More to come in Montreal?
February 15, 2017 | 11:25am ET
A coaching change may just be the first of a few moves the Canadiens make this
TORONTO, ON -- In a move that shocked just about everybody, the
Montreal Canadiens fired Michel Therrien on Tuesday and replaced him
with Claude Julien.
Nobody saw this coming. Nobody.
Sure, everyone speculated over what should probably happen, but the
Habs gave zero indication that they were seriously considering a
coaching change. And then just after 4pm ET on Tuesday, BOOM!
In less than 24 hours, the move that shook the hockey world this week,
so far, has been discussed at length. The Habs needed to make a move.
Therrien's time behind Montreal's bench was clearly over; the team
needed a new voice and Julien 2.0 will bring just that.
And if somebody tells me one more time that Julien didn't work out the
first time in Montreal, over 10 YEARS AGO, I'm going to lose it. Stop
it. Just stop it.
The first shoe has dropped. There's a new sheriff in town, and the
Canadiens should wake up and adjust accordingly. But that's just the
If you think the Canadiens are battling for the Stanley Cup with
Phillip Danault as your No.1 center, give you head a shake. Montreal's
1B priority, following 1A's coaching change, is figuring out what the
hell they're doing with Alex Galchenyuk.
I went on a bit of a Twitter tirade yesterday, before Montreal
announced its coaching change, over Galchenyuk's usage. If the
Canadiens feel he's their No.1 center, then play him as a No.1 center.
Give him the minutes. Give him the opportunities. Let him grow and
evolve. He's a star who's light is only going to get brighter, but
it's time to stop screwing him around.
Now, maybe that was part of Therrien's teaching tactics. But it wasn't
working, and it's led to teams calling Habs GM Marc Bergevin and
inquiring about his availability.
Do I think the Canadiens are going to trade a 23-year-old Galchenyuk
any time soon? No. And with Julien in the mix, it's time to treat him
as the main man up the middle.
And for those of you yapping away that Julien couldn't get Tyler
Seguin going in Boston and all that crap, Seguin was 19 when the
Bruins won the Cup, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron were ahead of
him in the pecking order, and he was shipped out of Boston at 21, at
the behest of ownership, so spare me.
Now, I understand the argument of playing Galchenyuk with Brendan
Gallagher. You want to spread the offense around and the lack of
another top-two center and a true second-line left winger allows for
that to be acceptable, but they need the minutes.
Bergevin's been on the lookout for at least one top-six forward,
preferably a center, and a top-four defenseman for several weeks. He
refuses to pay a premium for a short-term solution, something he
addressed in his press conference this morning, but you've got to
wonder if a player like Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene, whom
he'd love to add, would ease his pain in paying a high price for a
player in his mid-20s with term on his contract.
Patrik Berglund and Kevin Shattenkirk of the St. Louis Blues are on
Montreal's radar, as are Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal and
defenseman Michael Stone, Vancouver Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows
and Dallas Stars left wing Patrick Eaves, among others. Will the Habs
give up a top prospect for any of them? Bergevin says no. But if
prices drop closer to March 1, he could strike.
The trade deadline is two weeks away. The coaching change has
occurred. Now, the focus shifts to bolstering the roster.
KINGS EYEING MARKET
The Los Angeles Kings have been fairly active exploring the trade
market lately, and discussions may have kicked up a notch over the
Several scouts have been keeping close tabs on the Kings and their AHL
affiliate, the Ontario Reign, lately. One scout equated the amount of
scouts watching the Reign last week to that of the World Junior's
As I reported yesterday on Twitter, and in a move that will be made
official today, the Kings have called up winger Adrian Kempe and he's
expected to be in the lineup Thursday night. There have been plenty of
eyes watching Kempe and defenseman Paul LaDue lately, and Kings GM
Dean Lombardi sparked some extra speculation when he took in the Maple
Leafs 7-1 win over the New York Islanders in Toronto last night.
I'm not about to guess who Lombardi was watching, but he definitely
paid close attention to Tuesday night's game.
But he's doing his due diligence. The Kings are exploring multiple
options and certainly want to add a top-line winger to play alongside
Anze Kopitar. For the time being, Tyler Toffoli has moved up to the
top line, and that's created additional offense from L.A.'s second
line, which now features Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson.
Meanwhile, it originally sounded like Devin Setoguchi was not going report to the AHL,
at least that's what people in the Kings organization first thought.
Setoguchi was with the Ontario Reign today, so no need to worry. Had
he not reported, the two sides would have worked towards terminating
his deal, but that's no longer a concern, at this point. With less
than two months left in the regular-season, his mindset appears to be
focused on having a good finish and find a more permanent NHL home
David Pagnotta is the Editor-in-Chief of
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