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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
It was a tale of opposites for the Habs this week with both games ending 3-0, one loss and one win. As for the Bulldogs, they struggled in the W-L column but still managed 5/8 points. As always, the Recap has the Habs power rankings and Bulldogs stat-pack, plus a different way of assessing a players' value, while the Final Thought examines how two rights don't always make a right.
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: The shutout vs the Sens
was a long time coming and well deserved. As for the loss vs the Devils,
he was a little shaky on the first goal but was otherwise quite solid and kept
the team in it.
(Previous: 3 Average:
2) Andrei Kostitsyn: The good news is that we've determined he can be counted on to score vs Ottawa. The bad news, the Habs only face them 4 more times. He had some good chances in Thursday's loss as well. (Previous: 2 Average: 6.67)
3) P.K. Subban: I harped on his yapping in Saturday's 3 Stars so I won't re-hash that issue here. Once again, he showed that he doesn't make a whole lot of mistakes for a rookie and when he does, he's quick enough to prevent it from being too costly. (Previous: 11 Average: 6.33)
4) Benoit Pouliot: His goal on Saturday was a long time coming as quite frankly, he's done fairly well this year even if the offensive numbers aren't there. At this time, he may very well be the best option with Gomez/Gionta still. (Previous: 16 Average: 9.00)
5) Tomas Plekanec: He was solid for the most part as always this week. However, I bumped him down slightly due to his atrocious performance in the faceoff dot (10/31, 32%). (Previous: 1 Average: 6.00)
6) Josh Gorges: It may sound like a broken record already (and we're only in week 3), but steady and reliable as always while pitching in yet again at the offensive end. It might be time to consider starting extension talks sooner than later. (Previous: 4 Average: 6.33)
7) Mike Cammalleri: The chances are there but something seems to be missing. He did go through this at this time last year though and had a strong year so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. (Previous: 5 Average: 4.67)
8) Jeff Halpern: He continues to be a huge bargain for the Habs (more on that later) by just doing the little things - playing well positionally, good on the PK, and strong on the draw (64% this week). (Previous: 7 Average: 7.00)
9) Roman Hamrlik: I don't think it's a coincidence that his return to the lineup has resulted in significantly fewer shots being taken by the opposition. He's not a top pairing player anymore but he remains an above average middle pairing player. (Previous: 12 Average: 10.50)
10) Hal Gill: I continue to be impressed with his willingness to jump into the attack more this year (even more by the fact he hasn't been burned on it yet) even though the offensive numbers are his usual nonexistent ones. (Previous: 9 Average: 10.67)
11) Maxim Lapierre: He wasn't quite as effective as last week, but I'm willing to concede that some of that had to do with the variety of left wingers he had to play with. (Previous: 8 Average: 7.33)
12) Brian Gionta: Something just doesn't seem to be clicking with him and it's hard to figure out what. He's driving the net and shooting which is good but at some point, the puck needs to start going in, especially when the rest of the line isn't producing. (Previous: 6 Average: 9.67)
13) Jaroslav Spacek: He had a better week, much fewer mistakes that he's had the last couple of weeks. An interesting stat - despite his errors, he has only been a minus player in 1 of 7 games. (Previous: 15 Average: 15.00)
14) Scott Gomez: For him, I think the best way for him to get his confidence back is to look for his own shot more. Unfortunately, we've seen this isn't something he does particularly often. (Previous: 13 Average: 12.33)
15) Lars Eller: I'll be honest, I didn't have a problem with his play in either game this week but it's hard to move him further up the list when he played barely 9 minutes per contest. (Previous: 14 Average: 12.33)
16) Alexandre Picard: He's not doing a whole lot on either side of the puck right now. On the one hand, it may not help in terms of proving you can be a regular but he's also not doing anything to get himself pulled either. (Previous: 16 Average: 17.33)
17) Travis Moen: The highlight of his week was a largely unnecessary 'staged fight' vs NJ's David Clarkson. I know he's not a big point producer, but there's other ways to help and right now, he's not doing much of it. (Previous: 10 Average: 15.00)
18) Tom Pyatt: I think this week proved Pyatt on a scoring line simply isn't a good idea (unless it's late in a game and you're going for a more defensive minded line). He isn't comfortable in that role, nor is he productive. (Previous: 21 Average: 17.67)
19) Dustin Boyd: Like last week, he was largely invisible out there, his benching was well deserved. He needs to get back to using his speed to create chances or at the very least, control the puck, he's doing neither right now. (Previous: 19 Average: 14.00)
20) Mathieu Darche: Honestly, I don't even remember seeing him for a single shift out there. When you're trying to make a positive impact on the lineup to stay in it, that's not the best way to go about things. (Previous: 20 Average: 20.00)
The Dog Pound
The mark of a good team is finding a way to pick up points when they're struggling. The Bulldogs did just that, picking up points in 3 straight losses, though you could easily argued they deserved a better fate in those defeats.
