While the Montreal Canadiens season didn’t go as planned, the team must now figure out what went wrong as general manager Marc Bergevin attempts to right the ship after a disappointing season. To that point, Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette hands out grades for the Montreal Canadiens disappointing season. As can be expected there were more D’s and F’s than top marks, starting with the performance of Bergevin, who received an F for multiple questionable moves, including his “first come, first served” contract offers to winger Alexander Radulov and long-time Canadien Andrei Markov, in which both opted to leave and the team failed to find replacements for either.
The scribe was quick to throw a D towards most of the team’s star players, including goaltender Carey Price, whose eight-year, $84MM extension begins next season. While the team’s defense wasn’t there to support him, he’s supposed to be the team’s best player and he wasn’t even close after putting up a 3.11 GAA and a .900 save percentage in 49 games. Bad grades followed to Alex Galchenyuk, Jonathan Drouin, Jordie Benn, Max Pacioretty and the scouting department for thinking that Karl Alzner was worth a five year, 23MM contract in the offseason.
- Ottawa Senators’ Guy Boucher’s status as coach has not been decided yet as general manager Pierre Dorion is focused on scouting before evaluating the coaching staff. However, if the head coach loses his job, much of that might have to do with the team’s practice schedule or lack thereof, according to Chris Stevenson of The Athletic (subscription required). After Dorion was critical of Boucher’s option to often rest his players, rather than practice, the scribe looked into some of the reasons why the coach opted to rest his players, pointing to special events like the trip to Sweden, the outdoor game and multiple team functions as well as the Senators were tied for the most back-to-back games this year with 19. Add in a 17-day span in which they did not play at home in December and the team had a exhausting schedule. However, the lack of practices didn’t help a squad who truly struggled this year under the head coach.
- Jon Vogl of the Buffalo News writes that despite Buffalo Sabres’ Kyle Okposo’s poor season, the one positive is that a year ago, he had just been released from the neuro-intensive care unit and wasn’t even sure if he would play hockey again. With little time to train last summer, Okposo put up just 15 goals this season, his lowest since the strike shortened 2012-13 season. With five years remaining on his seven-year, $42MM deal he signed two years ago, the 29-year-0ld believes that he will get himself into elite shape this summer as he is finally healthy and ready to show the Sabres that the deal wasn’t a mistake.