Monday, 30 March 2015

Manny Malhotra will probably not be retained, Sergei Gonchar may not play again this season.

Richard Labbé of La Presse pointing out what we kind of already know as fans, that Manny Malhotra won’t be back next year.

When he was signed last summer I was fairly certain that he’d be an improvement over Ryan White and Daniel Brière as the fourth-line centre, that his size and skating and defensive ability would be a great benefit. He caught our eye early with great faceoff numbers, a spillover effect on those of the other centres, and his penalty killing which relieved some of the pressure on Tomas Plekanec.

As the games piled on though, it became tougher to overlook his non-existent offensive contribution, how he actually made his wingers worse.

Torrey Mitchell is smaller, but does bring the experience and leadership angle, the skating. He doesn’t really bring more offensive skill, but his speed and forechecking can precipitate offence.

He’s been doing almost as well as Manny in the faceoff circle, and he’s a rightie, so he’s a better complement to our other centres, lefties everyone of them, even the part-timers like Jacob de la Rose and Alex Galchenyuk.

So yeah, I’d expect the Canadiens to thank Manny and let him walk this July, unless he experiences a rebirth during the playoffs. I envision the Canadiens making a pitch for Torrey instead, or checking to see what’s available on the UFA market.

Also from La Presse, an articles discusses Sergei Gonchar’s use lately, and the defencemen in general.

I don’t have a problem with giving Sergei more time off if he wasn’t out of the concussion fog yet, since we do have options.

Personally, I like the pairings lately, they’re my ideal pairings as a fan. Love, love Greg Pateryn and Nathan Beaulieu together, how they click, complement each other. Their time together in the AHL really shows, they’re not feeling each other out. They know each other and work well with each other.

It’s kind of the ideal pairing that you discuss in the theoretical sphere. A slick puck mover, a defensively-oriented guy with size who hits. But both have some elements of the other’s game, they’re not both unidimensional, stereotypical effete puck-mover paired with the plodding slow-footed brute. Nathan can play in the physical games, has shown he can drop the gloves. And Greg can skate, can pass the puck well, can shoot the puck.

Also, as much as I resolve to be patient, to allow our prospects to marinate in the minors, when some of them finally make it up from Hamilton, I want to see them play, want to see them stick, to be a solution, a harbinger of a brighter future.

I don’t want to tell the coaches what to do. I swear I don’t. But I’ll be happy if we see more of Nathan and Greg together, and if their minutes creep up, and if they get more and more difficult assignments, and they show they can handle it.

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