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Montreal Canadiens

Jeff Gorton Breaks Down The Canadiens’ Organizational Needs

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are in a transition phase and executive vice president Jeff Gorton has an idea of what he needs to add to make the club sustainably competitive.

Gorton joined Canadiens alumni Chris “Knuckles” Nilan on The Raw Knuckles Podcast, where he spent a lot of time talking about his experience as the general manager of the rebuilding New York Rangers.

When the conversation shifted to the Montreal Canadiens, Gorton wasn’t shy about saying that there are still some glaring holes the Canadiens need to address going forward.

Top-Pair Defenceman

In Gorton’s estimation, there were three main areas of concern moving forward other than the cliche “top-end talent” category.

In his eyes, the Canadiens’ biggest need is a puck-moving, minute-munching defenceman capable of playing a top-pair role for the club and managing all facets of the game.

“I think that, if you look at our team, it’s pretty clear we can use an offensive defenceman who can run our powerplay,” said Gorton of his desire to add a top-end defenceman down the line. “An elite kind of guy that eat a lot of minutes and be a powerplay guy.”

Those types of players are a rare breed and are often taken at the top of the draft. This is likely why the Canadiens considered Simon Nemec at the first overall selection during their draft strategy meetings, as players of that ilk are more often than not drafted at the very top of the draft.

Goaltending

Gorton then moved to another position of dire need, especially in the face of Carey Price‘s health: Goaltending. For Gorton, this is a top priority for the organization to develop some sort of succession plan to get some stability and consistency at such a vital position.

“Goaltending is an issue. Someone’s going to have to step up to the forefront and be the guy, ” said Gorton regarding the goaltending position. “Whether we get it internally or whether we have to go outside. The best teams have the best goalies.”

The Canadiens currently have Jake Allen, whom they have initiated extension talks with, but they clearly need something more sustainable to follow their young core into their prime years. It will be something to watch for as the Canadiens continue to add young, top-end prospects to their ranks over the next few months.

Skill & Toughness

This is a cliche as old as time, but finding players who can seamlessly combine elite skill with a physical edge is a rarity in the NHL. The teams that have them tend to keep them long-term, while other teams who are seeking those players tend to overpay, both from an asset perspective in trades and contractually when signed, just to have them.

“Adding to the depth and toughness to our team. As we move along, we want to be a hard team to play against. The hardest players to find are the ones that have the skill to go with the toughness,” said Gorton on his vision for toughness with skill. “I like adding Juraj Slafkovsky, a youngster that size, and then Dach, another guy that size. I like adding that component.”

However, with the likes of Cole Caufield, Sean Farrell, Filip Mesar and other smaller, high-talent forwards, it is imperative to find a balance on the roster. If the Canadiens can continue to build up their lineup and shed the longstanding label of being a small team, without sacrificing skill, they will indeed be a formidable team to play against.

An Omission?

The interesting thing in the discussion was that, at no point was there mention of the centre ice position, something that will need to be sorted out over the next year to ensure a gradual push toward contendership. As it stands, the Canadiens are currently banking on Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach and a combination of Filip Mesar, Owen Beck and Riley Kidney to fill out the rest of their lineup.

However, with Dach remaining a project, the addition of a bonafide top-line centre, or another top-5 prospect at the centre position at the 2023 NHL Draft could go a long way in solidifying the club’s future. Championship teams are built from the centre line, and the Canadiens would be wise to have a backup plan in case Dach doesn’t stick at centre for the long haul.

To catch the full interview, see the link below:

 

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Darryl

What about Dvorak and Monaghan at center???

Billy739

Till TDL Centers are :
Suzuki
Dach
Dvorak
Monahan

After TDL
Suzuki
Dach
Dvorak
Evans

That said if Mysak does well in the AHL, Beck continues to dominate without injury or Stephens finds his game then Evans will be out. His contracts too appealing to Playoff teams with cap issues and MTL is stockpiling assets to pursure a young Defensman likely Suzuki’s best friend off his breakout rookie season in Sean Durzi

Billy739

Mysak’s only competition is himself.
The timeline dictate’s who plays where.
If Mysak is Pro this year and NHL next year
Mesar, Beck , Kidney nor Kappanen is capable of that.

What this means is If Mysak makes it the odds Evans gets moved increase. What Evans supplies if good but can easily be filled by Mysak. That will give him a direct pathway to inheriting Dvorak’s 3rd line role. None of those other Prospects Centers will be ready before we’re ready to trade Dvorak when he’s a pending UFA.

Its basic 1+1=2
Mesar after Junior will require atleast 1 year AHL (as per Mesar himself )
Kidney is in a prime position right now and has 2 years left i believe like Roy.
Beck is the only one i see of all them going from Junior to the NHL

While Kidney and Mysak are top 15 in their league’s and top guys in international play in Faceoffs. Owen Becks beat them by showing a level of consistency and high win rate that beats all our Current Centers including Dvorak’s who’s finished top 10 in the league multiple times the past 5 years. I’ve never seen anyone so good so fast at faceoffs in the NHL level except maybe Yannic Perrault maybe

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