I was just thinking about how , if we assume PK and Markov are signed, we have our top 4 set for next year, but then we have Cubes, Weaver and Murray as UFAs next year. I know that Weaver has been considered a nice addition, and there is a constant back and forth on Murray and Cubes, but which, if any of these guys will be back and should be back.
Of course we have Tinordi and we root for him because he might fit the role of that huge, mobile, defensive , crease cleaning mean SOB who will dish it out we have wanted for years.
Then there is Beaulieu, who we really pull for because he is about it when it comes to offensively talented D men that we have in the system.
I said almost, because there is the Hamilton Hater Nygren. Roll your eyes at this guy but he is again at the top of the Swedish league, is an offensive type , is 23 and a RHD, okay size.
Lastly is the forgotten Pateryn, who is big, skates well for his size, is physical, and has surprisingly to me anyway, put up good points in the AHL. Everything I read about this guy is he has been our best D man in Hamilton, but not a call-up this year. I think its because he doesn't fill a niche like Tinordi or Beaulieu fill. But no games for this guy is a mistake I think. We should have seen this kid up and he should have gotten rewarded.
Generally speaking you never start a NHL season with any rookies or green guys in your top 7 and certainly not more than one, despite all the posts where we fans pencil in a complete rookie in the top 4 and another one in the bottom pairing. Doesn't happen unless you land a PK.
But we have so many prospects, 4, banging at the door and are up there in age where they should be either making it, being labeled career AHLers, or traded. Thing is Pateryn and Nygren have not had much opportunity ( I know Nygren is self-inflicted, but you cant just throw this kid away).
So do we slot Tinordi into the top 7 and fill the other 2 spots with UFA vets, such as from our group, or do you give 2 spots to the rookies ? What do you think MB will do ? Remember, MT loves Cubes and Cubes would take another one year deal I am sure. Weaver, a RHD, probably looks for a couple years. Murray would probably test than do a one year deal.
If Markov is not resigned (which would be a very big waste) then it opens up a spot for Beaulieu to step in and maybe for Nygren to steal, because Nygren walked away because he wants an NHL job, not bus rides in the minors.
We aren't hurting for talent in our D prospects, Tinordi seems to be gaining confidence with his limited experience.
We have options in UFA to sign depth Dmen, don't forget Drewiske too.
If Weaver would re-sign, great, sign him and forgetabout Murray and Bouillon. Weaver is heading to his 35+ retirement contract... I could see him being cheap-ish if you were willing to take term on. I could see him getting $2M for 1 year. Maybe you could whittle that down for a 3-year deal? $1.5M per for 3 years? He has been underpaid for a lot of his career, so I think he's going where the money is, regardless. If we could pay Bouillon or Murray $1.5M, then we for sure can for Weaver, anyway. Just I guess remains to be seen if anybody else out there has him on their radar. It seems like nobody did at the trade deadline, anyway, so that's a plus.
Then cycle Tinordi, Beaulieu and Pateryn. Just make sure nobody gets too stale in the pressbox. Better to have them playing in Hamilton than sitting in the pressbox.
Ideally, we would have been playing Beaulieu & Tinordi fairly regularly this year, platooning them in & out of the #6 spot at least. Then next year both would be fairly ready for permanent top-6 roles. But no, gotta play the giant pylon who can't even move and the way-over-the-hill guy who doesn't know where he's going. Ugh. Therrien.
Anyway, YMCM's posted D-corps looks about like what I want to see next year. The right guys in the top 6, a dependable depth guy, and the two wastes of space nowhere in sight.
If we sign Subban for 7-8 years, we'll need to find a partner for him. Gorges is reliable, but he is really a #4 guy whereas Subban can use a #2. Markov-Subban was a tremendous pairing once they got some chemistry, but Therrien insists on playing him with Emelin.
Assuming Gorges does not get dealt,
I can see Pateryn being dealt as part of a package or for a pick.
I'd love for Beaulieu to get a full time role. I believe he performed significantly better than Tinordi in his time up here this season. However, considering Therrien loves his stay at home Dmen and MB loves his character guys, Tinordi will get that spot on the 3rd paiting. I'm really hoping Tinordi can work his way up and eventually form a great pairing with Subban.
Weaver will get another contract for next season. I wouldn't mind signing Murray for depth. Bouillon will get a job as Therrien's secretary.
The problem is, assuming Markov gets $5.5m and Subban $7m, that's $20.5m tied up in our top4.
Weaver has been solid, and should return on a cheap deal. Cube and Murray have been awful all season long, getting absolutely slaughtered in favourable match-ups and zone-starts and rank among the worst defencemen in the league this season. They should be gone, but never underestimate Therrien's influence and mixed up views on player values.
Ideally, The defence looks like this next season (perhaps not in deployment, but in personnel:
If having two rookies in the top-6 isn't appetizing (although the Habs need to integrate them in somehow), then Tom Gilbert and Matt Greene are a couple of free agents that may be worthwhile adding at the right price.
What will happen? Dunno, but its put-up, or shut-up time for MB.