Habs Mailbag: Caufield Offer Sheet, Slafkovsky, NHL Draft
Welcome back to another edition of the Montreal Canadiens Mailbag!
This week we discuss a possible Cole Caufield offer sheet, Juraj Slavkosky’s development, the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft, poutine (of course), the importance of living life to its fullest, and much more.
Let’s dive right into it.
What’s the status on Caufields extension and what do you think the chances are a team decides to offer sheet if not done in time?
— Oscar (@OscarCamlot) May 18, 2023
The last I heard, negotiations were not advancing very quickly.
However, it should be noted Canadiens owner Geoff Molson declared the extension could happen at any moment.
At the very least, Molson was confident the team would be able to sign Caufield before the start of the next season, which, frankly, is not very reassuring. It’s the bare minimum.
Molson’s comment was well over two weeks ago, and we haven’t heard anything since.
On that note, we haven’t heard of any sort of disagreements or animosity between the team and Caufield either, which leads me to believe they’re simply embroiled in detailed contract talks.
For a player like Caufield, this could be the richest contract he signs in his entire NHL career, and he can’t afford to leave anything up to chance.
And a team like the Canadiens, who have been starved for offensive talent for roughly 30 years, can’t afford to lose a player of Caufield’s ilk.
That suggests it’s a complicated situation, but not an impassable situation.
As for an offer sheet, of course, it’s a possibility.
Some blogs, most notably blogs covering the Flyers (the same team that decided to pick Cam York ahead of Caufield at the 2019 Draft) have already suggested it would be a good idea.
And it’s hard to disagree.
Goals come at a premium in the NHL, and every single team could stand to improve their goal-scoring prowess.
If there’s a chance to add Caufield to their roster, I’d be shocked if most NHL teams wouldn’t at least talk about a possible offer sheet.
But we must remember offer sheets alone won’t get the job done.
The player must also sign the offer sheet, and unlike the situation with former Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi, which turned soured, there’s nothing to indicate Caufield is interested in changing addresses.
He loves being in the spotlight, and there are very few markets that venerate their stars as much as Montreal.
The longer the negotiations take, the more it becomes a real possibility, but for now, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over the prospect of a Caufield offer sheet.
1-10, how likely is a josh Anderson trade before october and if it *did* happen, what would you expect from the trade?
— Thomas (@Thomaskeyboard) May 18, 2023
First off, I’d like to remind everyone that Josh Anderson asked for the media for a break from the constant rumours during the end-of-season availabilities. And it was a very fair request.
We often forget about the individual underneath the jersey, and in Anderson’s case, it was clear he did not appreciate being involved in trade rumours while he was giving his all to the team.
I can certainly respect that position, especially since it ties into mental health.
One of the most difficult things you’ll ever encounter in your life is a situation in which you are made to be felt like an outsider at your job.
Of course, fans can talk about whatever they’d like. That comes with the territory. But I want to make it clear I’m not engaging in any sort of trade speculation regarding Anderson’s future for the time being.
On that note, I will still answer your question, because it’s certainly a topic that piques the interest of Canadiens fans.
My answer is a solid 1.
If they were to trade Anderson, they would have done it at the deadline when teams are desperate to add goals and truculence to their lineup. Anderson fits the bill perfectly.
But given how much Kent Hughes and Co. appreciate what he brings to the lineup, now that the deadline has come and passed, I get the sense there’s very little chance he doesn’t start the season with the Canadiens.
It should also be noted Anderson was one of the players who improved the most last year, which is rather hard to do for a veteran player.
He went from a one-dimensional forward who had a hard time fitting into Martin St-Louis’ system to a player that not only helped his team win but also modified his approach. Instead of trying to do everything by himself, he used his teammates to his advantage.
I was incredibly impressed by the evolution of Anderson’s game.
Full marks to Anderson for making it happen, because it’s always difficult to change your style of play at that point in your career.
Which D prospect would you want quarterbacking the future 2PP? Assuming Hutson takes the 1st eventually.
Personally Bonk or Brzustewicz would be good picks this year if that’s in mind
— Liam Brintnell (@LiamBrintnell) May 18, 2023
I’ve had a chance to watch Oliver Bonk at length, and I do like what I see.
But not in the first round.
And probably not in the second round, given there should be more talented players available. It is, after all, a very deep Draft.
Despite having a lot of qualities, including his vision and mobility, there’s something off in Bonk’s game. One night he can appear like the next coming of Cale Makar, while other nights he looks like a player who should be avoided at the Draft.
