First let me say this is my first blog on this site, so any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!
I know it's not even one month into the season, and a lot of fans may be upset reading this, but remember it is only my opinion.
This season is looking more and more like a complete right-off. This team is going nowhere fast, and even if by some miracle we do sneak into the playoffs, we would just have another first round exit to show for it.
The building blocks are there, Camalleri, Pacioretty, Plekanec, Subban, Eller, Price, Diaz. We have the frame-work of a competitive team. However this team has been in band-aid mode for too long now. Just trading for stop gaps when a player is injured or underachieving.
It is time for a major change in mentality. This team needs a rebuild, they need to get bigger, faster, and stronger (not necessarily in that order). An overhaul is needed or else this trend will continue.
First coaching, this club needs to be more offence minded, playing defense is great, but when your offence is undersized and their greatest strength is speed, playing defence just isn't going to win you games. Let the offence open up a bit more, Martin needs to go and be replaced by someone with fresh ideas. It was never more apparent to me than seeing Camalleri on the PK the other night.
Second, our offensive unit. We need a clear cut checking line. A fourth line whose job it is to go out and shut down the opposing offence, three big bodies that can lay out big hits and block shots. We need more secondary scoring and at least one stand-out forward (I mean top line 6o-80 pt kinda guy).
Defense is good, but the recent string of injuries has me questioning if their age is beginning to catch up to them. Spacek is 37, Gill 36, Markov 32, Gorges and newly aquiried Campoli are both 27. That's five of our six regular defensemen (I know Markov has yet to play a game, but when he is cleared he will be right back in the line-up). Now if Subban is our sixth man at age 22 that gives our offence an average age of 30. I would much rather see those older players moved to make room for Diaz, Weber and Emelin.
Goaltending - please give Price a regular back-up!!!! This guy can not be expected to play 70 games a year every year. What we really need is a back-up capable of 20+ games a season, and will stick around longer than one year. I know Price is a good goalie and he is going to be a great goalie one day, but not if we put the burden of an entire schedule on him year after year.
So now for my plan -- well first I offer two words.... NAIL YAKUPOV. Tank this year finish dead last and grab this guy, he is going to be amazing. Second, start trading, start filling holes on a more long term basis, no more of this patch and repair band-aid philosophy. Move some of your older defensemen, make way for our new young guns to come up, grab draft picks and prospects for the likes of Markov and Spacek. Move Gomez for the bag of pucks that he is worth (sorry almost 7.5 million for a guy obviously on the decline). Move as many older bodies as you can. We have enough guys in the AHL to cover it. Stock up on draft picks and prospects. It is time these younger players stop sitting in the minors and finally get a chance to prove what they can do.
Plus with the cap space we clear out, we can hit the free agent market in a big way next year, and again not for band-aids but for guys like Brad Boyes, Alexander Semin, or Dustin Penner.
And one last thing to end this blog, Saku Koivu is in the last year of his contract with Anahiem, PLEASE re-sign one of the all-time favourite captains of all time so that he can end his career the way that he was meant, as a member of Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge!!