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Kotkaniemi sent to Laval


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20 minutes ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

 

I don't think keeping KK up had anything at all to do with "making the playoffs," given how ridiculous it is to expect the 34-point-scoring youngest kid in the league to make much difference to a team's playoff drive. It likely had to do with PR considerations - and it was hugely successful from that point of view. Look at how many fans were clicking their heels together at the team's "great future" after missing the playoffs last season. The rhetoric around KK was a significant contributor to that. A bit like the Drouin trade, or the Aho abortion, it was primarily smoke and mirrors designed to keep the fans and media (and perhaps ownership) happy.

 

There was, after all, no pressing developmental reason to throw KK into the fire. Especially as they'd made the same mistake with their previous #3 overall pick.

 

That's the whole trouble, I don't see an elite player either. I'm obviously a lot more bothered than you by that fact, because I see KK as a crucial piece of a "reset" that is supposedly designed to make us a contending, elite, top-end team.

 

I don't think it had to do with making the playoffs.  Nor do I think it had to do with PR considerations either. 

 

This is a third overall pick, whose future is worth many more millions in dollars to the organization than any short term PR, or one season playoff attempt. 

 

The team isn't run by complete idiots, no matter what some who post here (and on twitter and elsewhere might think). 

 

I believe they legitimately thought that facing NHL competition was in his best interest last year. 

This year, things aren't working and they think taking a step back is legitmately in his best interest. 

 

I'm not saying the organization is perfect... its up for debate whether or not this is the best way to develop (and its a debate). 

 

But I'm not going to buy the conspiracies that they would knowingly do something that might end up being very bad for the long term development of one of the organization's most important assets for short term PR, or to chase a playoff spot in 2019.  Sorry, not buying that they were deliberately negligent towards the development of a key asset. 

Because if we believe that, then we have to believe the same is going on with Jack Hughes in New Jersey and Kaapo Kappo with the Rangers this year and we have to believe the same things with Joe Thornton when he was struggling, and numerous other 18 year olds in NHL history who were kept up.   I don't buy it.  These guys have some credentials to get NHL jobs, and while they aren't perfect, they aren't morons either, so they obviously think there is some value to 18 year olds facing this level of competition instead of dominating lower leagues. 

 

That said, being up, learning, going down, and coming back up, isn't a failure in development.  We've seen it work with Mete and Pacioretty.  We've seen it work in other places with Strome, and Kadri, and other players too. 

Sometimes a player does well in the NHL, you let him develop there, at some point he regresses and you take one step backwards to take two steps forward   Again not every prospect is the same, and not every prospect follows the same path or has a linear progression.

 

You had a player who put up 34 points last year and was a top 5 forward in defensive metrics last season all at 18.  Not top 5 rookie, but top 5 in the entire NHL for his defensive numbers and heat maps.  Then he had offseason knee surgery, put on weight (muscle) but wasn't skating, had a groin injury, then a concussion and hasn't found his game, so now he takes a step back.  That doesn't mean the first step was wrong, or that it was done for the wrong reasons, its just part of the development path. 

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Too many injuries then, and Suzuki wasn't as proven as he is now. 

Only in a Canadian market.    Lets take a guy who is 19 and English isn't his first language and overanalyze his words until we can interpret them in such a way that he's taking shots at the

He should of been their all last year.

Add in KK has had injuries this year as well.

 

LaBrun (i think it was) hinted he may not of come into camp as fit as should of been.

But the kid also had minor knee surgery didnt he.

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14 minutes ago, DON said:

Add in KK has had injuries this year as well.

 

LaBrun (i think it was) hinted he may not of come into camp as fit as should of been.

But the kid also had minor knee surgery didnt he.

 

Knee surgery in the offseason.

 

Focused on adding muscle to his frame. 

 

Didnt skate for over two months in summer.

 

It may not have been the best off season plan.

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I should probably add nuance to the "PR" argument.

 

Am I saying that Bergevin kept KK on the team last year in full knowledge that it would hurt his development? Of course not.

 

More realistic is a scenario like this: there are debates within the organization about whether to keep KK up or send him down. MB hears both sides, then factors in the PR benefits of keeping him up. Presto, he makes the call. Thus, PR considerations are decisive, but MB can tell himself it's a hockey decision, because some hockey people supported it for purely hockey reasons.

 

And I don't find this implausible at all. The Habs desperately needed a positive narrative coming out of the 2017-18 disaster. KK was the centrepiece of the "future is bright" narrative. Without his presence on this team, it might have been a lot harder to pull off the surreal confidence trick of convincing the entire fan-base to be delighted with a team that missed the playoffs - again.

 

And it's not just the fanbase, remember. Some of these shenanigans perhaps have to do with spinning a narrative for the owner's consumption. The single biggest area where MB has really excelled as GM is in securing the ongoing support of his owner, despite pathetic on-ice results, year after year.

