As RFAs go, I’m only qualify all six, with Hudon & Ouellet being Laval bound. As far as, Mette I would offer him a three year deal at $1.2 per season & leave him exposed next summer to Seattle. Juulsen will probably take what ever the qualifying offer is. Evans will be qualified & possibly get a contract for two or three years at the same money Mette is offered.
Then there is Max, oh Max, this could be Marc’s biggest challenge this summer. Many question marks.
a) what is his role with the team moving forward???
b) what is Max’s camp expecting as an annual salary & at what term????
c) does he even want to return to the Habs next season????
d) do the Habs want to go another direction & move Max????
The day after the Habs were eliminated it was the talk of the Montreal sports shows that Max had removed everything Habs from his social media bios. That said, on Friday they also noted, that Max had placed the Habs back in his bios.
General speaking, such actions do not go over well with hard core Habs fans & can also be seen as slighting the team by team management in past, thus shortly there after being moved on from the team.
My feeling on the two of the teams top prospects are, with Romanov he has to be giving opportunity to play in Montreal, as the only other option as per his contract is to play in Russia. Laval is not an option. Thus, I would prepare to play him on the third pairing, thus require a partner with some NHL experience to patrol, the ride side with him. The only true options the Habs have at this point are Juulson, Fleury or Mette, who would have to play his off side, the right side. The Habs may make a move to add a mentor of sorts with him for at least his first full season.
As far as Poehling, unless he comes to camp in the fall inspired by what he saw from KK, being only 22 yrs old, he can still spend a season or two honing his skill under the watchful eye of Joel Bouchard. As there is no need to rush him, Bouchard maybe able to condition him into a multi-task forward learning to play both the wings as well as the center position. Even if he only brings middle to bottom six offense, his size & skating would still allow him to be a very useful, versatile, youthful player to the Habs line up within a couple of seasons or sooner.
I’m not sure finding a veteran backup for Price is as much of an urgency as is discussed in the Montreal sports world. They may just sit tight with Charlie playing backup & if Carey gets injured, they can always draw on Primeau from Laval to take some of the load in Montreal.
My guess is Marc will want to get one of or both of Gallagher & Danault under contract before the start of next season & then determine after next season what is required of him to move forward into the 21-22 season next summer with the rest of their UFAs.
Draft time is one of my favorite times of the hockey season. So here is what I predict for the Habs
#16 overall-Jacob Perreault-RW-5′-11″-195 lbs- Craig Button: “Hungry and determined scorer who has intensity in and around the net and in scoring areas. He knows how to finish, and with a playmaking centre he will do it at the next level.”
#39-Ty Smilanic-C/LW-6’1″-175 lbs- Craig Button: “Overall, is a very well-rounded player who can play a skill, skating game but also be strong in a physical-type game. Has a versatility in his play that affords him opportunities in multiple ways.”
#40-Sam Colangelo-RW-6’2″-205 lbs- Craig Button: “Sam has an ease to his skill and a confidence in his play. He’s not going to race up and down the ice, but he plays with a focus and with an intention on getting the job done and being productive.”
#69-Ian Moore-RD-6’2″-170 lbs- Steve Kourianos: “Ian Moore is a quick puck rusher with ideal size for a defenseman. He leans more towards the offensive side of things, so it’s common to see him hovering below the circles or sliding into the low slot for a one-timer. Moore’s quickness and agility keep him active inside the opposing zone, but he’s also a big risk-taker when it comes to his pinches. He can take a physical beating and still come away with the puck, and his quickness allows him to outskate backpressure from a relentless forechecker. Although he isn’t much of a late-game stopper in his own end, Moore certainly makes up for it by being a lethal option on the power play thanks to his skating, poise under pressure, and deadly slapper.” Ryan Kennedy: “The top New England prep school prospect, Moore is an excellent skater with great size and a confident offensive game. He’s a Harvard commit.”
The Habs last second round pick should have been #59, not #69.
