For the first time in what feels like ages, the
Habs actually took advantage of their weaker opponents, picking up 5 of 6 points
to put themselves in a slightly better position for the playoffs. The
Bulldogs weren’t as successful this week, but managed to secure their playoff
position on Friday night. The former player segment looks at one of
Montreal’s more recent draft busts, while the Final Thought looks a little
deeper at Tyler Bozak, the highly sought after collegiate. This, plus the
grades, in the Recap.
8.00 to 10.00:
I) Stars/Superstars playing at or above performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing beyond performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering well beyond performance, salary, and role
7.00 to 7.75:
I) Stars/Superstars playing below performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing at performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering beyond performance, salary, and role expectations.
I) Stars/Superstars playing far below performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing below performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering at performance, salary, and role expectations.
I) Stars/Superstars playing outrageously below performance, salary, and role
II) Above average players producing far below performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering below performance, salary, and role
His best contest was in the shootout loss, but still a solid week in which he
did play a key role in earning the 5 points. (Previous:
He may not have put the puck in the net himself, but you can’t argue with the
assists (and the sound defensive play). (Previous:
The only defenceman to earn a point in all 3 contests, and held his own in his
own end, you can’t ask for too much more. (Previous:
I must admit, he made me cringe on more than one occasion when he jumped in the
rush (or in the one instances Saturday, led the rush). (Previous:
There’s some aggression slowly creeping back into his game and not surprisingly,
he played a little better this week. (Previous:
I liked his play in the offensive zone, but if we have 2 more years of his
defensive play to look forward to still, it’ll be a long 2 years. (Previous:
6.00 Average: 6.95)
Started the week off okay, but went downhill quickly. We saw the giveaways
that have made his career on too many occasions. (Previous:
I love the production, no surprise it coincides with the drop in his "deke
out the world" style that has angered fans all season. (Previous:
8.75 A six-pack of helpers this
week but yet I still can’t get over the fact that he shoots so rarely – he
could’ve had a few freebies had he just teed it up. (Previous:
8.50 The only reason he has a
lower grade than his linemates is the numerous freebies that he failed to cash
on. At least he made up for them later. (Previous:
7.75 If he played with that
much tenacity and aggression the rest of the season on the PK, the Habs will be
in good shape. (Previous: 6.75 Average:
7.50 Has found some instant
chemistry with Higgins and it’s paying immediate dividends, while giving some
offensive touch to the 4th line. (Previous:
He’s starting to become quite the opportunistic scorer lately, although his
goal celebration is becoming old fast – where’s the variety? (Previous:
7.50 He complements his
linemates nicely with his speed and surprising willingness to battle along the
boards. (Previous: N/A Average:
7.25 I’d be worried that some
supplemental discipline is forthcoming from his hit on Kaleta – other than that,
a steady week. (Previous: 9.00 Average:
I know that line lost some ice time, but he was hardly noticeable all week. (Previous:
6.50 He fit right in on that
2nd line – problem is, that line’s still not doing anything quasi-productive. (Previous:
6.50 Well, he was better than
last week – but skating around blindfolded may have done the same as well. (Previous:
6.25 Barring injuries/illnesses
to other players, his season may be over after his struggles this week (he’s
ineligible to play for Hamilton the rest of this season). (Previous:
6.50 Average: 6.99)
I’ll be honest, without any reason or evidence to back it up, but I question
how sick he actually is and wonder if it’s a covering the fact he’s a scratch (I
don’t doubt he’s a little ill, just the severity). (Previous:
It wasn’t the most successful of weeks for the
Bulldogs, but the main positive was that they clinched a spot in the playoffs
after failing to even get a chance to defend their Calder Cup title last year.
3 Stars: 1) Maxwell – HAM 2) Pacioretty – HAM 3) Jancevski
3 Stars: 1) Schneider – MAN 2) Denis – HAM 3) Baumgartner
3 Stars: 1) Schneider – MAN 2) Jaffray – MAN 3) Pacioretty
Ben Maxwell continues his strong 2nd half of
the season, tallying 44% of his team’s goals this week.
