Armchair GMs, should the Habs try and make the playoffs?

What exactly are Gainey’s objectives? Is he trying to setup the Habs for a playoff run this season (whether it be successful or not)? Is he willing to set up the team for the next 5 years if it means sacrificing the rest of the season?
So far, there are two schools of thought that seem to come up often.

The first is going into rebuilding mode. Give up on the season, sign the players we would like to keep (Bonk? Markov?) and move the rest. I don’t know what we can get for Rivet, though teams are looking for depth on D. Aebischer might be insurance for a team making a playoff run. I’m sure we can get an excellent prospect / draft pick for Souray. In this case, I’d much rather get prospects than draft picks, as the teams that would be giving us the picks would be contenders, and the picks would prolly be in the late twenties. The players being traded have a much better shot at winning the cup, which is good for them, and if they want to come back to Montreal after, I’m sure Gainey would like to resign them if the money was right (such as Recchi, and possibly Forsberg). The players will augment the teams future potential, gives more playing time to the younger players, and ultimately may give us a better draft choice.

The other option is to go out and possibly trade some of the younger players for grit, leadership and scoring (Guerin)? We have 2 capable goalies, and 3 up and comers on the way. One of them may be considered expendable. Also, we have a lot of youth showing promise which may be moved for a decent rental. I’d hope Gainey would try and find a player looking for a place to resign for a few years, but bringing in a player with a little determination and a bit more size might help the rest of the team spark. If Gainey opts for this option, I hope its sooner rather than later, as we need help as soon as possible.

I prefer the first toption to the second, as I don’t believe this team is capable of beating some of the powerhouse teams out there (we’ve lost consistently to Ottawa, Carolina, FLORIDA for that matter, etc) in the playoffs. To me, not making it to the second round of the playoffs is just as bad as not making the playoffs at all. Now I know that once you make the playoffs, all bets are off and any team has a chance, but still, I don’t think we will get very far if we DO make it. And, well, lets face it, out of the players that will be UFA at the end of the season, most people believe that Markov is the most important one to resign, and I really like the way Bonk is playing this season. For the rest, who would we really miss? Aebischer is our back up goalie, Souray has a great shot, does have grit and leadership, but takes a lot of unnecessary penalties, is not all that fast, and not great on defense (I was hoping to see Souray play LW on our second line with Plekanec and Latendresse; I’m seeing him as a Bertuzzi type player).

Personaly, I’d love to pick up another young player (Kopitar? Hahaha, as if we’d get him out of LA; Hemsky? for Rivet and Ryder and Aebischer? Some other young big guy that can be the Habs future captain).

I’d also consider trading players like Kovalev: I’d rather have a player with less talent but more heart than a guy who doesn’t come to play every game (for those of you who remember the game where, after he missed the net on when he had the goaler beat, he simply stopped and looked to the heavens for answers). point in case, I think Begin coming back to play has had more effect on the Habs than Kovalev’s play over the last 2 months. I’d LOVE to have a Darcy Tucker on the roster (Lapierre in 3 years?).

So, where is the team going?

18 Responses to Armchair GMs, should the Habs try and make the playoffs?

  1. ranger_fan says:

    I dont think Montreal has what it takes to make the push. The only thing I would consider trading away would be a goalie – most likely Yann Dennis. Kovalev is hurt and wont be going anywhere, Souray could be had but if Gainey thinks he has a chance – he needs to act now. I think with the latest injuries it may be best to sell right now, while still remaining competitive, but try and get something while desperate GMs out west are still overpaying.

  2. KDP1316669 says:

    You make a lot of good points, and I can only hope that Gainey has been thinking about this long before now.  We have a lot of young talent and I just think we have to go after the right type of players now.  Kovalev is magic sometimes but not a leader, just imagine if Shanahan would have signed with us this year I think we would be contenders for sure.  Montreal right now reminds me a bit of the Rangers have a lot of names but they don't gel perfectly, we just need the right mix so I could see the team considering moving Kovalev,, but I can only see a team who is pissed that Nashville got Forsberg taking a chance on Kovalev because Montreal would want something to show for it.

