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What are the essentials for a team to be very good longterm?


REV-G
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So whatever you want to call it, we're in the rebuild mode. Personally I'm glad. I think we needed it and it's exciting to see the young guys we've drafted, traded for and the picks we have this year and next in the draft. Three years from now we all want to see a really good young team, with a lot of skill at every position.

 

What gives me the most confidence is the management team we have. I like them a lot. But when we look at other teams we can see they have all tried hard to build a winner but they have had very different degrees of success or failures. 

 

One of the teams I never cheer for is the Boston Bruins. No matter what. And it's all about our decades long rivalry and so many great hard fought battles with them. Even going back to that great goal often replayed that Guy Lafleur scored off the wing in a playoff series. But lately what has bugged me is that they seem to be have been very good for a very long time! I know now it seems they're fading a bit with their core getting older, but they've had a fabulous run. 

 

Pittsburg is similar but in my mind they haven't been as good as the Bruins for as long a time.

 

Then you have Buffalo, who has been bad it seems forever and many other teams who seem to be stuck forever in no mans land, not really doing much year after year.

 

Then you have Toronto and Edmonton. We don't know what will happen this year but they both have some of the best offensive players in the league but every year they seem to fail miserably in the playoffs. Toronto has spent most of their money on a highly skilled group of forwards but they've lost every year in the first round for what, at least the past five years and haven't won a playoff round for a very long time. Edmonton is kind of in that same category until they prove otherwise. 

 

So what has Boston done so well that Toronto and Edmonton haven't been able to do? 

 

What lessons should we learn as we enter this rebuild so we become like the Canadiens of the 70's and 80's and like the modern day Boston Bruins but do not end up on the same path as the Leafs and Oilers?

 

What do you think are some of the keys?   

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great topic @REV-G !

 

Despite my negativity in some posts, I am happy with the direction the team has taken. My hope is that they define a clear plan and they execute it to the letter. Having two people doing what one tried to do before will mitigate that risk and for that reason I am optimistic.

 

I am not so high on the actual people managing the team, but I have to agree that they a very well qualified and seem to be doing great work for the future of the Habs. Only time will allow me to jump on the Hugh-Gort bandwagon, once they reach the Stanley cup final.

 

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To your questions. I learned on this forum during the last 10+ years (I joined in 2009) that development is essential and that goaltending is voodoo. I also learned by studying Marc Bergevin's work how cap management works and how late rounders and bottom of the barrel pickups can become key parts of a winning team. Two tenants of the past management team - not to trade the future (prospects) and not to overpay for UFAs - were an interesting basis for how the team was put together; a formula that I am curious to see how it will be replaced or evolved by the new team.

 

On Lessons from other teams:

* Toronto: do not overpay for UFAs

* Buffalo: invest in development instead of spinning your wheels with band-aid trades

* Pittsburgh, Edmonton: let your superstars carry the team, you lucky "b@s*!tards" but make sure you surround them with the players needed to win a cup

* Boston: team identity can turn average players into solid NHLers, move them out of that environmetn and see how they revert back to average

 

On building a winning team:

I do not know really, I am still learning and trying to figure it out. With Hugh-Gort I will see if I can analyze them like I would look at an European soccer franchise: development of players to either (a) become impact players on their team, or (b) gain value to the point where a trade would improve the team much more than keeping the player

 

The way Hugh-Gort got rid of unusable parts (Paquette, Perreault, McNiven, etc) and maximized returns for UFAs/RFAs makes me think this would be an interesting way to look at the next few years.  Earning value at a reasonable risk :)

 

 

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Strength down the middle, and strength in net. Pittsburgh had MAF and Boston had Thomas/Rask. Neither Edmonton or Toronto have been able to replicate that success in net. 

 

 

 

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If I were to make a list of a few absolute essentials for a long term run of being a really good team I think you hit it. Besides other things, one has to be that we go and get a top notch young goalie that will be with us for many years. 

 

I know it's much easier said than done but to get a Price, Rask, Fleury etc. is an absolute must. Top 3 for sure.  

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Boston is probably the gold standard for a team that contends annually without tanking.

 

Their main key has been superb drafting and development. I’ve been saying for years that, if you are not tanking, then you have to be able to find star players outside the upper regions of the draft. This is exactly what the Bruins have done. Bergeron, Marchand, Pasternak, and Krug all came from outside the first round. They also added McAvoy with a middle-of-the-pack 1st round pick of the sort the Habs usually squib away on turds like Andrei Kostitsyn. The Bruins don’t f**k around; they lock up their core players. And importantly, but beyond anyone’s control, those core guys have been incredibly durable. 

 

Meanwhile, the case of attempted murderer Zdeno Chara shows how much of a difference a single well-judged UFA signing can make. I remember when they signed Chara; a lot of capologist fans poured scorn on it. It turned out to be a brilliant, franchise-defining decision. 

 

Once you have added elite core players and locked them up, and have good drafting/development to complement them at need, you can contend for years and years. I know San Jose never won, but you look at how competitive they were over the Thornton/Marleau era. When you get into trouble is when you overpay the Arturi Lehkonens of the world because you want to win and you don’t have ready replacements coming up through the pipeline.

 

Only when your elite core ages out does your team then slip off its perch. 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

Boston is probably the gold standard for a team that contends annually without tanking.

 

 

Yes they are. Another thing they have done well is trade players at the right time (ie. traded Lucic for a big haul when they recognized the game was changing).  Pasternak was actually a 1st round pick (#25 in 2014 right before Sherbak) but everything else you said is absolutely correct.  Getting Bergeron in the 2nd round and Marchand in the 3rd was masterful.  Being a Habs fan I have always had a strong dislike for the Bruins but their management team has done a great job keeping them competitive every year. 

