Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What a Waste!

Another trade deadline passes, and another set of UFAs will walk away from the Montreal Canadiens at the end of the season without any assets in return.  This has become so common in recent years that it's almost a tradition.  Will the Canadiens resign Campoli?  Darche?  Moen?  Nokelainen?  Of these players only Moen seems to have any place in the organization's future, and I've already made a case in prior articles that I think he will likely be too expensive to be on our list next year.  I understand that these players, aside from Moen, wouldn't bring a significant return, but any draft picks are assets that can bring potential roster players.  The modern NHL is all about drafting, and even seventh rounders can bring impact players.  Anyone remember Sergei Kostitsyn?  Mark Streit?

Looking back at the past few years, too many players have walked with no return.  This is a serious issue, and the Habs need to learn some things from other organizations.  In 2008-2009 we placed eighth, in 2009-2010 we placed eighth, in 2010-2011 we placed sixth in the Eastern Conference regular season.  We weren't cup contenders, we were playoff contenders.  Contending to get into the playoffs, not actually go anywhere once we were there.  If my memory serves me in two of those years we only qualified for the playoffs on the last game of the season.  And because we had hopes of making the playoffs, we didn't trade away any assets at the deadline for future picks and prospects.  Okay fine, we had a chance those years, why not try to make the playoffs and get some experience?  But what about this year, why didn't we trade assets this year?

Lets go back and look at a list of the players who walked those past seasons with nothing to show for them except a sour taste in fans' mouths.  This is not a complete list, only some memorable names.

Steve Begin, Francis Bouillon, Patrice Brisebois, Mathieu Dandenault, Tom Kostopoulos, Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Robert Lang, Mathieu Schneider, Alex Tanguay
Marc-Andre Bergeron, Paul Mara, Glen Metropolit, Dominic Moore
Dustin Boyd, Nigel Dawes, Benoit Pouliot, Jeff Halpern, Roman Hamrlik, Paul Mara (a second time), Brend Sopel, James Wisniewski

Some of these players (Lang, Schneider, Moore, Boyd, Dawes and others) we actually traded for and then let walk in the same season!  This includes second rounders for Moore, Wisniewski, Lang, Schneider, and Matt D'agostini for Boyd.  That's four second round picks in three years!  It's outrageous because the Habs have been a consistently mediocre team since 2007-2008.  

The Montreal Canadiens organization needs to get with the program and buy into the new hockey, because what we're doing right not sure as hell isn't working.  We have a solid group of young talent and we need to be adding to it and giving them experience.  Why keep older players around for these final twenty games when we could call up players like Engqvist, St. Denis or Geoffrion, and play younger guys like Weber and Diaz more minutes?  Will playing Campoli add anything these final twenty games? I see it as actually taking away from the team, because it robs young players of getting more minutes on a bust, no-pressure season.

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