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The Case for Carrying 8 Defensemen


Trizzak
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I think the Habs should carry 8 defensemen, at least for the first half of this season.

Consider that the Habs have 2 defensemen coming back from extended absences from injury and surgery, that 2 of the Habs defense are over 35, that 1 of the defensemen has never played the North American game, and that 1 defenseman hasn't yet proven worthy of a regular spot in the lineup. (For kicks, let's also add that 1 defenseman could fall victim to the sophomore slump. :P)

Then consider that the immediate replacements from the AHL are: 1 player who has never played the North American game, 1 player who was good in one game with the Habs and disastrous in the other, and 2 players with a combined 5 games with Montreal in the last 3 seasons.

*Edit: dlbalr has privately chastised me for not considering St. Denis as a viable callup. To add to my list: 1 undrafted 25 year old defenseman without a lick of professional experience outside of the AHL. You're welcome, Brian!*

I humbly submit the idea of Paul Mara signing a two way deal (which he probably won't, at least not until training camp if he hasn't signed elsewhere) and being Montreal's 7th/8th defenseman. He already knows the system, plays a simple game, seems to be a good team guy, and brings a bit of grit to the bottom pairing.

What say you?

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*Edit: dlbalr has privately chastised me for not considering St. Denis as a viable callup. To add to my list: 1 undrafted 25 year old defenseman without a lick of professional experience outside of the AHL. You're welcome, Brian!*

That's better. :) Perhaps this is my offseason mission, convincing people that St. Denis was the top defensive defenceman in Hamilton and is worthy of being considered as a callup option.

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I think that we should take a wait and see position. I'm not sure that adding a "Mara" to our lineup at this point would be worthwhile. If there are injuries or performance issues that can't be fixed by call ups I'm sure that PG could find a Mara type player at that time. Why spend the cap space ahead of time?

I would not be against adding a quality Dman to the roster that would help now and in the future but adding a #8 doesn't seem necessary to me.

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Mara signing works for me, i thought he did very well last year and provided much needed grit on back end. And the top 6 d-men right now are a fairly soft crew, which is fine until liberties are taken with Price, Subban, top fowards or Markov.

Would there be a chance Mara would/could sign a 2 way contract??

Hopefully Spacek spends more time watching games from press box than Weber does this year, but thats a bit off-topic.

So St. Denis should be considered for call-up before Carle? Poor ol Carle seems to be getting passed by again?

I think the Habs should carry 8 defensemen, at least for the first half of this season.

Consider that the Habs have 2 defensemen coming back from extended absences from injury and surgery, that 2 of the Habs defense are over 35, that 1 of the defensemen has never played the North American game, and that 1 defenseman hasn't yet proven worthy of a regular spot in the lineup. (For kicks, let's also add that 1 defenseman could fall victim to the sophomore slump. :P)

Then consider that the immediate replacements from the AHL are: 1 player who has never played the North American game, 1 player who was good in one game with the Habs and disastrous in the other, and 2 players with a combined 5 games with Montreal in the last 3 seasons.

*Edit: dlbalr has privately chastised me for not considering St. Denis as a viable callup. To add to my list: 1 undrafted 25 year old defenseman without a lick of professional experience outside of the AHL. You're welcome, Brian!*

I humbly submit the idea of Paul Mara signing a two way deal (which he probably won't, at least not until training camp if he hasn't signed elsewhere) and being Montreal's 7th/8th defenseman. He already knows the system, plays a simple game, seems to be a good team guy, and brings a bit of grit to the bottom pairing.

What say you?

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Despite Wamsley's chastising, I do not fully trust our current defensive alignment. The loss of Hamrlik is significant. Too much depends on injured guys coming back 100% as well as either Yemelin or Weber suddenly stepping in and taking a regular, effective shift in the NHL. However, it *is* a valid observation that, with the surplus of bottom-end defencemen floating around unemployed, you can afford to wait and see before adding a solid bottom-pairing guy (e.g., that clown Shane O'Brien). So I think PMKoivu is correct. Expect someone to be added around December, after either the inevitable injury occurs, or Weber/Emelin start to struggle...or, most likely, both.

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The loss of Hamrlik is significant.

I agree. And I know I was somehow taking a minority position, but signing Hamrlik should definitely have been the higher priority than signing Gill.

Expect someone to be added around December, after either the inevitable injury occurs, or Weber/Emelin start to struggle...or, most likely, both.

