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Thread: Montreal Canadiens

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    Default Montreal Canadiens

    First off, a big thank you to Praba, GMG, Dobber and friends for opening the doors for new writers to show off their expertise in their own corner of the fantasy hockey universe.

    As an intro, I'm Eric (as if my forum name didn't give that away) from Sudbury, Ontario (Valley born and raised, just like GMG). I'm a 24 year old masters student at Laurentian University. Am I the only Sudbury native that thinks every other town in the world is more interesting than this one? I've been involved in fantasy hockey since late December 2001 when I was recruited by my cousin to join a sim hockey league. The entry draft was the following day and we had a power outage so all my picks had to be made via phone since I could not access the chat room or my draft list. Things have gotten better since then. I ran my own sim league from 2003 to 2006 and am currently co-commishing the WCHF (http://bthlhockey.com/WCHF). I've also done some one year roto leagues, as well as the classic "box pools" (pick 1 player out of 5 in each box). I'm currently on a 5 year streak where I win at least one pool a year. Let's see if that continues.

    GMG has awarded me the Habs. I'm a diehard Habs fan, although not diehard to the point where I hoard them in fantasy leagues or send them stalker mail offering to clean their jocks for free. I actually avoid them in pools more often than not because of the obvious - they disappoint most of the time. I usually get to watch 70-82 games in a season, depending on other obligations. So far this season I've only missed the last Price shutout on Saturday because my aunt turned 50 and we did a surprise party that lasted all night. That's not a good enough excuse though, I promise to step it up from now on.

    My contributions here will have a lot of variety. Typically I just write what comes to mind as I'm watching games, so that could be a game report, player scouting reports, hot/cold streak analysis, or even commenting on the team's direction. I'll even take requests by PM. If you're not watching the games and would like to know something specific, I'll almost certainly grant your request.

    Thanks again for the opportunity!


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    Last edited by ericdaoust; January 25, 2011 at 8:29 PM.


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    Awesome!! Thanks in advance from a Montreal native. I'll be keeping an eye on your future postings!


    Keeper league 16 teams (H2H, 20 active players keep 16 NHLers, 15 minors; Championships 2009-10, 2013-14)
    Scoring Cats: G-A-PTS-PPG-PPA-(+/-)-PIM-SHP-SOG-FOW-GWG / W-L-SVS-SV%-GAA-SO
    Free Agent draft picks: 1.12, 2.3, 3.11, 3.12, 4.3, 4.12

    C- Crosby, Pavelski, Toews, Spezza, Dvorak
    W- Benn, Voracek, Forsberg, Okposo, Sheary, Burakovsky, Zacha
    D- Carlson, Yandle, Provorov
    G- Price, Hellebuyck, Greiss, Halak

    Minors:
    F: N.Schmaltz, Beauvillier, McLeod, Milano, Hawryluk, Merkley, Senyshyn, Necas, Yamamoto
    D: Pulock, Montour, Lindell, Juolevi
    G: Martin, Taylor

  3. #3
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    glad we finally got a montreal section, and i'm sure you will do a great job eric. welcome to the team!

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    For my first article, I wanted to write something that isn't already known by everyone in the hockey world. Everyone knows about Carey Price's outstanding start, and everyone knows about Subban's non-spectacular offensive debut as a rookie. It's been written about, and I don't want to beat a dead horse. So I stumbled upon a player that isn't well known for fantasy stats but has surprisingly shown some value in certain roto leagues: Maxim Lapierre.

    Most people know who Maxim Lapierre is. And most people don't like the guy. But he has worked hard to become a valuable depth player to the Canadiens. And with the increasing variety in hockey pool formats, Lapierre has become someone that could be a useful contributor in a deep league. In order to cover as many possible formats as possible, I'll cover most of his stats.

