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Old
06-08-2010, 02:49 PM
  #1
HCH
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Outlook for next season

With all of the changes that have been occuring I thought a new thread might be in order to discuss the outlook for next season.

I am sure it will range from the optimists who point to the success in the playoffs to the pessimists who think we backed into the playoffs and were lucky to advance as far as we did.

Let's set the table
- There is a chance that 2/3 of the NHL coaching staff will be gone.
- It looks like the entire AHL coaching staff is heading south with whatever knowledge they had of our AHL talent
- Six of our scouts and whatever knowledge they had of our prospects is gone
- There is a chance that one of our goaltenders will be gone in a trade to shore up other weaknesses on the team
- Three of our top four defensemen last year were old and slow. They are getting older and slower
- Martin wasn't able to integrate many of our prospects into the team
- Our ability to sign FA's is restricted because of our salary structure
- Our team offense slipped to 23rd from 13th the previous year
- Our team defense improved to 12th from 22nd the previous year
- Our regular season standing slipped to 18th from 13th the previous year
- We have some legitimate candidates for the NHL club who played in Hamilton last year
- The new players we added last year have had a full season and an extended playoff run to learn Martin's system and to learn each other's tendencies
- There is the potential to get rid of the "bad eggs" on the team and go forward with a more cohesive unit

I would like to see more size at forward. Pacioretty and White would be candidates from within the organization. I would also like to see more mobility on defense. That is where Subban is a lock and Weber is a possibility. We could also use some toughness on defense. After O'Byrne there wasn't much for physical play from our D, and even O'Byrne was only marginally effective in that role.

With all of that, next year feels to me like it will be another year of battling for a playoff spot. I would be interested in your thoughts.

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06-08-2010, 03:01 PM
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King of Arcadia
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i agree it will be another year battling to get a playoff spot. i am very anxious to see how the summer plays out with player signings and possible trades.

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06-08-2010, 06:10 PM
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la25ecoupe
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Kost bros gone for sure. Darche not in full lineup. Metro is out. Plek is gone too.

Cammy - Gomez - Gionta
?? - ?? - Trotter
Moen - Moore - Laps
Pyatt - Desharnais - White
??

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Old
06-08-2010, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by la25ecoupe View Post
Kost bros gone for sure. Darche not in full lineup. Metro is out. Plek is gone too.

Cammy - Gomez - Gionta
?? - ?? - Trotter
Moen - Moore - Laps
Pyatt - Desharnais - White
??
What do you see for our defense and goaltending? And how competitive do you think we could be?

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06-08-2010, 07:07 PM
  #5
Melvin Udall
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Originally Posted by Hub City Hab View Post
With all of the changes that have been occuring I thought a new thread might be in order to discuss the outlook for next season.

I am sure it will range from the optimists who point to the success in the playoffs to the pessimists who think we backed into the playoffs and were lucky to advance as far as we did.

Let's set the table
- There is a chance that 2/3 of the NHL coaching staff will be gone.
- It looks like the entire AHL coaching staff is heading south with whatever knowledge they had of our AHL talent
- Six of our scouts and whatever knowledge they had of our prospects is gone
- There is a chance that one of our goaltenders will be gone in a trade to shore up other weaknesses on the team
- Three of our top four defensemen last year were old and slow. They are getting older and slower
- Martin wasn't able to integrate many of our prospects into the team
- Our ability to sign FA's is restricted because of our salary structure
- Our team offense slipped to 23rd from 13th the previous year
- Our team defense improved to 12th from 22nd the previous year
- Our regular season standing slipped to 18th from 13th the previous year
- We have some legitimate candidates for the NHL club who played in Hamilton last year
- The new players we added last year have had a full season and an extended playoff run to learn Martin's system and to learn each other's tendencies
- There is the potential to get rid of the "bad eggs" on the team and go forward with a more cohesive unit

I would like to see more size at forward. Pacioretty and White would be candidates from within the organization. I would also like to see more mobility on defense. That is where Subban is a lock and Weber is a possibility. We could also use some toughness on defense. After O'Byrne there wasn't much for physical play from our D, and even O'Byrne was only marginally effective in that role.