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6 minutes ago, Habs Fan in Edmonton said:

 

Yes they are. Another thing they have done well is trade players at the right time (ie. traded Lucic for a big haul when they recognized the game was changing).  Pasternak was actually a 1st round pick (#25 in 2014 right before Sherbak) but everything else you said is absolutely correct.  Getting Bergeron in the 2nd round and Marchand in the 3rd was masterful.  Being a Habs fan I have always had a strong dislike for the Bruins but their management team has done a great job keeping them competitive every year. 

 

True that Pasternak was a 1st-rounder, but at 25th overall, the logic still applies: you need to get stud players outside the upper regions of the draft.  He is a cardinal example.

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10 minutes ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

 

True that Pasternak was a 1st-rounder, but at 25th overall, the logic still applies: you need to get stud players outside the upper regions of the draft.  He is a cardinal example.

 

Absolutely, getting a player of Paternak's ability at 25 is hitting a home run, it's very rare to get a player that good at 25. He was overlooked by a lot of teams but not the Bruins.  Your point is well taken, to be consistently competitive, you have to find those gems outside the top 10 or 15 and develop them well.  The Bruins have done a great job at this. 

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55 minutes ago, Habs Fan in Edmonton said:

 

Absolutely, getting a player of Paternak's ability at 25 is hitting a home run, it's very rare to get a player that good at 25. He was overlooked by a lot of teams but not the Bruins.  Your point is well taken, to be consistently competitive, you have to find those gems outside the top 10 or 15 and develop them well.  The Bruins have done a great job at this. 

We’ve done that before as well - like the 2007 draft with McDonough-Maxpac-Subban. We just need to do that more often, rather than once in a blue moon. We also need to ensure we develop and keep those guys - that includes locking them at the right time for a good cap hit. Of the three in 2007, we gave away McDonough, were lucky that Maxpac had his head screwed on right (didn’t sulk when he was send down - and actually said he preferred being in the top line in the AHal, rather than how he was being used by Martin), and he was the only one who was signed to to a good  second contract. Subban’s second contract was a mistake.

 

Boston has not only managed to find and develop elite players drafted later, they signed them to great club-friendly contracts as well. We got Gallagher on a great deal in his previous contract, but I can’t see Boston giving him what he got on his current deal.

 

Boston’s success in drafting and developing late round picks also helped take the sting and impact out of bad trades like the Seguin and Hamilton trades. Which were made more for team culture/fit reasons.

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1 hour ago, Habs Fan in Edmonton said:

 

Absolutely, getting a player of Paternak's ability at 25 is hitting a home run, it's very rare to get a player that good at 25...

Justin Barron is a 25th pick.

Justin Barron hockey player photo

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8 minutes ago, hab29RETIRED said:

Boston has not only managed to find and develop elite players drafted later, they signed them to great club-friendly contracts as well. We got Gallagher on a great deal in his previous contract, but I can’t see Boston giving him what he got on his current deal.

 

Good point, Marchand and Pasternak are on great contracts, I expect Pasternak will be getting a substantial raise after next year.  And as CC pointed out they have done a great job targeting the right free agents.  Chara turned out to be one of the best free agent signings ever, they got a lot of mileage out of Chara. 

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1 hour ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

Boston is probably the gold standard for a team that contends annually without tanking.

 

Their main key has been superb drafting and development.

 

It used to be.  They've been pretty bad on that front for a while now which is why they're perpetually trying to trade for/sign impact pieces since the ones they've drafted aren't panning out.  They've been living off the team-friendly contracts for their big three but as those deals come up, they're going to be in some trouble.

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2 hours ago, dlbalr said:

 

It used to be.  They've been pretty bad on that front for a while now which is why they're perpetually trying to trade for/sign impact pieces since the ones they've drafted aren't panning out.  They've been living off the team-friendly contracts for their big three but as those deals come up, they're going to be in some trouble.

 

Exactly, their recent drafts have been bad, especially that 2015 draft where they only have Debrusk to show for the three picks in a row, and the next three were Barzal, Thomas Chabot, and Kyle Connor. 

 

I don't see how they replace Bergeron as he falls off or leaves.

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7 minutes ago, Commandant said:

 

Exactly, their recent drafts have been bad, especially that 2015 draft where they only have Debrusk to show for the three picks in a row, and the next three were Barzal, Thomas Chabot, and Kyle Connor. 

 

I don't see how they replace Bergeron as he falls off or leaves.

 

Fair enough. The point isn’t really that Boston is knocking it out of the park in drafting and development right now; rather, it’s that that’s how they built a team that has been a pretty consistent contender for over a decade. If anything, their recent mediocrity in the draft amplifies that point that you can stay near the top of the league for a long time if you draft and develop an elite core and lock it up long term. The Bruins are the template for non-tanking success.  

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What are the essentials though?

 

Number 1 C, Number 2 C (one of the Cs is good defensively against top lines) 

Number 1 scoring winger,

Number 1 D, Number 2 D,

Top Goalie.

 

 

Give me consistently good players at those six positions and I can build the rest of the lineup around them. 

 

What does this rebuild have (in five years)

 

Suzuki and Caufield.... the rest we don't know yet... chances on the blueline with Guhle, Barron, Romanov etc to be that #2, but I'm not sure any is a #1

 

Lots of goalies who might be #1

 

We need to get  another strong piece in this draft.

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