Canadiens Time Episode 17 Transcript

D.F. Pendrys
Hello and welcome to another edition of Canadiens time, a lot of ground to cover today, as there’s been a lot of subjects plopping around in the Canadiens universe. Recently, the Canadiens picked up a surprising victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. And, of course, you can read the recaps and you know, watch the highlights if you want to get a view of how that game went. I’m not going to recap the games because there’s plenty of people who do that fine. And you’ll get a better job of that from somebody else. So just going to jump into. Obviously though, the upshot of that game though, was that we had Kirby Dach back we had Brendan Gallagher back, but Josh Anderson got injured. And we don’t know for how long. (unintelligible) he’s not on the trip to Boston. So victory but you just got to wonder what are we doing here? So first subject to talk about tonight is prospects. As Ryan Praught pointed out in an article that he wrote, there are five Canadiens prospects in the NCAA Tournament, Lane Hutson, Luke Tuck Rhett Pitlick, Jakub Dobes, and Sean Farrell. Some of them are going to be facing off against each other so they will not be in an NCAA tournament for very long as Farrell and Dobes face off against each other in their opening round game. I’m not sure where Pitlick is, so I’m not sure where he will end up playing. Hutson and Tuch have to take on Western Michigan first, so I’m not sure if their paths will cross with Pitlick anytime soon. Speaking of Hutson, Scott Matla on Locked on Canadiens ran down a few of his accomplishments in the Hockey East tournament. He scored two goals in the Hockey East Championship, including the game winning goal and over time, he’s beat Brian Leech’s under 19 scoring record. In Matla’s opinion his defensive and positioning work had there’s work to be done there. Hadi Kalakeche who’s an excellent prospects expert has had this just say about him, quote, He has so much left to develop. his defensive game his behind the curve, his pivots are still somewhat of an issue. And he’s just beginning to come out of his shell and try new things. But two aspects of his game have grown over the past year. And Kalakeche his article which I’ll leave in the show notes goes deeper into that I’m not going to read an entire article to you on this podcast that would be just swiping somebody else’s work and also that’d be pretty boring to listen to. So I urge you to go read the article to find out more about that. But Kalakeche also talked about Jayden Struble, who recently signed with the the organization is now going to be with Rocket and he had he had a had a detailed analysis of Struble. He he his analysis included that he says he doesn’t shoot very often, has trouble switching assignments in the defensive zone and can get too eager to throw his weight around when defending the rush leaving gaps in coverage. But he also says and this is quote continued there are elements of his game that point in the direction of a player with a high offensive ceiling elements that if refined could make him a top transition defenseman in the NHL. And this dovetails with the tweet thread that Kalakeche has had last week talking about the Struble’s upsides offensively so that just one that saying there’s there’s there’s just an offensive flair he may have an can develop. Then, on the subject of Sean Farrell, Kalakeche says that in his interest his abilities, Ferrell looks looks the part of a top NHL playmaker, and he goes into the various weapons that Farrell has. And he also says his skating and board play have improved. So that’s just and there’s there’s great detail in the article to look at and um and Marco D’Amico also talked about in an article of his own, talked about the where Farrell might end up contractually after the NCAA season ends. And he noted that because of Farrell’s age and birthday, he can sign a three year entry level contract, rather than the two year deals that Jordan Harris and Struble signed who because of their ages, they could only signed a two year deal. So if Farrell could then join the Canadiens and he’d still burn a year, but he wouldn’t be burning one year of the two year deal, he’d have a three year deal. So that was very helpful information for Marco D’Amico. Other prospects D’Amico in another article spoke about several other prospects like Joshua Roy, who has 90 points and 52 games as of the article’s publication, which is fourth in his league in five points per game. Riley Kidney, fifth in the QMJHL in scoring he hit the 100 point mark, and Adam Engstrom is doing well as his Owen Beck and Rhett Pitlick And there’s more details. I will put that article in the show notes. Once again, not going to read an entire article to you urge you to go take a look. Then, D’Amico also had a very interesting idea in that there’s an unsigned goalie out of Quinnipiac, Yaniv Perets, who has been extremely good in his career. This season, he has a .929 save percentage and a 1.52 goals against average. And D’Amico said why not have the Canadiens try and go get him when the when his season comes to an end. And that would be quite interesting for you know, quite an interesting option as a pickup. He somehow just didn’t end up with a deal. And, and, you know, sort of like a Arber Xhekaj of goaltenders. And, and it it certainly would be an interesting idea, but given the Canadiens are a bit shaky in the goaltending area is once you get down into the prospects area, and