Attendance: 1,669 (franchise record
3 Stars: 1) Avtsin - HAM 2) Weber - HAM 3) Engqvist - HAM
3 Stars: 1) Connauton - MTB 2) Maxwell - HAM 3) Clark - MTB
3 Stars: 1) Rosa - MTB 2) Weber - HAM 3) Tanev - MTB
3 Stars: 1) Desharnais - HAM 2) Belle - OKC 3) Giroux - OKC
It was a record tying (and breaking) week for Yannick Weber as he tied and then broke the franchise record for PPG's as a Bulldog by a defencemen with 15. He also had a 4 game scoring streak which was snapped on Sunday.
|32||Frederic St. Denis||4||0||1||-3||2||2|
SHOOTOUT - SKATERS
SHOOTOUT - GOALIES
Goals: Yannick Weber (5)
Assists: Maxwell/Desharnais (6)
Points: 3 tied with (9)
+/-: Alexander Avtsin (+3)
PIMS: Alex Henry (19)
Shots: Ben Maxwell (22)
Syracuse vs Hamilton
October 29: Toronto vs Hamilton
Inside the Numbers
We often try and assess a players' value
relative to their cap hit. However, the cap hit doesn't always tell the
story, as those players often play more (as well they should). I find it
interesting to compare a player's shift total to their cap hit to see who really
provides the best bang for the buck on a shift-by-shift basis rather than just
equate points to cap hit. Here's an early look at which players are indeed
the best bargains.
(Only forwards and defencemen are included, Cost to Date represents each players' to-date cap hit (assuming all bonuses will be hit) towards the salary cap as of October 24th. All figures are from the HW Capsheet.)
|Player||Cost to Date||Shifts||Shift Cost|
As we can see, a player like Mathieu Darche is one of the more "expensive" players despite making the league minimum while Hal Gill is one of the bargains despite making over $2 million. Of course, this isn't perfect logic (anyone who is a healthy scratch or injured automatically moves up the chart) but it is a different way of assessing player value, at least for those who play every night. I'll revisit this later in the season so we can see if anyone is improving their per shift cost...or making it worse.
I often try and stray away from discussing
lines in this section as quite frankly, there's often better things to write
about. But there's one line, a pairing really, that coach Jacques Martin
keeps intact that just doesn't seem right. The Habs and players with right
handed shots don't exactly go hand in hand - they have just 5 skaters total who
do so, one of which is a frequent scratch (O'Byrne). Of the rest, only 3
are forwards. It would stand to reason that it'd be best to keep them on
separate lines to have some balance in the attack. Since the first week
though, this hasn't been the case, as Jeff Halpern and Maxim Lapierre, both
right hand shots, have played together. I get that it's for defensive
purposes and all, but there are other checkers on the team; heck, some would say
there are too many of those players, so why play those two together? There
are benefits to having a right hand shot on each line so why kill those?
It's a small issue but it could have an impact later. Two wrongs surely
don't make a right...nor can two rights make one all the time.
If you have a question regarding this article or the capsheet, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected].