Thursday, May 14, 2015

What do the Montreal Canadiens Need to do to Become Contenders?

Another season has come and gone for the Montreal Canadiens, one that saw them do well in the standings but that has left many fans feeling that the organization still needs to make some changes to take their team to the next level.

With that in mind, I humbly offer the Habs a few suggestions for the coming months.

1- At last years trade deadline, I felt the Habs would do well to move Andrei Markov, David Desharnais and maybe even Tomas Plekanec if the offer was a real solid one. The reasoning behind that was:

a)  The team had some important pieces missing if they were to become a top-end team in the NHL , (A Top line Centre, a scoring-winger and a bonafide top two defenseman), pieces that could best be acquired by trading proven assets for youngsters who had not yet had the opportunity. Getting a older veteran was not my preferred solution.

b)  That their current youngsters (Galchenyuk, Beaulieu, Tinordi, Bournival) needed to get a good deal of ice-time in the roles they are meant to play going forward.

Habs didn’t do that last year so I feel they will have to do this now. If they can move the same assets mentioned earlier, I think they will be better off going forwards. Getting a real top line center, top six winger and top 3 defensemen can’t be done during one off-season.

Bergevin should give the youngsters he has now some real playing time while at the same time accumulating a few more assets and improve the quality of the team’s depth. Once this is done, the next step has to happen:

2- Bergevin and Therrien have to learn to place more trust in their youngsters.

I understand the importance of veterans on a team but there is something to be said about giving them too much respect.

Facts are that some did not produce enough during the season and a few were a non-factor during the playoffs while some youngsters had too little rope. The Tampa Bay line of Kucherov-Johnson and Palat were great for the Lightning during the playoffs and featured a 2nd round pick, a 7th round pick and an undrafted player.

Maybe Montreal has that kind of talent but management will never know if youngsters are not given real opportunities without the fear that one mistake will mean a trip to the press box or a demotion to the AHL.

3 - Beware of July 1st

Habs may be close to being a top team but they shouldn’t jump on the Free Agency market to fill their needs. Many times, the players available are aging players whose best years are behind them, and on top of that, you have to overpay to get them. Players are an asset but so is available cap space.

Bergevin should tread very carefully. Don’t go for the best available solution, chose the right solution.

4 -  Habs need to be patient.

Usually, it’s preferable to get players during the off-season so they can ease into a new team/city but cost may be lesser once the season begins. Team with high-expectations flounder and get desperate for help, some teams decide a rebuild is in order and start giving up assets or some teams need cap relief.

This may be a good opportunity for Bergevin and the pro scouting staff to make something happen. Rangers have mortgaged their future for a big playoff run. Maybe a Brassard or Stepan becomes available?

The Blues feel they should contend but had a difficult post-season, can they get desperate if things don’t go well next season? They have a lot of depth in their organisation.  Maybe a talented francophone player like Xavier Ouellet could be an helpful piece to the puzzle. Oh, and did Jimmy Develanno not say just a few weeks ago that he expected a lot more from Anthony Mantha?

Not saying any of these are possible but a creative, bold General-Manager can make things happen.

Habs have some good pieces but Bergevin needs to do a few things differently if they are to move forward. He needs to re-evaluate the coach, the players, the whole hockey staff ...and even the GM.

So what do YOU think the Canadiens need to do in order to get better?

Rick has been a scout, and has been covering and writing about hockey for over a decade.  Follow him on Twitter at Rick1042


Good article I agree with mostly everything that was said but I think MB. I doing a good job up until this point. I mean without grabbing a top line player hes done fine

Three moves I make, ask Tampa about Jonathan Drouin as he is languishing there, Desharnais and a defenseman for him..
Kerby Rychel of Columbus , I hear they want to move him..
Finally, with Carolina rebuilding you have to believe either Eric or Jordan Stall can be had. But MB has to wake up first.

I think they should acquire Jordan Eberle because they need a top line winger that could score. They could potentially offer Fucale and a defenceman because those are two needs of Edmonton.

Sign Petry to a deal worth 5 mill if he will take it, then Tinordi or Pateryn can fight for the 6th D-spot next year. Trade DD or Plex to open up a ctr spot for either a player traded for or let Alex have a shot. Don't overpay in FA for B forwards.

Sure glad to know there's a Habs site where you can vent your frustration and not have some Digby or DarkoffSprng cry to their mommies on certain Habfabs sites. BTW Fire Bergevin, fire Therrien and any other frog , even the overrated Timmins.Our roster is an embarrassment

Xenodog here, we at are tired of losers like Habs1965 and the Anonymous at 3:22 pm bad mouthing Digby just because he's handicapped. And with all the opinions here, the Habs wont get out of their conference with top 2 centers like Plekanec and DD , and half the foward roster is filled with other teams rejects.

Some big changes need to happen, the base is there but not ready yet.
Fucale, dd, plek, emelin, Markov, Gilbert, need to go.

I would try to bring in Eberle and a power forward, players in the same mold as Charlie Coyle or Tom Wilson. Skilled heavy hitter with good skating ability.

McCarron, lehkonen, reway, sherbak,tinordi,bournival, pateryn,hudon, Could all help the team now or in the very near future. The team needs to become a lot harder to play against, I'm tired of seeing players not finish their checks and play a soft game.

Too many low quality players on this team likwe Weaver, Maholtra, Parenteau Smith-Pelly, Mitchell and Flynn you couldnt even Give away. There's your problem/

i would trade plekanics 1st pick some other pieces ,for johanson of columbus,johanson from vancouver 223 pnds well worth the trade ,at twenty three, theres are centre for years. then trade markov fucale to edmonton ,eberle, for pete sake bring up tinordi macaron sherbak then were of to the races for years

i would trade plekanics 1st pick some other pieces ,for johanson of columbus,johanson from vancouver 223 pnds well worth the trade ,at twenty three, theres are centre for years. then trade markov fucale to edmonton ,eberle, for pete sake bring up tinordi macaron sherbak then were of to the races for years

One thing no one said. The reason Montreal did not go to the 3rd round was because there was no Rene Borque this year. He is a playoff guy. How Montreal let him go and kept David D, I don't know. What a mistake ouch! Montreal should have picked Borque up off of waivers for these playoffs. If guy scores 10 in the playoffs that is worth 30 goals in the regular season. Don't know why Borque could not just play better in the regular season. But hey he was no worse than David D. That is what Rene Bourque is love him or hate him the designated playoff scorer. If he was in the line up instead of David D they might still be playing Chicago right t now.

Now get ride of DD, and Gilbert and coach Michael T, Gonchar, Tinnordi, Hahotra can maybe become an assistant coach or something, for sure should have gotten Babcock as coach.

Montreal will never win the cup with Theiran coaching just look at what happened with Pittsburgh. Montreal will have to trade some prospects after they dumb some of the duds if they want to win the cup in the next 4 years. When you are close you have to mortgage the future to go offer the top in today's NHL. Better to win 1 or 2 cups in the next 3 or 4 years and maybe not be a contender for 2 or 3 years after that, then to never win at all. No one cares if you are the most consistent team to make the playoffs and never win.

If they have to have a quota of some french players coaches etc they will never win. It seems many Quebec players can't take the pressure in Montreal these days, no more Guy Lafeurs. anymore. Maybe if Quebec City can get a team they can get stuck with the french quota and Montreal will then be free to win a few cups.

Sign Flynn, Smith Pelly Plechanic, Mitchell, Galenchuk, Beaulieu, Tinordi, Bournival

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