LAVAL, QC. — The next milestone in the Canadiens season is the NHL trade deadline, which is coming up in a week. All eyes will be on Marc Bergevin and on the Habs roster moves that will be made up to deadline.
Here are my top 5 takes of the past week:
- Lindgren inked – Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin had a horrible off-season that led to the team’s current ranking in the standings. We have to tip our cap to the general manager, as on Tuesday, it was announced that Charlie Lindgren signed a three-year contract extension at a $750,000 annual cap hit. In my opinion, without a doubt, this was the GM’s best move of the season. What does this mean for the future between the pipes for the Habs? I wouldn’t be surprised if Antti Niemi gets dealt at the trade deadline. The Flyers lost Brian Elliott for 5-6 weeks due to surgery and lost Michal Neuvirth on Sunday due to a lower-body injury. They may be interested in acquiring a goalie as an insurance policy. Another option is that the Canadiens look at shopping Lindgren to another team to get a better return.
- Therrien vs. Julien – Valentine’s Day marked the one-year anniversary of the hiring of Claude Julien. The results don’t look good. During his tenure, the team has scored less, and allowed more goals. The penalty-kill has been in the bottom third in the league. You can point fingers at the quality of the roster, but if you look at the players that have been on the roster for over a year, how many of them have improved over Julien? I haven’t been able to identify one. His predecessor, Michel Therrien, didn’t have a much better roster and consistently brought his team to the playoffs. Would this year’s team be in the playoffs under Therrien? I think they would be closer in the playoff picture than they currently are. We did see players improve under Therrien. Should Julien get fired? No, the organization can’t be firing their head coaches annually and expect to advance. On the other hand, if I were J.J. Daigneault, and Dan Lacroix, I would start updating my resume to be ready. We were expecting them to be replaced prior to the start of the 2017-18 season, and since it was not done at that time, I expect them to be let go at the end of the season.
- P.K. vs. Gally – Last weekend, the Nashville Predators were at the Bell Centre and once again P.K. Subban drew a lot of attention. During the entire game, there were confrontations between Subban and his former teammate Brendan Gallagher. In his post-game comments, Gallagher mentioned that he didn’t want to talk about P.K, because that is always what P.K. wants. Are we finally getting confirmation on the reasons of the June 2016 trade? From a hockey perspective, Bergevin was in “win now” mode when he made that trade. The problem is that the GM didn’t make the supporting moves to make the team a contender. If you look at the current state of the organization, we should ask ourselves if the team would be better off with Subban on their roster. At current state, I’d rather have Subban than Weber on my roster. The Predators have had success with him and his personality on their roster. It was up to the Canadiens organization to surround him with people on and off the ice to manage his personality.
- Shaw is n/a – TSN’s Pierre Lebrun reported last week that Marc Bergevin has told the rest of the league that Andrew Shaw is not available for a trade. I don’t know how someone in Bergevin’s position can declare Shaw an untouchable. The Habs are not a playoff team and they’re not near to being a Cup contender in the next couple of seasons. Shaw is the type of a player that a young playoff team might be looking to add at the trade deadline to gain some playoff experience. A desperate team might overpay to acquire his services.
- Fan (over)reaction – Earlier this week, Dion Phaneuf was traded mid-game by the Ottawa Senators to the Los Angeles Kings. Imagine that would have happened in Montreal. Oh wait, it did. In 2012, Habs fans around the world were furious with Habs General Pierre Gauthier for doing something so “disrespectful” to Mike Cammalleri who was traded to the Flames for Rene Bourque. Mysteriously, most Senators fans didn’t think that this was a big deal. Do Habs fans make a big deal out of everything without good reason? Absolutely! Like Carey Price said in September 2010, “Just chill out.”
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