Perets has been just just a really, really excellent goaltender in his two seasons. So that was an a very interesting idea posed there. So we’ll see. Quinnipiac could have their season ended as soon as this weekend. So so that’s just an interesting possibility. Turning to the forwards, Kirby Dach came back for the Lightning game and Matt Drake wrote a piece that sung his praises. And one of the points he made was that, Dach, in addition to the goal he scored, he said that Dach was seen on multiple occasions, taking the puck in the corner and holding it there against an onslaught of Lightning forwards trying to dig it out and get their last ditch effort going. So he was noting this sort of the tough play that Dach was putting in there and sort of stymieing the Lightning. And that was good to see. I just thought I just thought it notable that we, that it’s, it’s, you know, we know what Kirby Dach can do offensively. He’s excellent offensively. And there have been questions about some of his other skills like can he can he win face offs? And I think there were some questions about his physicality even and cert…certainly seems like you’ve gotten into fights. He seems to be going into the board strongly. And so this just seems to be another branch of that where he seems to be contributing when even when he’s not, you know, scoring on on the net. interesting topic of Denis Gurianov. Scott Matla was singing his praises on Locked On Canadiens. He’s spoke of him as a possible trigger man to Juraj Slafkovsk. He described him as a power play weapon, he can shoot, and he at the moment he has five goals and 11 games. Interestingly, though, then there was the question though of would they sign him. His qualifying offer would be $2.9 million at the end of the year. And the Habs Unfiltered crew discussed it. And Trege Wilson said he’d like to sign him but he doesn’t want to sign him for four or 5 million or for, 3 million. And he while while it’s saying that he has a hell of a shot, he passes well, he’s a good skater. And he has size quoting Wilson there. And, and Blain Potvin noted that they don’t have to sign him at that $2.9 million, they could do what they did with Rem Pitlick and not offer the qualifying offer and then go back and re-sign him later. But of course, they discussed on the show that Gurianov’s production above what Pitlick’s is. So Gurianov may not accept that. But but it was just an interesting discussion they had because the question of the logistical and the practical idea of well, you want to keep Gurianov, but can you keep them and at what cost? So I think I think the Canadiens should try to keep them he’s young, he’s certainly showing his value. So if they can try to keep him and find a way to keep that contract reasonable. I’d say do it. I, I would even say me personally, I’d say even do it at the qualifying offer. And maybe that’s maybe that’s a ridiculous position to take. But I think it it’s just, it’s not the worst contract in the world, compared to some of the contracts they’re saddled with like after, you know, you got the like the Mike Hoffman contracts and stuff like that. So, so I, I just, I think maybe you just try to sign him and see where it goes. Speaking of Jesse Ylönen, Scott Matla was also big high on him on Locked on Canadians. Called him a big shooter finding confidence, and sees him as a twenty goal guy in the middle six. And that’s it, you know, is interesting, because it wasn’t always obvious that that would be the case. It’s a very tricky thing to see where Ylönen would fit in. And, and I think that he’s reaching that point, and everything I’m going to take everything Matla says is pretty much you know, excellent analysis. So I look forward to that seeing just, you know, how far Ylönen can go. And and I think that would be excellent. Now, in the more controversial of forwards, you have Jonathan Drouin, and this is this is this is a tricky one now. The Habs Unfiltered crew, Blain Potvin and Matt Smith, both think the Canadiens are going to move on from him. Brian Wilde on the other hand, in a recent article, pointed out that Drouin has been the leading scorer from the club at since the all star break. And he wonders, does that not merit a contract offer of some sort? And he thinks that that should merit a contract offer at least for a year. And that he believes that’s been earned. So it’s, and I see the logic in it. I mean, the the the other side to it is and it’s been expressed is that Drouin was brought in with expectations that were way too high so the fan base was set up to be disappointed no matter what. So even now, when Drouin is doing this, this point per game pace, though many, most of them are assists, but still point per game pace It’s still a question of Is he worth it? And I but I, I I take Wilde’s point I mean he’s been very productive. And I’m not sure that it wouldn’t make sense to do like one year at some reasonable contract length if he would do it and but I also see other side where it just you say this is enough is enough and and you let it go. So, you know I, I’m fine with it, I’m really fine with it either way. And speaking of though, speaking of though, keeping or letting people go, Matt Smith on Habs Unfiltered said the Michael Pezzetta has done the things necessary to secure a spot on the team for next season, in his opinion. I would tend to agree with somebody who knows a lot more about hockey than I do so that’s easy for me to do. But I think I think Pezzetta is just he seemed an there