After a calm offseason in Habs land, the storm finally broke. The Canadiens did what Hugo said they would: being open to play the facilitator in a three-way trade.
Sure, acquiring another future asset is never a bad thing. The 2nd round pick from the Penguins- if the Dubas Fantastic Four 2.0 project fails- could end up being a top 40 overall pick in what sounds like a promising draft in 2025. And I mean, let's be honest, given the age of the Pens' 4 highly-paid stars can they realistically succeed in an ultra-competitive, ultra-quick, young division with the likes of New Jersey and the NYR?
Either way, the news came as a complete shock to Canadiens fans and media alike. Predictably, the great majority of the fan base, still in the honeymoon phase with Hugo (whereas I am starting to seriously consider filing for divorce- kidding, well, sort of...) applauded the move like blind seal. The consensus was that this was another "coup de genie" by the Master of Puppets himself, Kenneth "El Maestro" Hughes.
At first glance, as mentioned above, piling up draft picks, on a rebuilding team can undoubtedly serve two purposes: the obvious one, add to their prospect base (perhaps find a future 1 or 2C), but two, it could be that in 2025 the Canadiens have several picks in the top 50 (see the Calgary first round pick 300-page book of potential scenarios), and those could serve, if the team is a competitive team by then (I assume that's the plan), to bolster the lineup at the trade deadline.
I also get that Hoffman's contract was a difficult one to move and that by removing him and Pitlick from the equation, this may open up a roster spot for a RHP, a Jesse Ylonen or an Emil Heinemann (my personal choice).
But did we really need to rid ourselves of those 2 contracts by taking on two years of Jeff Petry (not to mention the whole side-show / distraction that we had to go through in the months that preceded his departure from Montreal)?
This upcoming season will surely be another season where the Canadiens experiment, and, potentially show signs of improvement, but honestly, does anyone in their right mind expect them to make the playoffs? So then why add cap space for the following season (yes, I understand Pittsburgh is eating some of it but still)?
Where will Justin Barron fit in (he who finished the season very strong but who struggled with confidence issues for months while in Laval)? Are we seriously going to have 3 defensemen in and around the age of 30 (or older) in Matheson, Savard and now Petry, on a team that should be giving promising youngsters ice time in the hopes they will eventually become key cogs in the lineup in a couple of years? I mean we just got rid of Joel Edmunson, only to add another aging defenseman a few weeks later (who the Pens apparently tried moving out for months- there were no takers)?
Now look: if they manage to move Petry for another asset, then, truthfully, this will look like a nice trade for the Canadiens. But if not, please tell us what are you doing man...tell us, what's the frequency, Kenneth?!!
I just can't help feeling like these minor moves (no matter what the media claims, this is not a big step forward for the Canadiens- none of their offseason moves were) are reminiscent of the Bergevin era: Hugo are seemingly winning trades but not necessarily fixing / addressing the big issues at hand. Does anyone know what exactly was the "big picture" during the Marc Bergevin era?
Let's just hope this is not another all too familiar case of not being able to see the forest for the trees.