

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07-19-2013, 12:46 PM
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Fantastically written piece. I do think with patience comes success though and Bergevin has the right idea going forward. I have confidence we can become one of the League's elite with this guy.

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07-19-2013, 12:53 PM
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While no one will ever agree on 100% of the moves a GM makes, and not every move a GM makes will work out; I do believe Bergevin has done a terrific job thus far. Out with the "same old / same old" strategy which has not proven successful, and in with a different strategy. Will it work? time will tell, however I do believe we're still making overall progress.

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07-19-2013, 01:00 PM
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Personally, I am not entirely clear on what Bergevin's plan is. His narratives to the media indicates one thing, but I find that his moves indicate another

Bergevin at this point looks like he's a GM who struggling with balancing his ideology of character, drafting and cap crunching with the fact that the Canadiens are not a bottom dweller, but rather a team which can be competitive with a few shrewd moves.

I think it's too early to tell right now. We can judge individual moves, but the whole picture is still fuzzy and nebulous because he's only been with the team a year.

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07-19-2013, 01:06 PM
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Well it'd sure be nice to add a high end player, but none were really available this year - at least none that would have put us over the top. We have one of the best young goaltenders in the league in Carey Price - there is no goalie I'd trade him for, except Quick. We have a young Norris winner anchoring our blueline in PK Subban. We have a stud in the making with Galchenyuk. We have great, young complementary pieces Pacioretty, Gallagher and Tinordi. We've got a good future, but we need to wait a year or two before making a splash is the right move, imo.

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07-19-2013, 01:17 PM
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None of the teams made bold moves a year after finishing in the basement. They built their teams the right way and then made bold moves when they had a shot to win the Cup.

Let's see how our team does this year before blaming Bergevin for not making massive moves that might make you a cup contender (LA) or a bad team (Philly)

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07-19-2013, 01:20 PM
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Honestly the only move MB has made that I'm truly unhappy with is the DD contract. There was absolutely no need for that.

I'm not so sure we need a big trade at the moment. It would be nice to add a Chris Stewart and ship out either Gio or DD but I don't see that happening. I think Tinordi is ready to fill that roll everyone says we need to make a trade for on D. MB should just stick to his plan and hope that Eller/Gallys/Tinordi can continue to make a difference this year.

Briere is fine for a Ryder replacement, and still better than Cole as well IMO (He didn't want to play here). Yeah another midget but he can be a game changer when it counts. I liked Ryder but it looked like he had cement in his skates.

Gorges and Price need to be better.

Only other thing I question is their faith in Boullion.. Could have made a better move there.

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07-19-2013, 01:21 PM
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Hard to make blockbusters with a lineup filled with players that prove likely little worth. 2012/2013 drafts are a step in right direction potentially adding to the pool of talent that was thin before 2012.

I'm not going to sit here and expect him to turn Desharnais/Bourque into a Bobby Ryan and Loui Eriksson but I do however question strongly the decision to extend DD and sign Briere. I don't want silly blockbusters with the players of worth we have (Pacioretty/Subban/Galchenyuk/etc) so few of right now but signs of building current lineup into more of a winning combination with low/mid tier moves. Morrow over Briere for example. Bouillon as #6 vs a bigger presence that can clear the crease.


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Old
07-19-2013, 01:24 PM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lshap View Post
After one year, Bergevin's become the preacher of slow rebuilds, solid draft picks, safe trades and cautious contracts. Blockbuster deals and "Free-Agent Frenzy"? No thanks, we're on a strict diet. Well… maybe just a little nibble of Prust and a mini Briere brioche, but not too much or too long or it goes straight to our hips.

Bergevin took a franchise that was stuffing its belly with fatty contracts and stop-gap 30-year-olds, and turned it into a prudent, cap-conscious, youth-obsessed team of calorie-counters. In a red-meat league, we've become the vegetarians. During the trade deadline, draft day and free agency, while so many teams were dealing like drunken sailors, Montreal was the designated driver.

So we've trimmed the fat and look ten years younger. But now that the Habs are looking healthier, are we in danger of being TOO conservative? Nobody wants to go back to the days when we got hustled for assets, draft picks and cash, but are we afraid to make the bold move that separates real contenders from merely good teams? Look at most other Cup-winners and you see a balance of caution and balls. LA built much of its core through great draft picks, but then made two major deals trading big assets for Carter and Richards. Boston has spent big money on Chara and thrown the dice big-time dealing assets to get Rask and Seguin, and now Eriksson. Even Chicago, with the best group of draftees in the league, purchased big UFA, Marian Hossa.

