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Who will be our defencemen next season?


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With all the rookies we're trying to integrate - especially on D - over the next couple of years, it's inevitable we won't be very good. We have to add a few studs to our core over the next couple years, and this would be aided by drafting high.  Florida, Tampa and Toronto got their elite cores by drafting high. I don't think we should actively try to suck, but getting top picks (and actually hitting on them) would help our longterm goals.

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Yes ... signing or trading for a top player this summer, with a contract expiring in 3-4 years would potentially mean that we lose that player (because we don't want saddle ourselves a massive end-of-career contract) just as the team is entering the contention window.

 

And then there is the short/mid-term cap constraint.

 

So, I am hoping that Hugo will stay focused on building with younger players that can continue to play a role on the team for five years or more without one of "those" contracts. Not necessarily just prospects or rookies, but mid-20s or younger.

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10 hours ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

 

I may be losing sight of what we're talking about - I thought the discussion was centering on directions for next season. (We all agree we want the top pick this year and are in a decent position to get it). Some seem to be suggesting we should roll with the kids and avoid trying to make the team better in the short run, so that we can pick high again next year. I'm saying we should be looking to improve the team over the summer, if it can be done without damaging our longer-term cap structure doing it; and if that means being tolerably competitive and not a bottom-dwelling suction eel, I'm Ok with that. 

The question is what is the objective. Get our young players better AND only play them if they are progressing and show they belong in the NHL. This means adding players that help our young players develop. Or, do we want to give up picks and prospects in trades, and sign mid-level UFA (which we would have to probably either overpay, over commit, or both), and try and be a bubble team?  
 

we have done tried the second option for 20 years (I’m not including the idiotic lack of direction of the Houle years). It hasn’t worked.  I don’t want to add a expensive UFA’s or veterans that may be available in trades like Letang, or a Toews. I also don’t want to overpay for a guy I like in Chychrun, because he will cost a lot of picks/prospects, and than we have to resign him in three years.

 

We have to be realistic In how we can improve, how fast we can improve, and how much we can improve.  
 

I want a chance to evaluate the young players we have and bring in more elite prospects, and THAN add the missing pieces and significant between presence (counting on Suzuki, Romanov, Caufield to be part of that veteran core in another two years).

 

We aren’t making the playoffs next year, and probably not the following year. Its just a reality of our roster, cap situation, and the fact that at in our division at least Tampa, Florida, and Toronto will be solid playoff teams next year, with Boston likely still being strong enough for at least another years. Boston always seem to be able to add players to carry the torch - McAvoy and Lindholm, are solid anchors after having the hood player but human garbage Chara for over a decade. We have not been able to do that. Still have not replaced Markov.

 

I’m out conference, Carolina is solid, NYR, will only get better, and the Caps and Pens are probably still playoff teams for at least another year.
 

so do you think we can make additions to actually make the ayoffs?  We would have to significantly improve our team. For that to happen, we need to make significant additions. Do we want to trade picks and roll the dice on older players, when we are finally getting younger??

 

wr need to change our approach, culture and build a solid core. I want more elite players. I don’t want to add more players like Hoffman and Savard like we did last summer. It didn’t help last year, and it won’t help next year. Once we have that cute, than let’s make additions to add good solid complementary pieces like Taffoli was. Those types of guys are available easily in trades, elite centres, Dman are not.

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3 hours ago, Habs Fan in Edmonton said:

 

I just think our window of opportunity where we can be realistically competitive with Florida, Tampa, Toronto etc is more likely to be 3-5 years down the road.  As long as improvements during the summer don't negatively affect the longer term picture then I fine with it. I just don't think that this is the summer where you go hard after a high profile free agent unless you get a really good deal and that contract doesn't become an anchor in a couple years when you might be on the verge of being really competitive.  I don't think there will be a ton of cap space anyway unless some of the existing contracts are moved which will be a challenge for Hughes. 

