Out of the Red, White & Blue: Turning Point, Galchenyuk, Habs Draft, Free Agency

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Written by Habsterix, Senior Writer, AllHabs.net

PENTICTON, BC. — Here are a few thoughts on different topics surrounding the Habs’ over the past few weeks. Local management and its effect, Alex Galchenyk and other draftees, Trevor Timmins, Scott Gomez, free agents and more. Feel free to post your comments as they are always welcomed.

1- The turning point of this franchise could very well be back when Geoff Molson hired his good friend and former Habs GM Serge Savard in the role of special consultant, to help him make decisions about the team’s new GM. Since then, the francophone and local flavour has returned to the Canadiens as proven with the hiring of the likes of Marc Bergevin, Martin Lapointe, Patrice Brisebois, Michel Therrien, Clement Jodoin, Sylvain Lefebvre, Donald Dufresne, Vincent Riendeau and even Montreal born Scott Mellanby. Time will tell if they sacrificed quality for language, but all seems positive so far.

2- The Canadiens made of Alex Galchenyuk the number three pick in the NHL for 2012. While some from the outside will say that it was a no brainer, it is a huge leap of faith for a team that has seen its top defenseman miss almost the entire year and most of the last three years to a serious knee injury. Let’s not forget that it’s the same team that told Pierre Gauthier that Andrei Markov would be ready by October of last year. If fully healthy, Galchenyuk should be heading back to junior this year regardless of his performances at camp with the big club, especially considering that he’s missed pretty much the entire season last year.

3- Director of procurement and player development, Trevor Timmins, was surprised to see that Sebastian Collberg was still available when the Habs picked at number 33. In an interview after the draft, Timmins compared the young Swede to Daniel Alfredsson. Many, including myself, don’t like hearing comparisons to established NHL players as it often brings unrealistic expectations and added pressure on young prospects. But if Collberg does pan out to become a player like Alfredsson, this pick might just be the steal of this year’s draft.

4- Most fans don’t know a whole lot about the other players selected by the Canadiens in this year’s draft but if what some of the comments are true, it seems like the Habs are in great shape for many years to come. You can find extensive profiles of each player taken in our Draft Center.  Dalton Thrower (D), Tim Bozon (LW), Brady Vail (C), Charles Hudon (LW) and Erik Nystrom (LW) all received favourable praise by self-proclaimed experts. While it all sounds positive, let’s err on the side of caution and let’s wait and to see how those players develop before claiming victory.

5- Almost every Habs’ fan felt a pinch at the heart when P.K. Subban’s little brother Malcolm was drafted by the Bruins. P.K. showed great professionalism when he walked to the Bruins’ table to shake hands with their management. What I found really troubling however was to read some racist tweets from some Bruins’ fans. With the negative publicity drawn by slurs and gestures made towards Wayne Simmonds and Joel Ward, one would think that those idiots would be put in their place once and for all.

6- On the second day of the draft, a French reporter asked the question on Twitter if there was any truth to the word on the floor that Scott Gomez’ contract was bought out. At the time of writing this article, there has been no confirmation of such but it is to wonder if there was any serious smoke on the draft floor. Of course, the best case scenario would be to trade Gomez but let’s be realistic here, he’s not even worth the salary he’s getting paid in dollars, even for a team trying to get to the cap floor. Would Geoff Molson be willing to bury $10 million in the minors? We’ll find out soon enough.

7- The NHL schedule is out and Habs’ fans won’t have to wait long to see their new team at work as for the first time in over a decade, they will start the season on home ice. The Ottawa Senators will be the visitors on October 11th, with the Canadiens travelling to Toronto for a Saturday night game against the Maple Leafs to close the opening week.

8- We’re only a few days away from the free agent frenzy and teams have already started moving pieces in order to have the necessary cap space to talk to some of them. As discussed and listed in a previous article, there is plenty of grit available to a team in desperate need of some. Either way, Habs fans should have a first glance in the next few days at the type of team Marc Bergevin is planning on icing for new head coach Michel Therrien. Both were quoted saying that they wanted a more local flavour and wanting to address the lack of size and character on the team. Since it seems like the days of Brandon Prust in New York are coming to an end and that his wife apparently is from Montreal, many feel like he would be a good fit.

9- Marc Bergevin acknowledged having held talks with his pending unrestricted and restricted free agents and contract negotiations have already started with many of them. The two most pressing in order of importance are two young stars in Carey Price and P.K. Subban. It will be interesting to see the approach taken by Bergevin when it comes to the terms, more than the money, allocated to his two young studs. Will he try to get them signed long term or will he take a similar approach as previous management by signing them two years at a time? I would love to see their contract staggered however, so that both contract don’t become due the same summer the next time around.

