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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Montreal Canadiens Plus/Minus: Size and Trading P.K Subban

P.K. Subban - Montreal Canadiens v Philadelphia Flyers
Did you hear?

Mike Cammalleri got traded to... oh wait, everyone knows that already.

Perhaps its time to talk about something else then.

Moving away from the Habs' most recent transaction, this week's edition of Plus/Minus looks at the Canadiens new found size and notion of trading P.K Subban.

Plus:

Size on wings: It seems that, for the first time in almost a decade, the Canadiens have size on the wings. Size across all four lines.

Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty are hard charging, big men lighting it up on the Habs first line.

Rene Bourque and Andrei Kostitsyn, while streaky, are large, imposing players able to score 25 goals a year and deliver the occasional solid check.

Travis Moen is an experienced grinder with Stanley Cup experience who is unafraid to drop the gloves.

Michael Blunden has great speed and zeal, giving the squad's bottom-six a crash-and-bang element it lacked earlier this season.

The Canadiens' campaign has certainly not gone according to plan, but at the very least they seem to be building an identity as a bigger, tougher to play against group.

Minus:

Trading P.K: Many media and analysts, namely those on l'Antichambre, seem like they would seriously consider moving P.K Subban?

Why?

Part of the right package for an impact player, it is natural for the Canadiens to consider moving P.K Subban. Even then, it would seem foolhardy for the Habs to move their most talented player.

Over the years, Montreal has lost blueliners by the dozen.

Stephane Robidas, Ron Hainsey, Mike Komisarek, Mark Streit, Sheldon Souray, Francois Beauchemin and Ryan McDonagh all ply their trade elsehwere now and most of them are impact players on their respective team.

Moreover, most of the above were lost in the early stages of their careers. For various reasons, the organization was either unwilling or unable to invest time, or money, into them.

But now, some appear gun-ho about moving P.K Subban. Because he is overzealous? Because he takes to many chances? Because he lacks patience?

Wow, I am sure he is the first offensive-minded defenceman to have those flaws.

Honestly, this minus extends all the way to those who are in such a hurry to move Yannick Weber as well. He is 23 years old, not 32.

Let's learn from the organization's past mistakes. The Habs have lost enough highly competent defenders over the last ten years.

Let's give these players time to develop.

---
Louis is an Associate Editor at HabsAddict.com and an Editor at HabsWorld.net. Born in Chicago, Louis grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval.

He currently resides in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. Find him on twitter @LouisMoustakas

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

20 comments:

I agree whole heartedly on the PK Subban analysis. I swear those guys on Antichambre would sink a team in 15 minutes if we let them do what they judge as being the best for the Habs. So often I hear their comments and a few months later take a complete turn around on their opinion when the players they've put down do well.
I certainly take their opinions with a grain of salt.
As far as Weber goes, although I certainly think he has a future and still has a chance to update his play to obtain that Francis Bouillon quality he seems to miss, I think there are to many inexperienced Dmen
on the team and I don't think he's at the top of the chain. I think when Tinordi and Beaulieu come in he will be redundant and that the Habs have a chance to move him now to a team who they can sell on his potential, because I don't think they have the time to develop him. I think Emelin who is a little more defensively capable and certainly more robust is better and Diaz who is just as offensively gifted is better defensively and more agile. Then there is Frederic St-Denis who as shown as much as Weber with a little more physicality, is waiting in the wings.
Presently Weber is a little too panicky for my liking and for sure he will grow out of this with experience, but i don't think his postion in the depth chart allows the Habs to give him time to develop.

Denis Habsfan

@Denis

Thanks for reading!

True, Antichambre needs to be taken with a grain (a shaker?) of salt.

But the idea of trading Subban has been floated elsehwere, so I felt it worthy of mention.

As for Weber, he may not be top of the chain and he still has his flaws, but I simply do not want to see him join the list of former Hab blueliners above. Montreal simply needs to be more patient with its defencemen.

My biggest concern with Subban this season has been his inability to use his teammates in the offensive side of the game. To me, he needs to play more like a puck-moving D-man rather than a puck-carrying D-man. I don't know how many times that he carried the puck all by himself into the offensive zone only to find that he was all alone (probably because his teammates were not sure what he would be doing). The other concern would be his ability to get his shots through. He has become so predictable that most of his shots were blocked before his teammates had a chance to deflect them.

That is classic PK... skate your guts out, carrying the puck to destinations unknown, while your teammates look on trying to figure out where the heck they need to be. If he could stop that one error, it would improve his game immensely.

Let's not just trade Subban just yet guys, he had a tough first half last year, only to flourish in the second half. I'm fairly certain he will adjust his game in the next few contests. We have to be patient with young talented defensemen. Just look at Erik Karlsson, he was a turnover machine last year, but this year he's the league-leading rearguard!

I've watch the Canadiens over the years make this mistake over and over, get a talented young defense men and let em' go to ply his trade for another team. And then the player they get in return some how another doesn't work out and that player is let go by the team. What you end up with is your talented player such as PK is doing his thing for another team and it comes back too bite them why? why? why? If this happens and they trade PK I hope that Gauthier is the next out of town!!!

Since the Habs have a poor record for trading high-value players, I sincerely don't want to move PK. However, his value could bring us the missing piece the forwards need to make this team score...Don't forget Nathan Beaulieu has shown he is capable of everything PK has shown without the arrogance. PK's biggest problem is that playing alone worked for him in lower levels, but his true potential lies in his team play. Once he discovers that and can synchronize his puck-carrying play with the forwards, he's be a true force of nature. Until then all I see is what could be, but isn't.

