by Chris G, Digital Radio Producer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

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(Photo by Getty Images)

LAVAL, QC. — It was a busy week for the Montreal Canadiens as 51 prospects were in town for development camp. Check out AllHabs.net for all your coverage on the camp. It was also a busy week in the world of sports as Germany won the World Cup of Soccer and Lebron James decided to return to Cleveland next season. Who cares about Lebron anyways? The All Habs team is here to keep you updated on things that matter and I am back once again to answer questions received in our mailbag.

allhabsmailbag

Do you have a question or a topic you would like us to discuss? Okay, here’s what you can do.

Let us know:

  1. who you are
  2. where you’re from
  3. if you wish, send us a photo of you in your favourite Habs gear
  4. who’s your favorite player, present or past
  5. and of course, your question

You can contact us via Twitter, our Facebook page or email at info (at) allhabs (dot) net

We’ll feature you, and your question, in the All Habs Mailbag!

Here’s what you wanted to know :

Next year, will Price win the Vezina Trophy and will Subban win the Norris Trophy? – Dante, New York

The odds of both winning the trophy of being the best players in their respective position are small. In my opinion, Carey Price has a better chance of winning the Vezina Trophy than P.K. Subban has to win the Norris Trophy.  The 2013-14 season was Price’s best season in his NHL career and I think the best of Price is still to come. The addition of Stéphane Waite as as goaltending coach was a great move by Canadiens management.

On defence, I expect Subban to be even better next season and for his Time On Ice will increase from the 24:36 he averaged during the 2013-14 regular season. Subban’s full time defensive partner should be the veteran Andrei Markov.  The increase in ice time and his new defensive partner should allow him to play at an elite level. The competition for the Norris Trophy with such names as Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, will make it harder for the Canadiens defenseman to win it.

Thanks for the question Dante. I hope that I am wrong and both win next season!

As Jarmo Kekalainen (Columbus GM) drafted Lars Eller when he was Director of Amateur Scouting for the St. Louis Blues, could he be moved to allow Alex Galchenyuk to move to centre? –  J.D. Lagrange, Penticton

It is hard to say specifically if the Bluejackets would be interested in Lars Eller. In March 2013, La Pressed asked Jarmo Kekalainen to comment on Eller but he refused. If I had to guess what he would have answered, I am sure he would be disappointed that Eller, a 13th overall draft pick in 2007, has never scored more than 16 goals in a season in the NHL. From what Eller has shown so far in his NHL career, he will not be anything better than a 3rd line centre. To be considered anything more than that, he would need to score on a more consistent basis.

His $1.3 million cap hit (pending his salary arbitration date on July 25th), makes him a player that is easily tradeable. In the playoffs, he was arguably the Canadiens best player of the team. My review on Eller can be found by reading the Montreal Canadiens 2013-14 End-Of-Season Report Card   posted at the conclusion of the season.

I have been wanting Alex Galchenyuk to play centre since the beginning of the 2013-14 season. He only played one game in his natural position at the NHL level, and it was unsuccessful.  It is time for the Canadiens to give him a shot at the centre position, and allow him to learn by making mistakes.

To answer your question J.D., I don’t think Columbus would be interested in Eller, but I do think that the Habs should consider trading him to make room for Galchenyuk at centre. Thank you for reading!

Do you think Peter Budaj will be traded? – Jordan

Jordan, the backup goalie situation is one of the hot topics of the off season. Dustin Tokarski‘s  performance in the Conference Finals caught the attention of a lot of Habs fans. Peter Budaj has been a great backup goaltender and a great teammate, but when he was faced in a situation that he had to step up and be the #1 goalie during a Carey Price injury, Budaj started looking shaky after a couple of games. Remember game #5 against the Senators in the 2013 playoffs? Or the third period of game #1 against the Rangers during the 2014 conference finals?  Or how about this goal he allowed in a game against the Sharks after the Olympic break?  I also want to make it clear that I don’t think Budaj was the reason the Canadiens lost any of those games, but he didn’t help.

The Canadiens will have a decision to make on who will backup Price next season. Tokarski and Budaj will need to clear waivers if the team wants to assign them to the Hamilton Bulldogs. If any of the two go through that process, they will be picked up by another team and that would leave the Habs with no return on either. I think Peter Budaj will be traded for one simple reason: right now, he has a higher trade value than Tokarski. If we look at the big picture, Tokarski has played only eight games with the Canadiens. Can he be considered a proven NHL goalie? Not yet.

Budaj in his last season of his $1.4 million contract makes him attractive for a team looking for a good and cheap backup goalie. Price no longer needs a veteran goalie on the bench for support. Thanks for the question!

Any insight on our new assistant coach candidates? – Nick, Ontario

I will answer this question as if I were in the shoes of the Montreal Canadiens management team. We use the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The current coach of the team, Michel Therrien, is on his second stint as the coach of the team and his previous job before joining the team was as a panelist on french late-night talk show Antichambre on RDS. Is there anyone out there right now, that has an identical skillset? Hmmm. Got it! Montreal Canadiens new assistant coach is Guy Carbonneau! Makes sense, right? It worked for Therrien.

Nick, you read it here first !

How far do you think Montreal is from becoming a contender, and what pieces are still missing to reach the goal? – Ryan Skilton, Toronto

First thing first, it needs to be pointed out that Ryan is one of the few normal people based out of Toronto, since he supports Canada’s hockey team. For the Habs to become a shoe in for the playoffs on a yearly basis, they need a forward that can score 25-30 goals a season. This would improve their even strength scoring and would give the Habs a second line that can produce. Thomas Vanek would be a great fit. What? Oh……  Well anyways, you know what I mean!

To become Stanley Cup contenders they require more than the one piece mentioned above. They need the young defensemen like Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu to gain NHL experience. Alex Galchenyuk needs to play at centre (That’s right, I said it again!), and a second Max Pacioretty would also be helpful. In addition, I think the Canadiens need a veteran that has won a Stanley Cup in the locker room. Not Travis Moen, but someone that will be in the lineup on a nightly basis.

One thing that is sure, is that as long as the Canadiens have Rene Bourque  on their roster, they will NOT win a Stanley Cup. Just throwing that out there.

Great job on representing the Habs in Toronto, Ryan!


Hope I answered all of your questions. Leave your comments on the bottom of the page.

Follow me on Twitter @chrisg1980 and follow @Habs360 for information on the podcast.

 

  • Brandon

    I think that what the Canadiens need is for Rene Bourque to have someone help him be consistent. He was a proven scorer but just needs a jump like he did in the playoffs.

    • Bourque has gotten many chances. The Habs motto is “No Excuses”. No more excuses for Bourque. There is a reason that he’s on his 3rd NHL team in his career. He’s not consistent and doesn’t show up for most games. His 2014 playoffs will not erase his horrible 2013-14 season.

      Thanks for reading!