Canadiens Must Be Careful Regarding Gurianov’s Contract
Montreal Canadiens forward Denis Gurianov did not waste much time making an impact with his new team.
The 25-year-old winger quickly re-established an impressive scoring rate, a rather encouraging sign given his history with the Dallas Stars, which epitomized inconsistency.
But all good things come to an end, and in Gurianov’s case, the drop-off in production during the final stretch of the year was a significant red flag, one worth keeping in mind as the Canadiens evaluate how to proceed with potential contract negotiations.
By The Numbers
With five goals and three assists to his credit, Gurianov finished his 23-game audition with the Canadiens by scoring 1.2 points per 60 minutes of ice time, below the scoring pace set by the other player involved in the trade: Evgenii Dadonov (1.26 points per 60).
In fact, Juraj Slafkovksy (1.14) was the only regularly used forward on the roster that earned fewer points per 60 than Gurianov.
His goal-scoring rate was relatively healthy, leading Gurianov to finish the season between Mike Hoffman and Josh Anderson in terms of efficiency, but unfortunately, he did not have much luck in the playmaking department, seeing as he finished last among forwards in terms of assists per 60.
Oulala! Son premier avec nous 🔥
No. 25's first goal as a Hab!#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/7mqw9x0OEt
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) March 3, 2023
Strengths and Weaknesses
Gurianov started his time with the Canadiens by establishing a very healthy shot rate, to the tune of over 11 shots per 60 at 5v5.
He suffered a significant drop in shot output during the second half of his audition but still managed to close out the year with 7.8 shots per 60, good for fourth overall among forwards.
He also generated an impressive number of rebound opportunities relative to his teammates, which is particularly important given the Canadiens struggle to generate high-quality scoring chances.
With speed to burn, Gurianov was definitely a high-event player, and though the team saw a bump in expected goals whenever he was on the ice, overall, they were outchanced significantly, as evidenced by the 39-percent control of the high-danger scoring chances during his shifts.
Relative to his teammates, Gurianov made a positive impact in both shots for and shots against, but it simply wasn’t enough to overcome the drag in high-danger chances, and left the winger with a below-replacement expected goals-for percentage (41.7 percent).
By The Dollars
He can bring value to the team, and seeing as his strong points line up nicely with the team’s overall weaknesses, there’s something to be said about Gurianov’s ability to generate shots as well as second-chance scoring opportunities.
With the benefit of a full training camp, not to mention, more time spent with Adam Nicholas and the development team, there’s no doubt Gurianov could enter the 2023-24 season with a much healthier mindset, which should yield more encouraging underlying numbers.
However, as it stands, based solely on his 23-game audition, Canadiens management must proceed with caution.
Simply put, Gurianov’s qualifying offer, which is set at $2.9 million, is much too high to justify his overall level of play.
But that doesn’t mean it should necessarily be the end of the line for Gurianov in Montreal.
If both parties were inclined, a one-year ‘show-me’ deal to extend Gurianov’s tenure with the Canadiens would allow everyone involved to perform their due diligence.
All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted. Via NaturalStatTrick.
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Agree that Gurianov at the right price might be worth a further look. However with only 50 contracts and many up and comers, and the new draft picks to come, there may be no room.
This is what I was saying a while ago. His play earned him a contract with us, but we need to “Pitlick” him. Don’t qualify him, making him a UFA, then sign him to a 1yr say $1.5M “show me” contract. If he excels, we have an excellent trade chip at next year’s trade deadline, or we then make the decision to keep him for some term and money. If he crashes and burns next season, then no harm, no foul. Let him walk at the end of next season if we can pawn him off on somebody else at the deadline.
He is Armia the second , full potential but fully invisible 70% of the time this will never change, dont sign him he will only take up a roster spot for someone that cares and plays 100% of the time like it should be
I don’t disagree. That’s why I am only willing to do a 1yr contract at a low $ amount. Worse case we stick him on waivers and someone claims him. Best case, he plays great and we turn him into another 1st round pick.