The post-mortem has begun, and fans are already clamouring for some heads to roll, and players to be shipped out of town, almost out of spite.
Some of these assessments are unfair, especially when it comes to Mathieu Darche. He's a consummate pro who works hard at everything he does. He's certainly cost-effective. People who focus on him as a problem don’t seem to grasp that there isn’t an NHL-ready youngster in Hamilton being denied an opportunity to move up to the big leagues. While most of us agreed that he was miscast on the powerplay by Coach Martin, Mathieu has a spot on this roster next season unless the Canadiens manage to sign three or four NHL forwards in free agency. This is unlikely to happen, so let’s have Mathieu hold down the fort next season while Louis Leblanc, Blake Geoffrion and Brendan Gallagher play heavy minutes in Hamilton.
I was hoping for more from Yannick Weber and Raphaël Diaz to a lesser extent this season. We need to sign a cheap defensive defenceman for a couple of seasons while we wait for the cavalry to arrive from Hamilton in 2013. Mr. Diaz gets sent down to Hamilton and plays a lot of minutes, since he’s not waiver eligible, and is one of the first callups. Mr. Weber gets another chance to show what he can do, hopefully with fewer injuries and being asked to only fill a #6/Powerplay role, he can come back more mature and effective. He needs to go train with P.K. and develop some strength over the summer.
Frédéric St-Denis has convinced me that he deserves a shot. I’m underwhelmed by his size and pedigree, but he seems to be smarter and more mature than our fringe, smaller defencemen. Let’s give him an opportunity next season as the #7 D and see what he can do.