Welcome to the first edition of All About The Habs’ Mailbag! Each week we will be taking questions from the fans and answering them here. Keep a lookout for the Facebook and Twitter posts each weekend and submit your questions as either a comment or tweet.
Answer: Should Boedker make it to free agency, then yes, Marc Bergevin should be looking to sign him. Boedker is a 26-year old left winger, who has put up decent numbers while playing for an Arizona team that just has not had much luck in building a solid offense. Despite this, he has scored 10+ goals in each of the past three seasons and would fit in Montreal’s top six quite nicely. However, the rumors have Boedker looking for a long-term deal, worth reportedly $5.5 million a year, according to Darren Dreger. As good as Boedker may be, this feels a bit too rich for a guy who has never cracked 20 goals yet, coming in at a career high 19 in 2013-14. While his biggest strength is on the power play (18 of his 36 points this season are from the man-advantage), an area where the Canadiens desperately need help, locking in a 26-year old to a big contract could be risky, especially when the Canadiens have many internal contracts to dole out within the next two seasons.
If Boedker is willing to take a bridge contract, and I would guess he would not, then I think Bergevin should and would jump on it. But if Bergevin was able to move out a big contract of their own, for example Andrei Markov, then signing Boedker to his ideal contract makes much more sense, as the two would have similar cap hits.
Answer: I don’t think it’s Subban being reluctant, or that the evil coach Michel Therrien is forcing him not to. Subban’s incredibly powerful cannon has been growing in popularity around the league and with this happening, it is forcing opposing coaches to implement a system where Subban will be heavily covered at all times while on the ice, forcing him to be a bit more creative rather than always just blasting one from the point.
But at the same time, Subban is still doing his job extremely well, despite being heavily covered. He ranks 43rd for all players in shots on goal, 7th among defensemen, with 150 in 56 games played. He is also tied for 27th with all skaters for points with 44, good for fourth in defensemen scoring. So even though he has not taken as many cannon shots as we, the fans, may like, he is still producing points at a top defenseman rate. Fear not.
Answer: Honestly he is one forward I would not move, just due to the fact that he holds no value. The Habs are not getting much for him, maybe a late draft pick? At the same time, his play has suffered from a downtrend and maybe a change of scenery would be best for him. For right now, I think the Canadiens should keep him, the fact that he can hold a roster spot on the 4th line and that he seems to have a good relationship with the locker room is reason enough to keep him until the year ends.
There are some other players that might fetch the Habs a better return at the Trade Deadline that would be worth moving, such as Markov, Tomas Fleischmann, Alexei Emelin, David Desharnais, and possibly Tomas Plekanec. Those players, alone or in a package, would net Montreal a far better return than Smith-Pelly. Keep him until the summer, evaluate his time with the organization, then make the decision. But for now, keep him on the team.
Answer: Absolutely. While I like Desharnais as a 3rd line center, he actually does hold some value. In the past two seasons, he has ranked in the top-40 for center scoring in the league; 37th with 48 points in 2014-15 and 32nd with 52 points in 2015-16. While those numbers may have been inflated due to playing with Max Pacioretty so much during that span, other GMs will see that he’s been a productive center that can work with a perennial 30+ goal scorer. Add in the fact that he has a very team friendly $3.5 million cap hit for the next two years, he could very well be some useful trade bait for Montreal to acquire a decent prospect or a draft pick.
Losing Desharnais would certainly put a small, temporary damper on the team’s offense, but the Canadiens have many players who can take his spot. At front and center is Alex Galchenyuk, he is a prime candidate to take over the first line center responsibilities. The pros of trading Desharnais are definitely appealing and if a deal can be made, then Bergevin should be taking calls.
Answer: This is a tough question. On one hand, I do think that Pacioretty has been not too shabby at being the captain of such a storied franchise. On the other, there have been times where he has looked totally clueless as to what he should be doing. It also feels as if he is not doing enough to be vocal with the team and motivating them, which falls on Brendan Gallagher and Subban.
Do we have incredibly high expectations for a captain for the Canadiens? You bet. Has Pacioretty met these expectations? Meh. Of course, we do not know what happens in the locker room. We do not see how vocal he is, but judging from the Canadiens past record in the last two months, his speeches, or lack thereof, are not having much of an impact.
Personally I was hoping for Subban or Gallagher to get the captaincy, and I still stand by my choice. Perhaps by the summer, there may be a shift in the locker room and the captaincy will be given to one of the aforementioned two. Doing this also runs the risk of alienating Montreal’s best goal scorer as well. So this is a tough situation to gauge and should be tread lightly by the organization and the locker room alike.
Answer: While there are many writers that contribute to AATH, the number of people that update the Facebook page and Twitter account is limited to just a few people to keep things consistent and in general, availability. As for how long everyone has been a fan of the Canadiens, it varies significantly. However, those that contribute most to the Facebook page in particular have been fans their entire lives, meaning over 20 years of fandom.
AATH started just under four years ago as a way to provide fans with a one-stop place for pretty much everything happening within the organization (Canadiens, farm team and more). It’s fun to cover and interact with other fans that have so much passion for the same thing. The community aspect, whether we all agree on things or not, is what really keeps us going. We voluntarily do this and it’s rewarding to watch AATH grow every year. So, thank you.