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The Long Rebuild

2020-04-20

                   The stats tell a grim tale. The once proud franchise is now reduced to a shell of its former self. The Canadiens are 31st in GF, 31st in GA, and the PP/PK isn't much better. Oh, let's not forget that Montreal is 0-17-5. Suddendly the monikor of Bad News Bears seems apropriate. The last time the team made the Playoffs? I am pretty sure Johnny Carson was still on TV. Enter GM Greg Forget who has seen more than his fair share of rebuilds. "The good news is this team can't be any worse but the bad news is there's going to be a couple of more rough seasons before this team can turn the corner." 

                "When I take over a team, I like to break it down into parts: forwards, defense, goal, draft, prospects, and free agency. I have been a firm believer that building teams from the goal out is the way to do things, so goal and defense will be my priority. With that said, the Canadiens need to continue to develop its youth on the farm and not be rushed. There are definitely some prospects that if given time will help this team but they are still two seasons away."

               We asked GM Forget to break down his early impressions of the Canadiens:

Forwards: "Not a lot of offense, if aging players like Kesler and Perry are the guys that you depend on then your team is going to be last. This team has a lot of players being asked to play roles that they just don't have the skill set for. Pirri is a 3rd line player being asked to score. My goal for this group is to get the talent needed on the top six so that the players who are really PK players or energy guys are not being asked to do more. The team needs to be bigger at center and have playmaking ability. The wingers need to be faster have to finish."

Defense: "This will be the area at the draft [s] that I look to improve upon. Right now, Dermott, Mete, and Wolanin are being asked to play at a high level. This is example of prospects being rushed to the league too soon. With the exception of Dermott, the other two players have not played 100 games in the AHL. I am probably going to add a couple of veterans short term through Free Agency. It will allow these young players the time they need to develop. Especially Mete and Wolanin. The team also needs a quarterback for the powrplay an a solid 2nd d-man who can looged minutes. Those players will need to be drafted."

Goal: "Next to the forwards this is the weakest part of the team. The team will need a backup next season. While Tomkins and Lagace are playing well in Laval, I don't believe at this point that they could help this team. The goalie has to be the star on the team. He is the last line of defence. He is the guy that when you watch TSN/ESPN you are talking about when you see the highlight reel. Montreal doesn't have that guy, either on the pro/minor roster or in the prospect pool, so getting that guy will be necessary"

Prospects: "Believe it or not, the team has some good youth on its roster. They need time but I believe that the talent is there. I look at Rasmussen who could be a solid second line center. There is Dach who is lighting it up in juniors and could be that number one center. In a few seasons Dach and Rasmussen could be the top two centers for this team so there is reason to get excited. Mete, Wolanin, and Dermott are solid two d-men who can fill the second and third pairings. Broberg is a solid prospect that if he develops properly will be the shutdown player we need. Merzlikins is at best a solid starter and at worst, a really good backup. We will have to see."

Draft: "The only way this team gets better is drafting and developing prospects. When players like Rasmussen and Dach are drafted, you don't trade those prospects away. The cupboard is pretty empty so restocking the prospect pool is important. I don't envision us trading 1st or 2nd round picks away for a while so it is vary doubtful that those picks will be on the table in trade talks."

Free Agency: "We will be active in signing players to short term deals. I am not interested in players for three or four year deals. Spending silly is the easiest way to mess up a team especially when your really good prospects will need to get paid. Many of the criterias I listed in what I am looking for will be the same for free agents."

Final Thoughts:  "The key word in any rebuild? Patience. Too often GM's come in with good intentions and I think that wheeling dealing or throwing money at the situation will solve the issue, and may in the short term. Eventually, the team's shortcomings come through, the lack of team depth or plyaers on long term deals have one good season and fizzle out. I am not of the belief that making a deal for the sake of doing is the way to do things. When the team is finally there then the philosophy loosens a bit but those deals also have to include prospcts so that you are constantly restocking the talent pool. I am looking forward to building this team back to the team that challenged Dallas for the cup in 2016 and make the playoffs on a regualr basis. Winning is a culture that needs to be implemented, reinforced, nutured, and developed to the point that it becomes a natural way of thinking. Right now, that culture is being developed in Laval, when those players move up to Montreal, the veterans will need to get on bord or they will be shipped out. That simple."

 




Kyle Phillips

Definitely some nice pieces in the pipeline. Sounds like the Habs are in good hands.

The Long Rebuild
Solution to Montreal's Problems? Patience

• 0 teams Like this  2 months
Greg Forget Thanks Kyle. Looking forward to turning this group around.
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Brandyn Errickson

“Spending silly” should be what we call free agency around here.

The Long Rebuild
Solution to Montreal's Problems? Patience

• 0 teams Like this  2 months
Greg Forget Good to know
2 months  0 teams Like this