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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

What Can't The Habs Develop D?

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Clearly the canadiens know what they're doing in drafting and developing young forwards (Ryder, Plekanec, Higgins, Perezhogin, etc). But two of the best young defenceman to come out of the organization in recent years - Beuachemin and Hainsey - were both squandered for a song. The contrast with the forwards we've dealt or given away (Balej and Hossa - the worst case being Ward) is even more striking. I understand why Hainsey was let go, or at least put in a position where we could lose him for nothing, but still, it makes you wonder. Do we not have a good defense coach in Hamilton, or Montreal? Does Andre Savard et al. have some sort of blinder when it comes to evaluating D? Is there something about the Canadiens system that puts young defencemen at a disadvantage?

Any thoughts?

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber

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Mostly, they just don't really ever get their chance (although in Beauchemin's case you have to wonder how much better he's looked playing alongside Scott Niedermayer). Since Montreal has had so little offensive talent for the last several years now, maybe they prefered being conservative on defense, making what they considered "safe" choices instead of giving a chance to riskier players like Hainsey.

However, Montreal has been terrible drafting defensemen in the last few years, especially during the Houle era. Even Andre Savard didn't do so well with guys like Linhart and Flood. At least we have O'Byrne and Emelin, and perhaps Archer could improve enough to make it as a 6th/7th defenseman. Hopefully, we can get Bobby Sanguinetti (yeah right!), Nigel Willaims, or Ty Wishart at the next draft.

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Defenceman have traditionally been the hardest to develop and the slowest to mature, unless they are the few best one's in their graduating class. They stand out like sore thumbs and are taken ASAP in the draft. And they are usually in the lineup within a year or two at most - Dion Phanuef is a prime example.

As far as the Gainey administration goes - it's unfair to lump them in with the mistakes of the past managers who made such poor choices? The defenseman they've been able to draft were not high profile choices due to the position they were taken in. Reality! As a result they will be prone to the above factors that have always factored in to developing good defenceman - time and patience are king in this strategy!

As far as defenceman who have been lost, or have not panned out in the end - my signature says it all......

Edited by beliveau1

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Clearly the canadiens know what they're doing in drafting and developing young forwards (Ryder, Plekanec, Higgins, Perezhogin, etc). But two of the best young defenceman to come out of the organization in recent years - Beuachemin and Hainsey - were both squandered for a song. The contrast with the forwards we've dealt or given away (Balej and Hossa - the worst case being Ward) is even more striking. I understand why Hainsey was let go, or at least put in a position where we could lose him for nothing, but still, it makes you wonder. Do we not have a good defense coach in Hamilton, or Montreal? Does Andre Savard et al. have some sort of blinder when it comes to evaluating D? Is there something about the Canadiens system that puts young defencemen at a disadvantage?

Any thoughts?

Because the keep letting them go on waivers, or they lose them in expansion drafts.

Beachemin, Hainey, Robidas, Brett Clark...etc., etc.

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Clearly the canadiens know what they're doing in drafting and developing young forwards (Ryder, Plekanec, Higgins, Perezhogin, etc). But two of the best young defenceman to come out of the organization in recent years - Beuachemin and Hainsey - were both squandered for a song. The contrast with the forwards we've dealt or given away (Balej and Hossa - the worst case being Ward) is even more striking. I understand why Hainsey was let go, or at least put in a position where we could lose him for nothing, but still, it makes you wonder. Do we not have a good defense coach in Hamilton, or Montreal? Does Andre Savard et al. have some sort of blinder when it comes to evaluating D? Is there something about the Canadiens system that puts young defencemen at a disadvantage?

Any thoughts?

4 of the top 7 defensemen were drafted by the Habs. Rivet, Markov, Komisarek and Streit were all drafted and developed. Souray was picked up by trade, Dandy a FA signee and Bouillon off waivers. I have to say seeing Beauchemin with the Ducks stings cause he's playing much better then I thought he ever could, although be paired with one of the top defensmen in the NHL helps, just as it helped Komisarek to be paired up with Markov this year. Hainsey was a lost cause in Hamilton, a turnover machine that made plays that often reminded me of Brisebois. Yes he put up good numbers on a non playoff team and that's great for him. We'll have to wait and see what kind of NHLer he turns out to be. If he can get his head on straight I think he will be a very solid NHLer, just as I think Hossa would be too. Both have so much skill but were so painful to watch in Hamilton at times.

