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Bergevin interviews and golf tournament notes

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1 hour ago, xXx..CK..xXx said:

I agree. Everything I've stated assumes that the top pairing defenseman should have some semblance of offensive capability as seems to be the case in today's NHL. We definitely have some decent players on the back end individually, I just expect some players to play in roles they are not built for. I'm one of the more rare Emelin fans and yet still agree that Alzner-Weber would be a better first pair than Emelin-Weber if that were to happen. I just have to believe that losing a 40 point defenseman has to hurt a team who was able to afford him. 


I understand that Markov is old but the cap hit is the reason we didn't sign him, not his age. The amount of dollars he signed for, wouldn't have changed his position in the lineup. Even if you have Alzner and Weber on the top pair, you can then place Markov on any of the other lines and have the potential to generate offense from the back end on another one of our pairs. We would be more dangerous with him on the team.


I seem to be on an endless rant but it's also not just the single moves I'm pointing out that are the cause. People have good arguments such as Markov's age but the counter arguments seem to always omit some details. Bergevin clearly stated at the beginning of free agency that he had an offer on the table for Markov. As a result, it's not like Bergevin made the assessment at the end of last season that Markov would be too old to be a productive piece of our team going forward. And all I'm saying is that he should have used the cap space if cost was the concern with Markov.


Not all teams have to use cap space. Boston has room.  San Jose has room. We have room. The difference is that we seemed to be saving it for something based on two free agents we didn't resign and then used it on nothing. It's possibe we use it, but at this point I have a hard time imagining that we will use the amount saved.




The tale won't be told until the trade deadline is over, of course. But as someone else pointed out, deadline deals mean you're losing young talent and picks (assuming the Habs have any) on what are likely to be rentals. So the more meaningful hope for this season, in terms of that free-floating 8 mil, lies in some sort of blockbuster hockey move that ends up using that hoarded cap space by bringing in an expensive and elite player.


If we take this team at face value, we have to hope any or all of four things (apart from duplicating last year's luck in having our core pieces all stay healthy):


1. Julien's coaching is sufficiently superior to Therrien's that it elevates the whole team.

2. The improved 'defensive' profile of our blueliners - that is, the critical mass of hard-nosed, tough-to-play-against guys - creates a hermetic bubble around Price, making us really, really hard to score on, which compensates for our offensive impotence. As I noted above, Weber + Alzner is a shutdown pair to be envied by any team in hockey. The rest seems like wing-and-a-prayer stuff to me, but hey.

3. Drouin, Galchenyuk, and Lehkonen improve, enhancing the offence from the FW unit sufficiently to compensate for the loss of Markov's 40 points OR

4. Jerabek + Streit make up for the lost offence from #79. I find myself laughing in my sleeve as I type that, admittedly.


Barring injuries, this team will definitely be competitive, like last year's. But just as you say, there are too many question marks to pencil us in for any substantial improvement on last season's first-round exit (or 2015's second-round exit, which looked identical to last year). After all, any team in the league will exceed expectations if all their question marks are answered in the affirmative. Sensible projections should not assume that everything works out just right.



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