seemed to be a point where he was struggling. But he has been, he’s a very effective fourth liner. With him on the fourth line with the players, they put on the fourth line with him they seem to play better. He he has the physicality that is still needed in the game. So he’s just he has he has energy, when when oftentimes sometimes the rest of the team doesn’t have energy, he still has energy. He’s he gets he gets, he gets like a gritty goal when the players that should be scoring goals aren’t scoring goals he’s just it’s just it’s hard to explain his game. But it’s it’s just it’s just it’s effective. And I think since the Kent Hughes is saying, you know, it’s still going to be two or three years I think then let him be a part of the of this process right now until you don’t have a space for him. Now speaking of the process, though, Marco D’Amico pointed out in an article that and this was while Kirby Dach was out. He said, quote, we currently live in a time when the Canadiens will ice a center line of Nick Suzuki, Alex Belzile, Chris Tierney and Anthony Richard. This is due to a string of injuries to Kirby Dach Sean Monahan, Christian Dvorak and Jake Evans out with injuries. And the premise of the article, which I urge you to read, you know, goes into the details about the slack of center depth in the entire organizational structure, and how vulnerable the Canadiens are given that lack of depth and he notes that Owen Beck and Riley Kidney are not NHL ready yet. So that means that there’s just there’s there’s still not they’re not people ready to come up and fill those voids. Now, ideally, you wouldn’t have four of your centers out with injuries. And of course, Dach is back. So that does mitigate the issue a bit. But only a bit. But it it’s it’s a it’s a concern. I mean, especially when going into the draft this year, that it was known that the Canadiens needed a center and they got one and Dach but it was still known that you know, that position was needed. And of course, if anything happened to Dach you still had a problem and something did happen to Dach and so now they’re they’re just happy to be like, well, (unintelligible) you I have to say, well, okay, hopefully something doesn’t happen to Dach, Monahan, Dvorak and Evans. Well, something did happen to Dach, Monaghan, Dvoark, and Evans. And and so I mean, what in one case, I mean the amount of injuries the team has sustained. And I’ll get into this a little bit, you know, is ridiculous but it’s also it’s it’s also a question of who you know, is there is there the depth that they need. So I’m gonna talk about the defense in a minute. But first a word from our sponsor, McCraskett’s Baskets, if you need a basket. McCraskett’s Baskets have been making baskets, since since I don’t even know since how long they’ve been making it. These are high quality baskets that won’t let you down. They’re not like the cheap baskets, that will just crack on you when you’re walking down the street with your tomatoes. And next thing, you know, you’ve got tomatoes all over the street, and you’ve got a broken basket and broken dreams. So give them McCraskett’s Baskets a call or email or whatever he used to communicate today. get yourself a sturdy basket that won’t let you down. Okay, so the defense. Mark Dumont, did a really solid piece, which I will urge you to read like all the pieces I reference. He looked at expected goals for expected goals against for the defenders. And he got into detail. And the detail will not be reproduced here, you can go take a look at the detail he uses. But what he one result he found was that Jordan Harris and Jonathan Kovacevic, were among the most effective defenders by that measure. He then also look to production of a points per 60. And found the Justin Barron was the most productive, and it has the ratings for all the defenders. So you can see how they all stack up. But that was that was just good to see. Because, you know, it’s been, you know, we kind of had the feeling that Harris and Kovacevic have been really solid, and you get some numbers to back it up. But obviously it doesn’t, you know, the, the, the context is important because it’s who are they going up against, because obviously the first pair goes up against the top lines. And so there’s always going to be that consideration so that it can’t be taken entirely in a vacuum. But needless to say, there there is there is some you can still draw from those results as as a positive. And Ryan Praught did a whole piece on Kovacevic, which was great. And he spoke about and he actually spoke about Harris and Kovacevic together and mentioned that their expected goals for percenta percentage was a certain number and then when the neither out there on the ice, it drops about 10%. So the so in Praught’s words, the Canadiens are better when these two are playing. And then Praught warns though, again, context wise, that the first pair would might be playing the you know, the top defense, the top offensive and so might have a different expected goals ratio just because of that. So that may make it harder but that there’s still value to the measurement. And but, you know, just the piece went into a just overall you know, what the value of Kovacevic was to the team and how steady he’s been. And then you know, and this and that stat along with Harris just sort of bolsters the the idea that those two have been really really solid defensively for the for the Canadiens this year and they really needed that. Of course Harris is out right