From time to time everyone can do better.
Perhaps the Canadiens organization could have done better with Ron Hainsey.
Yes, Hainsey was his own worst enemy here in Montreal. Yes, Mark Streit beat him out at training camp. Despite this, Hainsey was still the best puck moving defenseman in their system. Last year Ron Hainsey was the best defenseman in Hamilton. He needed to be playing at the NHL level to improve.
Instead, the Habs dropped him for nothing.
Just how valuable is Mark Streit’s two minutes of fame per game? Hainsey had skills that could have been developed, if not at least protected.
Hainsey was lost to the Habs for the year because they sent him down to Hamilton. Some desperate team was sure to take a flyer on him, as the Habs would be on the hook for half of his salary, per new re-entry waiver rules. I wasn’t surprised when Columbus moved on him, though I had remained hopeful he would pass through.
Perhaps les Glorieux couldn’t trade Hainsey. Or perhaps they just plain screwed up.
Columbus is the most desperate team in the league right now. They signed and traded for big name players who are not delivering. Their defensive stopper, Adam Foote, is heavy on the minuses and has missed time due to injury. They are looking for cheap help, even of a temporary nature.
He has talent. Talent can always come back to haunt you.
This is the second young player that the Habs have lost this season. Marcel Hossa went much earlier than Hainsey did. They are both playing at the NHL level right now. Hossa has played nearly every game for the “Danger Rangers” this year.
Meanwhile Garth Murray got a cup of coffee last week.
And yet 25 games in Radek Bonk is still impressing. He is on pace to smash the 20 point mark sometime around game 75. While he’s doing that, let’s smash our collective heads on the wall as he squanders chance after chance. I hadn’t anticipated missing Joe Juneau. In all fairness, however, it appears that Bonk has been plagued by a serious groin injury for much of the season.
Four forwards made the team this year from the under 22 set. Clearly that made management uncomfortable. I am against the way they are currently mis-managing their young talent. The Canadiens were successful when they used their speed – their youth was a big part of that. Now the Habs remain stationary without the puck. That won’t be good enough at this level. The message that Julien and Gainey should be sending their troops is clear – skate or sit.
The Habs need to find another puck-moving defenseman next year should Sheldon Souray continue his standard of play. Too many teams won’t be able to sign anyone in the offseason unless they unload salary themselves. It might backfire for the Habs to acquire someone now without room for offseason acquisitions.
The most intriguing of those potential acquisitions could come from within the division. Ottawa likely can’t keep both Redden and Chara after season’s end. I don’t know if they would necessarily trade either of those players, especially when poised for a date with the Cup. Should John Muckler be looking to trade for youth, perhaps a goalie might entice him.