    2010-11 season so far:
    Cap hit: 900,000 (cheap player for cap leagues)
    GP: 21
    G: 4
    A: 1
    PTS: 5 (slow start, more on that in a bit)
    PIM: 57 (7th in the NHL)
    Hits: 56 (18th in the NHL)
    Shots: 42
    TOI/G: 11:56
    SHTOI/G: 0:20

    Notes:
    -Since Martin's arrival, Lapierre has virtually disappeared from the PK after averaging 1:58 shorthanded time in 2008-09 and scoring 2 shorthanded goals. The team prefers investing in true PK guys like Halpern, Dominic Moore, Moen and Pyatt, among others. So the days of him being a SHP threat are probably done.
    -He's now being used as a winger. This problem is twofold in fantasy leagues, as he probably still has the centerman-only tag yet doesn't get you faceoffs (he's 7th on the Habs in faceoffs taken).

    Current pace (82 games):
    G: 15 (ties career high)
    A: 3
    PIM: 222 (probably won't keep up this pace)
    Shots: 164 (career high is 165 in 08-09, when he hit that 15-goal mark)
    Hits: 219

    Now you probably get the idea of where his contributions lie in a roto league. I often times see threads where people ask for guys that can 20 points and high PIMs. With no enforcer in Montreal, Lapierre has taken on the role of someone that sticks up for teammates and confronts the opposition. This, along with the inevitable coincidental minors that occur in scraps after the whistle, means Lapierre is a strong PIM contributor. He probably won't hit the 200 mark, but the 150-170 range makes sense. He recently had games of 19 and 14 PIMs, and in such a small sample of games the PIM pace can be a bit skewed.

    Now, you might have noticed that Lapierre falls short of the 20-point mark that I previously outlined if he continues this pace. I believe he'll not only beat 20 points but also challenge his career-best 28 points. It is worth noting that 25% of his even strength ice time has been spent on the Scott Gomez line, while 40% has been spent with Jeff Halpern.

    In Halpern's case, he has been an excellent fit in Montreal and he has even contributed well offensively. He won't continue the 13 points in 21 games pace but his presence next to Lapierre will nonetheless be beneficial.

    In Gomez's case, as much as I've written poorly about him in the forums, I do believe he will turn things around from an offensive standpoint. He's too fast and too talented to not start putting up numbers. With Pouliot/Halpern working so well right now on the 3rd line, this gives Lapierre the opening he needs to get more 2nd line shifts next to Gomez. And when that line starts producing, Lapierre will be the benefactor.

    All in all, I believe Lapierre is in for an improvement in offensive numbers down the stretch. I'm projecting 15 goals and 10 assists. He won't be able to match his 08-09 points because of the slow start. Add in his pace of 164 shots and 219 hits and you have a player that has value in certain formats while not killing your team in offensive categories.

    Longer-term, Lapierre's career could take one of two directions. He could settle into more of a grinder role and become a 20-goal, 35-point, 100-PIM player. Otherwise, he could remain the kind of player he is now and put up 10-15 goals, 20-25 points and 150 PIMs each season. Either way, I believe Lapierre does have a place in deep multi-category leagues both now and in the future.
    Last edited by ericdaoust; November 24, 2010 at 2:34 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ericdaoust View Post
    So far this season I've only missed the last Price shutout on Saturday because my aunt turned 50 and we did a surprise party that lasted all night. That's not a good enough excuse though, I promise to step it up from now on.
    Gold! haha...

    Also I love the insight on Maxim. With a .9M salary, a 25point & 150PIM player is very reasonable and worth every penny in deep leagues.

    Thanks!
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    Default Kings 1, Canadiens 4

    A couple random thoughts on some players in the game.

    Carey Price: Wasn't nearly as busy tonight as in recent games but that didn't bother him. Made 3 key saves after the score became 4-1. He made sure the game remained in the bag. So all in all another solid night at the office.

    Andrei Kostitsyn: Some nights he barely shows up, other nights he's all in. Tonight he was good. Made a great play on the Plekanec goal. He took the initial shot while going to the net and basically took 2 defencemen out of the play which helped Plekanec have an open shot in the slot.

    Lars Eller: Quickly becoming a forgotten player because he hasn't been producing and his ice time has been down. But at least once a game he shows his potential and creativity. Tonight he was rewarded with his first goal of the season. IMO it's a matter of time with him. He'll find a key role and ride that the rest of the season.