As for the defense coach I believe Ron Wilson takes care of the D in Hamilton but I'm not 100%. And it's not really Savard who would be blamed for Hainsey and Beauchemin, since it was Gainey who sent them both down and he was the one that recalled Hainsey when he got claimed on waivers.

Cote is the next guy. I liked Beauchemin more the Bouillon in the past and was pissed that he never got his chance with the Habs, although I never really thought of him as more then a 7th defensemen. He was always Hamilton's top blueliner, always gave it his best effort which is something Hainsey could never say. Cote I have felt reminds me a bit of Beauchemin but without the offense. Cote is also a hard working, physical, team first kind of player but he lacks the offensive skills of Beauchemin and the mobility/skating/foot speed. That said Beauchemin is looking much better then I expected and Cote I don't see as being much more then a 7th defensemen. But if he doesn't make the team in the fall (assuming he's resigned of course) then he will have to clear waivers and that would be interesting to see what happens. Archer, Ferland and Milroy have to clear waivers as well, not sure about Danis.

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Cote is the next guy only because there isn't anybody else.

For anybody who's watched this guy in Hamilton, he's not that great. The guy has trouble backpeddling with oncoming forwards. He won't make the big club, and will eventually become a career minor leaguer.

THis guy is not a solid prospect. Hes a career minor leaguer

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Actually I was thinking about this thread. The Habs have always been able to develop excellent defensman, they just end up trading them, or losing them on waivers or to expansion drafts.

Emile Bouchard

Doug Harvey

Tom Johnson

Jean Guy Talbot

Serge Savard

Guy Lapointe

Larry Robinson

Jacques Laperrier

Rod Langway

Craig Ludwig

Chris Chelios

Petr Svoboda

Eric Dejardins

Mattiew Schneider

Lyle Odelien

Sylvain Levebrve

Stephane Robidas

Brett Clark

Andrei Markov

Ron Hainsey

Mike Komisarek

Francois Beachemin

So there you go. Montreal has always been able to develop good defensman

Edited by kaos

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Actually I was thinking about this thread. The Habs have always been able to develop excellent defensman, they just end up trading them, or losing them on waivers or to expansion drafts.

Emile Bouchard

Doug Harvey

Tom Johnson

Jean Guy Talbot

Serge Savard

Guy Lapointe

Larry Robinson

Jacques Laperrier

Rod Langway

Craig Ludwig

Chris Chelios

Petr Svoboda

Eric Dejardins

Mattiew Schneider

Lyle Odelien

Sylvain Levebrve

Stephane Robidas

Brett Clark

Andrei Markov

Ron Hainsey

Mike Komisarek

Francois Beachemin

So there you go. Montreal has always been able to develop good defensman

If find it interesting that you mention the likes of Clarke, Robidas, Hainsey, Levebvre and Beauchemin in the same context as players like Bouchard, Savard, harvey Robinson & a few others you noted?

Actually the Habs have long been noted for their defense corps despite the 'firewagon' analogy so many associate them with. Long before other teams saw the benefits, Pollock and company were plucking defenseman from the US college ranks year in and year out. Mining a virtual treasure trove of well taught defenseman who were mature enough to graduate to the NHL was a big part of their run in the 70's.

However losing players through trades or waivers is all a part of the game. Defenseman seem to develop somewhat slower than forwards, are fewer in number on the roster and end up being moved as part of the changes teams need to make in order to stay competitive. Dynasties do not last forever - too many of them fail to see the need to evolve soon enough. It happened to the Habs in the 70's, as well as to the Islanders and Oiler's in the 80's. Failure to move aging players, especially defenceman, at the right time has been the undoing of many good teams? And sometimes a players development is too slow - in the end he is taking up the space of a younger player with even more potential, and consequently a decision has to be made on who is worth more in the long run. You can't keep everybody until everybody has a chance to make it? Even if fans are disappointed in the end.....

Edited by beliveau1

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If find it interesting that you mention the likes of Clarke, Robidas, Hainsey, Levebvre and Beauchemin in the same context as players like Bouchard, Savard, harvey Robinson & a few others you noted?

Just showing that these guys were playing major rolls and minutes with playoff teams like Colorado and Dallas. Two organizations that know talent and how to develop it. Pretty easy to see.

If you noticed I never actually said that Clarke and Robidas were as good as Savard and Robinson. Just that Montreal can still draft and develop good defensman....but thanks for trying

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Just showing that these guys were playing major rolls and minutes with playoff teams like Colorado and Dallas. Two organizations that know talent and how to develop it. Pretty easy to see.

If you noticed I never actually said that Clarke and Robidas were as good as Savard and Robinson. Just that Montreal can still draft and develop good defensman....but thanks for trying

To be honest I actually wasn't 'trying' - just curious as to why? Wasn't sure what you were referring to in doing so - thanks for clarifying that. Would have been shocked if you were putting them in their elite calibre level.

And yes it is easy to see(at least for some?) that the Habs are top notch at developing their defenseman.

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Just showing that these guys were playing major rolls and minutes with playoff teams like Colorado and Dallas. Two organizations that know talent and how to develop it. Pretty easy to see.

If you noticed I never actually said that Clarke and Robidas were as good as Savard and Robinson. Just that Montreal can still draft and develop good defensman....but thanks for trying

Well, Brett Clark has left the Montreal organization a long time ago, and has been a career AHLer ever since. It's wasn't until this year, in which the new rules have redefined the qualities teams should be looking for in defensemen, that Clark became an effective defenseman. You can't really blame the organization for not knowing 10 years ago that the NHL would change significantly, and that they should have kept Clark in their farm until this season.

In Robidas' case, although he seems to have found his niche in Dallas, he's not exactly a star defenseman. Actually, he has been a healthy scratch this season, and was even moved to the forward position for a while following the Niinimaa trade.

As for Beauchemin and Hainsey, it's still early to tell if Gainey made a mistake there. Sure, they have both looked very good with their respective team, but we'll have to see if they'll keep improving next season. However, which regulars would they have replaced on the team? Certainly not Markov, Komisarek, or Rivet. That leaves fan favorite Bouillon (I doubt it), and most likely Souray and Dandeneault... Would we really have been better off?

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Well, probably, yeah. If Gainey had faith that Beauchemin or Hainsey could make the jump to the NHL, he wouldn't have needed to sign Dandenault.

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The argument that we develop good defencemen but give them away is dubious to me. If we're dumping them it's because they haven't 'developed' sufficiently in the context of our organization. Only when they went elsewhere did Hainsey and Beauchemin blossom; and we basically have no one else of merit in the system. As for our distinguished history - sure, we developed great D in the past. I'm talking about the current organization. SOMEBODY in the organization clearly misread these two defencemen, and has generally failed to stock the farm with equally good or better prospects, while their decisions about forwards have been pretty good. It's that discrepancy that puzzles me, that's all.

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To be fair though, both Beauchemin and Hainsey struggled even at the AHL level last season. Even this year, Beauchemin didn't do anything until he played with Scott Niedermayer, and Hainsey was still struggling with the Blue Jackets at the beginning. However, unlike Montreal, they were very patient, and kept him in the lineup, and fortunately for them at some point Hainsey improved his defensive game tremendously, and became much more involved physically.

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To be fair though, both Beauchemin and Hainsey struggled even at the AHL level last season. Even this year, Beauchemin didn't do anything until he played with Scott Niedermayer, and Hainsey was still struggling with the Blue Jackets at the beginning. However, unlike Montreal, they were very patient, and kept him in the lineup, and fortunately for them at some point Hainsey improved his defensive game tremendously, and became much more involved physically.

Yeah, that seems to be the key: put young defencemen, in particular, in situations where they're positioned to THRIVE, not fail. Look at how Komi blossomed once he was paired with Markov, our best defenceman; the same holds for Beauchemin with Niedermeyer (I don't know what Hainsey's story is; was he playing with Foote -?). It's driven me crazy in recent years how the Habs tended to stick a young guy on, say, the third pairing or the fourth line and then blame him for sucking. Gainey put on a coaching clinic this season when it comes to actually helping young players to reach their potential - I sure hope Carbo was watching...

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