As for players that could quarterback the powerplay, other than elite prospect Lane Hutson, look no further than Adam Engstrom.
He’s one of the best skaters in the entire organization and has all the tools necessary to take on the responsibility of distributing pucks on the power play.
MUST READ: Adam Engstrom’s Stock Keeps Rising
There’s also Logan Mailloux, but I’d suggest he has several defensive deficiencies to address before we can start discussing his role in the NHL.
He does, however, have a great shot. And he’s very good at getting his shot through traffic.
When it comes to players in the current lineup that should be given an opportunity, I started the season by thinking Jordan Harris is a perfect candidate for the powerplay, and nothing he did throughout his fantastic rookie year dissuaded me of that notion. The same can be said about Justin Barron, to a lesser extent.
Hey Marc – What strategies or approaches would you see teams use to evaluate Michkov's character, personality and fit within their team and market?
— Carlo Lepage (@CLepage13) May 18, 2023
I’ll be perfectly honest, I have no idea how the Canadiens are going about evaluating Michkov’s personality.
But if I had to guess, they’d use Nick Bobrov’s SKA St-Petersburg contact, which happens to be his father.
And he happens to be a coaching consultant for the team. Or, at the very least, he was a consultant for the team. The team’s webpage that wished him a happy 73rd birthday has been taken down after I linked it on April 21st.
Where are Slafkovsky and Caufield's development as of now?
— Michael Fedor (@mikefedorshow) May 18, 2023
For Caufield, it’s rather simple.
He’s one of the best 5v5 goal scorers in the league. His development now hinges on improving things such as his defensive prowess, and he certainly took significant strides in that regard last season.
Anyone saying Caufield doesn’t know how to play defence has not bothered updating their opinion since the 2019 Draft.
As for Slafkovsky, I still think his rookie season with the Canadiens was a failure, but it had nothing to do with Slafkovsky himself.
The failure belongs to the team.
The Canadiens did not provide a situation that was conducive to thriving as an 18-year-old player in the NHL.
Next year they have no choice but to increase his ice time as well as the consistency in his usage, and if they take those steps, I’m quite confident he’ll enjoy a much better season, which should put his development back on track.
There’s very little value in forcing Slafkovsky to fight his way off the fourth line. It’s an archaic approach to developing rookies that makes little to no sense.
If the goal is to develop him into a dominant player, he must be given the opportunity to do so alongside talented teammates, and he must be given ample ice time.
In watching the OHL Finals, is there anything about Beck and Mailloux play that shows they’re not ready for the NHL and should start be in Laval to start the year? Safe Travels
— Eli Keats (@Newfie_EGK) May 18, 2023
For Owen Beck, the name of the game is consistency.
But we also must keep in mind just how hectic 2022-23 was for the second-round pick.
In my opinion, he’s currently playing the best hockey of his career, which has helped the Peterborough Petes take an impressive 3-1 series lead over Logan Mailloux and the London Knights in the OHL Championship.
If he can keep it up he’ll have a leg up on his competitors for a job in the NHL at training camp.
St-Louis loves players who can quickly absorb information and put it into practice, and that’s exactly what Beck does best.
It also doesn’t hurt that he’s quite responsible in every zone, and is one of the best players at the faceoff dot that’s not currently playing in the NHL.
I’d argue he’s probably best suited for the AHL, but that’s not an option.
As for Mailloux, it’s quite clear he missed significant stretches in two very important development years. Offensively, he’s a stud. Defensively, he’s closer to a dud.
I’m not trying to be harsh, it’s just quite apparent when you watch more than his highlights that there’s a lot of work to be done.
I believe he’s the prospect that will benefit the most from working with Adam Nicholas and his development team.
But I wouldn’t consider him for an NHL job any time soon. The AHL is the perfect landing spot for Mailloux. It will allow him to work out the defensive deficiencies in his game while also featuring on the power play, which is where he’s at his best.
Salut Marc. what's your go to for poutine in Montreal? i know you prefer the poutine in Ottawa but I'm sure you're an expert! hope you're enjoying the playoffs
— adamfirebear (@adamfirebear) May 18, 2023
Adam is right, I prefer poutine in Ottawa.
Actually, to clarify, I prefer poutine from a chip truck. They do a much better job when it comes to the intricacies involved in a proper poutine.
