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Enbies, ladies and gentlemen, it’s Canadiens Time.
Hello, and welcome to Canadiens Time back in the old format, which is now going to be the new format. So a lot has happened, the Habs just lost big to the Florida Panthers tonight. And I guess what you can say about that game is the Habs certainly didn’t quit, as they scored five goals to at least try to stay in it. And even though that it was pretty much a lost cause, but you know, gotta give the credit to the Canadiens they still stayed in showed a lot of fight and Sam Montembeault came in and after that ninth goal was scored just locked things down. So it’s, it’s it’s just we want to forget about this game don’t we? Moving on from that. So a point that was made on Locked On Canadiens by Scott Matla is that they have faced a very difficult schedule compared to the teams they’re competing with in the low rung of the standings. So it’s very possible that the Habs are going to drop a bit, because they just have the harder schedule, so the chances of losing are just higher. But at the same time, Matla pointed out that there’s just there’s not really going to be a chance to catch some of those really, really bottom dweller teams. And so the tank commanders should be happy that the there’s a really good chance that the Habs are going to lose a bunch of games. And it’s going to still work out that the Habs are going to end up with a relatively good pick. Speaking of the future though, the Habs Unfiltered crew, theorized that after two years, that Habs are going to be playoff bound. So I’d be very interested to see if that comes to pass um would be great if it will happen next year. But it’s hard to say really, I mean, we see sort of the obviously the team needs to not be injured. That’d be…that’d be nice. I mean, you know, the amount of injuries this team has faced is just ridiculous. So the team has to put out put a team that’s not injured on the ice, and now we’ll see what they can really do. But presuming injuries don’t become this ridiculous. Then, you know, I guess I mean two years seems realistic, and maybe sooner. Also, on the Habby Hour, Beth pointed out that Nick Suzuki has his second 50 Point season and becoming the first Habs player since Saku Koivu to have consecutive seasons with 50 plus points at the age of 23 or younger. So Nick is just fantastic player and he’s proving it in the stats. Injury wise, we have so many injuries but we just saw Christian Dvorak out for the season with knee surgery, so he is added to the list of players that will not be available. Locked On Canadiens told us that Louis Boudon has been signed for a tryout with the Rocket. Scott matla believes that Joel Teasdale has earned an NHL shot after performance with the Rocket It’ll be interesting to see if he gets it. And of course we’ll be that’d be under favorable circumstances or will be because somebody else got injured. Ian Boisvert on The Build is been noting that Jesse Ylönen and maybe putting things together as he has two goals and last two games when that episode was taped, I do not recall if Ylönen scored tonight versus Florida or not. And have to look and I neglected to do that. So needless to say it does look like Ylönen in his becoming much more engaged offensively. Mark Dumont had an interesting point about Alex Belzile. He did some stats crunching and found that he is among the top five players in the NHL when it comes to five v five production in relation to ice time with 3.08 points per 60 with a minimum of 100 minutes so that’s..uh..excuse me got a little hair there. That’s That’s very impressive. Obviously, Dumont points out that Belzile is not as necessarily as good as some of the players he is surpassing with that number but that it’s still impressive all the same.