I think with the right moves, we can be a bubble team I. 2 years, and competitive in 3. That should be the goal. I don’t want anything to do with the Soviet 5 year plans some incoming GM’s preach. That’s how you end up being like Arizona and Buffalo. The Shanaplan was a good plan, until they started chasing Stamkos, and than signed Tavares, when they needed to leave money to sign and trade for better Dmen and a goalie. Also showed the importance of making sure you look up players for the right $ and terms in their second contract. The Bruins usually have gotten the second contract right. Toronto gave the keys to the kingdom to the young players, without getting enough term under Kyle Dufas.

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2 hours ago, Neech said:

With all the rookies we're trying to integrate - especially on D - over the next couple of years, it's inevitable we won't be very good. We have to add a few studs to our core over the next couple years, and this would be aided by drafting high.  Florida, Tampa and Toronto got their elite cores by drafting high. I don't think we should actively try to suck, but getting top picks (and actually hitting on them) would help our longterm goals.

We suck despite MB’s moves in trying not to suck. Don’t need to make same mistakes.

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15 minutes ago, hab29RETIRED said:

The question is what is the objective. Get our young players better AND only play them if they are progressing and show they belong in the NHL. This means adding players that help our young players develop. Or, do we want to give up picks and prospects in trades, and sign mid-level UFA (which we would have to probably either overpay, over commit, or both), and try and be a bubble team?  
 

we have done tried the second option for 20 years (I’m not including the idiotic lack of direction of the Houle years). It hasn’t worked.  I don’t want to add a expensive UFA’s or veterans that may be available in trades like Letang, or a Toews. I also don’t want to overpay for a guy I like in Chychrun, because he will cost a lot of picks/prospects, and than we have to resign him in three years.

 

 

 

"Adding players that help our young players develop" and only playing young players who have earned an NHL spot. Agreed. That is the basic goal.

 

Therefore we cannot, IMHO, go into next season with the D corps mooted earlier in this thread - i.e., with Edmundson, Romanov, and Savard as the only guys with any meaningful NHL experience, thus guaranteeing major minutes for three rookies. That is NOT putting the kids in a position to succeed, nor is it instilling a culture of excellence by requiring that guys earn their slot against NHL competition. That's why I strongly advocate going out and getting experienced D who can move the puck and play significant minutes. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know who that would be - but we need to add a skating veteran defenceman. 

 

In addition to adding a puck-mover who can eat minutes, we should probably add at least one more veteran d-man of the Kulak variety, i.e., a #6-7 who can bounce in and out of the lineup. 

 

In short, we need insulation for the kids. That's a sine qua non of rebuilding properly IMHO.

 

Then there's a wider point about tanking. I am anti-tank as a deliberate team building philosophy over a number of seasons; i.e., I oppose management deliberately icing a sh*t lineup. If we can improve the team without giving up future assets or locking ourselves into cap hell 3-4 years down the line, well, we should do that too. Since that is very hard to achieve, it's probably a hypothetical scenario. But in the improbably event that an Arizona offers us a Chychrun for a 4th rounder, or for Brendan Gallagher, I don't say, "no thanks, I'm gunning for a top pick in 2024." I take the deal.

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the thread is about the defensemen next season. I'll stick to that, but try to give my impressions on "the HughGort plan"

I hope they draft and accumulate prospects to stockpile players that can be traded, like in other sports where they "sell" players that do not fit on the team's core

 

I would sign a cheap veteran RD to play on the top-4 while the prospects develop, and I would focus on developing the D prospects with all the resources available.

 

I know that some on this forum are of the opinion that having too many prospects clogs the contract situation or the roster spots. I think that to build a solid D-core the Habs need to get as many Ds as possible, let them simmer in the minors and just sign the players to ELC when ready

 

A final point is that the extra prospects can help when trying to trade Armia, Byron, Gallagher or Petry. Packaging a prospect or picks would help in getting rid of those

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6 minutes ago, alfredoh2009 said:

I know that some on this forum are of the opinion that having too many prospects clogs the contract situation or the roster spots. I think that to build a solid D-core the Habs need to get as many Ds as possible, let them simmer in the minors and just sign the players to ELC when ready.