The question is: What's the best balance of caution and balls for the Habs? Right now, I see a lot of caution, little balls. Bergevin says he's building through the draft, yet he was unwilling to do what it took to trade up for a higher pick. He says we need size, but hasn't been willing (so far) to part with assets to fill that gap. Make no mistake -- I'm not talking about throwing stupid contracts at mid-tier players, I'm talking about targeting a high-end need and doing whatever it takes to get him. Our strong prospect pool doesn't include a Drouin, Kane or Toews, nor do we have a wealth of 1st-line talent soon to explode like Edmonton. Our core and upcoming youth are good, but not elite. If we want a Stanley Cup, we'll need to trade or purchase a superior game-changing player or two.

Maybe the prices have all been too high. Maybe key players are already in discussion. I'm patient for now. But I expect to start seeing some ballsy moves between September and next trade deadline. Package some roster players, spend some serious money, I don't care. At some point, Bergevin will have to stop saying, "Thanks, we're good!" or "I tried", and start saying, "What will it take?".
Nice written piece !

It's year 2 for Bergevin... Does he think we are at "1 move" away from being a solid SC contender ?... Maybe... If so, he will try to make that move... If not, he will continue to build through draft and low-level trade... I was also lead to beleive that he had a deal in place with Philly to move up at the draft.. He was willing to trade several assets... That would have take "balls" to give 2-3 picks of that year to target a certain player ( Samuel Morin ?? ) ...

I don't think we will see anything special for another year... They will continue to develop Beaulieu, Tinordi, Eller, and both Gallys and will let Waite do his thing with Price...

Then maybe next year, he'll have the assets to pull the trigger on a trade to put us on top of the food chain

That's what I think

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07-19-2013, 01:26 PM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Watsatheo View Post
Hard to make blockbusters with a lineup filled with players that prove likely little worth.
I wouldn't call players like Eller, Galchenyuk, Plekanec, Paciorrety, Gallagher, Subban, Price, Emelin, Tinordi and Markov players of little worth. The problem is that these players are just so important to the current success of the team and it will be hard to fill a hole without creating another in trading any of them.

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07-19-2013, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy View Post
I wouldn't call players like Eller, Galchenyuk, Plekanec, Paciorrety, Gallagher, Subban, Price, Emelin, Tinordi and Markov players of little worth. The problem is that these players are just so important to the current success of the team and it will be hard to fill a hole without creating another in trading any of them.
That is my point actually. Beyond Eller/Galchenyuk/Plekanec/Pacioretty/Gallagher/Subban/Price and our top prospects what would a team ask for in a blockbuster? A blockbuster would only thin out the players of value even further than the handful it already sits at. Habs don't have the depth of quality that a good team that is able to make big trades have. The Stars made their trade for Seguin after loading up in the 2013 draft.

For example. Sens traded Silfverberg/Noesen/1st for Ryan. It's easy to say we can match it but when you look at the Sens organization, they have built up their young depth to the point making this trade still leaves them with plenty of top prospects and young NHL players.

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07-19-2013, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lshap View Post
After one year, Bergevin's become the preacher of slow rebuilds, solid draft picks, safe trades and cautious contracts. Blockbuster deals and "Free-Agent Frenzy"? No thanks, we're on a strict diet. Well… maybe just a little nibble of Prust and a mini Briere brioche, but not too much or too long or it goes straight to our hips.

Bergevin took a franchise that was stuffing its belly with fatty contracts and stop-gap 30-year-olds, and turned it into a prudent, cap-conscious, youth-obsessed team of calorie-counters. In a red-meat league, we've become the vegetarians. During the trade deadline, draft day and free agency, while so many teams were dealing like drunken sailors, Montreal was the designated driver.

So we've trimmed the fat and look ten years younger. But now that the Habs are looking healthier, are we in danger of being TOO conservative? Nobody wants to go back to the days when we got hustled for assets, draft picks and cash, but are we afraid to make the bold move that separates real contenders from merely good teams? Look at most other Cup-winners and you see a balance of caution and balls. LA built much of its core through great draft picks, but then made two major deals trading big assets for Carter and Richards. Boston has spent big money on Chara and thrown the dice big-time dealing assets to get Rask and Seguin, and now Eriksson. Even Chicago, with the best group of draftees in the league, purchased big UFA, Marian Hossa.

