It's up to Hughes to play!

Perhaps you attach some importance to this statistic that we are offered with the end of the year 2022.

It's up to Hughes to play!

Perhaps you attach some importance to this statistic that we are offered with the end of the year 2022. As, for example, in the last 12 months, a team like the Canadian has presented a differential of 93 goals less than the opponent. Whoops...

But when statistics covering one calendar year are suggested, I attach very little importance to them. On the one hand, the Canadian has presented two different teams since January 1, 2022. He has changed his management philosophy along the way.

The team that Dominique Ducharme led is not the one that Martin St-Louis agreed to guide through a new process. The two coaches have different visions, they have different plans, and they communicate in different ways.

Let's forget 2022 and move on to this season.

The 2022-23 season. The decision-makers had announced their color during the off-season, and also before the end of the 2021-22 season. They revealed that the new business model would consist of a reorganization of all departments and, obviously, the most important, that at the level of the playing surface.

As proof, Artturi Lehkonen left for Colorado. Ben Chiarot took the direction of Florida. We had to give a sweep. Then, Carey Price forfeited allowing Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes to better maneuver with the salary cap.

Mike Matheson and Sean Monahan landed at the Bell Centre. Jeff Petry finally left the scene. Shea Weber's contract was traded to the Golden Knights for Evgenii Dadonov.

It was insisted on making sure the supporters were made aware that the objectives were now to change the culture of the organization. To favor the development of the young hopefuls of the organization. To ensure that coaches will not deviate from the company plan.

The instruction is respected. Except that the month of December invites reflection.

Several questions

The last two games, in short, this trip that ends tonight in Nashville, without Kaiden Guhle so far, raise questions.

Why is the Canadian so erratic in his territory? Let's not just blame young, inexperienced defenders. No. Under the circumstances, they lived up to expectations. The veterans, with the exception of Joel Edmundson who has a terrible time keeping up with the opponent's fast pace, have fulfilled their role, especially David Savard.

So, how to explain that the opponent moves with so much ease in the territory of the Canadian? I assume that a lot of work is devoted to the development of young players, but the collective game, what do we do with it? Do we have a defense system to counter the adversary? We must believe that not in front of such ugly results. Talent is one thing, but the right system ensures that talent will yield concrete results.

How to explain that the coaches have not yet succeeded in drawing up a plan to at least correct the shortcomings of a defensive brigade unable to adjust to the repeated attacks of the opponent?


The attack ? When Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki are handcuffed, the Canadian has no way to get out of the quagmire in which he is entangled. Not only are the other skaters not producing, but many are cheating. They lack conviction in their territory when they should be energetic and help the defenders.

Changes ? Obviously, faced with the inertia of the attack, faced with the inability of the support employees to fulfill their role perfectly, the simplest solution would be to clean up. Why not use Rocket players? But in the concept of the salary cap, unfortunately, the general managers have to live with the legacy that was left to them.

In fact, which team would like to add Brendan Gallagher to their squad? A few no doubt. But his contract scares everyone away.

Who wants Jonathan Drouin? For three years, we have been waiting for the big outbreak. He will be a rental player for those interested.

Who wants Joel Armia? Surely some general managers would be tempted... but then again, should we pay 3.4 million for a player who has not scored any goals this season?

Who wants Evgenii Dadonov? Person.

Christian Dvorak is an interesting case. Teams could use his services, especially in the race for a qualification in the spring tournament. But the problem is money.

Because he's a rental player, Sean Monahan is going to be an eye-catcher. This is a great risk for any team with big ambitions. The price to pay will be high.

But senior management will have a decision to make: do we still believe that Kirby Dach can fulfill the role of the organization's second center? Doubt exists. So the Canadian will have to find another center player for the next season.

Juraj Slafkovsky? He is 18 years old and he is having his first experience in the professional world. Give it time, and senior management also took that gamble.

The two guards? Jake Allen is the Jake Allen we spied in St. Louis. An unpredictable goalkeeper, capable of the best and the worst. Does he still have value on the transfer market? I would be surprised.

Montembeault? Should we use it more often? But what are the Canadian's plans for the goalkeeper?

The Canadian is playing the first game of the year 2023, but in fact it is a game of the 2022-23 regular schedule, therefore, it is a transition season and a draft eagerly awaited amateur players.

When Ben Chiarot was traded to the Florida Panthers last March, the Canadian got the Florida team's first-round pick.

At the same time, Kent Hughes added another draft pick to his already well-stocked bank. But we weren't dreaming. This is a choice that can be proposed in the discussions.

Interesting transaction

But now, at mid-season, the Florida Panthers are seventh in the Atlantic Division. A participation in the playoffs is in jeopardy.

The Panthers trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by eight points, with the team sitting last in playoff berth.

Suddenly, the value of the Panthers' first-round pick could give Hughes even more room to maneuver well before the March 3 deadline.

If the trend continues, the Panthers' top pick will become increasingly attractive.