ChrisMember since November 21, 2007
Habs fan since: 1984
Favorite current player: Andrei Markov, Lars Eller, Chris Higgins
All-time favorite player: Mats Naslund, Eric Desjardins, Stephan Lebeau, Kirk Muller, Saku Koivu
- Comment on Habs acquire Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry and Sabres forwards Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell at NHL trade deadline (2015-03-02 15:53:26)
For what its worth (not much), here's my evaluation of the trades thus far for Montreal's likely playoff opponents: Tampa Bay got a bit better defensively, which was their major weakness, without giving up appreciable offence. The 1st round pick in the Coburn deal is at least partially mitigated by the two 2nd round picks they picked up for Connolly. This also opens up some ice time for JT Brown, a young right winger that the Lightning have been pretty high on, or perhaps Vladislav Namestnikov. Boston needed to get a bit faster, and the additions of Brett Connolly and Maxime Talbot move them in that direction. They will be a tough out for anybody that plays them in the playoffs if they get a healthy David Krejci back in time. Detroit needed some defensive help, and picked up Marek Zidlicky, a decent veteran defenceman who can eat some minutes. Zidlicky will fit in nicely as a top-4 defenceman in Detroit. Adding Erik Cole gives the Red Wings some more offensive depth, especially in the event that Franzen can't come back this season. If Franzen does come back, the Red Wings have the offensive depth to give anybody they meet fits (assuming that Zetterberg's injury is minor). Overall, I think all three of the playoff contenders in Montreal's division made moves to address their weakness going into the playoffs. I'm not sure that I see the same thing in Montreal: the team needed more offence, and couldn't make any moves to do so (I'm sure Bergevin tried). This team is basically relying on Pacioretty to not get checked into oblivion this spring and desperately hoping that Galchenyuk is ready to bust out as an elite goal-scorer. Fingers crossed.
- Comment on Habs acquire Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry and Sabres forwards Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell at NHL trade deadline (2015-03-02 15:13:14)
Can't say I understand why a team that is overloaded with defensive players and deficient in scoring went out and acquired more defensive players that are deficient in scoring. Obviously this is just another case that proves why I am not and never will be a GM. :)
- Comment on Habs acquire Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry and Sabres forwards Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell at NHL trade deadline (2015-03-02 11:02:34)
Malhotra can win faceoffs. Flynn cannot.
- Comment on Habs acquire Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry and Sabres forwards Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell at NHL trade deadline (2015-03-02 10:58:52)
Krejci has led the playoff scoring race twice in his career. He is a clutch player. I think the Bruins have a decent core moving forwards. Rask is an elite goaltender (except against Montreal, it would appear). Dougie Hamilton is going to become an elite defenceman, potentially a Norris Trophy contender. He is absolutely as good as his hype. He is still only 21 years old and growing into his huge frame (at 6'5" and 212 pounds, Hamilton has some strength to add still), and he is on pace for a season of 13 goals, 45 points and just 54 penalty minutes. For context, PK Subban was in his rookie season at the same age and finished with 14 goals, 38 points and 124 penalty minutes. Torey Krug is a good offensive defenceman who has shown he can log heavy minutes. He needs to be partnered with a good defensive defenceman, and the Bruins fortunately have that in McQuaid. Up front, Bergeron, Krejci and Marchand still have a number of years left. The idea that Bergeron, only 29 years old, is declining is a bit premature. They have some good young forwards in Reilly Smith, David Pastrnak, and potentially Brent Connolly. I think their problem is indiscipline and a lack of speed. Lucic for Eberle would change that in a hurry. The Bruins could easily lose in the first round this year. But they could just as easily knock the Montreal Canadiens out of the playoffs should they meet in the first round. I am not counting them out.
- Comment on Habs acquire Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry and Sabres forwards Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell at NHL trade deadline (2015-03-02 10:48:12)
Lucic does have a limited NTC, but I don't know what teams are off the list. I suspect Edmonton was, but Lucic has been on the outs with Boston's management and could very well be happy to get a change of scenery.
- Comment on Habs acquire Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry and Sabres forwards Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell at NHL trade deadline (2015-03-02 10:34:18)
I'm not happy that Brett Connolly, a player I thought would have been a great fit in Montreal, landed in Boston. He will fit in well with that team, and will certainly be given a chance to shine in that role. I don't think Boston is done, either. If Edmonton is really looking to deal Eberle, I could easily see him landing in Boston in exchange for Milan Lucic. There might be other parts (Malcolm Subban carries a LOT of value for Edmonton) involved either way, but Boston know they need to get faster, while Edmonton know that they need to get tougher. The cap hits match up, so Boston can work it cap-wise. Edmonton has been interested in Lucic for a couple of years now. That's the potential trade out there that I absolutely fear going down, because they dynamic of a Boston-Montreal series could be substantially changed by the addition of Connolly and Eberle, two players with great wheels who aren't likely to lose their minds against the Habs the way that Lucic does.