    Scott Gomez: A much better effort tonight after being indirectly called out by the coach. Did a good job standing in front of the goalie on Cammalleri's goal. He still has a long way to go but he has to be encouraged with how things went tonight.

    PK Subban: His skill and heart are off the charts. He's still learning the game though. Made a nice play defending a 2-on-1 which led to AK's opening goal. He's essentially become the lead offensive defenceman with Markov out and he needs to learn how to put it all together. He probably would have been better off short-term as Markov's sidekick without the major responsibility but he'll be just fine when it's all said and done.


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    My next article is going to be about Andrei Markov. I'll have that done over the weekend. Basically I'm going to give my opinion about what the Canadiens should do with him moving forward. In the meantime if anyone wants to chime in with their own opinions and spring a discussion go ahead.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ericdaoust View Post
    My next article is going to be about Andrei Markov. I'll have that done over the weekend. Basically I'm going to give my opinion about what the Canadiens should do with him moving forward. In the meantime if anyone wants to chime in with their own opinions and spring a discussion go ahead.
    cant wait to see this article. i own markov in one of my keeper leagues and i cant get anything for him. looks like the best scenario is to hold on to him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by praba View Post
    cant wait to see this article. i own markov in one of my keeper leagues and i cant get anything for him. looks like the best scenario is to hold on to him.
    Wasn't thinking about the article from a fantasy perspective but yeah I'll include some info about what I'd do if I owned him.


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    Default Andrei Markov: will he stay or will he go?

    For those who have been hiding under a rock (and somehow made it here without reading up on the news first), Andrei Markov is hurt. Badly. Again. It's his third major injury in 13 months, dating back to last season's opening night when he was cut by a skate in a game against the Maple Leafs. And he's only played 7 games between two ACL tears. You have to feel for the guy, as it's always a long and painful process to rehab a major injury. And to add insult to injury Markov's contract ends this season and he becomes an unrestricted free agent. If he's lucky he might be in playing condition by July 1st.

    Here's where things get very interesting for the Montreal Canadiens. What do they do with the oft-injured Markov? He's an elite defenceman when healthy, but do you really want to run the risk of being stuck without your top defender for long stretches like this? What are the alternatives available?

    Before I get into the possible scenarios regarding Markov, let's look at what the Canadiens have coming up this summer. The first area of concern is the rest of the defence. Roman Hamrlik and Hal Gill are also pending free agents. Hamrlik is almost a sure thing to be let go, unless he is willing to take a significant pay cut from the 5.5 million he's earning now. He has a lot of miles on his body and that's been showing the last two seasons. He's a few steps slower and better suited for a depth role in the final years of his career. It's probable that this could create the void needed to promote Yannick Weber permanently. Gill on the other hand has been extremely valuable to the Habs and I expect to see him re-signed. He had a rough 09-10 regular season but was a rock in the playoffs and carried that momentum into this season. Expect his new salary to be somewhere between his current salary (2.25 million) and 3 million.

    In terms of needs up front, I expect the Habs to use some of the cap left by Hamrlik to seek a top-6 winger. Benoit Pouliot was supposed to be in that role but he seems better suited for the depth scoring role on the 3rd line. He has clicked very well with Jeff Halpern and I believe he could be kept there long-term. That leaves us with the need to sign a free-agent winger.

    All my data regarding the upcoming UFA class was found at http://www.mynhltraderumors.com/tag/...l-free-agents/

    There are many wingers available but most won't even hit the open market. A few possibilities that I see include Alex Kovalev, Jamie Langenbrunner, Mark Recchi, Simon Gagne, Alex Ponikarovsky and Brooks Laich. I believe all of these guys can be signed for 4 million or less (in some cases a lot less).

    Next, the Habs will need a replacement for Halpern. He's playing very well but I expect him to seek a good salary as the final good payday of his career. The Canadiens could opt to meet his salary demands, but this is also an opportunity to give Lars Eller the #3 centerman job. The void left on the 4th line could easily be filled by Ryan White.

