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[Proposal] Small tweaks to fix the defence


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It's no surprise we're thin on defence but have a great offence - one of the best 5-on-5 in the league, a top-5 PP yet one of the worst PKs and defences in the league. In theory we have two great goalies but their numbers are so bad thanks to a brutal defence. We've got Hughes who is arguably a top pairing defenceman on any team, OEL who may be a 3-4th guy on most teams and then the rest...Schenn who was Tampa's 7th guy (arguably playing like a bottom pairing guy on most playoff teams now though), Bear who was Carolina's 7th guy (play well for us right now though, our top RD...), Myers who has been dreadful this year, Stillman who was Chicago's 7th guy and Burroughs who is our 7th guy. That's a lot of non-roster defencemen playing on our roster.

 

What do we need? 2 top-4 defencemen. Simple. How do we get it?

 

1) Trade Myers for a pick if we're lucky. There are lots of rumours and teams on the look-out, I know Toronto need a guy but have no cap space. Sure, whichever team he goes to will have to clear cap, I'd be happy to retain 1M in all fairness. Not sure what he would get us back, I like to think he's worth a 3rd round pick the same way Nate Schmidt was - he's still got value, he just needs a change of scenery. If no one's buying then we give him away for nothing, and if that's not good enough, Myers + 2nd for a 3rd and we move.

 

2) Flip a forward for a defenceman. We have too many wingers, simple. Boeser is almost a PPG player right now and freshly re-signed so I think he carries the most value. Garland really is the odd-man out for me - old regime acquisition, he plays well, gritty and is young so most rebuilding/retooling/contending teams would have a place for him. There are so many teams who have too many young defencemen. My main targets would be Peeke from CBJ who's having an off-year, or Matt Roy in LA who's losing minutes to their stacked RDs. Either team needs offence, and neither defenceman is too good that a 1-for-1 swap doesn't happen. Either can play 18-20 minutes comfortably on the right side. If we want more quality we look towards a Boeser-for-Severson type deal but I'd be happy snagging Peeke. If they want a defenceman back, give them Jet Woo alongside Garland. 

 

3) Finally, seems a bit odd, but flip the Myers pick for a veteran defenceman off a struggling team. My ideal pick would be Savard in MTL. He's 32 years old, playing top-4 minutes on their defence, having a pretty decent year all things considered and is built like a truck and plays physically. He could really bolster our PK. I think a 3rd round pick would be enough to get him and Montreal will take picks all day long.

 

OUTS: Garland + Myers (+/- Woo)

INS: Peeke/Roy + Savard

 

We acquire two guys who can play 20+ minutes on the right side and play strong defensively, we lose one winger we can replace easily internally and Myers which many would argue is a positive move for us.

 

Mikheyev - Pettersson - Kuzmenko

Miller - Horvat - Hoglander

Pearson - Dries - Boeser

Lazar - Aman - Joshua

Podkolzin

 

Hughes - Savard

OEL - Peeke/Roy

Schenn - Bear

Burroughs

Rathbone

 

Lots of possible combinations in that defence but that's the balance this team needs, and we can attain it without trading our top player Bo.

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26 minutes ago, DownUndaCanuck said:

It's no surprise we're thin on defence but have a great offence - one of the best 5-on-5 in the league, a top-5 PP yet one of the worst PKs and defences in the league. In theory we have two great goalies but their numbers are so bad thanks to a brutal defence. We've got Hughes who is arguably a top pairing defenceman on any team, OEL who may be a 3-4th guy on most teams and then the rest...Schenn who was Tampa's 7th guy (arguably playing like a bottom pairing guy on most playoff teams now though), Bear who was Carolina's 7th guy (play well for us right now though, our top RD...), Myers who has been dreadful this year, Stillman who was Chicago's 7th guy and Burroughs who is our 7th guy. That's a lot of non-roster defencemen playing on our roster.

 

What do we need? 2 top-4 defencemen. Simple. How do we get it?

 

1) Trade Myers for a pick if we're lucky. There are lots of rumours and teams on the look-out, I know Toronto need a guy but have no cap space. Sure, whichever team he goes to will have to clear cap, I'd be happy to retain 1M in all fairness. Not sure what he would get us back, I like to think he's worth a 3rd round pick the same way Nate Schmidt was - he's still got value, he just needs a change of scenery. If no one's buying then we give him away for nothing, and if that's not good enough, Myers + 2nd for a 3rd and we move.