now which is not great. But hopefully he’ll be back soon and to another player of great importance to the defense Mike Matheson was profiled by Melissa Boyd. And she noted that during his first 36 games in Montreal, during that span, he put up seven goals and 23 points. That’s a sport scoring point, six scoring pace of more than 50 points over a full eighty two game schedule. And that’s a that’s a full quote there. So, and that that was noted, that would be more than he put up last year as his career high in Pittsburgh. So he, you know, he got injured and and that, that sort of derailed things. But but so he’s still putting up great numbers. And that piece, I also urge you to look at, you know, get the whole story there. I think he’s really went since he’s come back. He’s been just just fantastic. With, you know, offensively and defensively. I mean, offensively, he’s just, his skating is just, I mean, it just, to me, he’s just been excellent. And, and, and, as Boyd says, she has as many many things to say about him. But one of the quotes is his skating ability creates scoring opportunities, and allows him to correct mistakes in the defensive end. So that’s just another just another point about how just well he skates from somebody much better than me at an analyzing players. And that’s it for the defense, goalies. Last week, we talked about Carter Hart, and it came up on Habs Unfiltered the previous episode whether Carter Hart would be a good pickup for the Canadiens and Trege Wilson, bluntly called him the most overrated goalie in the NHL. And Blaine Potvin noted his statistics which were good. But also noted that Montembeault’s statistics are equal to Carter Hart’s statistics and Montembeault is cheaper. So if I heard that right, I believe I heard that right. So that does sort of raise the question of why would you get Carter Hart if you have Montembeault, who gives you the same results for a lower price. So that was the that was the takeaway I got from that discussion. And I of course, said that I was not sure about whether Carter Hart could be seen as proven. Just given some of his unpredictability which he’d gone through in earlier seasons. These these points that the gentleman made on Habs Unfiltered are probably probably surpass any concerns I might have. If if they think that he’s not, he’s not gonna be worth the money, then. Then that’s, that’s good enough for me. Also, speaking of the speaking of the Rocket, which I wasn’t really speaking of, I’m just transitioning. Scott Matla on Locked On Canadiens spoke about them getting reinforcements, which included Jayden Struble whose been spoken of and Emil Heineman and Matla spoke about how very importantly in his eyes, Heineman’s specific skill set is exactly what the Rocket are missing. And he said that Heineman is a true scoring threat shooting threat I’m sorry, on the power play and offensively and that the Rocket had been lacking finish and Heineman has finish. So that’s, that will be interesting to see how Heineman contributes to the Rocket who have been depleted by all their players being sent up to the Canadiens and now they get Heineman in to help out and I’ll be interested to see what how Heineman and meets Matla’s expectations. So I’m going to talk about some more stuff in a minute. But how another word from one of our sponsors, if you’ve ever had ice cream hit with a hammer, well, you should, because it’s Hammer Cream. It’s the best tasting ice cream you’ll ever have. Because it’s frozen, then it’s hit with a hammer, and hit with a hammer again. And that gets the flavor just knocked around. And then once that’s done, it’s thawed out and put on a cone for you. You might say, what’s the point? What’s the point is the hammer, that’s the point Hammer Cream. You’ll believe it when you taste it. Alright. So the rebuild. So Kent Hughes was blunt in recent press availability about he said he saw that it would be two to three years for the team was where he was expecting it to be as I as I heard it. And there was some certain opinions from various pundits. One thing the Habs Unfiltered crew had some positive things to say, in general about what the days were doing like Blain Potvin had some opinion of it was that the team isn’t going to get rid of all the good players and force things, they are organically letting the team finish where the they finish while getting rid of the contracts they want to as they can. And, and Trege Wilson augmented that by saying that in two or three years, a lot of the big barrage of and error contracts will be gone and can be replaced. And they had a guest on Matt Bedard who basically was saying the young talent is going to grow together and is likely going to be playing together for the next six or seven years. And add an add another nother thing that was and Brian Wilde said separately in his own piece, that the that it was clear management had totally, like moved away from the Bergevin era make the playoffs and see what happens strategy. And he called that strategy an illogical prayer. And this is he says, quote, this rebuild is going to have some pain in it. But when it’s done is clear that this new management’s goal is a Stanley Cup. So so it Wilde was optimistic about the strategy that was being employed. And and another point that was brought up about it was they were talking on Habs Unfiltered about the draft and the draft positioning. And Trege Wilson said that, that the team doesn’t need Bedard. And what he meant was that, if the team, the team does