  3. SabresFan220 says:

    The Habs are on the edge of "Go for it" and "Pack it in." If they gun for the playoffs they could make it, but I dunno about challenging for the Cup as a lower seed. If they sell off Souray and Rivet for prospects and picks they could legitimately challenge for the Cup next season with all the youth they have waiting in the wings. I'd love it if they sent Steve Begin back to Buffalo where they stole him via the no longer existent waiver draft. I'd give as high as a 2nd rounder and maybe a defensive prospect for him, but I dunno his cap number offhand. I realize he's one of the guys you'd never wanna trade, but he'd fit awesome with the Sabres and provide the grit and toughness we need.

  4. xJayce says:

    I'm pretty sure Gainey has thought of all of what I've said also.

    As far as I'm concerned, Gainey had a good run with the Stars as a GM. So far with the Canadiens, he's dumped Theo's salary and fetched us Aebischer (prolly one of the best moves over of any GM in the last few years). Also traded Garon for Bonk and Huet I believe. This year, those are two of our biggest players. Then again, he did give 7M to Samsonov, and wasn't able to close Shannahan and Arnott (don't know what happened, heard rumours we were in the running, and neither of those players are here; though if they were here and not performing, people would be saying the same things that we're saying about Sammy). Ohhh, and the Niinima trade might not have been stellar. But all in all, I'm on board with Gainey.

    As to regards Kovalev, there might be a knee jerk reaction. Kovalev is usually extremely good in the playoffs, and might be interested a team with a bit of cap space. Trading Kovy also means that we have an extra 4.5M next year to sign somebody. And as I said, I'd rather have somebody a little less 'magic', and a little more 'Steve Begin' but with the ability to score 25 goals.
    Kovalev would go for a second rounder? A decent prospect (hopefully a 6'4" 220 D-man that can skate)?

    In related news, I've been hearing rumours that Souray might be off to the West Coast. Anaheim has more than enough D, what with Pronger and Niedermayer. San Jose might be looking for a scoring D-man.

  5. xJayce says:

    Reasons why he won't be traded from Montreal

        – He speaks French (and believe me, this is HUGE in Montreal for the french population; the french talk shows keep on stating that there are two few Quebecois players on the team, bashing Koivu cause he never learned to speak french, etc…).

        – He plays with heart every game (one of the few).

        – He's a tough guy that doesn't take too many bad penalties.

        – He hits like a mo-fo (I once saw him, in one play, dish out four hits, grab the puck and clear the zone with a great pass while nobody else on the team seemed to move).

        – He sparks the team up every time he's on the ice.

    In addition, the media seems to love him (he's GREAT during interviews, participates in a bunch of different local things, etc).

    All that being said, Maxime Lapierre seems to be the same type of player. That's a great line right there. Lapierre, Begin, Latendresse. Now THAT's I'd like to see.

  6. nyrhockey094 says:

    Kopitar for Rivet Ryder and Abeisher HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

  7. Habfanforever says:

       Habs need a shakeup if they hope to make a push but as it is, it might be smarter to sell more than buy because the Habs have some guys whose value has never been higher.

    Players to keep: Begin, Lapierre, Higgins, Koivu, Markov, Komisarek, Streit, Latendresse, Kovalev, Plekanec, Huet and Johnson.

      Trade Souray for one of these guys: Steve Bernier, Benoit Pouliot, Patrick O'Sullivan, Joe Pavelski, M-A Vlasic OR Dustin Penner + Brendan Mikkelson ANA, Kris Chukoo + Andrei Taratukhin CAL or Shawn Belle + James Sheppard MINN.

      Trade Rivet+Ryder to Edmonton for Robbie Schremp + conditionnal pick.

     Trade Samsononv for a pick. (Detroit?)

      Trade Niinima for a pick.

     In the off season don't resign Bonk. With all the cap room they can easily go out and get a couple of decent UFAs. This way they would keep all their picks/prospects and still put a competitive team on the ice.