 

2) Flip a forward for a defenceman. We have too many wingers, simple. Boeser is almost a PPG player right now and freshly re-signed so I think he carries the most value. Garland really is the odd-man out for me - old regime acquisition, he plays well, gritty and is young so most rebuilding/retooling/contending teams would have a place for him. There are so many teams who have too many young defencemen. My main targets would be Peeke from CBJ who's having an off-year, or Matt Roy in LA who's losing minutes to their stacked RDs. Either team needs offence, and neither defenceman is too good that a 1-for-1 swap doesn't happen. Either can play 18-20 minutes comfortably on the right side. If we want more quality we look towards a Boeser-for-Severson type deal but I'd be happy snagging Peeke. If they want a defenceman back, give them Jet Woo alongside Garland. 

 

3) Finally, seems a bit odd, but flip the Myers pick for a veteran defenceman off a struggling team. My ideal pick would be Savard in MTL. He's 32 years old, playing top-4 minutes on their defence, having a pretty decent year all things considered and is built like a truck and plays physically. He could really bolster our PK. I think a 3rd round pick would be enough to get him and Montreal will take picks all day long.

 

OUTS: Garland + Myers (+/- Woo)

INS: Peeke/Roy + Savard

 

We acquire two guys who can play 20+ minutes on the right side and play strong defensively, we lose one winger we can replace easily internally and Myers which many would argue is a positive move for us.

 

Mikheyev - Pettersson - Kuzmenko

Miller - Horvat - Hoglander

Pearson - Dries - Boeser

Lazar - Aman - Joshua

Podkolzin

 

Hughes - Savard

OEL - Peeke/Roy

Schenn - Bear

Burroughs

Rathbone

 

Lots of possible combinations in that defence but that's the balance this team needs, and we can attain it without trading our top player Bo.

Love the idea of getting a Roy/Peeke dman and shipping Myers out for a pick and using that pick or Rathbone to get a dmen that fits better for us.

 

My only change would be instead of Savard target a bottom pairing LHD that could pair with Bear and kill penalties.

 

keeping Schenn with Hughes for now.

 

but we would still have to fine the right d partner for Hughes long term.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, R3aL said:

Love the idea of getting a Roy/Peeke dman and shipping Myers out for a pick and using that pick or Rathbone to get a dmen that fits better for us.

 

My only change would be instead of Savard target a bottom pairing LHD that could pair with Bear and kill penalties.

 

keeping Schenn with Hughes for now.

 

but we would still have to fine the right d partner for Hughes long term.

 

 

This is the other option, Matheson in Montreal would be a nice acquisition but might cost us a bit more than a 3rd, 28 year old, played big minutes with Florida and Pittsburgh in the past, doesn't seem to really fit the Canadiens' rebuild. Matheson and Bear would make for a strong bottom pairing to be fair.

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16 minutes ago, DownUndaCanuck said:

This is the other option, Matheson in Montreal would be a nice acquisition but might cost us a bit more than a 3rd, 28 year old, played big minutes with Florida and Pittsburgh in the past, doesn't seem to really fit the Canadiens' rebuild. Matheson and Bear would make for a strong bottom pairing to be fair.

I think the only guy Montreal  would move cheaply would be Wideman.  
 

Matheson was just acquired this summer, is from Montreal, and has a history with Hughes.  I don’t see him being available.  
 

There’s talk of Edmundson being available. But you’re looking at a much higher acquisition cost.  Likely what Chiarot got at the trade deadline is the minimum. Savard has been paired with Guhle on the top pairing and it’s been noted that’s he’s being a mentor to Guhle.  I don’t think they’ll mess with that right now.  Guhle is already looking like a legitimate top 4 and hasn’t been out of place on the top pairing.  They’re going to want to keep him with Savard (who is also a local boy) 

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Would think that management already tried to move a F for a D this past off-season.  Garland was apparently on the trade block already at the TDL per Pagnotta.

 

CBJ is weak on D and have already extended Peeke for next season - that seems like a pretty strong signal that they don't plan on trading him.  Gavrikov is the upcoming UFA and teams have been calling on him.

