The Habs continued their hot start to the
season with a pair of home victories to stay unbeaten at the Bell Centre.
In Hamilton, things aren’t as rosy as they’ve yet to win on home ice after
dropping a pair of weekend games. Brendan Gallagher is off to another
strong start but my Final Thought discusses why the Habs shouldn’t be in any
rush to talk extension with the third year winger.
1) Dale Weise, who responded well after being
benched. He didn’t have the best of starts to the season as Michel
Therrien publicly pointed out but Weise led the team in hits his first night
back and picked up two helpers in his second game. Players can respond
well or poorly after being sent a message and this most certainly qualifies as
2) The return to form of Carey Price.
Although he hadn’t played that bad early on, he wasn’t playing at his best and
it was the offence that was the difference in several of Montreal’s early wins.
This past week, Price looked like the All-Star everyone expects him to be and
played a big role in the Habs winning a pair of low scoring games.
3) Alex Galchenyuk’s improved physical game.
One of the early statistical surprises of the season is that he leads the team
in hits with 19 in just eight games. To put that in some perspective, he
had just 23 hits in 48 games in his rookie campaign two years ago.
1) The earlier and earlier benchings of the
third defence pairing. It’s a little early to be running the third pairing
for just 10-13 minutes a night but that’s what happened this past week.
With a big stretch of games upcoming, the fresher everyone is, the better.
Having the top four defencemen averaging over 23 minutes as they did the last
two games doesn’t help keep them fresh.
2) The continued slow starts that have been an
issue all season. Montreal has just five first period goals this year and
are one of just two teams that have not yet led a game at the first
intermission. (The other team is Arizona, for those wondering.) As
much as they’re playing well now, just imagine if they had the odd early lead
here and there.
3) Travis Moen bashing, which is starting to
get out of hand now. Yes, he’s not a flashy player but he’s a safe one.
He can play 8-12 minutes a night, be responsible defensively, and not hurt the
team offensively too much. He also hasn’t been on the ice for a
shorthanded goal against in nearly ten minutes of SH TOI (and considering how
hot and cold the PK has been, that’s saying something). For a fourth
liner, bringing that to the table is far from nothing, even if the stats show a
whole lot of zeroes.
Goals: Tomas Plekanec (5)
Assists: Alexei Emelin (5)
Points: Tomas Plekanec (9)
+/-: Max Pacioretty (+8)
PIMS: Prust/Subban (14)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (27)
The week started off well for Hamilton but home
ice proved to be a disadvantage as the Bulldogs lost two more on home ice
(they’ve now lost all four of their home games this season).
– Connor Crisp was activated off SOIR and made
his season debut on Sunday. There are still two Bulldogs on SOIR, Stefan
Fournier and Dalton Thrower.
– After being assigned on Wednesday, both
Nathan Beaulieu and Michael Bournival were recalled late Sunday afternoon (after
5 PM EST so the cap hit doesn’t come into effect until Monday) to the big club.
– Charles Hudon is tied for 2nd in the league
in rookie scoring.
– Lines from the most recent game:
Hudon – Andrighetto – Thomas
Bowman – Hensick – Dumont
Carr – de la Rose – Crisp
Nevins – Dowell – Macenauer
Bennett – Pateryn
Drewiske – Nygren
Finley – Dietz
Hamilton 4, Toronto 1
San Antonio 4, Hamilton 2
San Antonio 5, Hamilton 2
|20||Jacob de la Rose||3||0||0||E||0||2|
Goals: Sven Andrighetto (3)
Assists: Charles Hudon (5)
Points: Charles Hudon (7)
+/-: Charles Hudon (+6)
PIMS: Joe Finley (19)
Shots: Sven Andrighetto (20)
Hamilton vs Rochester
October 31: Hamilton vs Charlotte
November 2: Hamilton vs Charlotte
With several young players around the league
signing extensions lately, talk has turned to whether or not the Habs will
should sign their two young forwards to contract extensions as both Brendan
Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk are restricted free agents at the end of the
season. You can make a case to sign both in-season but despite his strong
play, I wouldn’t sign Gallagher to an extension right now.
Generally, teams do early extensions for those
who they think have a big jump in their game on the horizon. With all due
respect to Gallagher, I don’t think anyone’s really expecting that. With
Galchenyuk, his raw skill has suggested that he could/should take a big step
sooner than later to become more than a second liner which is the role he’s in
now. That merits at least pondering an early extension but what about
In his first two years, he hovered around a
40-50 point pace throughout those seasons. This year, he’s in that range
again and it’s safe to expect he’ll be there at the end of the season. His
role isn’t likely to change either. He’s a first/second line ‘tweener’ now
and no one realistically expects him to become a top flight front liner; he’s
going to keep bouncing between those two lines down the road in all likelihood.
As a result, there is no big jump to forecast down the road; he’s a solid player
now and should be a similarly solid one in the future.
Yes, this means there’s probably little risk in
extending him now but there’s also little reward. What Gallagher would get
in a new deal now and what he’d likely get in the offseason are going to be very
similar numbers. Why not wait then for more certainty and reduce the low
risk there is (in case he gets hurt)? When there’s little risk and reward,
there’s little point in an early extension. Waiting to get a deal done
with Gallagher is the right course of action for the Habs.