LAVAL, QC. — Now that the NHL Draft weekend is in the books, the next important date will be July 1st when free agency begins at noon ET. Marc Bergevin has mentioned that Canada Day can be the day that the biggest mistakes are made. In my books, Karl Alzner is a perfect example of this coming true. It will be interesting to see if the Canadiens general manager significant has anything up his sleeve this year.
Here are my top 5 takes of the week:
- Galchenyuk traded – In the last edition of “Take 5”, I wrote that I wasn’t expecting Galchenyuk to get traded during the off season. You can imagine my surprise when Alex was shipped off to Arizona for Max Domi. When Bergevin met the media, he mentioned several times how Max was excited to be playing in Montreal. It gave me the impression that Alex was no longer happy to be a part of the Canadiens. Was he one of the attitude problems in the dressing room that the GM spoke about at the end of the season? Francois Gagnon from RDS wrote that Galchenyuk’s father spoke to Alex at the end of every home game, providing him feedback on his performance. At times during intermissions, Alex checked his text messages feedback from his Dad. With Claude Julien isolating his talented player, I can see how Alex could turn to his Dad and how that could create issues. When Galchenyuk met the media, he said that he asked Julien to play centre at the end of the season, and it never happened. The good news for Alex is that John Chayka, Coyotes GM, is planning on using him down the middle.
- Acquiring Domi – The majority of the Canadiens fan base was upset of the return in the Galchenyuk trade. If he was no longer to be part of the team, the odds would be that his performance in the upcoming season would decrease. If that happened, this off-season was the right time to trade him. My concern with this trade is, that once again, a valuable asset was dispatched and a centre wasn’t acquired in return. That being said, let’s see both players in action with their new teams before we make a judgement. How many times will Domi and Galchenyuk be mentioned in the same sentence this season? I don’t even want to bother to count because it will be as frequent as the Galchenyuk at centre debate. When evaluating the trade, we have to take into consideration that Galchenyuk would be a UFA at the end of the 2019-20 season, while Domi will be a RFA at that time.
- Drafting Kotkaniemi – The Canadiens used the third overall pick to select Jesperi Kotkaniemi. The video of the two Habs fan in Dallas that were shown over and over and over on Sportsnet, represented how most fans felt of the selection. Most of the draft experts and fans were expecting the Habs to select Filip Zadina. It was clear that Zadina was the best goal scorer of the draft class and the Canadiens need scoring. The consensus seems to be that Kotkaniemi was the best centre in this year’s draft class, and we all know that there’s an organizational need at that position. The Coyotes surprised everyone by drafting centre Barrett Hayton at number five well ahead of his ranking perhaps indicating that other teams also value that position. I’m of the opinion that the Canadiens selected the best centre of the draft.
- Drafting for need – Seven of the eleven players drafted by the Canadiens were centres. They were clearly drafting for need and not necessarily for the best player available. Research has showed that the chances of players drafted after the second round have a small chance of playing regularly in the NHL. Taking that into consideration, I’m comfortable with them selecting a lot of centres and hoping that at least one of them becomes a regular in the NHL.
- New agent for Pacioretty – As rumours from the draft floor about Max Pacioretty getting traded to the Sharks were spreading, we learned that the Habs captain had hired Allan Walsh as his new player agent. Max parted ways with his former agent, Pat Brisson. It is no secret that Brisson and Bergevin are good friends. That coupled with Brisson’s focus on his other client, John Tavares, may have led to the decision. Pacioretty’s contract is probably the NHL’s most team-friendly right now and I imagine that the captain thinks that the relationship between his former agent and the GM would influence the value of this next contract. In my eyes, it is another sign that his days are numbered with the Canadiens.
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