With all of that, next year feels to me like it will be another year of battling for a playoff spot. I would be interested in your thoughts.

Hub,

Good analysis - I agree Habs will likely battle for 7th or 8th place in the Eastern Conference, unless Halak and or Price can stand on their heads in goal and score a few goals themselves.

The 2009-2010 Habs had the lowest goals-for 5 on 5 in the entire league - how that will be addressed with their Cap issues is beyond me - but we'll see.

I hope Muller does not leave Montreal (even for Hamilton) - I'm thinkin' (player comments during the playoffs) that he may have been the coaching brains behind the 2010 Habs playoff run!

I anticipate next season to be, as always, eventful and interesting!

Cheers.


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Old
06-08-2010, 07:10 PM
  #6
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Originally Posted by la25ecoupe View Post
Kost bros gone for sure. Darche not in full lineup. Metro is out. Plek is gone too.

Cammy - Gomez - Gionta
?? - ?? - Trotter
Moen - Moore - Laps
Pyatt - Desharnais - White
??

WOW.........you really think Pleks is gone?

If he is gone Habs will likely have real problems - not a great UFA pool as I understand it and not much in the way of trade bait to offer in tems of acquiring needed player assets!


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Old
06-08-2010, 07:52 PM
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Those who think the Kost bros are gone are fooling themselves. Sergei MIGHT be gone. We really don't know. IMO, he is gone if he goes to the KHL, otherwise he will attend camp and the habs will hope to be able to make something out of him. Unless he is traded, that is another option.

But... Andrei will be back for sure. We don't have anyone to replace him and he is a talented dude. He had dominant stretches last season (and some silent ones as well). Maybe next year can be more consistent.. But even if it is the same as last year, it is still the best option we have.

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06-08-2010, 07:54 PM
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I'd keep Andrei. You're not likely to get better for the money, and there's a chance he might go back to 07-08 form just like Pleks did.

Sergei can't stay, obviously. Bridges burned. They'll flip him for a pick.

I think the OP's right -- battle for a playoff spot. I think more likely out than in, but it does depend what they do this summer.

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06-08-2010, 08:02 PM
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Trading Andrei at this point is not in our best interest. His value to far too low. Keep him for another year and see if he can finally put in a consistent performance. If we trade him for a 2nd and then he blossoms, we'll look foolish. Waaaay to much pure talent. to give up on just now IMO.

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06-08-2010, 08:10 PM
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If Pleks walks we will be very lucky to make the playoffs or come close. With Pleks it will be another photofinish. This team isn't close to good enough to be a true contender and cinderella stories almost never happen 2 years in a row.

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06-08-2010, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by OneSharpMarble View Post
If Pleks walks we will be very lucky to make the playoffs or come close. With Pleks it will be another photofinish. This team isn't close to good enough to be a true contender and cinderella stories almost never happen 2 years in a row.
If Pleks walks, PG will make a move. He certainly won't start the season with Moore or Lapierre as 2nd center. Hopefully, his move will be an improvement. As for the rest, one top 6 + one good defenceman and this team will be in the middle of the pile. One more top 6 and they'll be fighting for 1st place.

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06-08-2010, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Max Levine View Post
If Pleks walks, PG will make a move. He certainly won't start the season with Moore or Lapierre as 2nd center. Hopefully, his move will be an improvement.
Who might be available out there that's an improvement on Pleks?

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06-08-2010, 08:32 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hub City Hab View Post
With all of the changes that have been occuring I thought a new thread might be in order to discuss the outlook for next season.

I am sure it will range from the optimists who point to the success in the playoffs to the pessimists who think we backed into the playoffs and were lucky to advance as far as we did.

