Rabid Habs

Breaking Down The Habs

Photo - Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

At this time of year everybody becomes an analyst with intentions of giving their own breakdown of what certain NHL teams have done or have not done during the summer months, and I figured I would get in on the act as well. This is my breakdown of our beloved Habs;  how I think they will perform this season, and what I think needs to be done for them to take that next step and win the Stanley Cup.

Arrivals: Zack Kassian, Alex Semin
Departures: Brandon Prust, P.A. Parenteau, Manny Malholtra, Sergei Gonchar, Mike Weaver

The Habs haven’t made any earth shattering moves this off season, and I would almost go as far as to say they have been relatively quiet. Beloved tough guy Brandon Prust was shipped off to Vancouver in exchange for Zack Kassian. Marc Bergevin also signed defenceman Jeff Petry to a new 6 year contract, along with Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn, who also inked new deals. The most interesting move of the off season, in my opinion, is the signing of UFA forward Alex Semin to a one year deal worth $1.1 million. In a low risk, high reward move the Habs hope Semin can find his game and once again be the goal scorer he was once known for being.

I mean, once upon a time Semin was a feared goal scorer, and as much as you hear people criticize Semin and this move by the Habs, in reality he has only had one disappointing season. Don’t believe me? Go look at his stats. As you can see in this video, Semin definitely has the knack for scoring goals.

This offseason has been just as much about subtraction for the Habs as it has been about addition. The Canadiens bought out the final year of P.A. Parenteau’s contract, which financially made too much sense not to do, and ironically enough P.A. bolted to play for hated rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs. Montreal also decided to put Manny Malholtra, Sergei Gonchar, and Mike Weaver out to pasture. By the looks of it the Habs have their roster set for this upcoming season, which to me is a little upsetting.

Now don’t get me wrong, I expect the Habs to have another great season much like last year and I think the Habs truly do have one of the best teams in the league… but.. there’s a catch. The Habs have one of the best teams alright, but, it is one of the best REGULAR SEASON teams. No doubt PK Subban will once again be PK Subban. Carey Price will once again be Carey Price. Max Pacioretty will once again be Max Pacioretty. And at the same token, unfortunately for us, David Desharnais will also once again be David Desharnais, and whatever it is that he is, he isn’t a true number one centre.

Look at recent Stanley Cup winners. Teams like the Hawks and Kings, whom which boast the likes of Jonathan Toews and Anze Kopitar up the middle, are light years ahead of the Habs when it comes to the centre ice position. Compared to the true contenders in the league the Habs just don’t stack up at centre, and until something is done about that I’m afraid that things will remain much the same, and the best years of PK and Carey will be wasted away.

So, with that being said, I have an interesting idea. Why not try and somehow pry Eric Staal away from Carolina? Staal who is 30 (which isn’t old by any means) and a UFA after this upcoming season, has put up numbers as of late which haven’t been anything to be amazed about, but, there is no doubt in my mind that Eric Staal can still be an elite player in this league. Imagine Staal playing between Patches and Gallagher! In my opinion that trio no doubt possesses the potential to be one of the best lines in the entire league. Why not dangle Zach Fucale and Jarred Tinordi, two players that in my opinion will never play for the Habs, in front of the faces of Hurricanes management? Throw in Lars Eller (who in my opinion can and will be replaced by Jacob De La Rose) and a 1st round draft pick and I’d say Carolina would be willing to make a deal. Steep price you ask? Well, is it really? Could be if Staal chose not to resign with the Habs, and it could be if I’m wrong about Fucale and Tinordi, but in this case I think I couldn’t be more right.

So there you have it, my very own humble little analysis on the Habs, what they have done, what they need to do, and where they stand. Agree? Disagree? That’s totally up to you! Like I said at the beginning of this article, we all become analysts, and all have our own take on things. Bring on hockey season!


Follow me on Twitter @HabsGuru82.