 

LeBrun keeps on repeating that teams are calling LA but Blake is in no hurry to make a move and wants to keep his depth for now.  Roy likely not the player they would trade either - more likely Walker.  LA has struggled to defend this season.

 

Also LA has too many wingers and will probably have to trade someone out this off-season.  Fwiw they've already looked into Garland and Boeser, and decided to pass to target Fiala instead.

 

NJD is built on speed - it's an integral part of their identity with them constantly referring to how important it's been in their success.  Can't really see them going after Boeser given his skating limitations.  Would expect them to just keep Severson as their own rental rather than mess with what they have going.

 

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3 hours ago, DownUndaCanuck said:

 

3) Finally, seems a bit odd, but flip the Myers pick for a veteran defenceman off a struggling team. My ideal pick would be Savard in MTL. He's 32 years old, playing top-4 minutes on their defence, having a pretty decent year all things considered and is built like a truck and plays physically. He could really bolster our PK. I think a 3rd round pick would be enough to get him and Montreal will take picks all day long.

 

 

That couldn't be further from the truth.

 

Montreal has 11 pick in the 2023 draft (including three x 4th rounder) and 9 in 2024 draft.  Not to mention the 11 picks they chose in 2022  They are going to start flipping those picks for assets or move up in the draft.  I doubt they are looking for more.  At one point they will be maxed out on their 50 contracts limit and won't be able to sign them all.

 

Also Savard is a local boy, with a pretty good contract.  I doubt MTL lets him go right now, unless someone overpays at the trade deadline.  He's a good mentor for their young defensemen.

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6 hours ago, DownUndaCanuck said:

It's no surprise we're thin on defence but have a great offence - one of the best 5-on-5 in the league, a top-5 PP yet one of the worst PKs and defences in the league. In theory we have two great goalies but their numbers are so bad thanks to a brutal defence. We've got Hughes who is arguably a top pairing defenceman on any team, OEL who may be a 3-4th guy on most teams and then the rest...Schenn who was Tampa's 7th guy (arguably playing like a bottom pairing guy on most playoff teams now though), Bear who was Carolina's 7th guy (play well for us right now though, our top RD...), Myers who has been dreadful this year, Stillman who was Chicago's 7th guy and Burroughs who is our 7th guy. That's a lot of non-roster defencemen playing on our roster.

 

What do we need? 2 top-4 defencemen. Simple. How do we get it?

 

1) Trade Myers for a pick if we're lucky. There are lots of rumours and teams on the look-out, I know Toronto need a guy but have no cap space. Sure, whichever team he goes to will have to clear cap, I'd be happy to retain 1M in all fairness. Not sure what he would get us back, I like to think he's worth a 3rd round pick the same way Nate Schmidt was - he's still got value, he just needs a change of scenery. If no one's buying then we give him away for nothing, and if that's not good enough, Myers + 2nd for a 3rd and we move.

 

2) Flip a forward for a defenceman. We have too many wingers, simple. Boeser is almost a PPG player right now and freshly re-signed so I think he carries the most value. Garland really is the odd-man out for me - old regime acquisition, he plays well, gritty and is young so most rebuilding/retooling/contending teams would have a place for him. There are so many teams who have too many young defencemen. My main targets would be Peeke from CBJ who's having an off-year, or Matt Roy in LA who's losing minutes to their stacked RDs. Either team needs offence, and neither defenceman is too good that a 1-for-1 swap doesn't happen. Either can play 18-20 minutes comfortably on the right side. If we want more quality we look towards a Boeser-for-Severson type deal but I'd be happy snagging Peeke. If they want a defenceman back, give them Jet Woo alongside Garland. 

 

3) Finally, seems a bit odd, but flip the Myers pick for a veteran defenceman off a struggling team. My ideal pick would be Savard in MTL. He's 32 years old, playing top-4 minutes on their defence, having a pretty decent year all things considered and is built like a truck and plays physically. He could really bolster our PK. I think a 3rd round pick would be enough to get him and Montreal will take picks all day long.

 

OUTS: Garland + Myers (+/- Woo)

INS: Peeke/Roy + Savard

 

We acquire two guys who can play 20+ minutes on the right side and play strong defensively, we lose one winger we can replace easily internally and Myers which many would argue is a positive move for us.