      Trade Aebischer for mid-level prospect.


  8. broc says:

    To me Habs fans are right up there with Leaf fans for having the most terrible/unrealistic armchair GM's per capita.

    For the last couple seasons Habs fans wanted to trade Ribeiro for the proverbial "bag of pucks and hockey sticks". Not one of you wanted him there at all- then when he's gone you whine you didn't get enough for him.

    As soon as the Habs start having a bit of success the last season or two, all of a sudden Gainey's an idiot for not trading for this guy and that for some glorious Cup run…. he's missing the boat for not getting a player who resigned with him own team- Doan- (how is Gainey supposed to do that?), he needs to get Bertuzzi, he needs to get Doan, he needs to get Forsberg, he never should've done this trade… gimme a break.

    Gainey has brought this team from years in the dredges. You guys should be kissing his feet at the direction he's putting this team.

    you Habs fans want to have your cake and eat it too so much that you think Gainey sucks when in reality he's the best thing to happen to this team in a long long time. I hope he doesn't do a damn thing except a little tinker here and there with the lineup.
    Even better if he left, so you could go back to years of missing the playoffs again.

  9. Habsnumberone says:

    Rebuilding mode??? I'm sick of hearing the habs rebuilding.  They were only doing it since the mid to late 90's.  The habs got such a good crop of young players playing right now with Higgins, Komisarek, Lapierre, Latendresse, Murray, Perezhogin, Plekanec, and Ryder.  All of these players are 25 or younger.  As for this year I hope they don't pack it in.  I'm sick of the Leafs, Sens, Philly, Wings, Dallas, and the Hurricanes always getting better at Deadline day, while the habs do nothing (except adding Kovalev, and Simpson). The habs got solid prospects why would they want more lol. Get a player that will add heart and grit to a soft team.  Unless Montreal is playing the Bruins in the playoffs, they will have an early exit, its time for a shake up in Montreal and I hope its not rebuilding, I hope its adding a few pieces to give them the push they need down the stretch. I think this team is the best habs team in years, there is no way they should be fighting for the last playoff spot.

    On another note I see they called up Jaroslav Halak from the Bulldogs.  He's only 21 but I hope he gets the start on Saturday against the champs, maybe some new blood between the pipes will spark them a bit

  10. xJayce says:

    Doing a bit of research, Bernier appears to be somewhat similar to Latendresse, another player from Quebec. Would be a nice pick up: his scouting report says he lacks a bit of speed, but has good size and takes up a lot of room in front of the net or in the corners. Would be nice.

    Pouliot, from what I've read, doesn't use his size and tends to take bad penalties. However, the Wild are in the playoff hunt, now in 8th, and they could use a scoring defenseman.

    As for O'sullivan, I don't see the kings wanting to give up a prospect for a rental.

    Pavelski has been named in a Souray deal, but apparently he's slow, and a long shot for the NHL.

    Vlasic apparently is a bit of a project player, but with a good physical game and good on poweplay.

    I DOUBT that we can trade a scoring defenseman to Anaheim, what with they already having Niedermeyer and Pronger.

    Does Calgary want another defenseman? Though they might want a SCORING d man.

    But overall, I like the bernier deal.

    I tend to disagree with not signing Bonk. I guess it depends on how much he wants. Though not resigning him opens up a place for a center.

  11. xJayce says:

    I'm assuming your mirth is based on the fact that that's not giving ENOUGH for Kopitar?? <SIGH>

  12. xJayce says:

    Being a Habs fan, I have to aggree. Hockey is nearly a religion around here.

    Now, I didn't care either way with Ribeiro. Apparently, he was bad in the dressing room, and if that's the case, I'm happy to see him go. The only thing I'm sad about is 2M dollar healthy scratch.

    As for Gainey being an idiot, that's a fairly stupid thing to say. He's proved himself as a player, a coach and a GM, winning Stanley cups at all levels. I haven't heard anyone around here say that. Of course people will second guess, but the people that think that Gainey has failed here are few and far between. Personaly, I don't want to see Bertuzzi or Forsberg in Mtl. Doan would be nice, but whatever.