#69-Theodor Niederbach-C-5’11”-175 lbs- Steve Kourianos:”Niederbach can be classified as an offensive-minded forward. He is neither big nor physical, but he plays with a fearlessness on the puck and in or around traffic. He’s an excellent stickhandler with soft hands and is able to delay from any location to survey the ice and identify his options.”
“Whenever you have a smaller forward with a history of knee issues, you have to be aware that there is risk involved when drafting him. While Niederbach has top-end skill and potential, one or two setbacks with that injury could completely derail his NHL career. If a team is willing to take a risk and give him some time to develop, though, he could be that pick that everyone scratches their head at in the moment, but becomes the steal of the draft.”
#87-Samuel Hlavaj-G-6’4″-215 lbs- Hockey Writers “Hlavaj has great mobility and is capable of tracking pucks with ease. His big frame helps him cover the bottom of the net well and he has good rebound control. He has a great glove hand and is good at handling the puck. With his name almost certain to be called at the 2020 NHL draft, Hlavaj will certainly bolster a team’s prospect pipeline. Although he will still need to put on some weight, Hlavaj certainly looks to have a bright future ahead of him.”
#98-Pavel Novak-RW-5’9″-170 lbs- Tony Ferrari: “Novák is a good skater who likes to push the pace and get the puck to the middle of the ice. He doesn’t always get there with his feet as consistently as one would like but he filters the puck to the slot with efficiency and consistency. He still plays a bit of a perimeter role at times but his passing and vision are effective from the outside at the junior level. He likely needs to find that extra gear to get to the middle more often at the next level. When he does so in the WHL, he is extremely dangerous and has good hands in tight to find daylight.”
#101-William Villeneuve-RD-6’1″-175 lbs- Josh Tessler: “Villeneuve is a decent two-way defenseman. He will make quality shots from the perimeter and completes smart and efficient passes in the offensive zone. Fans should not expect Villeneuve to be one of the more dominant point-getters in the QMJHL as he is far from a true offensive defenseman. Yet, he is efficient in all three zones and has shown to be a dependable puck mover. In terms of his skating, his edgework is exceptional and he transitions well from forward to backward. From a fantasy perspective, he more than likely will be a serviceable top four defenseman in the NHL. He is capable of posting a 40-50 point season if completely healthy”
#118-Sameul Johannesson-RD-5’11”- Cam Robinson: “With Rogle in the top tier, Johannesson was used sparingly to begin the year but saw his role elevate as the season progressed. His play was simple and straightforward in the pros – quick, straight forward outlets, decent puck handling and control. In the J20, he was relied on heavily in a special team’s role on top of even-strength time. His offensive game was on display much more – as it should being a 19-year-old in the J20. Defensively, he can be too passive at times and get himself in trouble. He has the ability to add some physicality and possesses a good stick. Gap control remains an issue. He’s a project.”
#132-Michael Krutil-RD-6’3″-200 lbs- Samuel Tirpak: “Krutil is a two-way defenseman that I see developing into more of a defensive defenseman as he progresses in coming seasons. He is a solid skater, who is really smooth in his own zone and can skate out of trouble if necessary. Those troubles do not happen very often as he is the type of player who rather goes the safe route instead of playing a more risky defensive game. His passing is very good and he can get the puck out of the zone to forwards safely and with ease. He is also a player that likes to get physical and he can lay a good hit if he thinks it’s the correct decision to make in that situation. Krutil doesn’t have a strong offensive upside, so I wouldn’t expect things to get much better in the offensive part of his game. He has a nice heavy shot, but he doesn’t use it often. He played a pure top-four defensive defenseman role on Sparta Prague’s under-20 team this season. Therefore his offensive numbers don’t scream much. He scored three goals and added two assists for a total of five points in 19 games. He got a taste of professional hockey with HC Litomerice in Czech second-tier league. He played only around 12-13 minutes a night on average in those eight games he played, and he had one assist. He also made his Czech Extraliga debut with Sparta Prague.”
#138-Artem Shlaine-C-6’1″-165 lbs.