Yes, it’s a simple dish, but you still have to prepare it properly.
You need fresh-cut fries, thick gravy, and cheese curds that are slightly chilled (very slightly) so that they maintain their excellence but don’t immediately melt into a cheesy soup at the bottom of your delicious meal.
Montreal has almost no chip trucks, which means you’re stuck with restaurant poutine, and they’re almost always disappointing. Too much sauce. Not enough fries. Bad curds. Weak gravy.
It’s a comedy of poutine-destroying errors.
The mere idea of a ‘Poutinerie’ evokes feelings of anger in this particular French Canadian.
It’s not something that needs to be improved with foie gras, and it’s definitely not a condiment (looking at you, Blue Jays).
It’s supposed to be cheap, fresh, and delicious. Point finale.
The poutines that feature more than just cheese, fries, and gravy are rarely good, though I am a fan of the chorizo and Portuguese poutine that is available at Ma Poulle Mouillee.
If you’re near Rachel Street, you must try it out. I’ve also heard great things about Chez Claudette, but I am yet to try their poutine.
And finally, I’ll admit, in a pinch I don’t mind going to the folks at Belle Province. They can usually put together a good poutine, but results may vary.
RIP me. pic.twitter.com/hD2AwD9F1b
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) September 29, 2017
Would you package the two Habs 1st rounders to move up to 2nd or 3rd overall and draft Fantilli(2) or Carlsson/Smith(3)?
— Monctonscout (@Monctonscout) May 18, 2023
This is a very interesting proposal, and though I usually tend to ramble on endlessly in these replies, I will save everyone some trouble.
Yes, if Adam Fantilli is available.
No, if it comes down to Leo Carlsson or Will Smith.
I reason that Fantilli is a franchise player that won’t be available to the Canadiens, whereas Smith and Carlsson may be available once the Canadiens make the fifth overall pick at the Draft.
If neither is available, the Canadiens would have the chance to draft Matvei Michkov, and that’s an opportunity they cannot afford to ignore.
If you had to do a Sock Dance for a wedding, what song would you choose? Would you go for free and loose, or try choreograph something?
— Melissa Leigh (@MochiMayhem89) May 18, 2023
For those who are blissfully unaware, the Sock Dance at a wedding is when a younger sibling gets married before the older siblings.
The tradition goes that the unmarried older sibling must perform a sock dance, as in, they literally have to put on huge knitted socks and perform a dance in front of everyone present at the ceremony.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible for me to ever qualify for the dance, and it’s a damn shame because I would absolutely steal the show.
Most people go with a classic folk song, something along the lines of La Ziguezon, or the quintessential Canadian wedding song Home For A Rest, but I’d take a completely different route.
There’s only one perfect song for the situation, and it’s Take My Breath Away, by Berlin.
I would produce a detailed choreography complete with stage lighting and special effects.
And it would be spectacular.
To give you an idea, it would look a little something like this:
Curious about your thoughts via our goalie situation.
Who starts? Who’s the backup? Does Primeau stay? Do we make a move and get someone?
— Annik Lemire (@alemiredesigns) May 18, 2023
I believe the Canadiens are going into the 2023-24 season with the same goaltending duo as they did last season.
But it’s no longer a 1A/1B situation between Samuel Montembeault and Jake Allen.
With all due respect to Allen, who might be the nicest and best teammate in the entire NHL, it’s clear Montmebeault deserves an opportunity to enter the season as the team’s clear-cut starter.
Cayden Primeau is likely to share starting duties with Jakub Dobes in Laval, though it’s starting to become time to see what Primeau can do without the stress of possibly losing his place as a starter after a bad stretch. I’d suggest giving him the net in Laval is a wise approach next season.
And finally, I’d like to finish this Canadiens Mailbag by going off-topic. Those looking for hockey answers only should probably stop reading the rest of the mailbag.
Anik is one of the many people involved in the Canadiens’ online community that has supported me throughout the last decade or so.
I’m not sure what I did to deserve such support, but I do want to make sure the people I interact with daily, like Anik, know that they’re an important part of my life.
As a latchkey kid that was kicked out of his house at 14 years old, I’ve come to realize the most important thing in life is not money or material.
What matters most is building bonds with as many good people as you can while experiencing as much as you can from what life has to offer.
Some people will take advantage of your trust, and that’s par for the course, but you should never let it stop you from taking a chance.
One of the most important lessons I learned during my time at my grandmother’s old-age home was that it’s no better to be safe than sorry.