    Another area with questions is the backup goalie spot. Alex Auld is a capable backup but if he was a longer-term answer he would've signed a multi-year deal in Montreal. The most likely scenario is bringing in Karri Ramo from Russia but I worry his salary demands might be a bit high for an unproven NHL goaltender. If talks fall apart I could see the Canadiens going back to Auld or signing another cheap veteran backup.

    The player personnel choices I outlined are here to show that the Canadiens likely have one spot to fill on the blueline without considering Markov, and where some of Hamrlik's freed salary is going to be spent on the roster. I did not talk about the impending raises for Andrei Kostitsyn and Josh Gorges because they will be retained although their new salary will cut into the savings significantly.

    Now, let's go back to the Markov situation. I don't believe he should be re-signed. The last 13 months have shown major red flags and I actually prefer spending Markov's 5.75 million cap hit elsewhere. Markov has played a lot of minutes over the years and could be on the decline. The only way I could see him returning is if he accepts a one-year deal in the ballpark of 5 million. A two-year deal could work but he would have to take a hometown discount for that to make sense.

    Would he accept a one-year deal or a discount? Not likely. If we've learned anything about free agency, it's that there's always a team willing to make a bad decision on the contract terms just to get the player. I expect a team to put a three-year deal on the table much like the one Gonchar (another injury-prone dman) signed in Ottawa. I just hope it's not Pierre Gauthier that offers the three-year pact.

    This takes us to replacement scenarios in Montreal. Depending on how much money is spent elsewhere, any of the following defencemen could be considered: Ed Jovanovski, Tomas Kaberle, Joni Pitkanen, Kevin Bieksa, James Wisniewski, Christian Ehrhoff, Ian White, Anton Babchuk and Andy Greene. Aside from Pitkanen and Kaberle, I expect all these defencemen to sign for under 5 million, which would be a saving although a downgrade in talent from Markov.

    My conclusions here are that it's worth considering the possibility of replacing Markov with a defenceman whose durability isn't as questionable. I also believe it's a good time to invest some of the cap savings into helping the team up front. It's not that I don't like Markov, in fact I'm a huge fan of his. But a salary cap league calls for tough decisions and the lack of a #1 defenceman will really hurt the Habs the rest of the season.

    Now let's look at the fantasy hockey side of things. He's a band-aid boy. The latest injury threw a major curveball to his owners because they were waiting to be finally rewarded with some high scoring output once Markov was in game shape. But that didn't happen and he's back on the shelf long-term.

    So what do you do? If you buy into the "buy low, sell high" philosophy you don't want to trade him away now. If you're in a league with bench spots then why not build around the situation since Markov has no trade value anyway? Try to acquire a solid dman that you can stash away on the bench until Markov gets hurt. I'll outline a points-only scenario for next season that shows what I mean:

    Markov: 50 games, 35 points
    Bench player: 32 games, 13 points
    Overall: 82 games, 48 points

    Markov still gives you solid per-game production, so if you invest in a decent bench alternative to sub in for injuries you can still get great overall production from Markov's spot in the lineup. I believe this approach is far cheaper then selling short on Markov's talent. You could target someone like Brad Stuart, Jaroslav Spacek or Adrian Aucoin. These guys don't have great value but offer good secondary scoring from the back end. And the upside with this strategy is that if Markov plays a full schedule the upside is 60-65 points. Don't sell low, turn the "weakness" into a strength.

    Another thing to keep an eye on is the team he signs with. If my plan comes true Markov will hit the open market. His new environment could positively or negatively affect his ability to put up points. Somehow I see Tampa Bay as a good fit. They really lack a top PP dman. Markov would do a pretty solid job finding Stamkos in the slot. I really could see some of the contending teams take a chance on him. Maybe Vancouver if they lose Ehrhoff, Maybe Detroit, maybe the LA Kings, maybe Washington. I don't know everyone's cap situation but if a contending team can afford it the upside is tremendous. Just pray he doesn't end up with teams like the Panthers or Wild, as that would severly hurt his chance of producing.