@Charles and Fred

You pretty much echo similar sentiments to mine: Why move a player who can easily flourish into one of the better, if not best, blueliners in the league? We forget that he is but a sophmore in the NHL.

@Anon

Good point. Montreal has not done that well trading high profile players of late.

Here's a thought, discussed it with my son and he said I am crazy. But I don't know I think if were in charge I would be very tempted to do it. Trade Plekanec and PK for Geztlaf.
Comments welcome.

Good stuff Louis!

I think, on the P.K. front, there is a possibility that the Habs are just shopping him to find out what his value is. Ya, that's pretty thin, but it's possible.

Then again, TSN 990's Tony Marinaro said, on air, that the Habs ARE shopping Subban so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

I think they ONLY way you consider trading P.K. is if you are getting an elite player just entering his prime, in the deal. If not, then forget it.

Defense is a position that often takes the longest to learn, at the NHL level. As such, they say you should never give up on a young, talented defenseman. And, from the list you laid out above, you can see the Habs have done that far too often and have nothing to show for it.

Again, IF you move Subban, you have to get an ELITE player in return, or forget about it. I'm just concerned that Pierre "I generally fail to maximize my trade assets" Gauthier is the man pulling the trigger!

@Anon

Funny, but I was thinking that P.K could be an interesting part of package for a Getzlaf-type player.

But, as Kamal points out, only if you are to get an Elite player in return do you even ponder such a move. The Habs have lost so many blueliners, they can't trade P.k on a hunch.

Habs are missing too many top tier players to make them competitive. To name on top of my head, #1C and #1 & 2D. We don't have that stud D that can play big time minutes aka Chara, Weber. We are so weak down the middle its not even funny. The current Habs team do not scare anyone. Neutralize Cole and you'll win the game. We need the Habs mgmt to acknowledge that it is time to completely rebuild. Price, Subban, Eller, and Pats are still you to rebuild with but everyone else is expendable to make deals for draft choices. No more trading for underachievers with potential...aka Pouliot. Habs need to hire the best scouting staff that can evaluate players both physically and mentally. As for the remainder of the year, the Habs need to play the young guys as much as possible. They need to gain valuable experience so they can develop into the NHL calibre players.

Kamal,

This is off topic, but you talked about on your hockey buzz post about Rene Bourque being the first Hab to win a fight in years and I quote:
"Ohh man, did that ever not turn out well for Hendricks. When was the last time you saw a Canadiens player drop the gloves and put such a convincing beating on an opponent?"
As a huge Ryan White fan, ummmm, ya, remember what White did to Johnny Boychuk when he tried to run P.K.? I loved the Bourque fight too, but don't forget about the REAL toughest guy on the Habs...and when Ryan is back, more size, more toughness.....and I think he'll help out to really solidify the bottom six.
GO HABS GO!

vieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeuuuuuuuuxxxx bayyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! gionta and a 2nd round pick for bobby ryan!!!! keeeeeeeeeeeeeetttttt

subban is not going anywhere because the rest of the league knows his defence sucks,and only thinks of himself, and the show he put on before the game sat night was classic subban knowing the camera was on.i know someone close to the habs and he says it really got bad with him right after he went to the allstar game last year.Major problem in the room

@Fraz: I'm not sure I completely agree with what you're saying. Subban is young (22) and have an elite-caliber skillset. The problem is that he is extremely raw and needs to be molded.

He needs to grow up a bit, is what it really comes down to.

That said, if you offered him to the 29 other teams in the league every single one of them would make an offer.

As for Subban in the room, Jacques Martin (when he was on L'Antichambre), said that Subban can bother his teammates sometimes. I don't know if that means he's bad in the room, but, he can definitely ruffle some feathers!

Ultimatley, the Habs have done a terrible job of insulating Subban. He has no mentor and, with a player whose personality is so effervescent coupled with tremendous talent, he NEEDS to be mentored.

That, imo, is a big failing by the organization. They made the same mistake with Price which is why he went off the rails a few years ago.

Elite-caliber skillset? i hope you are right,as for the 29 teams,i am sure they would take a chance but would not give much in return.subban is a great skater,and when the day comes he losses half a step he will be done in the national hockey league.

@Fraz: To be honest, the biggest problem with Subban is not even Subban. There is no way that, at 22, he should be the team's No. 1 defenseman.

No way.

The Markov injury last (and this) year, have meant he has had to take on more than he is ready for.

Subban would be SO much better playing as the third or fourth defenseman on this team, behind Markov. That would better insulate him and allow him to learn the position at a more digestible rate.

Keep in mind that they say the defensive position is the one that takes the longest to learn, at the NHL level. NHL defensemen don't tend to hit a groove till their mid to late 20s.

Just look at the struggles of players like Drew Doughty, Zdeno Chara and Tyler Myers, in their second seasons.

Subban is, surprisingly, pretty much right on course!

good point Kamal,again for the habs sake i hope you are right, but i have watched Subban for years in Belleville and its always the same thing over and over with this guy.

@Fraz: Well you're bang on in that this kid needs an attitude adjustment. More than that, he just needs to grow up a bit...but he will.

There are no guarantees by I, personally, think the Habs will seriously regret it in the future if they trade him.

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