You need to seize the day.
Things can change on a dime, and at the end of it all, you don’t want to be left with any regrets. We get one opportunity to life live to its fullest, and we’d be fools not to take advantage of it.
I did not hear one single person at the old-age home state they were happy they played it safe. They all instructed me to take chances. To leave no stone unturned. To live.
While following their wise advice, I have dealt with failure, success, sadness, and happiness.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But I could not have thrown caution to the wind without the support of my friends, who have become my family over the years.
Cherish your friends.
Tell them you love them.
Pick up the phone and reconnect with the friend you haven’t had a chance to talk to in a long while.
Because when the chips are down and all bets are off, the same friends that were there to celebrate your victories will be there to pick you back up when the going gets tough.
In that respect, I’m rather lucky. I have an amazing support system of friends that I could not live without. People that I have known for over three decades.
But during the pandemic, due to the restrictions in place, the fans in the Canadiens online community provided much of the support that I would usually need from my lifelong friends.
And for that, I am eternally in their debt.
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Honestly, I’m getting real tired of hearing this continued love-affair with Anderson. I have no clue as to why the whole hockey world – especially those within the MTL confines – thinks this guy is “all that”. Lets look at his three seasons with MTL:
24 pts in 52 games
32 pts in 69 games
32 pts in 69 games
Its uncanny how every season was EXACTLY 0.46 pts per game!
And he played high-end minutes on first and second lines – but still, no higher than 32 pts in any of these three seasons.
That’s Anderson – 30-something pts per season at most. In any era, or on any team, that’s a third line winger. He is nothing more than that, his career stats show that clearly. And at a cap hit of $5.5M per for 4 more seasons, he is NOT worth it.
I WOULD trade him, since a 1st rd pick seems a legit return, or can be packaged to move up significantly in the draft, or packaged for PLD, etc, etc. There are many trade options with this guy, considering the whole hockey world thinks he is “all that”. Habs can easily get someone to take his place and produce 32 pts on a third line – for 1/2 to 1/3 of Anderson’s cap hit…
Its called value and good business…
Now, let’s look at andersons goals. Averaged 20 goals a season the last 2 seasons on weak teams. And brings more than just points. On a better team, during our finals run, he was on pace for over 25 goals.
As for Primeau , let’s give him a fair shake and let’s trade Allen to get something in return along with maybe some more cap space to use. Or If you want a big move, what if we could use him with Monty as part of a deal for Hellybuck and dubois with extensions??!
take a hike with ur PLD package talk . i rather have anderson then that whiney brat of a player PLD.
First off, Josh brings a lot more to the table than his point totals including character, leadership, grit, size, and physicality (just to name a few)… Second off, he’s a natural goal scorer so if you are going to complain about his points you still need to recognize the goals… Third off, what he brings is a north/south style that drives the net and he plays a physical game with speed that is tough to play against…
It’s almost like the ones complaining about Josh just look at the basic stats and have never seen him play or bothered to check into his advanced stats… Josh might not be a top line star, but he’s still a beast and a big asset for us….
IF we wanted to move him, it would have happened at the deadline – his value would have fetched a better return – it would take a big overpay to move him and that’s not likely to happen at this time.
Hi Marc. Based on your answer to the goalie question, do you actually think we have a chance to sneak Primeau through waivers without him getting claimed? I think someone would snap him up for sure.
PS I’d like you to know how much I appreciate the service you provide giving us fans Habs news on a daily basis (even during ice storms with no electricity!) My wife was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer during the first year of the pandemic and sites like yours provided a necessary mental break from the situation that really helped.
So sorry to hear about your wife Tyrone… I always enjoy your comments… we don’t always fully agree, but you are one of the more knowledgeable fans that I do like to engage with from time to time… neither of us tend to get personal when talking hockey and I had no idea what you and your family have been going through… much love bro, from one Habs fan to another <3
Thanks, John. Appreciate it. Right back at you too. I love that people can share their thoughts, whether they agree or not. It can open eyes to the other side of the coin or to something they may have not known or realized before. As long as everyone is respectful and civil to each other, these sites can be a great source of information and even camaraderie. Life is too short to spend any of it slagging someone personally or acting like a troll. I look forward to reading your thoughts on future articles. Cheers.
Cole is a26 goals scorer. Worth a bridge 2 yr deal . 3.5 million dollars. No more ..prove yourself.