I'm unclear what you mean here. It seems you're indicating that AHL-bound prospects sign AHL only contracts and they only get ELC when they are NHL ready? Or are you stating leagues below AHL are the "minors"?

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8 minutes ago, huzer said:

I'm unclear what you mean here. It seems you're indicating that AHL-bound prospects sign AHL only contracts and they only get ELC when they are NHL ready? Or are you stating leagues below AHL are the "minors"?

there are some ELC that slide if the player remains in the NCAA or juniors.

 

Drafted players have a few years before having to sign their ELC. For example, Stapley just became available/UFA after the Habs decided not to offer him an ELC. Norlinder has been in Sweden for a few years and Stubble is not yet signed.

I believe that the Habs should use the two year window they have to maximize the prospect pool value to build the core they want and to trade valuable prospects to plug any holes

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2 hours ago, hab29RETIRED said:

I think with the right moves, we can be a bubble team I. 2 years, and competitive in 3. That should be the goal ...

I would suggest not putting any arbitrary fixed goals ... next season and perhaps the season after are IMO developmental ... when to add pieces to win now/soon has to be judged against the progress the team has actually made at each step.

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5 minutes ago, GHT120 said:

I would suggest not putting any arbitrary fixed goals ... next season and perhaps the season after are IMO developmental ... when to add pieces to win now/soon has to be judged against the progress the team has actually made at each step.

Right. It's possible we might squeak into the playoffs next year, even with a young team, or it might take three years. Much depends on how the youngsters develop.

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2 hours ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

Therefore we cannot, IMHO, go into next season with the D corps mooted earlier in this thread - i.e., with Edmundson, Romanov, and Savard as the only guys with any meaningful NHL experience, thus guaranteeing major minutes for three rookies. That is NOT putting the kids in a position to succeed, nor is it instilling a culture of excellence by requiring that guys earn their slot against NHL competition. That's why I strongly advocate going out and getting experienced D who can move the puck and play significant minutes. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know who that would be - but we need to add a skating veteran defenceman.

We do have Wideman as well, certainly not top pair but he has experience and can indeed move the puck ... 🙄

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19 minutes ago, tomh009 said:

We do have Wideman as well, certainly not top pair but he has experience and can indeed move the puck ... 🙄

Keeping and playing Wideman would help having a better shot at Bedard, for sure.:clap:

 

Just the goalies might not be so keen on it.

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2 hours ago, alfredoh2009 said:

there are some ELC that slide if the player remains in the NCAA or juniors.

 

Drafted players have a few years before having to sign their ELC. For example, Stapley just became available/UFA after the Habs decided not to offer him an ELC. Norlinder has been in Sweden for a few years and Stubble is not yet signed.

I believe that the Habs should use the two year window they have to maximize the prospect pool value to build the core they want and to trade valuable prospects to plug any holes

 

I don't expect the Habs to sign Stapley, but he isn't a UFA yet. He is still playing (Frozen Four final today). NCAA players can't sign ELC and retain their NCAA eligibility.

 

Your phrasing made it sound like you only wanted to offer NHL contracts to players that were NHL ready, which isn't a realistic option.

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9 minutes ago, huzer said:

 

I don't expect the Habs to sign Stapley, but he isn't a UFA yet. He is still playing (Frozen Four final today). NCAA players can't sign ELC and retain their NCAA eligibility.

 

Your phrasing made it sound like you only wanted to offer NHL contracts to players that were NHL ready, which isn't a realistic option.