Let's set the table
- There is a chance that 2/3 of the NHL coaching staff will be gone.
- It looks like the entire AHL coaching staff is heading south with whatever knowledge they had of our AHL talent
- Six of our scouts and whatever knowledge they had of our prospects is gone
- There is a chance that one of our goaltenders will be gone in a trade to shore up other weaknesses on the team
- Three of our top four defensemen last year were old and slow. They are getting older and slower
- Martin wasn't able to integrate many of our prospects into the team
- Our ability to sign FA's is restricted because of our salary structure
- Our team offense slipped to 23rd from 13th the previous year
- Our team defense improved to 12th from 22nd the previous year
- Our regular season standing slipped to 18th from 13th the previous year
- We have some legitimate candidates for the NHL club who played in Hamilton last year
- The new players we added last year have had a full season and an extended playoff run to learn Martin's system and to learn each other's tendencies
- There is the potential to get rid of the "bad eggs" on the team and go forward with a more cohesive unit

I would like to see more size at forward. Pacioretty and White would be candidates from within the organization. I would also like to see more mobility on defense. That is where Subban is a lock and Weber is a possibility. We could also use some toughness on defense. After O'Byrne there wasn't much for physical play from our D, and even O'Byrne was only marginally effective in that role.

With all of that, next year feels to me like it will be another year of battling for a playoff spot. I would be interested in your thoughts.
In a Cap world you can only stay on top for so long, so the first thing is to see which of the top teams will start to fall and how far. The Cap also put pressure to have a parity in the league a lot of team will always be close to the playoffs. The Habs have a much better idea of just who they have and what they do in a playoff run and for sure the Habs have a much better idea of what will be needed to go that last mile. Injuries can ruin a year faster then anything so some teams will make a big comeback next year. The habs core is intact for next year so a few changes and a few less injuries and the Habs will make the playoffs. The talent is there. Subban will help, a trade maybe to help also and a simple exchange of some 3erd and 4th liners for more size and grit will balance the bullies of the league. All in all the habs can get these changes with very little effort as what is needed is available in the NHL every year. As for the Kostitsyn bros, I think they both will go in a trade. Sergie has talent but needs a change of teams and Andre has good NHL talent but he has only one type of talent, He does not have a second asset as in (carry the puck,playmaker,big hitter,big fighter,defence) he is a shooter and that's about it. The Habs can do better for 3.5mil per. I think the Habs will have a fun year next year and once Subban can find players that will follow him up the ice when he takes off and the habs start to use this asset it sure will be fun to watch.

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Old
06-08-2010, 08:35 PM
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Who might be available out there that's an improvement on Pleks?
I was referring to a trade... but some here would respond Patrick Marleau.

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06-08-2010, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Max Levine View Post
If Pleks walks, PG will make a move. He certainly won't start the season with Moore or Lapierre as 2nd center. Hopefully, his move will be an improvement. As for the rest, one top 6 + one good defenceman and this team will be in the middle of the pile. One more top 6 and they'll be fighting for 1st place.
If Pleks walks from say 5 mil, and then we trade Hammer or Spacek for a pick, Would we have enough money to try and sign Marleau? Best option as far as Free Agency goes. In my dream world we make a trade centered around Halak and Pavelski. What do you figure we would have to ad to snag Pavs?

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06-08-2010, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Max Levine View Post
I was referring to a trade... but some here would respond Patrick Marleau.
The question still stands though -- who might be available in trade who would be an upgrade over Pleks?

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06-08-2010, 09:04 PM
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If Pleks walks from say 5 mil, and then we trade Hammer or Spacek for a pick, Would we have enough money to try and sign Marleau? Best option as far as Free Agency goes. In my dream world we make a trade centered around Halak and Pavelski. What do you figure we would have to ad to snag Pavs?
If Pleks walks, Pavelski might be an option but I'd rather look into Sharp, Backes, Norton or Umberger who can play center. Moving Cammalleri to center could also be an option although I know he won't like it.

I hope PG will consider at least one top 6 left winger along with a replacement for Plekanec. Problem is, we don't have so many assets. Halak/Price, AK, Hammer/Spacek. He could involve Pacioretty or even Kristo for the right guy. I'd rather give picks to solidify our top 6 than trading for picks. So he might trade for a center and get someone like Frolov off UFA.