Goals: Glumac (31)
Assists: Lehoux (38)
Points: Lehoux (55)
+/-: Chipchura (+25)
PIMS: Stewart (170) (Active leader: Flinn – 120)
Grand Rapids vs Hamilton
Grand Rapids vs Hamilton
On our forums, there’s been lots of discussions
lately about some lousy draft picks and lousy trades over the last decade or so.
This week, we look at player who oddly enough managed to fall in both
Years ago, the Habs had the opportunity to select Marian Hossa and opted not to,
selecting Jason Ward instead. In 2000, they tried to make up for it by
selecting Marcel Hossa in the 1st round, 16th overall. He made a strong
impression early on, earning a 10-game stint with the Habs in 2001-02, where he
picked up a quartet of points (3-1-4). He also split the following 2
seasons between the Habs and their AHL affiliates, unable to secure a permanent
roster spot. After the lockout, he had a strong training camp, which gave
him enough value for the New York Rangers to take a flyer on him; the Habs
picked up Garth Murray in return, and we all know the limited success he had
with the organization. He spent 2 full seasons with the Rangers and split
a third between them and their AHL squad in Hartford, picking up 21 goals and 21
assists in 164 games. He was flipped late last season to Phoenix in a
multi-player deal full of underachievers. This season, unable to secure
any sort of NHL deal, he’s now applying his trade in the KHL for Riga, where he
leads the team in goals, points, and is surprisingly 2nd in PIMS with 118.
For the record, notable 1st rounders selected after Hossa in 2000 include
Alexander Frolov (20), Anton Volchenkov (21), Brad Boyes (24), Justin Williams
(28), and Niklas Kronwall (29).
For those of you hoping to see a Part 2 of my
rant on Pierre Boivin after his further inopportune comments this week, I’m
sorry to disappoint. It’d simply be too easy to pile on even further and
I’d rather move on to something that’s actually relevant on a more regular
As the NCAA playoffs wind down towards the Frozen Four, talk once again has
began about the crop of players who weren’t good enough to be drafted a few
years ago, but now are "can’t miss players." The name floating around this
week is Tyler Bozak, a 6 foot centre out of the University of Denver, who
averaged over a point-per-game this season. In case you’re wondering, he
was also teammates with Brock Trotter, who joined the Bulldogs partway through
last season after being released from Denver. Now, a point-per-game is
nothing to just ignore, but it’s not like this is a major uncommon feat – lots
of players accomplish this regularly. This isn’t to say he’s not a good
player, but let’s keep expectations tempered. The Habs twice have ventured
into the college ranks over the last few years and neither player has panned out
(Trotter’s too early to call either way while Yann Danis is only now having some
success with the Isles). A third player that the Habs were rumoured to all
but have signed, Thomas Pock, hasn’t panned out to much of anything either.
Now, you may be saying, "Big deal, it’s not like it costs anything to sign these
guys anyways." Granted, this is true in theory, particularly when you’re
going after lower-tier players. Bozak is not a lower-tier guy that a
handful of teams are pursuing, there’s going to be a hefty bidding war going on.
Yes, he’s subject to entry-level restrictions (a maximum base salary of $875,000
before bonuses), but those bonuses can grow quickly. Most people know that
Boston’s Blake Wheeler was close to signing with the Habs out of college after
spurning the Coyotes last offseason. He has a base salary of $850,000, but
a cap hit of $2,825,000. Yes, nearly $2 million in bonuses on a multi-year
contract, just imagine how that contract would look on the Habs’ books right
about now. For the record, I don’t think the bidding will get that high,
but to suggest it won’t get near a cap hit of $2 million (a little less than
what Dallas’ Fabian Brunnstrom, another player that the Habs almost signed is
currently getting) may be a little foolish.
With the cap expected to go down the next 2 years and with so many roster spots
that will need to be filled relatively cheap for next season, is it worth
spending $2 million + on a pure gamble? Yeah, his salary won’t count if he
plays for the Bulldogs, but with 25 teams reportedly interested, one would think
he may try and get an informal guarantee from whatever team he signs with that
he’ll be an NHL regular next season. There are times where it’s worth
getting into a bidding war for a prospect, but given what I’ve heard and read
about his game, it’s probably not worth it considering the likely costs that’ll
be associated with his signing. As I’ve said many times over the last few
years, management needs to pick its battles, and this looks like one that it may
be worth dropping out of sooner than later.
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e-mailing me rather
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