The question is: What's the best balance of caution and balls for the Habs? Right now, I see a lot of caution, little balls. Bergevin says he's building through the draft, yet he was unwilling to do what it took to trade up for a higher pick. He says we need size, but hasn't been willing (so far) to part with assets to fill that gap. Make no mistake -- I'm not talking about throwing stupid contracts at mid-tier players, I'm talking about targeting a high-end need and doing whatever it takes to get him. Our strong prospect pool doesn't include a Drouin, Kane or Toews, nor do we have a wealth of 1st-line talent soon to explode like Edmonton. Our core and upcoming youth are good, but not elite. If we want a Stanley Cup, we'll need to trade or purchase a superior game-changing player or two.

Maybe the prices have all been too high. Maybe key players are already in discussion. I'm patient for now. But I expect to start seeing some ballsy moves between September and next trade deadline. Package some roster players, spend some serious money, I don't care. At some point, Bergevin will have to stop saying, "Thanks, we're good!" or "I tried", and start saying, "What will it take?".
Well drafting McCarron and Crisp was "Ballsy" in my books, in a city like Montreal where every move is dissected like a new strain of Aids. As a matter of fact what I can see happening is getting particular linemates now for Eller, assuming he's the #2 centerman for years to come.

Dallas has Brett Ritchie RW that lit up the scoring in the OHL last year, Dallas has been one of the Habs trading partners lately. Then in this years draft Nick Ritchie LW, might also be available when the Habs draft. Getting those two brothers on a line with either Galchenyuk or Eller, leaving the other centerman with McCarron and Collberg... not a bad alternative.

Considering Brett Ritchie is now 6'4"- 215 lbs., Nick is 6'2"- 200lbs. and growing they would make a very strong statement for the direction the Habs are taking. The path to another Stanley Cup thank you very much.

This isn't dreaming it's well within Bergevin's youth program of building his own team as Ritchie (Brett) has yet to lace up in the NHL. Before that occurs "Let's Make A Deal " Monty Bergevin as he will be called later for his astute moves getting the Habs to the promised land.

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07-19-2013, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy View Post
Personally, I am not entirely clear on what Bergevin's plan is. His narratives to the media indicates one thing, but I find that his moves indicate another

Bergevin at this point looks like he's a GM who struggling with balancing his ideology of character, drafting and cap crunching with the fact that the Canadiens are not a bottom dweller, but rather a team which can be competitive with a few shrewd moves.

I think it's too early to tell right now. We can judge individual moves, but the whole picture is still fuzzy and nebulous because he's only been with the team a year.
I think you hit it right on the head here Andy. The fact that we went from a bottom dweller to a playoff contender so quickly, has got to have made things a bit more difficult for Bergevin. Or at the very least, has caused him to alter his original plans.

I still see Bergevin going with his initial plan (building through the draft). But now due to different circumstances, he's altered that a bit, and started to look more to the present, example signing Briere. Something I couldn't see him doing if we would have missed the playoffs again this season.

I can't see any block buster trades in the near future. Since I don't believe we're quite ready to do what the Kings, Blackhawks, or even the Penguins have done recently. Though like you said, Bergevin has only been in charge for a year. So it's still way too early to try and predict what the big picture will look like.

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07-19-2013, 01:55 PM
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Sometimes it takes balls to remain cautious.......

Two balls in the bush are better than a bird in the hand........

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07-19-2013, 02:12 PM
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im sure the pressure is on Bergevin to make ballsy moves and trade for this player or sign this player etc. The time is not right, you make the moves like you think that this could be your year to win the Cup.

Slow and steady has proven to be a sure thing though. Look at the Blackhawks. no bold moves, no big UFA signing (last one being Hossa) build from within, trade the role players with value when you have someone in the farm to replace them. That formula will keep your team a contender every year. Look a Pittsburgh, Chicago, LA..all bottom dweller that drafted well (yes I understand all these team had several top 5 picks) and now they are favorites every year.

Rangers and Leafs are the perfect example of trying to rush thing doesnt work. Getting the best UFA,s making the big trade and neither of those team had great success with that formula.

So far I like what Bergevin has done and im willing to wait a couple more years as a bubble team. In 3 years or so. We will see most of our high picks (Collberg, McCarron, DLR, Beaulieu) with our young core (Galchenyuk, Price, Subban, Pax, Gallagher, Tinordi) and we'll have one hell of a team....and add 2 drafts to that!!!

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07-19-2013, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lshap View Post
Our strong prospect pool doesn't include a Drouin, Kane or Toews, nor do we have a wealth of 1st-line talent soon to explode like Edmonton. Our core and upcoming youth are good, but not elite. If we want a Stanley Cup, we'll need to trade or purchase a superior game-changing player or two.

nice piece and all, but this section is pretty much invalid... wait, what's his name again? GALCHENYUK buddy!