And there you go again, CC. Like clockwork. :lol:

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Despite Wamsley's chastising, I do not fully trust our current defensive alignment. The loss of Hamrlik is significant. Too much depends on injured guys coming back 100% as well as either Yemelin or Weber suddenly stepping in and taking a regular, effective shift in the NHL. However, it *is* a valid observation that, with the surplus of bottom-end defencemen floating around unemployed, you can afford to wait and see before adding a solid bottom-pairing guy (e.g., that clown Shane O'Brien). So I think PMKoivu is correct. Expect someone to be added around December, after either the inevitable injury occurs, or Weber/Emelin start to struggle...or, most likely, both.

Be happy CC :)

Trust has to be earned, so that is understandable. They will be fine barring a Markov/Subban injury.

A good system can survive injuries. Also, guys like Mara can be acquired for nothing during the season from teams who realize they are not playoff bound.

Why does it have to be extremes? There is more than two options here.

1. Subban is for real and Markov bounces back. Emelin establishes himself as a solid 4-6 and the Habs are an elite team.

2. Markov and Gorges get hurt again. Emelin is overrated and in Russia by February and Martin overuses Subban and we suck.

The likely scenario lies in the middle. Emelin is for real and Markov misses 15 games OR Markov is back healthy and Subban regresses a little and Emelin is solid etc et.

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I agree. And I know I was somehow taking a minority position, but signing Hamrlik should definitely have been the higher priority than signing Gill.

I am with you on that one for sure. Player vs player, Hamrlik is better overall than Gill and didn't cost too much more. I've never been a real big fan of Gill unless he is laying down in front of the net on the PK. Meanwhile, Hamrlik was named "the unsung hero" for the Habs last season. He ranked 4th in the league in blocked shots, can play alot of minutes despite age, his transition game is way better, can play on the PP and had more takeaways than Gill and less giveaways. I think that people's perception of Hamrlik was always related to his salary and not the player itself. But now for his new salary of $3.5m, he adds excellent value to any team he plays for. The loss of Roman is a bigger deal than most think.

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There was an article around, I forget which site, that stated the reason Gill was signed over Hamrlik was more to do with the fact that Hamrlik would not accept a one year deal but Gill would.

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I agree. And I know I was somehow taking a minority position, but signing Hamrlik should definitely have been the higher priority than signing Gill.

I think it was more important for the team too sign Gill due too his leadership and his experience with a cup. He is well liked by everyone and an a class penalty killer.

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There was an article around, I forget which site, that stated the reason Gill was signed over Hamrlik was more to do with the fact that Hamrlik would not accept a one year deal but Gill would.

Personally I wouldn't have had a problem signing Hamrlik at around the deal he got in Washington. $3.5m is acceptable for a top 4 D who can play in any situation (i.e. not a specialist).

I think Gill was signed as much for his rapport with Subban as for his on ice play.

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I am with you on that one for sure. Player vs player, Hamrlik is better overall than Gill and didn't cost too much more. I've never been a real big fan of Gill unless he is laying down in front of the net on the PK. Meanwhile, Hamrlik was named "the unsung hero" for the Habs last season. He ranked 4th in the league in blocked shots, can play alot of minutes despite age, his transition game is way better, can play on the PP and had more takeaways than Gill and less giveaways. I think that people's perception of Hamrlik was always related to his salary and not the player itself. But now for his new salary of $3.5m, he adds excellent value to any team he plays for. The loss of Roman is a bigger deal than most think.

I also think that opinion was skewed because he was consistently forced into a role he was not suited for.

With Markov missing so many games, he was playing above his role. That lead to breakdowns. He did a pretty good job considering.

I wanted him back, but understand why they didn't give him 2 seasons.

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I think it was more important for the team too sign Gill due too his leadership and his experience with a cup. He is well liked by everyone and an a class penalty killer.

I think Hamrlik's desire to win a Cup shouldn't be neglected. I mean, we have a decent number of Cup winners on this team. Teams sometimes adopt the 'let's win it for this star vet that hasn't' mentality. Hamrlik was the obvious guy in that cateogry for the Habs.

Hamrlik provided valuable on ice leadership. He owned up to his mistakes and may not have been as much of a card as Gill, but the man continued to do more than what was asked of most 36 year old D. I think a Hamrlik-Subban pairing would've been fantastic.