    If you don't own Markov, this could be a solid buy-low opportunity if your league has bench spots. As long as you have a solid alternative should he get hurt, your overall production will still be excellent.
    Last edited by ericdaoust; November 29, 2010 at 4:45 PM.


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    skimming your section and its awesome. sorry some of it is long and i am at work and not a mtl fan so i cant read it all. but i like your game breakdowns.

    wondering what you can tell me about cammy? i was going on him being an 80 point player. seems like he just isnt getting the time or what to get to the PPG level?

    thanxs again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by newper114 View Post
    skimming your section and its awesome. sorry some of it is long and i am at work and not a mtl fan so i cant read it all. but i like your game breakdowns.

    wondering what you can tell me about cammy? i was going on him being an 80 point player. seems like he just isnt getting the time or what to get to the PPG level?

    thanxs again.
    Don't count on PPG. For a bunch of reasons:
    -Plekanec is not an elite centerman
    -Markov is out
    -Gomez is not clicking so more focus goes on shutting down the top line
    -Jacques Martin and the defensive system
    -Lack of overall size up front makes them hit or miss offensively from one game to the next

    I could see 70 points over a full schedule but anything more than that won't happen on this team.


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    Default Oilers 4, Canadiens 3 (OT)

    I'm a bit under the weather right now and missed a small chunk of the game (end 1st / early 2nd). Here's what I gathered on the Habs tonight:

    Team play: The jump was there but in the 2nd half they were unable to sustain any offence after the initial chance. It was always one chance and then the puck is out of the zone. I also found that the Hamrlik/Spacek lack of foot speed was exposed late against Taylor Hall. Still nice to get the point though, as they all add up later.

    Tomas Plekanec: Fantastic penalty killer. One of the best forwards in the league when shorthanded. He's also clicking offensively despite no points tonight. All indications point to another 70 point season.

    Brian Gionta: Showed a lot of grit tonight, even going after Hall at one point in retaliation to being checked. He's digging pucks in the corner and getting a lot of chances. Fantasy owners should feel comfortable. His numbers should meet expectations by the end of the season.

    PK Subban: A rough outing to say the least. Needs to stop trying to be superman and pick his spots a bit better. He has the skill to excel in any situation so if he just tones it down a bit and uses some intelligence things will get back on track. I'm thinking the coaches address this in practice and in most cases lighting a fire under a player has positive short-term results.

    Mathieu Darche: Was on the ice for 2 power play goals, and both scores involved him going to the net (he scored one of them). I like the fit here because he has decent size and hands, and works hard around the net. Could find himself in a Holmstrom role for short stretches which could lead to a handful of PPP.

    Anthony Calvillo: Showed great poise in the booth. Even when Pierre McGuire made corny comments Calvillo stayed cool and gave crisp answers. That's what champions are made of. Get well soon AC!!!


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    Just to expand on my Subban note from yesterday:

    He is being scratched tonight. In my note I wrote that the coaches would probably talk to him in practice but did have a healthy scratch in the back of my mind. It's not a bad thing, especially with the next game being the night after the big downer game. His next step is to learn how to play like a game-changer while not sacrificing hockey sense and situational awareness. His dumb dive play that led to the 2-on-1 SHG by the Oilers is an example of that. It's not a good time to try a valiant pinch to keep the puck in the zone when you have all 3 forwards trapped deep.
    Last edited by ericdaoust; December 2, 2010 at 1:55 PM.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericdaoust View Post
    Just to expand on my Subban note from yesterday:

    He is being scratched tonight. In my note I wrote that the coaches would probably talk to him in practice but did have a healthy scratch in the back of my mind. It's not a bad thing, especially with the next game being the night after the big downer game. His next step is to learn how to play like a game-changer while not sacrificing hockey sense and situational awareness. His dumb dive play that led to the 2-on-1 SHG by the Oilers is an example of that. It's not a good time to try a valiant pinch to keep the puck in the zone when you have all 3 forwards trapped deep.
    I agree with you but just like Mathias Brunet just tweeted : How can Subban go from the guy with the most ice-time one day, and the next day he's an healthy scratch. That's an over reaction from Martin IMO
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