English poor is, on most occasions... mine

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This year, the Canadiens lost 3 major contributors to the team. 2 of them (Weber and Price) to injury. Danault to trade. Combined with ducharmes horrid and confusing coaching, it was a terrible season. That's why they get to pick in the top 5. A healthy Price could make them a bubble team by himself. I would not count on getting a top 5 pick next year. If the right deal came along, I would not be against adding a top 3 defenseman. It all depends on Price IMO. The argument that the East is a powerhouse and we can't compete is a good one, but those powerhouse teams can also get into cap space problems and have key injuries. Overperforming players (Kreider as an example) can return to their original form. Etc... and suddenly the bubble Habs are competing for a playoff spot.  I don't think the Habs NEED to go find a defenseman, but I would not be upset if they did. 

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2 hours ago, DON said:

Keeping and playing Wideman would help having a better shot at Bedard, for sure.:clap:

 

Just the goalies might not be so keen on it.

My only half-serious post was really intending to point out that any non-elite offensive D-man will come with some defensive challenges. There is no free lunch here.

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13 minutes ago, tomh009 said:

My only half-serious post was really intending to point out that any non-elite offensive D-man will come with some defensive challenges. There is no free lunch here.

I am also kinda kidding and simply dont like seeing Wideman in a Hab jersey, hoping that ends for good 12 games from now.

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1 hour ago, BCHabnut said:

This year, the Canadiens lost 3 major contributors to the team. 2 of them (Weber and Price) to injury. Danault to trade. Combined with ducharmes horrid and confusing coaching, it was a terrible season. That's why they get to pick in the top 5. A healthy Price could make them a bubble team by himself. I would not count on getting a top 5 pick next year. If the right deal came along, I would not be against adding a top 3 defenseman. It all depends on Price IMO. The argument that the East is a powerhouse and we can't compete is a good one, but those powerhouse teams can also get into cap space problems and have key injuries. Overperforming players (Kreider as an example) can return to their original form. Etc... and suddenly the bubble Habs are competing for a playoff spot.  I don't think the Habs NEED to go find a defenseman, but I would not be upset if they did. 

If Price is able to get in a few games, and looks good, I can see Hughes trying to move him, if there is interest. He made the tough call with buying out Lundquist, could see him moving Price - buyout is obviously not an option.

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1 hour ago, DON said:

I am also kinda kidding and simply dont like seeing Wideman in a Hab jersey, hoping that ends for good 12 games from now.

I was hoping we would not see him in a habs jersey for any more actual games THIS season.

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29 minutes ago, tomh009 said:

Unless he can burn a year, why wouldn’t he just wait until Aug 15, and sign wherever he wants?

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5 minutes ago, hab29RETIRED said:

If Price is able to get in a few games, and looks good, I can see Hughes trying to move him, if there is interest. He made the tough call with buying out Lundquist, could see him moving Price - buyout is obviously not an option.

A whole lot of things need to fall into place to trade Price. I'm very skeptical that it can happen. Ntc. Injuries. Age. Contract. 

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9 minutes ago, BCHabnut said:

A whole lot of things need to fall into place to trade Price. I'm very skeptical that it can happen. Ntc. Injuries. Age. Contract. 

 

I agree, a lot of things would have to fall into place. He would have to be healthy, he would have to regain his form, other teams would have to be convinced that he can stay healthy, Habs would have to eat a chunk of his contract. I don't think he is going anywhere. 

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7 minutes ago, hab29RETIRED said:

I was hoping we would not see him in a habs jersey for any more actual games THIS season.

Wideman has a bad rep. But I don't think he's quite as atrocious as some people say. He does play protected minutes but he's not the only one. Let's look at the on-ice stats for the five D-men with ~50% (or higher offensiove-zone face-offs):

  • Clague: 2.59 GA/60, 3.17 xGA/60, 14.46 HDCA/60
  • Kulak: 3.02 GA/60, 2.37 xGA/60, 10.91 HDCA/60
  • Niku: 2.18 GA/60, 2.16 xGA/60, 9.83 HDCA/60
  • Schueneman: 2.10 GA/60, 3.39 xGA/60, 14.29 HDCA/60
  • Wideman: 2.81 GA/60, 2.62 xGA/60, 12.18 HDCA/60

There really isn't that much of a difference between those five ...

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