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Again though, with 34 points... superb defensive metrics... and 14 minutes a night against better competition than he would have seen in Finland or the AHL, are we sure it was the wrong decision?

 

Even with a step back this year, I'm still not convinced that playing in the NHL was the wrong move. 

 

Lots of time left to see where he goes next, now playing against the AHLers for a bit. 

 

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33 minutes ago, Commandant said:

Again though, with 34 points... superb defensive metrics... and 14 minutes a night against better competition than he would have seen in Finland or the AHL, are we sure it was the wrong decision?

 

Even with a step back this year, I'm still not convinced that playing in the NHL was the wrong move. 

 

Lots of time left to see where he goes next, now playing against the AHLers for a bit. 

 

 

Yeah, time will tell. I do have a general bias toward letting players marinade in the minors. Let them dominate, then come up. But coming up young does work for some guys.

 

My wider concern is less that they blew his development than that he does not seem to be an elite player in the making.

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We have heard a lot of negative things about CJ and young players and I thought this was an interesting quote from the article:

 

“I think frustrating is a good word,” Kotkaniemi said. “Things didn’t work well. I didn’t play that much. It didn’t work. This is a good stop for me, hopefully. I should get more ice.

“I’m excited to come here, see these guys and play with them,” he added. “I Just love hockey. That’s me … playing with the puck. I like that they have a clear system here. Everyone here knows what to do when they’re on the ice. I like that.”

In Laval, Kotkaniemi almost certainly will average more than the 13 minutes he was logging most nights with the Canadiens. And he’ll be counted on to improve his efficiency on faceoffs, which stood at 42.8 per cent.

“I was doing the best I can with those third-line minutes,” he said. “Sometimes it’s dump and chase. Sometimes I can do something with the puck, too.

 

Clearly the bolded part should be of concern! We have no clear system in Montreal?

 

The other thing that I'm curious about is now that Domi is the 3rd line centre, playing limited minutes with not the best wingers, does CJ think that he will rebound into a 70 point guy? Is the handling of a proven 70 point player going to ruin his career (as CJ is accused of)? I don't know the answer but Mr. Domi welcome to CJ's shit club

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52 minutes ago, Prime Minister Koivu said:

We have heard a lot of negative things about CJ and young players and I thought this was an interesting quote from the article:

 

“I think frustrating is a good word,” Kotkaniemi said. “Things didn’t work well. I didn’t play that much. It didn’t work. This is a good stop for me, hopefully. I should get more ice.

“I’m excited to come here, see these guys and play with them,” he added. “I Just love hockey. That’s me … playing with the puck. I like that they have a clear system here. Everyone here knows what to do when they’re on the ice. I like that.”

In Laval, Kotkaniemi almost certainly will average more than the 13 minutes he was logging most nights with the Canadiens. And he’ll be counted on to improve his efficiency on faceoffs, which stood at 42.8 per cent.

“I was doing the best I can with those third-line minutes,” he said. “Sometimes it’s dump and chase. Sometimes I can do something with the puck, too.

 

Clearly the bolded part should be of concern! We have no clear system in Montreal?

 

The other thing that I'm curious about is now that Domi is the 3rd line centre, playing limited minutes with not the best wingers, does CJ think that he will rebound into a 70 point guy? Is the handling of a proven 70 point player going to ruin his career (as CJ is accused of)? I don't know the answer but Mr. Domi welcome to CJ's shit club

 

The issue in Montreal is that the Domi and Danault lines were playing a different offensive game than the KK and 4th line were.  That was pretty clear that the top two lines had more room to operate offensively and the bottom two lines had less. Thats been the case most of this season (it started 3 and 1, but went 2 and 2 especially after the injuries hit).  Last season was 3 and 1.  So I think CJ has reduced KK's offensive freedom as the injuries hit and the quality of his wingers were dragged down. 

 

What happens with Domi centring the third line?  Hard to say as its only been 3 games, but so far its been 3 scoring lines and 1 fourth line.   I would guess that when Drouin comes back, Drouin is going to be taking the spot that Weal/Cousins have played on Domi's line the last three games, leaving us with Drouin - Domi - Lehkonen which was the line for parts of last season (to start the year, and when Shaw was concussed).  This seems to me that he'll have 3 lines driving offence again. 

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3 hours ago, Commandant said:

 

The issue in Montreal is that the Domi and Danault lines were playing a different offensive game than the KK and 4th line were.  That was pretty clear that the top two lines had more room to operate offensively and the bottom two lines had less. Thats been the case most of this season (it started 3 and 1, but went 2 and 2 especially after the injuries hit).  Last season was 3 and 1.  So I think CJ has reduced KK's offensive freedom as the injuries hit and the quality of his wingers were dragged down. 

