Given the thread by the opposite name, I'm starting this thread to discuss what we have done right this season. I'll be editing it over the rest of the season so we can keep track of the stories that we should be proud of this season.
I'm a Price supporter. But Halak has been awesome getting the wins against the teams we should be beating while Price struggles. I feel that you need a starting goalie that steps up against the big teams and Price's stats show that. Halak had two great games against Jersey and the Rangers who aren't dynamite offensive teams, but he's struggled against the top echelon. He's gotten more goal support but his stats don't lie. While I want to keep both, I appreciate that we don't necessarily have many chips to deal from and trading our backup goaltender can give us a missing piece. With that said, our goalies haven't been the problem this year and both have saved our ass this season.
Could we have found the big sniper we've been looking for? We now have the #4 and #5 picks from that draft year. Some of his goals have been unreal. Re-direction through the legs or a soft touch off a slap pass. Plus he parks his rear-end in front of the net. His goals against Ottawa and Jersey were exactly what we've been missing the last few years. He can be our long-term solution at both left-wing and center. Gainey did this right.
3. Powerplay + Penalty Killing Rankings
Both sum to under 10. That's a recipe for success. Bergeron has been useless when he's not blasting from the point, but that's what we lacked and he's provided it. Gill has been a monster on the penalty kill. Gorges as well. I'll speak more about them next.
I've moved him up based on feedback. Pleks has been lights out this year. He's been a leader on the ice this season and has saved our ass many times. He definitely made it a mission to play with more bite this season. He's been tougher to take off the puck, is throwing his weight around more and it's given him confidence in the offensive end. He is just under a point-per-game player even though he has 20 or so games where he was held pointless. We need to re-sign him. He's still only 27.
5. Gill and Gorges
A recent article showed we have two of the top 30 defensive defensemen in the league, Gorges at #5 and Gill at #30. This considered time on ice during even strength goals against, powerplay goals against, etc. These two guys have been great. If we can only complement them with some puck-movers. Markov and Hammer have been immense this season. I would suggest we have that in PK but I wouldn't be okay with calling him up at this time of the season.
I have 3 honourable mentions below:
1) Mike Cammalleri
The top 5 were so important that I didn't even have room for Cammalleri. He passed our leading goal scorer from last year with 29 games to go this season. Captain if you ask me.
2) Scott Gomez (post-December)
"Recent Gomez" is rounding into form. Craig MacTavish said it best on the TSN panel after he got fired - you have to coach players by not looking at their price tags. That's the GM's job. His mistake was putting too much pressure on the guys making the dough simply because of what they made. Look at how Penner has flourished now without him. Gomez has picked up his play in the last month. May it continue.
3) Glen Metropolit
He's been cold recently but over the course of the season, he's been a breath of fresh air. He went on a nice run in the beginning of the season. Let's hope he can keep it up and be a leader in the dressing room. He has definitely been a welcome addition from the waiver wire.
I'm sure there's more. All is not doom and gloom. We just need to be reminded of what's gone right. Over half the conference has 54 or 55 points. That means that we can either make it quite high, or we have a top 5 pick. To me that's a great trade off.
To round off this analysis, the team we should be looking at is LA. Frolov is a pending UFA and Jack Johnson has been in and out of the rumour mill for the last 12 months. A player with size in our top 6 and a potential #2 defenceman are exactly the two things this team is missing the most. We should look at what they'd be asking for.
Gorges at #5 in the league is something you shouldn't mention because it is absolutely ridiculous. If you were to pick 5 defenseman in this league for your team, would you pick him?
Pouliot and Pleks this season are gold, Jerry. Gold.
No but this is to highlight the accomplishments of our players. He's been a top 5 defensive defenceman this season given the constant turmoil of our defense and its injuries. There are 30 teams in the league and Gorges has been awesome.
i would add boucher. only because i have a man crush on him, and i hope he is the coach here one day.
Getting Boucher onboard was definitely a great move. I already consider him (based on all the positive comments from Bulldogs players... Lever who?) as on of the most precious assets of this organization alongside Andrei Markov, Halak or Price, PK Subban, Michael Cammalleri...