As we all know, the Habs’ offseason thus far
has been one of mass turnover. But when you sit down and look at the new
guys and who they’re replacing, is the team any better, or are they even worse?
This article analyzes the new additions and assesses what impact each will have
on the roster compared to whose spot they’re taking over from.
Notes: I am leaving Dandenault, Brisebois, and Lang off this list as I feel
that they will be adequately replaced from within the organization. All the
stats below are post-lockout as this is a look at how the players have performed
in the “new” NHL.
Scott Gomez vs Saku Koivu:
Gomez: Age, 29. 312 games played, 78 goals + 194 assists = 272 points, +16.
Koivu: Age, 34. 295 games played, 71 goals + 172 assists = 243 points, -20.
As much of a leader as Koivu was, his on ice production just doesn’t match that
of Gomez. While the points really aren’t that far apart, Gomez has the ability
to play the game in a defensive oriented system. He is also younger and has more
durability than Saku and while both are around the same size, it seems that
Scott just doesn’t get pushed off the puck as much. Also weighing in on giving
Gomez the advantage is that fact that just in one day of being the Habs #1
centre, he was a big draw for UFA’s; playing on a line with him seems to be more
appealing than playing on a line with Koivu.
Brian Gionta vs Alex Kovalev:
Gionta: Age, 30. 307 games played, 115 goals + 132 assists = 247 points, +28.
Kovalev: Age, 36. 302 games played, 102 goals + 159 assists = 261 points, -7.
I know, I know, there are a lot of people out there who think that Kovalev
should win here hands down but I am giving this one the split decision. Kovalev
is extremely skilled and has all the potential in the world to be a game changer
but he rarely ever shows it. Gionta on the other hand works hard and gets
results no matter who he is playing with and is 6 years younger. While maybe not
as skilled as Kovalev is, Gionta definitely has the speed to make up for it and
I think many of us are hoping that being reunited with Gomez will help his goal
production for the next 5 years.
Mike Cammalleri vs Alex Tanguay:
Cammalleri: Age, 27. 305 games played, 118 goals + 146 assists = 264 points,
Tanguay: Age, 29. 280 games played, 85 goals + 173 assists = 258 points, +44.
Both players are very skilled but the advantage clearly goes to Cammalleri. He
is poised to become a goal scoring stud and he is very durable for his small
size. He never quits while he is on the ice and that is a quality in a player
the Habs need right now. Tanguay is more of a playmaker and considering the
health problems he has experienced lately it’s no real wonder why he hasn’t
found a new home yet. Some food for thought: How could Cammalleri not win here
when he has booted Tanguay from his roster spot two years in a row?
Travis Moen vs Tom Kostopoulos:
Moen: Age, 27. 280 games played, 50 points, 502 hits, 345 PIM, 30 fights, -35.
Kostopoulos: Age, 30. 297 games played, 79 points, 506 hits, 392 PIM, 33 fights,
Tom the Bomb was great in many ways. He was a silent leader, stuck up for his
teammates, and chipped in offensively from time to time. However, Moen is a
MONSTER. He is a big, mean, hitting, name taking, butt kicking machine and is
exactly the kind of player Montreal has lacked for so many years. While Kostopoulos
isn’t afraid to lay a hit on somebody, block a shot, or take the gloves off,
Moen does all those things slightly better. In the end I give them a draw as
Kostopoulos is better offensively.
Paul Mara vs Mike Komisarek:
Mara: Age, 29. 293 games played, 93 points, 321 hits, 358 blocks, 329 PIM, 9
Komisarek: Age, 27. 294 games played, 53 points, 850 hits, 652 blocks, 434 PIM,
9 fights, +15.
The only good thing about Komisarek signing with the Leafs is that he still has to
see Milan Lucic 6 times a year. Other then that it truly sucks that he went there. He
hit and blocked with the best of them and had he stayed there is no doubt that
he would have been the next captain. But it seemed like he became a different
person once he lost a fight at some point in the season. Mara on the other hand
isn’t too shabby when it comes to the physicality and if paired with Markov may
have a fairly strong year offensively.
Jaroslav Spacek vs Mathieu Schneider:
Spacek: Age, 35. 281 games played, 34 goals + 107 assists = 141 points, 238 PIM,
Schneider: Age, 40. 272 games played, 53 goals + 129 assists = 182 points, 266
Another close one, but I give the advantage to Spacek mainly because he is 5
years younger and I have my concerns about how much is left in Schneider’s tank.
I’m confident that the Spaceman is as good of a replacement as any. Given the
fact that he was Buffalo’s top man last year and is reliable at both ends of the
ice, as well as the time he will be given with Markov on the power play, I think
he is in for a big year offensively.
Hal Gill vs Francis Bouillon:
Gill: Age, 34. 305 games played, 54 points, 417 hits, 491 blocks, 336 PIM, 8
Bouillon: Age, 33. 257 games played, 53 points, 592 hits, 383 blocks, 200 PIM,
10 fights, -14.
Talk about going from one end of the height scale to the other! While Bouillon
was all heart and gave it his all every shift, as well as being fearless I have
to go with Gill. Gill is well, HUGE, at 6’7" he is almost a full foot taller
than Bouillon. When he lines up a target for a hit, the poor guy goes down,
whereas Bouillon’s victims sometimes did, but other times it was him that found
his butt on the ice. Also, Gill can clear the crease and ensure that nobody gets
near Price, something Bouillon didn’t have the size to do.
And there you have it. In my opinion the Habs are a much better team on paper
this year than last year. But, we won’t really know for sure until April 2010. I
think that if the new mix of players can gel with the old and team chemistry
remains good all season long, the team will really perform well together on the
ice. I also believe the younger players on the team will benefit from a new set
of veterans to learn from. Combine all that with a coach like Jacques Martin who
will no doubt have the team playing a structured system and this team could
really be one to contend with the elite of the East.