 

What happens with Domi centring the third line?  Hard to say as its only been 3 games, but so far its been 3 scoring lines and 1 fourth line.   I would guess that when Drouin comes back, Drouin is going to be taking the spot that Weal/Cousins have played on Domi's line the last three games, leaving us with Drouin - Domi - Lehkonen which was the line for parts of last season (to start the year, and when Shaw was concussed).  This seems to me that he'll have 3 lines driving offence again. 

Agreed, if they get through the flu bug and they do net suffer injuries, they should have 3 scoring lines soon ( still too many ifs to my liking)

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17 hours ago, Commandant said:

 

The issue in Montreal is that the Domi and Danault lines were playing a different offensive game than the KK and 4th line were.  That was pretty clear that the top two lines had more room to operate offensively and the bottom two lines had less. Thats been the case most of this season (it started 3 and 1, but went 2 and 2 especially after the injuries hit).  Last season was 3 and 1.  So I think CJ has reduced KK's offensive freedom as the injuries hit and the quality of his wingers were dragged down. 

 

What happens with Domi centring the third line?  Hard to say as its only been 3 games, but so far its been 3 scoring lines and 1 fourth line.   I would guess that when Drouin comes back, Drouin is going to be taking the spot that Weal/Cousins have played on Domi's line the last three games, leaving us with Drouin - Domi - Lehkonen which was the line for parts of last season (to start the year, and when Shaw was concussed).  This seems to me that he'll have 3 lines driving offence again. 

 

It is certainly plausible and likely a good idea to spread the scoring out with Drouin on the third line with Domi but it is also plausible that Armia gets dropped down and Drouin plays on the second line. We saw a whole bunch of Lehkonen - KK - Armia so it would not surprise me to see Lehkonen - Domi - Armia with far less minutes than the first two lines get.

 

Not to mention that things might look very different come trade deadline (although I expect Thompson, maybe Byron, maybe Kovalchuk as the only deadline deals).

 

My post was really about what happens to a player like Domi (a proven 70 point centre) when they are demoted and receive much less ice time (if that even happens). Will Domi struggle like KK did with fewer minutes and less offensively gifted players (if the line is Lehkonen - Domi - Armia)?

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1 hour ago, Prime Minister Koivu said:

 what happens to a player like Domi (a proven 70 point centre) when they are demoted and receive much less ice time (if that even happens). Will Domi struggle like KK did with fewer minutes and less offensively gifted players (if the line is Lehkonen - Domi - Armia)?

Wont know, Domi played 19:38 yesterday, more than KK has ever played.

KK averages 13:00, Domi 17:08

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Thats the thing.

 

Previously they were two offensive lines with big minutes and then 2 bottom six lines.

 

This looks more like top 9 bottom 3... meaning i doubt domi gets those limited minutes.

 

Maybe in the odd game one of the three lines will play less cause they arent playing well early and he will load up the other two.  But it wont be be consistent.

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41 minutes ago, Commandant said:

At today's practice, it is suzuki with Lehkonen and Armia.... while Kovalchuk moves to Domi's line. 

 

This looks like a move to get Domi going and Drouin would fit real nice on that line too. Effectively making Lehkonen - Suzuki - Armia the new 3rd line.

 

It will be great to have a healthy roster (if Byron is indeed still alive).

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4 minutes ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

 

Hopefully this works out, like the way it did when we sent down MaxPac.

With Weber gone for at least a week, doesn't appear to be any big reason to recall him anytime soon, unless he shows he is just too good for AHL.

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2 hours ago, DON said:

With Weber gone for at least a week, doesn't appear to be any big reason to recall him anytime soon, unless he shows he is just too good for AHL.

 

Indeed. Let him stay down and dominate for an extended period. Then haul him up and give him offensive opportunities, see whether the resevoir of accumulated confidence makes a difference.

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On 2/6/2020 at 12:44 PM, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

 

Indeed. Let him stay down and dominate for an extended period. Then haul him up and give him offensive opportunities, see whether the resevoir of accumulated confidence makes a difference.

7 game AHL stay last year seemed to help Mete's game.

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Only in a Canadian market. 

 

Lets take a guy who is 19 and English isn't his first language and overanalyze his words until we can interpret them in such a way that he's taking shots at the coach. 

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1 hour ago, Commandant said:

Only in a Canadian market. 

 

Lets take a guy who is 19 and English isn't his first language and overanalyze his words until we can interpret them in such a way that he's taking shots at the coach. 


This. He is clearly very functional in English but that doesn’t mean that he is aware of all the nuances implied by the words he used.

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2 hours ago, Commandant said:

Only in a Canadian market. 

 

Lets take a guy who is 19 and English isn't his first language and overanalyze his words until we can interpret them in such a way that he's taking shots at the coach. 

I agree. He is putting a positive spin on his demotion and development.  Saying positives about his ice time and system. 

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