In this week’s HW Recap: The Habs’ captain
stepped up his game with a trio of goals but was that enough to get top spot in
the Player Rankings? The Bulldogs’ offensive woes continued as they lost
their division lead. With the trade deadline fast approaching, HW kicks
off its deadline coverage by looking at some trade trends from the past decade.
Players are rated from 1 to however many
players play on a weekly (non-cumulative) basis. Rankings will be tracked
weekly and averages provided.
1) Carey Price: There was no All-Star
hangover for the Habs’ lone representative in Carolina. Even in his loss
vs the Devils, he made several key saves to hold Montreal in it after their
(Previous: 2 Average:
2) Brian Gionta: At the beginning of the week, he was in a goal drought.
By the end of the week, you could easily argue that he’s on a hot streak.
With the chances he had, he easily could have had a goal each game.
(Previous: 8 Average:
3) P.K. Subban: He stepped up his offensive game with Wisniewski out of
the lineup. There were a couple of costly misreads defensively but all in
all, a very strong week while shouldering an even larger workload than usual.
(Previous: 1 Average:
4) Tomas Plekanec: Aside from his notable struggles at the faceoff dot,
it was another productive week for him. Playing alongside Gionta really
helped both their games.
(Previous: 3 Average:
5) Max Pacioretty: Although he only hit the scoresheet in 1 of the 4
games, he was an impact player in each one. He hasn’t been known for his
speed in the past but that is beginning to become a key part of his game.
(Previous: 6 Average:
6) Alex Auld: Considering he didn’t make it out of the last game he
started, this was a significant improvement. He fought the puck at times
against the Panthers but made the key saves when he needed to.
(Previous: 22 Average:
7) Roman Hamrlik: He isn’t this high for his offensive production (0
points) but rather his defensive presence. 11 blocked shots and 5 hits,
while switching who he played alongside halfway through the week. He still
has something left in the tank.
(Previous: 13 Average:
8) Scott Gomez: Like Plekanec, he too struggled at times on the draw but
managed to get a key goal (a GWG at that). Even when he hasn’t been
producing on the scoresheet, he at least has been effective in other aspects.
I didn’t like his reaction at the end of the game Sunday though.
(Previous: 4 Average:
9) Jeff Halpern: This was the first time in a while that we saw the
Halpern from the beginning of the year. He was generating chances (cashed
in on one of them) and helped his line spent a lot more time in the offensive end.
(Previous: 14 Average:
10) Alexandre Picard: For a player who had sat for nearly an entire
month, he played a lot better than I expected. His ‘shot’ that really was
a bank-pass, was executed perfectly and led to the Gomez game winner against
(Previous: N/A Average:
11) Benoit Pouliot: He was held off the scoresheet but I thought he was
the best player on the ‘nifty-fifty’ line and didn’t look out of place when
bumped up into the top-6.
(Previous: 12 Average:
12) Jaroslav Spacek: When Wisniewski was unable to go, a lot of the extra
minutes fell on him and he did well, all things considered. He even had to
switch back to his wrong side to accommodate Picard coming back into the lineup.
(Previous: 20 Average:
13) Andrei Kostitsyn: It was a relatively quiet week for the up-and-down
winger but it wasn’t a complete waste. He had 10 shots and 6 hits – if
nothing else, he’s still shooting even if they aren’t going in.
(Previous: 5 Average:
14) Tom Pyatt: He was re-inserted into the lineup and the PK
struggles immediately vanished (11/12 over the week). Though he plays a
minor role 5-on-5, his role on the penalty kill really can be taken for granted.
(Previous: 23 Average:
15) Mathieu Darche: Very quiet week after a long stretch of
productive ones. His line failed to generate a lot of opportunities 5-on-5
and as a result, he was one of the two members on that unit who saw their ice
time curtailed notably.
(Previous: 11 Average:
16) Yannick Weber: It was the opposite of what I’d have expected from him
– his defensive game was better than his offensive one which was mostly AWOL at
times. Still, nice to see that he is improving in his own end.
(Previous: 18 Average:
17) James Wisniewski: I was concerned with his in-zone coverage in the
two games he played. If he is going to log major minutes moving forward,
he will need to shore up his defensive game quickly.
(Previous: 7 Average:
18) David Desharnais: For the first time since his recall, there were
times where he was just out of place on the ice. For him to be an impact
player, he needs to be more consistent which should come as he gets more NHL
(Previous: 9 Average:
19) Lars Eller: Like Desharnais, there were times he was out of sorts
with Gomez and Kostitsyn and others where he fared well. As he has been in
the league all year, this is a little concerning. I still think a short
stint with the Bulldogs (from now until the day before the trade deadline) would
serve him well.
(Previous: 15 Average:
20) Hal Gill: When he struggles, boy do you notice. I’ll give him
credit for some of the PK’s success but 5-on-5, he made some costly misreads in
his own end. He is shooting the puck more at least.
(Previous: 17 Average:
21) Travis Moen: He is starting to turn into a bigger version of Pyatt,
sound defensive play but largely useless in the offensive zone. On the
plus side, he hasn’t been saddled with a minus rating in over a month so he’s
doing something right out there.
