Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Musings: Vanek Arrives But Habs Stink On West Coast Trip

Greeting Habs Addicts,

What a trade deadline it was this past week! Marc Bergevin made his first big splash as the General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens, fleecing Islanders GM Garth Snow in acquiring Thomas Vanek. Right at the 3-pm deadline, Bergevin acquired Vanek - who earlier in the year was acquired by the Islanders from Buffalo for Matt Moulson, a 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick - for the lowly cost of Sebastien Collberg and an exchange of draft picks. Should the Habs make the playoffs they will send their 2nd round pick to the Islanders and receive a 5th round pick in return. Seriously? How amazing is that! Collberg could develop into a great player, but his development this season seems to have taken a step back and his status in the organization had dropped slightly. Vanek is one of the leagues top snipers but will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Even if Vanek leaves in the off-season and turns out to be just a rental, his acquisition did not cost Montreal any roster players.

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Bergevin has done some good things during his tenure:
  • Signed Max Pacioretty (6-years/$27-million) & Carey Price (6-years/$39-million) to team-friendly contract extensions that will keep them in Montreal through their prime years.
  • Drafted Alex Galchenyuk with the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft.
  • Signed fan-favorite Brandon Prust (4-years/$10-million) to provide toughness with a blend of skills.
  • Traded the horrible contract of Erik Cole to the Dallas Stars for pending free agent Michael Ryder.
Bergevin has done some questionable things during his tenure:
  • Extended the contract of David Desharnais (4-years/$14-million) after a breakout season in 2011/12 then watched Desharnais fall off the map offensively until it was discovered he can only produce with Max Pacioretty on his wing.
  • Extended the contract of Travis Moen (4-years/$7.2-million) only to watch his production wane.
  • Acquired George Parros from the Florida Panthers to add toughness. Parros has more concussions (2) than points (1) and has only appeared in 19 games this season.
  • Signed defenceman Douglas Murray to a 1-year/$1.5-million contract to provide toughness. Instead Murray has provided some penalty killing and horrible play to go along with and hours upon hours of fodder for the media and fans on Twitter.
  • Instead of pursing 6'3" future Hall-of-Famer Jaromir Jagr in free-agency, Bergevin out-bid himself to sign 5'8" Philadelphia Flyers amnesty casualty Daniel Briere to a $2-year/$8-million contract. Briere has provided very little offensively - 11 goals/21 points in 53 games; Jagr has 20 goals/55 points in 65 games for the New Jersey Devils.
Needless to say, the acquiring of Thomas Vanek has changed the fans view of Bergevin for the most part. Landing Florida Panther's assistant captain and defenseman Mike Weaver - a sorely needed right-handed shooter and goaltender Devan Dubnyk from the Nashville Predators for a 5th round draft pick in 2015 and future considerations respectively has added to the organizational depth. Dubnyk is a former 1st round pick of the Edmonton Oilers and is still only 27-years old. If re-signed could eventually be a solid backup to Price or a trade chip for next season. Bergevin had a very solid trade deadline. One could argue that he did the best work in the NHL on deadline day. Bergevin acquired three proven NHL players for a prospect, two draft picks and future considerations. The steal of Thomas Vanek should be the coup-de-grâce to Garth Snow's tenure on Long Island. 

- The Habs wrapped up a six-day, four-game west coast road trip this past Saturday night. Missing goaltender Carey Price, who has been out with a lower-body injury since the end of the Sochi Olympic break, Peter Budaj began the week began with a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. This was followed up with an entertaining Habs debut for Hamilton Bulldogs goaltender Dustin Tokarski who had some bad luck and good luck while making 39 saves in a 4-3 shootout win over the NHL-leading Anaheim Ducks. This game proved to be the highlight of the trip. Thomas Vanek made his debut Thursday in Pheonix, but the rest of the team failed to show up and Budaj was horrible in goal as the Coyotes beat the Canadiens 5-2 for their first win against Montreal at home since December 9th, 1998 at home (0-9-2 in that span). The Habs wrapped up the trip with an embarrassing and frustrating 4-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night. Peter Budaj was pulled early in the second period after allowing two weak goals and the Habs could not muster any offense against one of the top teams in the Western Conference. At least the weather was nice.

- The Habs have a few days to recover from the road-trip and get readjusted to the eastern time zone as their first game is not until Wednesday when they face their old hated rival Boston at home. This is followed up with a home game against new hated rival Ottawa on Saturday night before they head out on the road to face the Rochester Americans Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.  Back home for games against the division after a painful road trip along with the potential return of Carey Price should spark some better performances this week.

It better. I have tickets to the game on Saturday. 

Note: Monday Musings will be on hiatus next week, a recap of my trip to Montreal will replace it. 

Three Questions From My Musings

A) Will the acquisition of Thomas Vanek help the Habs during the stretch run?

B) Has Marc Bergevin done enough in his time as General Manager of the Habs?

C) How badly will we thump the Bruins on Wednesday?

Nick M. is a transplanted Montrealer, currently living in evil LeafLand. He is a contributor here at and give him a follow, as he can often be found rambling on Twitter.

Past Monday Musings 


Do you all realize how Bad the Scott Gomez trade was?? Besides all the cap room he took up, we gave a potential young all star defenseman away in Ryan McDonagh, and also whether anyone has noticed, Chris Higgins is playing really good hockey with 17 goals for Vancouver this year.. Yep, Higgins would be Tied for second on the Habs with those 17 goals, only Patches has more..

PSS Subban and Markov are the only two decent defenseman we have..That is a Major problem come the playoffs..Timmins picks Beaulieu and Tinordi look lost..Are they more of our early round Busts again/? Get rid of Timmins pleassee.

Time for the Pleks-Desharnais duo as the Habs top 2 centers to end. How many more years of soft short third line centers here. Boooo

Tomas Vanek must be looking around thinkng How did I leave John Taveras., the Canadins havent had a center that talented since Beliveau.

That's great feedback, thanks for reading.

Scott Gomez was acquired many years before Marc Bergevin took over and is completely irrelevant to the post to anything I said here. Higgins is having a Chris Higgins year. He's a journeyman and hasn't come close to his Habs totals in any of his other stops. There is nothing really good about his 34 points in 64 games, nor his -8 rating.

There is absolutely nothing new you said about the Gomez trade that every Habs fan hasn't already known for 5 years now.

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