Ian Boisvert has sing the praises of Dennis Gurianov and and posited that he may be useful on powerplay two also on latest episode of The Build, which is Episode 41, Boisvert talked about the pro scouting team, that the Canadiens have and why it’s important, and I found that to be a fascinating discussion, so I urge you to listen to that episode. Over on the Habby Hour, Veronica pointed out that after the Colorado game, that in her estimation the grief and misdirected anger that had been pointed at Artturi Lehkonen, during his time at the Montreal, finally may have ebbed and instead been replaced with appreciation. So that’s a good thing. And you know, if he was treated unfairly, if he’s getting his respect now that it’s gone it’s still better late than never, I guess. On Habs Unfiltered they have been pointed out that Riley Kidney’s averaging two goals a game which is you know, Kidney’s actually fallen sort of out of the um has not been getting as much attention as a lot of the other prospects even though he is getting, you know, two…two goals a game so it’s it was good they pointed that out. Scott Matla in his reporting covered the game where the LavalRrocket last two to nothing and dropped out of a playoff spot and things are really tightening up in that in the chase to get into the playoffs. So Laval is not want to you know, tempt fate there. aAvery interesting statistic was talked about on the Habby Hour, or it’s not a statistic, it’s a piece of information. David Auger brought it up. And it’s actually MissoSoupe on Twitter posted this. And it pointed out the last 40, 50 goal scorers in the last 90 and 100 point scorers in Montreal history. And that uh was put in a tweet and I’ll link to that in the show notes. And the just just pointing out just of those, the last 50 goal scorer was Stéphane Richer in 1989-90. And the last 100 points season was Mats Näslund and 1986-86. And you can look at the tweet for the 40 goal scorer and for 90 Point seasons, and and they’re they are not. They came in the early 90s. And so Canadiens really could use some superstar talent to get that sort of production. And Cole Caufield was trending that way before he got injured but he got injured. Also in what the Canadiens are still playing for us on the Habby Hour Beth reminded us that the Canadiens still have a chance to defeat the Leafs in the season series. And the worst that can happen is the Canadiens tie. But they um but the Habs can still win the series and I think that’s an important important still moral victory that can be one. Turning to some some articles that came out the excellent Blain Potvin wrote an article about how the Canadiens need to rebuild goaltending depth. And he said that none of the prospects in the system are a future NHL starter. And that’s been he’s not the only one to have said that. And he wrote of some possible ways to fill that void. One option was on the free agent market. And he he suggested it could be Semyon Varlamov…Varlamov, who has a criminal past, so I’m opposed to that on on those grounds. But Potvin stayed on the ice with his points and mention though that Varlamov due to his age may only want to be with a contender. So he may not want to go the Canadiens who are rebuilding. So the problem may resolve itself without having to get into you know, his past, which is terrible. Also Potvin pointed out Ilya Samsonov, who is 26 might fit in better with the rebuilding process that the Canadiens are going through. But Potvin also brought up a good point and said that he doesn’t believe that there’s anyone better with a reasonable cap hit than Jake Allen. So so that that’s to be considered in trading options. He believes that Carter Hart could be an instant upgrade, or Devon Levi. Now Levi, of course, is unproven. In the professional level as he’s still playing goal at Northeastern, of course, his his season just ended. But Carter Hart, of course, has played for the Flyers and is having a very good season this year. But you know, has been inconsistent. Personally, I would not go for Hart, just he, he is alright right now. But what he showed you just showed himself to not be necessarily reliable before. And I think the Canadiens need to get somebody who is more steady than that if they’re going to make a trade if they’re going to try to get somebody who is they want to be that rock and net. Don’t go with somebody who people had doubts about and even if he had a good year right now, and I mean, Levi may be an answer as a as a top prospect. It’s um it’s tricky because you don’t know what you’re getting, per se but if you if you make that pick, you make that trade, at least you’re you’re getting a potential potential great player. But again, you don’t know for sure you’re getting a great player. So it’s, it’s it’s really a tough call. Um Potvin in his article also outlines some options if the Canadian want to draft a goaltender, so I urge you to read that article and see what he had to say there. Potvin also had an interesting article about how the Canadians need to solve their injury issues if they want to succeed. And this is at one in one In one sense, this is an obvious point. But also, he pushes back on this sort of like narrative