There's no doubt in my mind that Galchenyuk will be a game changer of the likes of Patrick Kane. No doubt in my mind that he was the best player in that draft year. No doubt in my mind that he will explode. Our core includes alot of young studs: Subban, the 24 year old Norris winner, Pacioretty, a sure 65 pts season guy, B. Gally, the overachiever. I give an A+ grade going forward to Subban and Galchenyuk, a A- to Pacioretty and a B to Gallagher. Be patient man, all our best players are 25 and under.

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07-19-2013, 02:15 PM
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Good topic Lshap.

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07-19-2013, 02:32 PM
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nice piece and all, but this section is pretty much invalid... wait, what's his name again? GALCHENYUK buddy!

There's no doubt in my mind that Galchenyuk will be a game changer of the likes of Patrick Kane. No doubt in my mind that he was the best player in that draft year. No doubt in my mind that he will explode. Our core includes alot of young studs: Subban, the 24 year old Norris winner, Pacioretty, a sure 65 pts season guy, B. Gally, the overachiever. I give an A+ grade going forward to Subban and Galchenyuk, a A- to Pacioretty and a B to Gallagher. Be patient man, all our best players are 25 and under.
I was bugged by the same part of the OP as well.

Sure, Edmonton has countless promising players up front... But for that they've been the laughing stock of the league for quite a while. And their team still has holes in several departments.

I'm fine with the Habs current position, personally. They'll become a cup contender soon enough if Galchenyuk can become the N.1 center we've all been waiting for.

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07-19-2013, 02:33 PM
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One thing i do enjoy is strategy of making rookies and prospects getting time with the habs or pushing for prospects to get time in the AHL.

What this leads to is that our prospects are getting watched by other teams scouts, giving (some) more value. Speaking of tinordi, Gallagher, beaulieu, etc, more to come this year given we are still relativly lacking depth.
So when time comes MB can pull trigger on Bobby ryan situation.
This gives us, IMO, possible future trade possibilities.

Given our team is at least 2 years from possibility of becoming a contender, hard for MB to **** up, unless he loses key players / makes some bad trades/ screws up development of some players.

MB still has, IMO another year of showcasing our youth before he starts cleaning up that department for some "ballsier" moves.

So far MB has made more mistakes then positives, but mistakes are fairly minor, so one big positive will neutralize them negative ones. Mostly DD, handling of PK, hiring of MT.
Im aware most will disagree, mostly because of small sample success of last season. But anyone with less of a results oriented approach to judging the habs can see past the high finish in a half season.

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07-19-2013, 03:00 PM
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I think Bergevin is still trying to clean the mess left from the last GM's.
Which is a hell of a job.

Never forget the he took a team with a long list of bad contract.
A very short list of good forward prospect.
With absolutely no toughness, Bulldogs included.

It took balls to bring back Therrien
It took balls to overpay a much needed grinder like Prust
It took balls to stand up to Subban demand's
It took balls to throw out about everyone from the last regime
It took balls to throw out Gomez
It took balls to trade Cole (fan's favourite from last year) for Ryder
It took balls to signed Brière


I'm not scared at all.....when the time will be right, and the move will make sense.....Balls won't be an issue.

But he needs to clean this mess up first, and that's what he's trying to doé
Just look at what he's doing with Hamilton...lots of new guys down there this year!

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07-19-2013, 03:09 PM
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It took balls to stand up to Subban demand's
I think this was more not budging on bridge contract than standing up to Subban's demands.

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07-19-2013, 04:53 PM
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im sure the pressure is on Bergevin to make ballsy moves and trade for this player or sign this player etc. The time is not right, you make the moves like you think that this could be your year to win the Cup.

Slow and steady has proven to be a sure thing though. Look at the Blackhawks. no bold moves, no big UFA signing (last one being Hossa) build from within, trade the role players with value when you have someone in the farm to replace them. That formula will keep your team a contender every year. Look a Pittsburgh, Chicago, LA..all bottom dweller that drafted well (yes I understand all these team had several top 5 picks) and now they are favorites every year.

Rangers and Leafs are the perfect example of trying to rush thing doesnt work. Getting the best UFA,s making the big trade and neither of those team had great success with that formula.

So far I like what Bergevin has done and im willing to wait a couple more years as a bubble team. In 3 years or so. We will see most of our high picks (Collberg, McCarron, DLR, Beaulieu) with our young core (Galchenyuk, Price, Subban, Pax, Gallagher, Tinordi) and we'll have one hell of a team....and add 2 drafts to that!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by daGreenGiant View Post
nice piece and all, but this section is pretty much invalid... wait, what's his name again? GALCHENYUK buddy!