10- One contract talk isn’t unanimous amongst fans however and that’s the negotiation with winger Travis Moen. Personally, I feel like Moen would flourish under Michel Therrien and with the addition of more muscle in the line-up, reminiscent to his days with the Anaheim Ducks. Moen is responsible defensively, can contribute a goal here and there, can take a shift on the top lines if or when needed, and he will drop the gloves to defend his teammates, especially when not limited by the coaching staff the way it’s been in recent years. How much would he be willing to take though, that’s the other question.

11- The communication and relationship between Marc Bergevin and his team is a total contrast to what it was under Pierre Gauthier or even Bob Gainey. In just a few weeks, Trevor Timmins spoke to the media more often than Gauthier did all year, or so it feels. One has to wonder how the staff at the Bell Centre feels, if fans can see such a drastic change. Bergevin seems to involve every member of his management team, giving them ownership of their area of expertise. This is the best way to draw the maximum out of your staff as they get a feeling of belonging and a sense of accomplishment.

12- With all of the changes we’ve witnessed around the Canadiens organisation in recent weeks, fans and media feel a breath of fresh air around the team. Although no player-personnel movement has been done yet, there is a sense of optimism amongst fans, feeling excited about the future of the team for the first time in many years, at least speaking for myself here. Happy fans, happy media, let’s now hope for a happy team on the ice!

Once again, the next few weeks promise to be exciting around the Canadiens with opening of the free agency on July first, the contract negotiations with Carey Price, P.K. Subban and the other RFA’s and UFA’s, and to better gauge what type of trades Marc Bergevin will be attempting.

I’d like to finish this article by passing a heartfelt congratulation to the winners of the 2012 All Habs Media Awards and thank everyone for voting.

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J.D. Lagrange
J.D. is a Senior writer for All Habs as well as Associate-Editor for the French version Le Magazine All Habs, while one of three Administrators of the fan forum Les Fantômes du Forum. He has created the handle Habsterix as a fictional character for the sole purpose of the internet. It is based on the cartoon Asterix of Gaule and his magic potion is his passion for the Montreal Canadiens. How old is he? His close friends will tell you that he’s so old, his back goes out more than he does! He was born when Béliveau lifted the Cup and remembers the days when seeing the Habs winning was not a wish, it was an expectation. For him, writing is a hobby, not a profession. Having moved to beautiful British Columbia in 1992 from his home town of Sherbrooke, Quebec, he started writing mostly in French to keep up his grammar, until non-bilingual BC friends pushed him into starting his own English Blog. His wife will say that he can be stubborn, but she will be the first to recognise that he has great sense of humour. He is always happy to share with you readers his point of views on different topics, and while it is expected that people won’t always agree, respect of opinions and of others is his mission statement. || J.D. est Rédacteur-Adjoint sur Le Magazine All Habs et il est un Rédacteur Principal sur le site anglophone All Habs, tout en étant un des trois Administrateurs du forum de discussion Les Fantômes du Forum. Il a créé le pseudonyme Habstérix comme caractère fictif pour l’internet. Celui-ci est basé sur Astérix de Gaule et sa potion magique est sa passion pour les Canadiens de Montréal. Lorsqu’il est né, Jean Béliveau soulevait la Coupe Stanley et il se rappelle des jours où gagner n’était pas un espoir, mais une attente. Pour lui, écrire est un passe-temps, pas une profession. Ayant déménagé dans la superbe Colombie-Britannique en 1992 en provenance de sa ville natale de Sherbrooke, Québec, il a commencé à écrire en français pour garder sa grammaire, jusqu’à ce que ses amis anglophones ne réussissent à le convaincre d’avoir son blog en anglais. Son épouse vous dira qu’il est têtu, mais elle sera la première à reconnaître son grand sens de l’humour. Il est toujours fier de partager avec vous, lecteurs et lectrices, ses points de vue sur différents sujets, et quoi que les gens ne s’entendent pas toujours sur ceux-ci, le respect des opinions et des autres est son énoncé de mission.

5 COMMENTS

  1. If Collberg becomes even half the player Alfredsson is, I’ll be happy. If anything he seems real good at shootouts ;)

  2. I think Habs should look at signing a (UFA) checker/4th liner… these seem to to be the best ones to consider, aside from Travis Moen who may getting grey and damaged (concussion),

    depending on what kind of money they are seeking and length of contract, nothing longer than two (or maybe three) years for any of these guys:
    UFA checkers out there for Habs to consider:

    Adam Burish

    Ryan Carter

    Brandon Prust

    Jay McClement

    Torrey Mitchell

    I’d drop Darche, getting old and isn’t a physical presence and I don’t seem being used on the power-play anymore, unless he signs a two-way contract so he can be a mentor on the AHL ‘Dogs

  3. There was a rumour out of Dallas that Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott were available. We saw Ribeiro traded to Washington so there might be something to that rumour.

    Also, Louis Jean of Sporstnet reports this morning that Moen and the Habs are close on the terms of a new contract.

    A line of Moen, Ott and White might do some damage, especially that Ott had a 55.5 faceoffs percentage last year.

Comments are closed.