If anyone has been more critical towards Canadiens management in recent years than me, I'd like to meet them.
After years of disappointment and of poor decision making both in amateur and pro scouting alike, I saw very little light at the end of the tunnel.
This frustration was even further compounded when it was announced that Bob Gainey would be stepping down as GM and Vice-President and replaced with Pierre Gauthier (PG).
Gauthier has a track record of poor decision making and a stigma of the inability to engineer a Stanley Cup contender. Knowing the keys to the building were being handed over to him without a search for perhaps a more qualified individual was not only mind boggling but outright foolish.
Yes, the team showed the fans a glimmer of hope with their playoff performance but the holes of the team still needed to be addressed. As a whole the Habs needed to get bigger, stronger, faster, younger and eliminate some of the remaining bad apples all while facing some harsh cap restrictions.
Was PG the right man for this after being molded by Bob Gainey for 7 years?
The first order of business was in deciding the future of the organization by siding with one of our young goaltenders. Despite the negative backlash which has been expressed by both the media and fans alike, PG stood his ground, made his decision, and we all see the final outcome.
Whether you agree or not with the decision to part ways with Halak instead of Price is no longer the issue. The problem—which has been the same issue this team has faced for many years—still remains: we need to get bigger.
Gone are the likes of Dominic Moore, Glen Metropolit, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Sergei Kostitsyn, Paul Mara and obviously our playoff hero, Jaroslav Halak.
PG has parted ways with six players. Together they averaged 29.2 years of age, were 5’11 ½ and weight in at 193 lbs.
In their place our line-up should now feature the likes of Lars Eller, Dustin Boyd, Alex Auld, Pernell Karl Subban, and Ryan White. A group of kids who will insert energy, youthful exuberance, a high skill set and best of all an average of 23.4 years of age, 6’1 ½ and 202 lbs.
The Canadiens now have 13 forwards, 7 D-men and a goalie under contract and are now simply waiting for Carey to sign on the dotted line.
With pretty much an entire roster set and $4.2 million in cap space remaining, our horrors are not living up to expectation and management is now sitting in a pretty good situation.
Is PG finished? I certainly hope not because there is still some unfinished business.
Just for fun, I want to give you my wish list of what I would do going forward.
Unlike most armchair GM’s I do not see a need to completely overhaul this team because that's already been done.
We simply need some tweaks and the number one issue to address is still size and toughness.
So here goes:
As much as we would all love to see Roman Hamrlik's $5.5 million contract buried in the minors, it just won’t happen. The Habs as an organization take pride in how they do business and won't do something that they see as being a bit subversive. So dealing with Hamrlik is the number one priority.
SO what to do? I know what I am going to suggest is not going to be overly popular, but here it is:
First: You trade Hamrlik to Edmonton for Sheldon Souray (assuming both players agree).
Analysis: This would basically provide us with a $100k cap savings and would leave us with a UFA D-man coming off the books in 2012 instead of 2011 and would basically replace 2 players: Hamrlik and Bergeron (because of his shot).
I will be honest here and say that I have always been a fan of Souray. His $5.4 contract is harsh but he’d provide a booming shot from the point and on the PP and some much needed toughness to clear the front of the net: likely our number one defensive issue.
Second: You sign Evgeny Artyukhin to a 2-year $1.7 million contract ($850k per year).
Analysis: We need a guy with size who hits everything, on the 4th line. He would not cost much and would provide that missing element of size an and meanness.
Your team going into the 2010-11 season would look something like:
Not only would we essentially have the same nucleus of players going forward but we’d be younger, a lot bigger, a lot meaner, and IMO, a lot more competitive. Most importantly, however, we'd still have the cap flexibility going forward.
So let's hear what you think. I'm sure you'll disagree.
Willey was the shinning light among the wicked growing up as the lone Habs fan in Toronto. Pray to Holy Ghosts of the old forum and all shall be answered I was told, and just like that my family was transferred back to Montreal and away from the damned. Olé Olé Olé.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010