- Comment on Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens preview: Gonchar returns to lineup for Habs (2015-02-28 13:19:54)
Bruins and Flyers for me, too. As much as people hated the Flyers in the 1970's, I grew up hating them in the 1980's. I actually dislike the Flyers more than the Bruins. Just can't stand what that franchise represents. Other than that, I have always disliked the Flames because of their rivalry with Montreal in the mid- to late-1980's. And even though I like Halak and Tavares and a lot of their other current players, I really dislike the Islanders because I always associate them with John Tonelli, Billy Smith and Bryan Trottier.
- Comment on Habs trade Jiri Sekac to Anaheim for Devante Smith-Pelly (2015-02-24 17:13:31)
Every year, there are "bidding wars" between NHL teams for the rights to undrafted free agents out of the NCAA and for young European players that somehow slipped through the cracks at the draft. There are also a small number of CHL players that never get drafted but ultimately get signed when teams realize that the player might be a late bloomer. Some of these guys eventually have an impact. Sergei Bobrovsky has become a Vezina Trophy winner. Mark Giordano has developed into a Norris Trophy contender. Tyler John$on was never drafted out of the WHL, signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning as a free agent. NHL teams are ALWAYS on the lookout for these guys because they are free assets: they only cost you one of your 50 professional contracts. I remember the NCAA angle being a big story in the summer of 2009 because Brian Burke loved to fish that pool, and the Rangers were also very actively courting those players. That summer, the two players that caused a bidding war were Hobey Baker Award winner and All-Hockey East First Teamer Matt Gilroy and Notre Dame forward Christian Hanson. Gilroy was an offensive dynamo, while Hanson was a power forward with a lot of hype. A less-hyped player in that summer was current Leafs forward Tyler Bozak. Flash forward -- Gillroy played 225 NHL games with the Rangers, Lightning, Senators, and Panthers, totaling 11 goals and 48 points. He is now playing in the KHL. The Rangers beat out the Leafs and Canucks to get him to sign, but there were a large number of teams interested in him. Hanson's star never rose even that far. He did make it into 42 NHL games, scoring 3 goals and 9 points, before the Maple Leafs gave up on him. Hanson was actively courted by quite a few teams based on his size (6'4", 225 pounds) and reasonable skating ability. He is now playing in the Norwegian hockey league. Bozak has had the best NHL career of the three, despite the least amount of interest out of the gate. Only two teams were seriously courting him, Toronto and Ottawa, and he has gone on to have a decent NHL career. Based on what I've seen of Jiri Sekac, he has the potential to be a decent NHL player. He's got great speed, and a good shot. He does not play a particularly physical game, but he can do good work on the boards. Basically, he reminds me of Chris Higgins. That's high praise from me, by the way. He may still develop his offensive acumen, or he may become a 10-15 goal player. Another guy worth comparing Sekac to is Viktor Stalberg. I quite like Stalberg, and I don't really understand why he is not in the NHL. He was a Hobey Baker finalist as a junior in 2008-09, igniting a bidding war eventually won (yet again) by Brian Burke and the Leafs. Stalberg went on to have some decent success at the NHL level, peaking at 22 goals and 43 points in 2011-12 for the Blackhawks. Somewhere along the way, the shine on his star has completely disappeared, although he was recently recalled by the Predators after posting some good numbers in a short stint in the AHL. But at this point, all Sekac represents is potential. He hasn't put it together consistently, and he is not a particularly unique prospect in Montreal's system. His size makes him hard to give up on, but you've got to give quality to get quality. At least they traded him out of the conference.
- Comment on Habs trade Jiri Sekac to Anaheim for Devante Smith-Pelly (2015-02-24 14:22:26)
Yeah, but the 3000 was over something like a week...everybody was on vacation.
- Comment on Habs trade Jiri Sekac to Anaheim for Devante Smith-Pelly (2015-02-24 14:18:12)
Key part of the 1980's: veteran players were being essentially blackballed. It was a strange decade, where there were precious few players that made it to age 35. There were plenty in the 1970's, and plenty again in the 1990's and afterwards. I've seen it quietly suggested that there was some collusion to basically let veterans, who generally commanded high salaries, remain unsigned. The result was a lot of younger players playing wide-open hockey. Was it creative? To an extent. But when you watch those games now, it is painfully obvious that most of the forwards couldn't skate backwards very well. Defensive positioning was non-existent. Today's forwards skate as well backwards as most defencemen could in the 1980's.