(Previous: 21 Average:
With the Bulldogs Recap taking a week off, I’ll
adjust how the Bulldogs are reviewed here. The week started off with the
AHL All-Star break, where Hamilton was represented by Curtis Sanford and Mathieu
Carle. Each participated in the Skills Contest, those results can be found
As for the game itself, the Bulldogs’ players and the Western Conference dropped
what can only be termed a defensive battle…well, maybe not, they lost 11-8.
Carle was pointless in the game but tied for the West lead with a +3 rating.
Sanford faced the most shots of any Western goalie (13), turning aside 9.
Hamilton was off the ice until Friday where
they bused to Grand Rapids to take on Detroit’s farm team, the Griffins.
Sanford got the nod and was only beaten once in the game, by Adam Keefe.
However, for the longest time, it looked as if that would be the difference.
However, Aaron Palushaj and Ryan White scored late 2nd and early 3rd
respectively to give Hamilton the 2-1, holding onto their division lead in the
The following afternoon, the Bulldogs hosted
Adirondack, the Flyers’ affiliate and their recently assigned goaltender,
one-time Hab Michael Leighton. His presence, along with a Hamilton roster
depleted of consistent offensive threats, proved to be the ‘Dogs downfall as the
Phantoms skated to a 4-0 blanking; Sanford took the loss. As the Manitoba
Moose won later that night, they surpassed the Bulldogs for the top spot in the
With only 2 goals scored in as many games, it
wasn’t a pretty week on the scoresheet for a lot of Bulldogs.
|32||Frederic St. Denis||2||0||0||E||2||4|
Goals: Max Pacioretty (17)
(Active leader: Dustin Boyd – 14)
Assists: David Desharnais (35)
(Active leader: Ben Maxwell – 24)
Points: David Desharnais (45)
(Active leader: Ben Maxwell – 33)
+/-: David Desharnais (+14)
(Active leader: Ben Maxwell – +12)
PIMS: Jimmy Bonneau (111)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (132)
(Active leader: Ben Maxwell – 123)
February 8: Abbotsford vs Hamilton
February 11: Connecticut vs Hamilton
February 12: Rochester vs Hamilton
As I’m sure you all know by now, it’s ‘trade
month’ in the NHL, with the deadline falling at 3:00 PM EST on February 28th.
Every year, we as fans get excited about what the Habs could do on deadline day
and often are disappointed by the lack of movement at the end. The fact
is, this has been going on long enough that we really shouldn’t be expecting any
Over the past decade, the Habs have made a
total of 17 trades in the calendar month (30 days) before the trade deadline,
that total includes the number made on deadline day itself. Here’s the
breakdown by year in terms of deadline day deals vs non-deadline day trades.
2000-01: 1 trade in the month before the
deadline, 1 on deadline day.
2001-02: 0 trades in the month before the deadline, 1 on deadline day.
2002-03: 1 trade in the month before the deadline, 1 on deadline day.
2003-04: 2 trades in the month before the deadline, 1 on deadline day.
2004-05: Lockout, 0 trades.
2005-06: 1 trade in the month before the deadline, 1 on deadline day.
2006-07: 1 trade in the month before the deadline, 1 waiver acquisition
on deadline day.
2007-08: 1 trade in the month before the deadline, 1 on deadline day.
2008-09: 2 trades and 1 waiver acquisition in the month before the
deadline, 0 on deadline day.
2009-10: 1 trade in the month before the deadline, 1 on deadline day.
So in the past 10 years, the Habs have made a
grand total of 7 trades on deadline day, a lot less than lots of other teams.
Furthermore, it’s not as if the deals have been particularly significant.
Take away the Trevor Linden to Washington trade in 2001 and the biggest deadline
trade for Montreal was Cristobal Huet…also to Washington in 2008 for a draft
pick. Stephane Fiset, Rene Vydareny, Michael Leighton (waivers), Todd
Simpson, and Aaron Palushaj are the only players the Habs have acquired on trade
deadline day since 2001. With all due respect to those players, that’s not
exactly a jaw dropping list.
But the 10 deals in the 30 days leading up to
the deadline often have a little more significance. Last year, we saw
Dominic Moore join the Habs and play an integral role in their playoff run.
Mathieu Schneider, Josh Gorges and Max Pacioretty (at least the pick used to acquire him), David
Aebischer, Alexei Kovalev, Jim Dowd, and yes, even the wondrous Patrick Traverse
were all acquired in the month prior to deadline day, plus a collection of other
minor players and picks. Every one of those players has played more games
for Montreal alone than the aforementioned 5 players acquired on deadline day
combined (which for those wondering, totals 9).
So what does this all mean? Well, every
year presents new opportunities so these numbers can’t be relied on to entirely
predict what will happen on the 28th. However, these trends span 3
different GM’s and even current GM Pierre Gauthier has said he’s not a big fan
of making a lot of noise at the trade deadline. It seems that over the
past decade, the organizational philosophy is to make the more notable trades
beforehand and basically make a tinker move here and there on D-Day.
Based on the numbers, the Habs are due for one
underwhelming depth trade on deadline day and will make their splash(es) in the
days and weeks leading up to February 28th. Who could the splash(es) be?
There are plenty of options; I will be going over some of them in the coming
weeks as HW’s annual trade deadline primer articles will begin next week.
As a result, the HW Recap will go back to its normal format this coming Sunday
when it moves back to its regular spot…for all of a week thanks to the
upcoming Heritage Classic.
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