There's no doubt in my mind that Galchenyuk will be a game changer of the likes of Patrick Kane. No doubt in my mind that he was the best player in that draft year. No doubt in my mind that he will explode. Our core includes alot of young studs: Subban, the 24 year old Norris winner, Pacioretty, a sure 65 pts season guy, B. Gally, the overachiever. I give an A+ grade going forward to Subban and Galchenyuk, a A- to Pacioretty and a B to Gallagher. Be patient man, all our best players are 25 and under.
I like the guys who are coming up, but my concern is that after Galcheyuk and Pacioretty, we're developing a pool of excellent 3rd-line forwards.

Okay, I admit I'm being pessimistic as a conversation-starter, but there is a reason why top-10 picks are markedly better than the picks that follow. Other than Galchenyuk, we have no top-10 skaters and none of our prospects look like they'll match the 1st-line or most 2nd-line players on LA or Chicago. Not worried as much about our D, with Tinordi, Beaulieu, Pateryn, Ellis, etc all upcoming, but I am concerned about our scoring.

That's where we'll probably need to make a move. And yes, I know big, high-scoring forwards are rare. So are Stanley Cups. But if we want the latter, we have to find a way to get the former.

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07-19-2013, 05:03 PM
  #23
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Good post OP.

I think Bergevin's plan is the right one. But I haven't agreed with many hirings in the hockey personel and contracts given to certain players. But at the same time, he has to deal with the fact that while he's rebuilding, he still has to make the playoffs. That's the hardest part he has to deal with and the reason why many are questioning some of his extensions and the Briere signing. That may or may not prolong the rebuild.

I still think that at some point if he wants this team to reach the next level, he will have to pull a big move. Personally, I'd rather see a real rebuild with us drafting high for 1 or 2 more years, but that's not gonna happen. Unless this team absolutely collapses again like they did in 2011-2012.

All in all, I think the organization has needed this type of patience for many many years, and after one year, I can say that Bergevin hasn't given any signs of deviation from his plan. Which is positive.

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07-19-2013, 05:04 PM
  #24
Maelpj*
 
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Originally Posted by Lshap View Post
I like the guys who are coming up, but my concern is that after Galcheyuk and Pacioretty, we're developing a pool of excellent 3rd-line forwards.

Okay, I admit I'm being pessimistic as a conversation-starter, but there is a reason why top-10 picks are markedly better than the picks that follow. Other than Galchenyuk, we have no top-10 skaters and none of our prospects look like they'll match the 1st-line or most 2nd-line players on LA or Chicago. Not worried as much about our D, with Tinordi, Beaulieu, Pateryn, Ellis, etc all upcoming, but I am concerned about our scoring.

That's where we'll probably need to make a move. And yes, I know big, high-scoring forwards are rare. So are Stanley Cups. But if we want the latter, we have to find a way to get the former.
I think exactly the same. 2012 was an exeption, we rarely draft high. So yeah, it's all good to draft well and build through the draft, but every team does it. So Bergevin basicaly expect Timmins to draft better than 29 other NHL scout, despite drafting most of the time around 15-20, to build himself a contender team. If Timmins only draft average or slighlty above average compared to other scout, our drafted player ain't gonna make us contend for the cup. So we could say that our future is in Timmins hands more than in Bergevin hands.


Last edited by Maelpj*: 07-19-2013 at 05:10 PM.
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07-19-2013, 05:30 PM
  #25
sharks9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lshap View Post
I like the guys who are coming up, but my concern is that after Galcheyuk and Pacioretty, we're developing a pool of excellent 3rd-line forwards.

Okay, I admit I'm being pessimistic as a conversation-starter, but there is a reason why top-10 picks are markedly better than the picks that follow. Other than Galchenyuk, we have no top-10 skaters and none of our prospects look like they'll match the 1st-line or most 2nd-line players on LA or Chicago. Not worried as much about our D, with Tinordi, Beaulieu, Pateryn, Ellis, etc all upcoming, but I am concerned about our scoring.

That's where we'll probably need to make a move. And yes, I know big, high-scoring forwards are rare. So are Stanley Cups. But if we want the latter, we have to find a way to get the former.
You never know though. Pacioretty obviously didn't project as a 1st line forward when he drafted. Drafting isn't an exact science so we'll have to hope that our player development is good enough to help our prospects reach their potentials.

We definitely have some guys who have top-6 potential, whether they reach it is up to them and our player development staff.

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