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06-08-2010, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by MathMan View Post
The question still stands though -- who might be available in trade who would be an upgrade over Pleks?
MathMan, you're hard to follow. In one thread, you're saying Habs don't have a competitive team. In another, you seem to be considering Plekanec as one of the top centers in the league. I wonder where you see Montreal's weaknesses: 3rd line? 4th?

If Pleks leaves, Gauthier might have to consider involving young prospects like Pacioretty, Kristo or Leblanc to sweeten the deal for a trade. I mentioned Sharp, Backes, Norton and Umberger. Martin Hanzal is another one who could center our second line. Worst case scenario, Markov might have to be sacrificed for a Ribeiro or Richards.

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06-08-2010, 10:04 PM
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MathMan, you're hard to follow. In one thread, you're saying Habs don't have a competitive team. In another, you seem to be considering Plekanec as one of the top centers in the league. I wonder where you see Montreal's weaknesses: 3rd line? 4th?
Err... behind the bench. I thought that was pretty -- even painfully, some would say -- clear. I'm not going into it again here, you can scan the Boucher-to-Tampa for a loooooong discussion on it.

Suffice to say that I think the Habs underachieved, and have a better roster than what they've showed. So it's consistent for me to think that we have generally pretty good players. Although there could certainly stand to be upgrades, especially in the bottom six forwards.

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I mentioned Sharp, Backes, Norton and Umberger. Martin Hanzal is another one who could center our second line.
Okay but none of them is actually an upgrade over Plekanec, quite the contrary. I don't see how any of them are capable of doing what Plekanec does for the Habs -- play tough minutes and handle the hardest matchups and the most defensive draws. And the way the Habs are setup, they need someone to do all that heavy lifting. Gomez can only play so many minutes.

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Worst case scenario, Markov might have to be sacrificed for a Ribeiro or Richards.
That would be a crippling trade for the Habs; it would immediately turn the Habs into a worse team. If the Habs trade Markov, their #1 personnel needs instantly becomes a #1 D-man who can play in all game situations -- nevermind that his value is much higher than either Richards or *choke* Ribeiro. Markov is the kind of player teams tear up their roster to acquire, and with good reason.

Trading him is an admission that the Habs do not intend to be competitive in the short-term, and plan a mid-term rebuild with the hopes that Subban can grow in the #1 D-man role over 3-4 years.

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06-08-2010, 10:51 PM
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If Pleks walks, PG will make a move. He certainly won't start the season with Moore or Lapierre as 2nd center. Hopefully, his move will be an improvement. As for the rest, one top 6 + one good defenceman and this team will be in the middle of the pile. One more top 6 and they'll be fighting for 1st place.
This team isn't 2 players away and how much cap space do you think we have to sign 3 elite players? No we are not close to being contenders and with our current albatross contracts we couldnt sign them if we had the chance.

Pleks could get replaced with jokinen for all you know.

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If Pleks leaves, Gauthier might have to consider involving young prospects like Pacioretty, Kristo or Leblanc to sweeten the deal for a trade. I mentioned Sharp, Backes, Norton and Umberger. Martin Hanzal is another one who could center our second line. Worst case scenario, Markov might have to be sacrificed for a Ribeiro or Richards.
Good idea, lets trade all our prospects for players who will require heafty raises and some old players so we can become the maple leafs. Trade Markov? Who will be our #1? Spacek?? You do understand a team needs a defense or maybe you would rather play 5 forwards.

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06-08-2010, 11:08 PM
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Patrick Sharp is pretty badass though I'm not certain he can center the top line.

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06-08-2010, 11:15 PM
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Err... behind the bench. I thought that was pretty -- even painfully, some would say -- clear. I'm not going into it again here, you can scan the Boucher-to-Tampa for a loooooong discussion on it.
No thanks. Case closed


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Suffice to say that I think the Habs underachieved, and have a better roster than what they've showed. So it's consistent for me to think that we have generally pretty good players. Although there could certainly stand to be upgrades, especially in the bottom six forwards.
As much as I was criticizing the bottom 6 early in the season, I think the addition of a Dominic Moore solidified both lines. Today, I thin they might need one big guy but only because Moen hasn't been what I expected him to be. Now I sure don't see the bottom 6 as a priority.



