By JD Lagrange – Forgive me, dear readers, for what I’m about to do. Here at Cheering The Logo, we try keeping a positive approach, put a different spin from what we too often read out there on the internet. And for the most part, that’s what we do. But sometimes, a spade must be called a spade and things boil over. It is the case today… so bear with me.
There’s being patient and then, they’re being PATIENT. It’s one thing to be patient about team results due to the youth on the team and the fact that two of the Canadiens’ top-4 defensemen are out of the line-up in Joel Edmundson and Mike Matheson. Struggles, inconsistent play and even losses are to be expected. But it’s a whole other thing to watch three veteran forwards just being there for the ride, going through the motions.
Yes, I’m referring to Jonathan Drouin, Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov. Oh they’re showing flashes, don’t get me wrong. But they’re also terribly inconsistent in both their effort and their play. Together, they tie $15 million of (dead) cap space. They make you wish that NHL contracts weren’t guaranteed!
I’ve heard people say that Dadonov should not be in that category. Those people likely forgot that he’s taking $5 million of cap space for the type of play that a young player could provide. Granted, he’s the one who provides most of the three veteran wingers. But isn’t it like comparing which which can opener is best at the dollar store? They’re all cheap in comparison to a good one.
Drouin had a half-decent game against Washington. Much like Martin St-Louis, I was encouraged by his effort that game. But then last night, he was horrible again… until in the late third period and overtime, when he made a great defensive back check and set-up Cole Caufield beautifully to tie the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’ve had it with the guy. I really don’t believe in him anymore and it’s just recent, unlike those who have been all over him since the trade.
Last but not least, the Hoffman. No one is getting more chances to get himself out of whatever he’s in than this guy. He is totally disinterested and his play reflects that. You have the first overall pick at the last draft playing 10 minutes a game, not getting a sniff of power play time while this guy Hoffs-and-puffs on the man advantage, collecting his pay cheque. It’s infuriating to watch.
They are taking precious ice time away from younger players who want to be there. I don’t know about you but I’d much rather see more of Rem Pitlick, Juraj Slafkovsky and even Michael Pezzetta instead. Even Jesse Ylönen, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and Emil Heineman – when he comes of the injured list – had a good enough camp to be able to play on the bottom lines instead of these wastes of cap space. Yes, because that’s what they’ve become. Anchors preventing the whole ship from moving forward at a higher pace.
Of course, right now their value is negative. You would have to give picks or prospects and retain salary to unload these guys. And of course, you have to play them, give them an opportunity to up their value, in hope not to have to give up other assets in a trade. We all understand that. But at what point do you cut your losses? At what point is enough… enough? It’s likely not four games into the season.
Either Martin St-Louis and his staff find a way to motivate those three tourists or Kent Hughes, even with his hands tied, will have to make tough decisions. If they were trying hard, waiting would be the way to go in hope that they turn things around and gain trade value. But if they’re dragging their feet as they’re doing now, the value will only go down so cut your losses.
There was a time when the Canadiens didn’t have anyone better to replace them with. Thanks to the reset of 2018 and the numerous picks since then, it’s no longer the case. The future is bright and this future starts… now!