 

Mikheyev - Pettersson - Kuzmenko

Miller - Horvat - Hoglander

Pearson - Dries - Boeser

Lazar - Aman - Joshua

Podkolzin

 

Hughes - Savard

OEL - Peeke/Roy

Schenn - Bear

Burroughs

Rathbone

 

Lots of possible combinations in that defence but that's the balance this team needs, and we can attain it without trading our top player Bo.

I would make these moves before anything else.  2 mid pair defensive defenseman would change this team massively.  We have proven we can compete with this team.  We have blown 7 2 goal leads and got 2 points out of those games.  That is nuts.  The good is that we are a strong enough team to get put in front of teams, most bad teams don't have that ability.  If we were able to add two solid defenseman to hold the leads, I'm quite certain we would jump back in the mix very quickly.  

 

If we were to make these changes, and fail to see improvement, I'd fully support making other larger moves to look toward the future.  We are so jekyll and Hyde that I'm really not sold that we are this bad.  If we had held onto our leads in 3 of those games, which we were completely dominating, we are comfortably on the playoffs.

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I like the idea of a Nate Schmidt-esque move to shed Myers for a pick and moving one of Garland/ Boeser would definitely address the RD need.

That being said, since it sounds like the Habs might want to hold onto Savard to mentor Guhle, I'd say there's still other assets that would be worth targeting around the league.  Presuming that they'll likely move Toews and Kane sometime this year as they're pending UFAs, I hope JR tries for either Connor Murphy or Jake McCabe from Chicago (both are 29, Murphy is $4.4 mil * 4 years, McCabe $4 mil * 3 years).  Presuming Kane goes, they'll have basically no RW talent and Garland who's only 26 ($4.95 mil * 4 years, no clauses) can definitely fill that vacuum, and we could definitely use either of those defensive RD as a straight up trade wouldn't cost futures (since he's younger and still signed I think at most any add Chicago could ask for on top of Conor would be minimal).  If they would sell their two franchise pillars in #19 and #88 then that definitely would signal a rebuild, so (similar to OP's point about Montreal wanting picks) the Hawks would definitely be in a place to take on a pick like what we'd get for Myers and trade to us one of these top-4 D.
    

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3 hours ago, hammertime said:

Gavrikkov??

Feel like he is going to get overpaid due to his age, size and UFA status. Hes also been playing up the depth chart due to injuries.

 

BUT

 

Gavrikov-Bear would be a pretty slick bottom pairing I think if they both could be signed for reasonable deals.

 

Hughes-Schenn

OEL-Roy/Peeke

Gavrikov-Bear

 

We would still need to Upgrade OEL and have a Schenn upgrade / replacement for Hughes.

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14 hours ago, BCNate said:

I would make these moves before anything else.  2 mid pair defensive defenseman would change this team massively.  We have proven we can compete with this team.  We have blown 7 2 goal leads and got 2 points out of those games.  That is nuts.  The good is that we are a strong enough team to get put in front of teams, most bad teams don't have that ability.  If we were able to add two solid defenseman to hold the leads, I'm quite certain we would jump back in the mix very quickly.  

 

If we were to make these changes, and fail to see improvement, I'd fully support making other larger moves to look toward the future.  We are so jekyll and Hyde that I'm really not sold that we are this bad.  If we had held onto our leads in 3 of those games, which we were completely dominating, we are comfortably on the playoffs.

I think this is the mentality I'm trying to take, Savard is just an example.

 

We don't necessarily need an elite guy right away, plus they'd be too hard to obtain and cost us someone like Bo.

 

I'd just like to see how this team plays with a couple of middle tier top 4 defencemen because it looks like that's the only thing in our way from being a proper playoff team (dare I say contender), we have all the other pieces in place. 

 

How we can be 7th if goals for per game and have the 5th best PP, yet 3rd worst in goals against and dead last PK is unreal. Fix those defensive numbers and we're a playoff contender.

 

I don't think it's a systems thing either, like Schenn said, we just don't have any quality on the blueline and have disregarded our defencemen for years. This is the product of not respecting defencemen in this organisation for a long time. We have never put much stock into it, always focused on forwards and goalies, and now we have the product of not drafting or acquiring decent defencemen. Picking one guy in Hughes, signing Myers in UFA and throwing a 1st away for OEL is all this organisation has done in the last say 5 years when it comes to trying to acquire top defenceman and it's simply not enough.

 

 

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