Habs need to stop winning

The Habs have seven out of a possible eight points in their last four games.

Maniacduhockey photo, via Wikimedia Commons

Someone should tell Andrei Markov and the rest of the Canadiens to stop winning.

Many people think this is a good thing. But those people would be wrong.Not only does this success come at the wrong time (if you believe the Habs need a top #3 draft pick), but it’s also hiding the problems that are still facing this team.

Also, a good winning streak at the end of the year may be enough to save general manager Pierre Gauthier’s job.

Let’s look at this one point at a time.

If you think the Habs need a top draft pick, then the winning isn’t very good. Right now, they are the third worst team in the league in points. With a win tomorrow night against the Senators, it’s quite possible they could become the seventh worst team in the NHL. That’s all it takes. Two points.

What does that mean? Instead of having a top four pick guaranteed (with a chance to get the top pick), the Habs would only be able to pick somewhere from third to eighth. More than likely, it would be the sixth to eighth pick, unless they win the draft lottery.

This could mean the difference between getting the opportunity to draft a player like Steven Stamkos or Drew Doughty, versus a player like Nikita Filitov or Mikkel Boedker. That’s what happened to teams in 2008. There’s just no comparison. If a team sucks, they’d be better off with a top pick.

The second point was an extended winning streak could save Gauthier’s job.

All he needs to do is convince the Canadiens’ higher-ups that if you look at the end of the season, he’s actually put together a winning team. It wasn’t his fault that Andrei Markov was out all year. It wasn’t his fault that former coach Jacques Martin started the season with Erik Cole on the third line. It wasn’t his fault that P.K. Subban was going through a sophomore slump. It wasn’t his fault that Carey Price wasn’t getting much help.

No, he’s the guy who signed Markov to a deal that keeps him in Montreal. He’s the guy who signed Cole as a free agent. He’s the one who stayed patient and kept Subban when some thought Subban should be traded. He’s the one who kept Price over Jaroslav Halak.

Now that everyone is healthy and playing well, look how good the team is. A crazy winning streak to finish the season might be enough to save Gauthier’s job.

The final point was the fact the winning streak masks the Habs true problem: scoring depth. But in reality, it should be bringing it to the forefront.

Look at the scorers from the last four games.

  • Two goals against Ottawa: Cole, David Desharnais
  • Two goals against Buffalo: Cole, Desharnais
  • Four goals against Vancouver: Geoffrion, Cole (twice), Subban
  • Five goals against Edmonton: Subban, Pacioretty (twice), Kaberle, Eller

In those four games, the team has scored 13 goals, and 10 of them has come from the offence. But eight of those goals come from the #1 line. It’s not a good sign when 80% of your goals by forwards is coming from one line.

Yes, it’s nice that the top line is scoring, but what about the rest of the team? What happens when the top line starts being shut out? Only two goals from nine other players in four games is not a great stat.

This is not a good year for free agents. So if the Habs need scoring depth, they need to do it at the draft. But again, a top pick would be much better than a lower pick.

It’s definitely the wrong time of the year for a winning streak.

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