that has come out of some fans that the Canadiens medical staff is at fault for all these injuries, and Potvin points out well, the medical staff If is failing, they wouldn’t be having their jobs per se. And generally that that is correct. I mean, most of the time, if the medical staff’s incompetent, they wouldn’t have their jobs. Now, there are exceptions. There are cases where people have had kept their jobs while they’re sucking up their jobs. It happens everywhere. But I would tend to tend to agree with the logic, though, that it is very likely that that the Canadiens medical staff is doing their job, and Potvin talked to doctors and trainers to get their opinion on what was going on. And they didn’t believe the Canadiens medical staff had done anything wrong. But But Potvin’s point was that, that the whatever they have to do the Canadiens need to find ways to somehow lower the amount of injuries and that may not, and that whatever that has to be it whether it’s just a changes a routine or something else, there just needs to be changes to to make that happen. So that’s an interesting article, and I urge you to read that one as well. After the penguins game, Brian Wilde had his recap. And
there was just three quick points I wanted to make about that. The one thing was he had pointed out that Justin Barron’s passing was excellent in the game. And that was not a point lost on many that Barron seemed to be doing very well with the transition game in in this game. Um using games twice theyre. Also though, Wilde looked back at the Colorado game, and he had pointed out that the Avalanche defenders were good at being offensive. And he was saying how forwards need to be more defensive. And he felt that Barron, Mike Matheson, Kaiden Guhle were players that would be very good offensive defenseman, and the Canadiens had more players like that in the system. And that they would be able to, the more the Canadiens would they were able to adapt a system like Colorado’s, the more successful they would be. And I found that to be an interesting point an Interesting take and obviously Colorado was won the Stanley Cup last season. So it’s not a bad idea to look to them for potential success. Also, Wilde made a point about the fan base, which I would suggest you take a look at and and so that’ll be in the show notes. Then the last area I wanted to delve into is talking about prospects because that’s come up a lot. And there’s a lot of writing about the prospects and some podcast discussion and just obviously it’s a big deal right now especially as various European leagues are wrapping up and the NCAA NCAA season is wrapping up as well. And so just starting off with Emil Heineman. Marco D’Amico pointed out that after the SHL’s it playoffs in Swedens… Sweden he’s already signed a contract with the Canadiens so he can go to the Rocket and the his team did lose, so he’s expected to join the Rocket. Scott Matla on Locked On Canadiens said his heavy shot could help on the powerplay. D’Amico thought that he might I couldn’t possibly get a trip to Montreal but it looks like it’s going to be Laval as the destination. And the and um Patrik Bexell who’s an expert on European prospects, was talking about how the deal meant this year signed this deal he had signed meant he couldn’t go to the AHL this year, unless it was after the Swedish season was over, he could only go to the NHL or Sweden so once he didn’t go to the NHL, he had to go to Sweden. Bexell also had this say that his style suits American ice better than the larger European ice surface. And, and he, he, he mentioned that he he mentioned that he has a wicked shot. And that he they need to see where he gets lost in the defensive zone on the European ice and and work on work on that. And the it’s going to be faster in the AHL. So that’s going to be a thing to adapt to. He he doesn’t have the hockey IQ of saying or Artturi Lehkonen and others as Bexell compare it. But but the thing Bexell’s point was that he does, he does have he does have a competency, but that that’s not as high as certain other players. And Bexell said on Locked On Canadians that he shouldn’t go to the NHL immediately he should he like like next year, he shouldn’t spend some time in the AHL. And I’m sort of rambling through a bunch of points that were made eloquently on the Locked On Canadiens podcast, which I suggest you listen to that, so that that’s that’s his status right now. Turning to Sean Farrell. He is still in the NCAA, his Harvard still playing this weekend. He is Marco D’Amico expects him to sign an entry level contract either in late March or early April depending on when the NCAA season wraps up. Mark Dumont noticed that he scored two goals and two assists in Harvard’s two game sweep of Princeton and the earlier round of the ECAC playoffs. Dumont also um describes him as being versatile in playing power play and penalty kill minutes. But he is he as a quote he is quote, he’s evolved into a double threat from an offensive standpoint, keeping defenseman guessing as to his intentions, which creates time and space for his linemates. And Blaine Potvin noted that Farrell has 20 goals and 51 points in only 31 games, which is third overall