Montreal, QC. — Jacques Martin might need the help of United Nations weapons inspectors, as he continues to search the Montreal Canadiens roster for who can provide some offensive production, which has been very much lacking for the better part of this season.
After 42 games, the Montreal Canadiens have produced 105 goals, that’s an average of 2.48 goals per game, which puts them at 26th overall in the NHL. Only the New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils have produced less goals on average this season.
The offensive production is a disaster on the road, the Canadiens are ranked 27th in the NHL with a minuscule average of 2.05 goals scored per game. The situation is slightly better at home, the Canadiens are ranked 18th, with an average of 2.86 goals scored per game.
Problems continue at five-on-five as Montreal again ranks 26th in the NHL with only 65 goals produced at even strength this season.
Thankfully, special teams have been a positive factor for the Canadiens so far this season.
The power play has produced 28 goals for an average of 19.2% so far this season, placing the Canadiens at the 11th rank in the NHL.
- Home: 21.2% (9th)
- Away: 16.7% (15th)
Over the same period, on the reverse side, the penalty kill has averaged for 87.7%, only the Pittsburgh Penguins are ahead of the Canadiens in this regard.
- Home: 84% (12th)
- Away 91.1% (1st)
Here’s a look at what the Montreal Canadiens’ players have been able to do in the past ten games:
Over this ten game period, the Canadiens only produced 19 goals, averaging 1.9 goals per game, nine of these goals were scored on the power play, and five of them were scored by defencemen.
Very quickly, I also notice the following over this ten game period:
- Scott Gomez has received his fair share of criticism since his arrival in Montreal, in the past ten games however, it’s hard to fault him having nine points over this stretch, by far the Canadiens’ best player in this regards.
- Brian Gionta has four goals over this period, not another play on the team has more than two.
- James Wisniewski is tied in second on the team in points over this period with five, he’s only played five games.
- Alex Picard stands out in the +/- category with a differential of -9. Only defencemen who can produce on the offence consistently can get away with this.
- Roman Hamrlik’s -7 differential is also concerning, possibly starting to show signs of wear and tear.
- As a whole, the offensive production is simply and purely lacking.
Where do we go from here?
Those who like to defend Jacques Martin will say the players need to step it up. The players have the abilities to score, to produce and to increase the team’s offensive production as a whole. They will say that lately, the players have not been playing into the head coach’s system, partly explaining their recent slump.
Those who tend to believe that Jacques Martin has outdone his time in Montreal will say that he’s not playing his assets correctly. They will say that he has broken up successful line combinations at the cost of trying to extract more production elsewhere, which has failed. They might also say that the players simply no longer buy into the head coach’s system, and that he has to a certain point lost the confidence of his players.
I tend to agree to a certain extend with both versions. Although I do believe Jacques Martin has outdone his time in Montreal, and although I also believe he is not using the players most effectively (i.e. Subban, Weber, Eller, Kostitsyn), I also believe that NHL hockey players who are payed to score goals and produce offensively should be able to find a way to do so, even if they are not paired up with the players they would prefer to be.
I have a job, and there’s some people at my workplace that I would rather work with than others, but you know what, it’s not always my decision and I still have to get the job done.
(Photo: Martin Chamberland, La Presse)