HabsWorld.net -- 

Since I’ve been receiving a good bit of mail for each piece that I’ve put together, I’ve come to the decision that it’s time to put together a weekly column to answer some of the questions and comment on some of the things mentioned. Obviously I have my opinions, but it seems you have plenty as well, and there’s no reason why we can’t put those out in a public forum to create even more discussion regarding the team and game we love.

Most of what comes in is related to the Canadiens, of course, but I have no problem going into other matters pertaining to the league in general. Sometimes there are issues out there in the NHL that, while not directly pertaining to the Habs, will have an impact nonetheless.

I’d love to credit questions to the people that ask them, so when you send in your feedback, leave your first name and initial and I’ll try and answer you directly!

On to the questions:

1. Does Dagenais have any trade value?

A very good question. Dagenais is a goal scorer, and that’s all that he brings to the table at this point. He’s not a particularly good skater, has little knowledge of his own end, and even though he’s large, he doesn’t do much with his size. He does, however, have a small enough contract, and therefore, despite the limited skills, he might have some trade value, but I would suggest that it’s minimal. Furthermore, there won’t be much interest in him unless a team with a solid twosome loses a sniper to injury. As to actual value, I would suggest that he’s not worth much more than an AHLer, or a very late-round pick. Consider that he’s now being replaced by Perezhogin and we also have Kostitsyn who will presumably move ahead of Dags with only a few more weeks of experience. More likely is that he actually has virtually no value. He might be picked up on waivers considering his small contract, but even that should be considered questionable.

2. Is our second line viable in the new NHL?

When this question was asked, it was Dagenais, Ribeiro, and Ryder on the line. Since then Higgins has been placed on the second line and we saw much improvement. However, I feel the question is still valid. If Dags is re-inserted, is that line viable? No, I don’t believe it is. With the game opening up, there’s going to be more of a premium on speed, and this line has none. Even slower defenders, with good positioning, can neutralize the attack that these guys might bring. Higgins on the line is a large improvement, and Ryder, when he works hard, is good enough to make some noise. The focus, however, has to be on Ribeiro, in my opinion. He has a pile of talent, there’s no question there, but can he translate that when he’s small and slow and gets pushed off the puck sometimes way too easily?

I think this is a critical issue that will be looked at very closely from now until the trade deadline. It’s now, while he still has trade value, that Ribeiro will generate the most interest. If Montreal decides to keep him, they have to seriously evaluate his wingers to ensure they allow him to play at his highest level. I don’t think, in this new NHL, that Ribeiro’s line, as it is, can be successful. Witness the strong play of Plekanec, Higgins and Begin at five-on-five and you might see where I’m coming from here.

3. Can we package Ribeiro and Dagenais for a quality defender?

Honestly? No. I don’t think adding in Dagenais to any trade will bring us quality. And while Ribeiro has some trade value, thinking that he’ll bring us a really solid defender has to be questionable at this point. He’s had one successful season and has struggled thus far. I would say that his trade value is not as high as some Montreal fans might think.

That’s it for this week, but please keep those questions and comments coming in!

A Concerned Fan