in scoring across the entire NCAA. So Farrell is just been excellent all year. And and I believe was nominated for the reach the top 10 lists for the hobby Hobey Baker nominees. Then we get to Jayden Struble who attracted a lot of attention with signing with the a signed with the Canadiens and he signed with the Rocket. The Canadiens contract does not start till next year. The AHL contract with Rocket starts now. He is Scott Matla describes him as an agile skating physically gifted defender. Marco D’Amico says he has good offensive instincts jumping into the rush at opportune times. However, he never quite unlocked his offensive potential in his time in the NCAA. He also describes him as his puck moving abilities are good, though unlikely to easily translate to the professional level. Blain Potvin says he played a physical style with excellent mobility and confidence and moving the puck into transition. And he notes he does not have impressive offensive numbers but he provided his club with leadership and a steadying hand on the blue line. And and a few other a few other analysis Hadi Kalakeche says he argues, I’m quoting him. He that Struble has more offensive upside than any defenseman currently with the Habs or rocket. The moment he displays the movement he displays on and off the puck the intelligence and subtlety of this puck distribution employs the way he fiercely jumps into plays and never set settles for the first play he sees. The key word here is offensive upside he’s not going to step in and put up 50 points, nor is it guaranteed, but he’s got the potential to become one of the best offensive transitioners in the NHL. So that’s that’s a quote there. At the same time, Byron Bader says he’s no Lane Hutson but Jayden Struble has some NHL potential likely a big mid bottom rotation defender. Something similar to Adam Pelech is a likely ceiling. So lots of different opinions there. But needless to say, there’s a lot of good points about him there. And Adam Pelech is uh, you know, you know, he’s a NHL regular. So I’m sure I’m sure Struble would settle for NHL regular. And so be interesting. Now, Ian Boisvert noted on the build, there are already nine players with NHL contracts for the Canadiens on D. So it may be hard for Struble to find a place in the NHL with already the log jam ahead of ahead of him.
Then speaking of defense, Lane Hutson. As Blain Potvin mentioned he is not only the first defenseman to win the Hockey East scoring title. He’s the first freshman to do so since Jack Eichel did. And obviously Jack Eichel is a forward the on the Habs Unfiltered they expect Hutson to sign when his season is over, which is interesting because he’s a freshman so he could come back for more seasons, but they’re expecting him to sign so that’s that’ll be very interesting. And Ian Boisvert, though, notes and warns that while he has a ton of offensive upside, he can’t be asked to play like say like a Joel Edmundson because of his size. So there’s so there’s that there’s that. Hutson is also on the top 10 list of Hobey Baker nominees. And he’s just had an incredibly impressive season at BU. Jakub Dobes and I’m not certain on the pronunciation there. The goaltender at Ohio State and in Potvin’s in Potvin’s words he’s one of the top contenders to ever play for Ohio State. But he is have some filtered believes he’s going to go back to the NCAA. Adam Engström is in Europe, and according to Patrik Bexell, his hockey IQ is enormous. His offensive upside is is due to not having the same skills as say Mattias Norlinder because he has to quote, trust the system play his vision. He knows how to when to take a shot. also his skating accumen skating is real good and is defensive acumen is there. So, so, so just a really smart player, but doesn’t have the skill set of some, but but makes up for it. And Bexell says he doesn’t need to rush over from Europe he can he can play over there and develop and considering the log jams that there are in the Canadien system, that’s probably for the best. Just some final points.
Fredrik Dichow is a goaltender who is questionable in terms of what he brings. Bexell thinks he’s making progress um sees a weakness in his rebound control, though. As it should be noted that at the moment, I would believe that we probably wouldn’t figure into Blaine Potvin’s view of what is the system of who was an NHL ready goalie so he have to you have to work on that to make himself more um prepared. So it’s we don’t necessarily know we have in Dichow. And And last but not least, Filip Mesar. According to Marco D’Amico he could join the rocket after the OHL season concludes he’s had an up and down season playing for team that is not necessarily the best team for him to be on. But he’s I guess he’s doing his best. But so he still might get a shot with the Rocket depending on the timing. And that will be interesting. So Canadiens now we are going to be facing Tampa next, which is not the greatest greatest team to be facing after you got beaten nine to five. But who knows what they’ll come up with because they’ve been an unpredictable team. And hopefully they’ll be full of surprises. So that’s all.
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