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i think you are correct and if Gill wanted 2 year deal, wouldnt of been done, but i think Gill's intangilbles are a lot more than what Hamrlik's are, both on and off the ice (is there a better 5 on 3 d-man in the world??)?

Hamrlik was solid the last couple years, but seemed to faulter (tired?) in playoffs and showed his age, whereas Gill cant get any slower and should (most likely) provide the same level of play again, especially with Gorges or Yemelin as his partner.

From the outside looking in, Gill seems to be destined to be an NHL coach down the line, but just a wild assumption on my part.

There was an article around, I forget which site, that stated the reason Gill was signed over Hamrlik was more to do with the fact that Hamrlik would not accept a one year deal but Gill would.

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The Hammer decision may come down to an unspoken view about expectations for next season. As I've said for a while, I think the Habs were quietly in a position to contend next season. But management appears to be more interested in leaving room for young players (Emelin and Weber in particular) to develop on the blueline. To my mind, if you think you can contend, you don't casually let both Hammer *and* Wisniewski walk for contractual reasons. You try to keep at least one of them around even if it means a two-year deal for Hammer. Management either believes you can win Cups with raw rookies and Spacek playing significant minutes; or doesn't really see us contending this season; OR doesn't put as much emphasis as I do upon the blueline as the key to winning. -_- (It's worth remembering, in this context, my old theory that the current team is a rebuild in disguise: intended all along as a placeholder that would keep us competitive while the Next Generation emerges. If that remains management's overall view, then the decision makes perfect sense).

Of course, I will now be accused of arguing that Hamrlik is the difference between contending and not contending. No, it's more that having a Hammer in the mix gives us a defence corps that is much closer to a trustworthy Cup-winning defence, with depth built for the long haul. Otherwise put, we're better with him than without him, and the margin of error in terms of winning Cups is not wide enough to forego players that make us better unless we absolutely must.

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That's better. :) Perhaps this is my offseason mission, convincing people that St. Denis was the top defensive defenceman in Hamilton and is worthy of being considered as a callup option.

Speaking of which, St Denis just signed for one year with the Habs, 2-way contract.

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Would there be a chance Mara would/could sign a 2 way contract??

Certainly not yet, but if he is unsigned by training camp then I would reckon he would rather have a two way contract instead of none.

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Well, St. Denis re-signed for one year, and Carle gets shipped out for Mitera. Mitera has yet to play an NHL game, so I still stand firm on the belief that a veteran on a two way contract should be on the Habs roster as the #8 defenseman.

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The Hammer decision may come down to an unspoken view about expectations for next season. As I've said for a while, I think the Habs were quietly in a position to contend next season. But management appears to be more interested in leaving room for young players (Emelin and Weber in particular) to develop on the blueline. To my mind, if you think you can contend, you don't casually let both Hammer *and* Wisniewski walk for contractual reasons. You try to keep at least one of them around even if it means a two-year deal for Hammer. Management either believes you can win Cups with raw rookies and Spacek playing significant minutes; or doesn't really see us contending this season; OR doesn't put as much emphasis as I do upon the blueline as the key to winning. -_- (It's worth remembering, in this context, my old theory that the current team is a rebuild in disguise: intended all along as a placeholder that would keep us competitive while the Next Generation emerges. If that remains management's overall view, then the decision makes perfect sense).

Of course, I will now be accused of arguing that Hamrlik is the difference between contending and not contending. No, it's more that having a Hammer in the mix gives us a defence corps that is much closer to a trustworthy Cup-winning defence, with depth built for the long haul. Otherwise put, we're better with him than without him, and the margin of error in terms of winning Cups is not wide enough to forego players that make us better unless we absolutely must.

Once again these are all assumptions based on limited information.

Maybe in retrospect you will be correct, but maybe Timmins, Gauthier, Gainey etc. have assessed Emelin at a different level than you perceive he can play. Maybe they are right, maybe you are right. I don't understand the negativity.

You keep saying things like "Spacek playing significant minutes". If the top 4 is Markov, Subban, Gill and Gorges, why would Spacek have to play significant minutes? You're continuous argument seems to flow around the "inevitable" injury problems that will arise and the assumption that Emelin and Weber are going to be stiffs.

Like I said in the other thread, what would you have assessed the Bruins chances at a Cup last September? Chara and junk? No scoring, etc. Let's give these guys a chance to see what they can accomplish before condemning them as injury prone and useless rookies.

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Once again these are all assumptions based on limited information.

Maybe in retrospect you will be correct, but maybe Timmins, Gauthier, Gainey etc. have assessed Emelin at a different level than you perceive he can play. Maybe they are right, maybe you are right. I don't understand the negativity.

You keep saying things like "Spacek playing significant minutes". If the top 4 is Markov, Subban, Gill and Gorges, why would Spacek have to play significant minutes? You're continuous argument seems to flow around the "inevitable" injury problems that will arise and the assumption that Emelin and Weber are going to be stiffs.

Like I said in the other thread, what would you have assessed the Bruins chances at a Cup last September? Chara and junk? No scoring, etc. Let's give these guys a chance to see what they can accomplish before condemning them as injury prone and useless rookies.

No question, I was speculating on how Habs' management feels about things, not making any claim to insider knowledge or certainty. I could be utterly out to lunch.

I do think, however, that injuries are almost inevitable in a long playoff run. So I'm looking for insurance. Right now I don't see it. You're right that IF Emelin and Weber prove to be useful minutes-eaters then there's likely no problem. All I'm saying is that if you want to win the Cup, relying on everything going right is not the way to go. This rotation looks like a 'we can win if everything goes perfectly' defensive rotation. I'd prefer a 'we have proven depth if anything goes wrong' situation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not out there saying Emelin is GONNA suck and Markov is bound to break his leg. I'd just like more confidence that we can absorb somesuch event. Hammer would have given us that.

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You keep saying things like "Spacek playing significant minutes". If the top 4 is Markov, Subban, Gill and Gorges, why would Spacek have to play significant minutes?

I'm personally rather scared of Gill or Spacek in the top 4 for an extended period of time. Are either of them really minute munchers like Hamrlik was? And despite everyone seemingly having Gill slotted beside Subban or Gorges all year, I'd rather he be beside Yemelin on the 3rd pairing. If he helped Gorges and Subban improve, his next assignment should be Yemelin...

But that puts Spacek in the top 4, and I'm just not cool with that. He looks like the least fit player on the Habs, and veteran savvy only gets you so far when you can't keep up with the play...

But that puts Weber in the top 4, and being that he could only crack the lineup as a winger in the playoffs, can he really be trusted to make that kind of jump? I should point out I don't actually mind Spacek on the team with soft minutes, but if he's getting the soft minutes than someone else undeserving is getting the tough minutes, and that downright worries me.

And being that Hamrlik was in fact offered a contract by PG, I can certainly see another defenseman being added to replace one of Weber or Spacek.

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Gorges is the obvious one to replace Hamrlik's minutes, but then you seem correct and 75,6, 68 or 74 will ned to play top 4 and Gill would surely be chosen to start there and we just have to hope Weber or Yemelin are capable to play 20 minutes to spell Gill?

Is MCabe still a top four, if he ever was? or would Gauthier try and swing a deal and get a Zack Bogosian from Winnipeg?

I'm personally rather scared of Gill or Spacek in the top 4 for an extended period of time. Are either of them really minute munchers like Hamrlik was? And despite everyone seemingly having Gill slotted beside Subban or Gorges all year, I'd rather he be beside Yemelin on the 3rd pairing. If he helped Gorges and Subban improve, his next assignment should be Yemelin...

But that puts Spacek in the top 4, and I'm just not cool with that. He looks like the least fit player on the Habs, and veteran savvy only gets you so far when you can't keep up with the play...

But that puts Weber in the top 4, and being that he could only crack the lineup as a winger in the playoffs, can he really be trusted to make that kind of jump? I should point out I don't actually mind Spacek on the team with soft minutes, but if he's getting the soft minutes than someone else undeserving is getting the tough minutes, and that downright worries me.

And being that Hamrlik was in fact offered a contract by PG, I can certainly see another defenseman being added to replace one of Weber or Spacek.

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Gorges is the obvious one to replace Hamrlik's minutes, but then you seem correct and 75,6, 68 or 74 will ned to play top 4 and Gill would surely be chosen to start there and we just have to hope Weber or Yemelin are capable to play 20 minutes to spell Gill?

Is MCabe still a top four, if he ever was? or would Gauthier try and swing a deal and get a Zack Bogosian from Winnipeg?

There's no way Atlanta is trading Zach Bogasian and have said as much.

If they ever would be willing, the asking price would probably start with Subban.

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Atlanta?

lol. Force of habit dies hard, eh? I still get weirded out seeing Winnipeg... takes some getting used to.

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