  13. Clue_34 says:

    I'm a huge habs fans and nothing will change that. What kills me is how everyone's giving on the playoffs this year and saying we might as well rebuild. This team has rebuilding for that past few years, what do we have to show for it. Our best young gun so far has been Komisarek. Perezgohin has been hyped up for years and has nothing to show for it, Higgins has been solid but face it he won't be an NHL star, Plekanec is at best a solid third center. Perhaps the only bright young light is Latendresse, he's done better than expected, but people don't think he's going to become  the next Jean Béliveau.

    This team is just in a bad tailspin where they can't score goals, and thats just all linked to that they're trying to be to fancy with the puck, bringing a guy like Ryan Smith or Bill Guerin would be the best thing this team. We lack grit, Koivu can be the greatest leader in the NHL at times, but he also disapears. Kovalev is washed up, we won't ever see any of talent which he had years ago, and he's not getting younger.

    It's not time to jump off the band wagon yet, there is still plenty of hockey tp be played this year. Can the Habs regain their position which they earlier in the season, of course they can. The question of rebuilding is stupid and i hope i never hear it again.

  14. sheam316 says:

    Listen. I dont believe they'll be rebuilding. Thats not what Gainey means in my opinion. In my opinion if the next week and a half they fall like more then 6 points out of contention for 8th. Then Souray will likely be gone. during the offseason a few others may be gone like samsonov to maybe Chicago for a draft pick. and if they win like 4 of the next 5 then they'll try for the playoffs and the cup. They'll keep souray and try for it.

    But keep notice that whether Abby stays a canadien is all on him. If he single handenly gets the habs into the playoffs. By that I mean is the winning goaldie for 80% of the games then they'll sign him back. If him and Halak split the wins like 60% – 40% then abby will be gone and halak will backup huet. If Halak steps up and gets them into the playoffs then Abby gone yet again. But if abby and the habs miss the playoffs then yet again abby will be gone relizing that he dont have it. Either way abby has to play awesome for the rest of the season to stay on the team in my opinion. and halak or danis has to play atleast average.
    Just cant wait for our 100 season. If we dont make the playoffs then. Well then were screwed for the next few years after that.

  15. axel6886 says:

    bro pavelski a long shot for the NHL? he is injured and was starting everynight for the sharks up intil then. He has speed and a scoring touch, he was leading the sharks in scoring in the 20 games he played. the habs are intrested in trading souray to the sharks for pavelski and a first rounder, why do you think the sharks acquired korolyuk back, that was a setup move because one of their fowards are moving, and no its not marleau

  16. thatleafsguy says:

    No. Just give up.

  17. xJayce says:

    Ahh, sorry. I've never seen Pavelski play, just read the scouting reports, and they didn't seem to be making a very big deal. Guess I just got the wrong sources. Thanks for the correction.

    Hahaha, I'd LOVE to have Marleau in Montreal. Don't think that's ever gonna happen.

  18. prospectiv says:

    Totally agree with you on the Souray deal.  It's time to find our potential regular 40 goals scorer that we've been missing since Steve Shutt….  Souray is the best trading bait we've had since Mark Recchi…

    Anyway since dreaming is so good :

    I'm more into Bernier.  He is a pretty big guy with good scoring touch and would form a scary and bone crashing duo with Latendresse.  All we would need is to find a way to draft Esposito this year (simple : just keep on losing at this pace) and we would come with those 3 lines in 2-3 years :

    Latendresse – Esposito – Bernier
    S. Kostitsyn – Gabrovski – A.  Kostitsyn
    Higgins – Chipchura – Plekanek
    ???         Lapierre         ????

    If those kids would grow togheter and the Habs do team building around them, I think the combination would lethal.  A big gritty first line, a very fast and skilled second line, and experienced and defensively sound 3rd line that can assume a lot of leadership and score big goals from time to time.

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