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Okay but none of them is actually an upgrade over Plekanec, quite the contrary. I don't see how any of them are capable of doing what Plekanec does for the Habs -- play tough minutes and handle the hardest matchups and the most defensive draws. And the way the Habs are setup, they need someone to do all that heavy lifting. Gomez can only play so many minutes.
Let me tell you what is wrong with this picture: our top 6 shouldn't be the ones killing penalties. Not saying they should never be on the ice for a second of that full two-minute but guys like Lapierre, Moore, Pyatt and 4th liners should be the PK specialists and let the top 6 rest a little. When you look at it from that point of view and only compare the names mentioned based on their even-strength or PP performances, then you may see it as an upgrade to Plekanec or at the very least, equal value.



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That would be a crippling trade for the Habs; it would immediately turn the Habs into a worse team. If the Habs trade Markov, their #1 personnel needs instantly becomes a #1 D-man who can play in all game situations -- nevermind that his value is much higher than either Richards or *choke* Ribeiro. Markov is the kind of player teams tear up their roster to acquire, and with good reason.

Trading him is an admission that the Habs do not intend to be competitive in the short-term, and plan a mid-term rebuild with the hopes that Subban can grow in the #1 D-man role over 3-4 years.
This is the time to make a decision about Markov's future with the Habs. Either we extend his contract to make him a Habs til the end of his career or we consider trading him. We're not strong enough on defense and our prospects pool is not very rich for us to lose a top defenceman. But we also need to realize that a Markov playing 60-65% of the schedule might not be worth a prolific top 6. Also, you can keep Markov for the next 6-7 years but if you can't add to the top 6 (and considering Avtsin and Kristo are pretty much the only prospects who might help us in the future, and not near), you're wasting your time.

A trade Markov/Richards (or Ribeiro) would obviously have to involve other players, like a young defenceman.

I'm not one to criticize a scouting team. I've always find it very difficult to determine a young guy's future development. I often consider it a gamble. But the fact remains that Montreal is not rich in prospects. I'd try my best to grab a good defenceman prospect through a trade and Markov could very well be the bait involving a top 6 and a young defenceman. If it means adding Halak, Leblanc or Kristo, so be it.

Fact is Pierre Gauthier has a lot of work to do. He needs one or two top 6 for four years. He's got a core settled for four years so he needs to plan a good prospect pool accordingly. The only way he can win on all accounts would be by trading such assets as Halak/Price, Pacioretty, AK, Weber, Carle and this year's 1st pick. If the return is too low, he's gonna have to consider adding Markov, Kristo, Leblanc.

Keeping Markov without improving the top 6 would be a losing proposition.

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06-08-2010, 11:37 PM
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This team isn't 2 players away and how much cap space do you think we have to sign 3 elite players? No we are not close to being contenders and with our current albatross contracts we couldnt sign them if we had the chance.

Pleks could get replaced with jokinen for all you know.
I made a line up including six top 6 of value and I still had the 23 players roster under the cap (adding the $2M hinted by Bettman). And Markov was still there, lol.

You're exaggerating, OSM. First of all, this is a good team with Gomez, Cammy, Gionta and Plekanec up front; Markov, Subban, Gorges, Spacek (who didn't have a good year but let's see how he does on his right side), Gill and O'Byrne on defense; and Halak or Price in net. You've got a solid 3rd line and a 4th line that could be made of specialists and/or tough guys at low cost. Add two top 6 and yes, you're a contender.



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Good idea, lets trade all our prospects for players who will require heafty raises and some old players so we can become the maple leafs. Trade Markov? Who will be our #1? Spacek?? You do understand a team needs a defense or maybe you would rather play 5 forwards.
Five forwards? Hummmm... I might consider that

As I mentioned in the previous post, you can't really trade Markov without getting a prospect on defense (which by the way is much better than a pick, as we all know). As I said, Markov's case will have to be discussed upstairs. If they choose to trade him, you gotta expect very good value in return.

As for our defense without Markov, I've seen worse. We replaced him with Bergeron and we still hung in there. Still, either the prospect would be ready to take a spot or Halak/Price would return a top 4 D.

Any which way you want to look at it, Gauthier is still able to improve the team significantly.

Edit: I forgot about our prospects. If you tie up your top 6 for four years, where do you think guys like Leblanc, Avtsin and Kristo are going to play? Better trade one or two of them for an established top 6. You got four years to build your prospects pool.


Last edited by Max Levine: 06-08-2010 at 11:44 PM.
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Old
06-08-2010, 11:49 PM
  #24
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Originally Posted by OneSharpMarble View Post
This team isn't 2 players away and how much cap space do you think we have to sign 3 elite players? No we are not close to being contenders and with our current albatross contracts we couldnt sign them if we had the chance.

Pleks could get replaced with jokinen for all you know.



Good idea, lets trade all our prospects for players who will require heafty raises and some old players so we can become the maple leafs. Trade Markov? Who will be our #1? Spacek?? You do understand a team needs a defense or maybe you would rather play 5 forwards.
SharpMaple... Stop whining bro. We just had our best run since the 90's. We have the same core as next year and saw what fixes this team needed. We have a chance to improve our team by adding Muscles on our wings (which is what we lack). Internally , we have nothing with such prospective(For next season at least since Quailer will be awesome in 2-3 years). We have to , either trade for a big Top 6 forward who will work hard along the boards and who wins his 1v1s.We saw agaisnt Philly that our smaller snipers (cammy and gionta) needed space to do what they are good at , score. Pronger , carle and Coburn were too strong/big for those two. If we had a guy like Malone/Clowe/Backes/Byfuglien/Hartnell/Franzen on one of our top 2 lines , we'd see a big difference and cammy would have scored the difference makers against the flyers. In defence, I sincerly think we have a good core (even if Hammer's overpaid). Gill and gorges are one of the best shutdown pair. Hamrlik and Spacek did a good job against the Top lines all season long while markov was injured. And then we have Markov and Subban. This will be our best pairing since Larry Robinson / Guy Lapointe. Imagine the creativity deployed on ice with those 2. The first pass would ALWAYS be on Tape which is something we lacked last season (since marky was injured and subban was in the minors with our beloved Boucher ). Our Bottom six forwards have to be bigger though and a few tweaks would make it way better. Imagine a third line of Armstrong/Moore/Lapierre. How annoying would that line be? And then there's the 4th line. We already have Moen who hits like a train (when he wants but he proved in the playoffs that he could do it , and he stepped up). Pyatt will be there for sure too. He brings speed to Moen's slowness. I think White is ready to make the big jump and play in the big league. A 4th line of Moen/Pyatt/White would be fine for me.

So , to me , my realistic lineup would look like this :

Pouliot - Gomez - Gionta They proved to have a good
to have good chemistry together

Cammy - Plek(If 4.5M and below) - AK They had pretty good
stretches last year
before AK was injured
Armstrong( 6M/3y)-Moore(4M-3yr)-Lappy

Moen - Pyatt - White Moen brings experience to
those youngsters while White
hits and Pyatt skates the pucks.

Markov - Subban <3
Hamrlik - Spacek
Gill - Gorges
O'Byrne

Halak
Price.

This is if we don't trade for any bigger forwards. In those trades we'd lose one goalie and most likely OB/Hammer/Pacioretty

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06-09-2010, 12:06 AM
  #25
Melvin Udall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneSharpMarble View Post
If Pleks walks we will be very lucky to make the playoffs or come close. With Pleks it will be another photofinish. This team isn't close to good enough to be a true contender and cinderella stories almost never happen 2 years in a row.

In the event Habs don't re-sign Pleks, can't help but wonder where this team will be headed in the standings.


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