In all transparency, we had thought to do the chronology of the CH’s setbacks before changing our mind. The weather has been rainy lately, spring is long gone, bad news is pouring in all over the world: honestly, who really needs to play again in the still raw wounds and count the all-too-familiar setbacks of this team in need?
A similar exercise in late 2021 had something to undermine the morale of the most optimistic. So, for once out of the ordinary, let’s focus on the rays of the sun that quietly pierce the grayness of this organization, despite the black clouds in the shape of a goalkeeper still piling up on the horizon.
The Canadian broke records for mediocrity. He had never allowed 300 goals in a season (317 this year). He had never lost more than 40 games in regular time (49). Only once did he suffer from an even more flawed numerical advantage (13.3% efficiency in 2018-2019 compared to 13.7% in 2021-2022). He hadn’t had a regular streak of nine-game losses in over 80 years.
Since the labor dispute in 2004-2005, five teams had reached the sad plateau of 50 defeats in 60 minutes. The CH almost joined them. His service percentage of 0.335 ranks 511th out of 516 seasons in those 17 years. The Habs conceded the first goal 52 times. He conceded five or more goals in one game 31 times.
You have been promised good news, did you say? Yes, that’s fine, but first we need to outline the big picture. It allows us to remember that in such a fiasco they could not be so good or so numerous.
Here it is.
The obvious. The Canadian finished the season in 32nd and last place in the league and assumes a 25.5% chance to get the top pick of the 2022 auction, 18.8% to pick second place and 55, 7% to finish third is his worst possible ranking.
He’s picked three times that in the last fifty years with, shall we say, mixed success. Doug Wickenheiser (1st – 1980), Alex Galchenyuk (3rd – 2012) and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (3rd – 2018) were the (not so) lucky ones. This is a great opportunity to recover. The problem is this: the scouts are unanimous, there is no generational talent in the lot, not a Connor Bedard (best hope for 2023) in sight.
A recruiter consulted recently said:
if i have the first choice i will try to go back for sure† And our man to add that if he is
Forced to keep it, I won’t take Shane Wright†
Hard observation, but it’s just an opinion after all.
Nevertheless, Kent Hughes will have 14 picks at his disposal in July in Montreal, including two first-round selections and a particularly high. He will have good cards in hand, it remains to be seen how he will beat them.
Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield got off to a rough start this year, as did the rest of the team. Suzuki’s inability to make a name for himself and produce in away games over the past two years has been a cause for concern, but the young center ended up getting nearly half of his points (29 out of 61) on opposing rinks.
He scored 20 goals and 60 points for the first time in his career, despite scoring a cold defensive ratio of -29, unfortunately normal for the most used attacker in a team that allowed 98 nets (!!!) more than she scored.
Under St-Louis, Caufield was the most productive: 22 goals and 35 points in 37 games. We are talking about a total of 48 goals and 78 points pro rata for a full season.
Jordan Harris recalled Friday that the coach makes it a point of honor to remind his youngsters that they will make three, four, five mistakes per game. That you don’t have to worry about it, that you have to play instinctively and let your intelligence speak for itself. A speech that did not fall on deaf ears with Caufield. With the other young hopefuls of the CH as well.
All that’s left is to bet on their progress.
The Jeff Petry Saga
It’s not necessarily so positive, but it’s romantic. Or not, depending on the conclusion.
It was a love story. A beautiful sincere and deep relationship. Then, as sometimes happens, the small flaws of Canadian Jeff Petry began to annoy and vice versa, so that the relationship spiraled out of control and a divorce seemed inevitable.
In recent weeks, however, there has been a glimmer of hope. Petry has regained her shine. The irritating factors that prompted him to repatriate his family to his native Michigan gradually faded away, and we began to wonder if the conclusion was so inevitable.
General manager Kent Hughes has again assured that he will trade Petry this summer if the opportunity arises, a request made at the base by the player’s clan.
Sanitary restrictions are gone. Petry reunited with partner Joel Edmundson and had 11 points in the last 11 games of the year.
For my family, the decision to send them home was very difficult. My wife and I love this city. We’ve loved it for eight years now. We are well arranged for my children at school. It’s hard for my family and his to come to visit with the restrictions, he explained. You’ve seen my kids’ videos, it’s pretty intense with us. We need help. We didn’t have any. The schools closed, there were many uncertainties about the incarceration, that was the guideline for the decision.
† I will now take the time to go home, look back on this year, talk to my family. I don’t want to close the door and automatically say this is the last time I’ll be here. †
At the risk of repeating ourselves, the best solution would probably be for both parties to renew their vows. May Petry become this attacking defender again and play this contract that still has 6.25 million on the payroll for the next three seasons.
But Kent Hughes seems to have made his bed in this case. If he trades it, he will have allayed his accounting worries, and that in itself isn’t bad news.
The battle on the defense
Jordan Harris. Kaiden Guhle. Justin Barron. Mattias Norlinder.
There will be many, the job applicants, claiming full-time jobs in the NHL next September.
Harris and Barron looked pretty good during their short stay. For the rare time in recent years, without necessarily the rise of a major star, the potential at the back offers an interesting portrait. It remains necessary to surround them.
If Petry was traded for the summer, we would be looking for another defender. This will be our goal. Our priority is to put our young people in a good environment so that they can develop properly. We will not come to camp with three rookies (on defense) in formation. We won’t take that riskHughes argued during the end-of-season assessment on Saturday.
It’s promising, but you have to know how to take your time.
This point is a bit more esoteric, but hey, it takes whatever it takes in this season of misery.
You can feel the enthusiasm not only from the fans (however weird it is when your team finishes last), also from the players. It was a party after the last game of the season, perhaps to say one last goodbye to Carey Price, who may have to hang up his leggings in the coming months.
The players always evoke the camaraderie, the good understanding of the members of the group. We seem to have faith in Martin St-Louis who, in his own words, gives a little more room for offensive creativity and asks his flock to let their instincts speak more.
Of course, we will see if this beautiful solidarity will survive the first inevitable pitfalls of the next campaign. Meanwhile, they have faith in the future. And that’s about all they have left now: hope.
Are you ready for the little bonus? Secure? Here it is.
This season is finally over.