not the team, if the team can only succeed, if they get the number one pick in Conor Bedard, this generational talent, then the management is really bad. Because the management should be able to work with another top talent, they might get it the fifth spot or something like that. And, or, or, or any he said A, B and C. So he was using, like the first three picks or something like that. But he’s his basic point was that, that the good management team should be able to work with a top draft pick, even if it’s not one of the top three. And he mentioned that some people don’t don’t necessarily sort of like that opinion. But I mean, it’s very, very logical. And and, and it’s it’s a dose of reality that you know, the Canadiens might not get in the top three, they might not get a good like a quote unquote, you know, good draft selection are going to get one of the better slots in the the lower part of the draft and but that management still has to make it work and make it work under the circumstances. And if they needed to get that one guy, then that’s a problem. And I think that makes all the sense all the sense in the world. And I think people got to yeah, the people, the people who the the, the tankers who believe that the Montreal needs to lose all their games and get down to number one let be number 32 in the league. That’s that’s not necessary for the for the rebuild to work. Speaking of the tank, though, Scott Matla wrote a piece. Just he, he does an update on how the tank is going. Or, and. And as of as of the Lightning game. He said that thanks to a Flyers win over the Panthers, the Canadiens will remain with the fifth best odds at the first overall pick. A nice note to the night after a Habs win now, tonight, Arizona’s playing, I know that. So that’s going to possibly affect things. Obviously, this is only as good as the day it’s practically written. So things are going to keep changing. But at the time I’m recording this Columbus has 51 points, San Jose 53, Chicago, 54, Anahein 56. Montreal 62, Philadelphia 64, Arizona 65. So that’s, that’s sort of the where the landscape is in these in these lower rungs. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s gonna be tricky for Montreal to fall very far. And, but it’ll also be tricky to see just how these teams play in the last part of the season. I’ll certainly be interested to see how the final results turn out. Because some of the teams or some of these not all its teams are not necessarily losing their games and is not is not. It could it could get interesting. Finally, injuries. On the on the one side of things, Trege Wilson pointed out in Habs Unfiltered, if the Canadiens had been healthy all year, in his opinion, they would have been in the top 15 probably not making the playoffs, but would have been in the hunt like Florida is now and I take his view to be correct. Have no reason to believe otherwise. And I mean, certainly given how many Canadians players have been injured and how well they play, when they play well. Given how many players are not available, I have to believe they’d actually be somewhat of a credible team, had they not had those injuries. And, and so it’s a it’s very unfortunate, and on the Habby Hour, they talked about this and David Auger pointed out the Habs and the most injured injured team in the league. And it’s an outlier. It’s not even it’s it’s, it’s out there. And they the the trio actually found a site called Man Games Lost. It’s a Twitter account that actually looks this stuff up. And they’ve checked the check data out and that was good. And and Auger has been very frustrated with people and the medical side. Because as he put it, like, we’ll never know certain things, but people are going to look for splinters of truth in bullshit. And I know what he’s saying. And there’s you know, some people are criticizing Habs man technical staff now, and it’s a it’s a question. I mean, I don’t know, if there’s some stuff that the the staff could be doing differently, whether it’s it’s just just like, procedures or something that could be done differently that might change something like so rather than say, I’m not saying that the staff is bad at their jobs. I don’t believe that, and I don’t believe. And i Because, you know, the, I referenced the Blain Potvin article last week, which says, you know, they got people, they have people in the field saying they don’t think they’re doing that. They’re not doing the job, right. They, they think they are, and I agree. So it’s like you say, Okay, is there still anything that could change? Like, if somebody’s good at their job? Are they still possibly needing to change what they’re doing? That’s a possible discussion. But the idea that it’s like, oh, well, the medical staff is, you know, incompetent, or, you know, just needs to be fired or something like that, that I don’t, I don’t agree with. So these are just a lot of injuries happening. And it’s terrible. It’s bad luck. It’s just, it’s a it’s a hockey game. And people get injured in hockey games, because it’s a violent sport. And it’s ridiculous how many injuries have happened at the Canadiens, but it’s still, I mean, they play a violent sport. So conceivably, everybody on the team could get injured, except apparently, Mike Hoffman. So, I mean, it’s just, it’s just, it. It’s just very frustrating. But these, it’s the, just the, I, I understand the frustration that people like Dave have with these kinds of medical criticisms. So that’s what I have for this week. That’s all