Searching for Habs’ Weapons of Mass Production

By Stevo, AllHabs.net

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:

Player GP G A Pts +/-
S. Gomez 10 2 7 9 -6
T. Plekanec 10 2 3 5 -2
M. Pacioretty 10 2 3 5 -4
J. Wisniewski 5 2 3 5 2
M. Cammalleri 10 1 3 4 0
B. Gionta 10 4 0 4 -5
R. Hamrlik 9 0 3 3 -7
A. Kostitsyn 9 1 2 3 -1
M. Darche 10 1 2 3 -2
J. Spacek 10 0 2 2 -4
A. Picard 7 2 0 2 -9
P.K. Subban 8 1 1 2 -2
T. Moen 9 0 1 1 -6
B. Pouliot 9 1 0 1 -2
H. Gill 10 0 1 1 0
T. Pyatt 7 0 1 1 -1
Y. Weber 7 0 1 1 -5
D. Desharnais 3 0 1 1 0
M. Lapierre 6 0 0 0 -4
J. Halpern 10 0 0 0 -6
J. Gorges 4 0 0 0 0
L. Eller 7 0 0 0 -2

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)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

Profile photo of Steve Farnham
Born and raised in the Montreal area, Steve is an Associate Editor and Senior Writer at All Habs. Steve started playing hockey at the age of four, played as a goaltender as high as Junior AAA and was drafted to the QMJHL. When he isn’t writing about the Canadiens or twiddling with HTML code on the website, you can usually find him sharing his sarcasm on Twitter where he enjoys the never-ending hockey arguments. Steve also works as an analyst for Rogers Communications and enjoys the fact that his downtown office is only a five-minute walk from the Bell Centre. On the personal side; Animal Planet, poutine, the colour blue, the word ‘weaponized’ and Pepsi are just a few of Steve’s favourite things.

1 Enlightened Reply

Trackback  •  Comments RSS

  1. Kyle says:

    There’s rarely ever one simple answer that would cover why the Canadiens are firing blanks. Without having the stats to back it up, I would wager that the Canadiens have been closer to the bottom than to the top in goals scored for at least a decade. That transcends coaching, although with the 2011 Habs, the coaching style has a lot to do with the lack of production.

    The next culprit is the roster itself. It’s just not good enough. Sure, there are some good players on the roster but we as fans tend to over value what they really are. Plekanec is 48th in league scoring. In other words, the other teams in the league have an average of 1.6 players in that same class before the Habs get one. Some will interpret this as a knock on Plekanec, but it’s not. Sure, he ought to be closer to a point-per-game pace as he is right now, but his linemates have been very underwhelming this year. Cammalleri has to get over not only his bout with the flu, but whatever has been eating at him all year. He’s been off. Kostitsyn, who was a house on fire in October, went in to a tailspin once he was separated from Plekanec. But that excuse (and it is an excuse) has gotten old now. He’s been back with Plekanec for longer than he was away from him, and still the production is lacking.

    There’s only so much we can blame the coach for, and as much as he’s overstayed his welcome in my mind, the players are ultimately responsible for their own play and production. As you said, they are well paid to produce, and for the most part, they aren’t doing it enough.

Top