This is the problem we call “good problems”: the word “problem” is an embarrassing little part of the equation.
When the center-rich Montreal Canadians suddenly came to this crucial place they could not believe where they were today. Just two years ago, Max was in his first training camp with Domi Hobbs and was convinced that his move into the more angry part of the fan base was not better than Jonathan Drouin’s shambolic transformation a year earlier, with Montreal helping him heal a few years in between .
The following seasons somehow looked to have four guys, Domi, Philip Donald, Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkanimi, for Montreal Center Solutions – all of which could sue for big minutes. For the fourth-row character, none of the guys mentioned above would want 2017 first-rounder Ryan Pohling ready to compete for a full-time job next year, and Hobbs Inc. signed Cerebral, right-shooting Jake Evans to a two-year deal last week.
Are there too many centers in the kitchen? Well, there is some noise around the place. Neither Donald nor Domi emerged from Montreal’s pandemic-inspired playoff show. Domi’s name is in the rumor mill and his new agent is Darren Ferris Recently reiterated To Sportsnet Paul Eric Engels that Domi did not request a contract, spec hogans will never end.
Another important aspect of all of this is the brutality of Montreal Talent is needed on the wings (There should always be something, right?). There are many things about being an NHL GM that most of us will never understand, but a common notion that we can all grasp: Trade what you have most for the things you need most.
Montreal GM Mark Bergwin has already joined aggressively this off-season, trading with goalie Jake Allen and defenseman Joel Edmundsson. He also gave ink to 32-year-old defenseman Jeff Petrie For a four-year extension, So let’s have a discussion about how all-in-hubs are right now. Similarly, the next logical step is to bring some center clarity to the image by switching one for players to help in other positions.
With this in mind, here are the pros and cons of moving every person (except Evans).
Max Domi, 25
Why move him? This is a mile safe game. In a way it would be a shame if Domi’s time ended with Montreal, because he threw himself into the hub and brought the club the fighting spirit it needed. He had a good year and a bad year in Montreal and – unlike the other guys on this list – he was a crime-only player. The fact that he is a restricted free agent that requires a new contract also provides a natural pressure point.
Why keep him? Again, this guy likes to be on fire in Montreal and you can’t tell about every top level player wearing red, white and blue. Also, although the hiring of Ferris seems to indicate Domini after every dollar, he does not have tons of leverage from the disappointing 44 points in 71 matches. A team can kick the can with a one-year contract. If you believe in his abilities as a 2C, the door will be open for him to commit and bring him to a long-term deal at a friendly AAV.
Senior author Ryan Dixon and NHL editor Rory Bolen always give 110%, but never rely on clichs when it comes to podcasting. Instead, they use a mix of facts, fun and different hockey tones to cover Canada’s most beloved game.
Philip Danault, 27
Why move him? Well, he could move himself into the UFA next summer if he is not happy with how things are playing out or the money Montreal is offering. Even with a free agency on Instant Horizon, Donald gets great returns because he tops the second tier of two-way centers in the league. Understanding what the coach’s dream is of Donald, I keep coming back: if he’s been playing Suzuki and Kotkani for a long time in Montreal, something went wrong. The next two guys – even though they don’t have Donald’s Selke chops – are both 200-foot players with more offensive ability.
Why keep him? The Canadians won the Donalds’ 2016 contract with Chicago, sending Dale Wise and Thomas Fleischman in a different direction. It was a huge success even before you thought they had received a second rounder in the package. Much of the discussion was devoted to his fantastic defensive play, which he ignored in the first round pick (26th overall in 2011). He got better and better. If you ink him today for a six-year extension, he was only 33 years old in the last year of the contract.
Jeff Marek and Elliott Friedman talk to a lot of people in the hockey world, and then tell everyone they hear and what they think about it.
Ryan Pohling, 21
Why move him? Who is the last person listed here, if you hang your head and bend over, you can see the way to deal with him today. The only way you can nurture a young center opportunity like Pohling is if you have two guys – Suzuki and Kotkani – younger than him (Suzuki is 10 months old) and have already done more at the NHL level. The hubs do not have crown ornament in their cupboard, but they are loaded with quality possibilities and thanks to their two year reset. Dongle pohling with your pair of three 2020 second rounders and you have someone else’s attention.
Why keep him? Pohling is the only center of Montreal that can be described as barrel-chested, despite the large amount of Cotcanimi. There are always questions about his high-end potential, but his floor is a super-strong, two-way guy, he plays mostly – if not – under circumstances. Supporters of 1-2-3 hubs of Suzuki, Kotkamini and Pohling may have been smiling for 15 years.
Jesperi Kotkani, 20
Why move him? We’ve reached the Debate Club section of this section, where you can sue for anything regardless of whether your heart is there or not. If we do not have bubble hockey, Kotkanimi’s stock will be elsewhere, having seen him sent to the AHL after the toughest second season. However, he looked like a different (especially strong) player in the post-season and the third-overall clan is shining again. Say it: If you move him now you will sell more.
Why keep him? The Canadians were finally whipped in 2012 when Alex Galchenyuk was elected third. Six years later they took Kotkanemi to the same place – earlier than Brady Takachuk – mostly because of the position he played. If you have a man tall and he is two feet six, has a great attitude and skill to boot, go ahead. If you allow the residency bias to wash over you, it makes a lot of sense to suggest that Kotkamini should be an excellent No. 2 in the NHL.
Nick Suzuki, 21
Why move him? You will not. I can’t even duplicate. Of course, don’t even move him to the wing, though he’s a man who fits well on this list. Do you know why he can do that? Because he is intelligent, shifty and assertive. Put him in the middle, where he can get the most out of his amazing, right-shot ability.
Why keep him? Because, between Major Jr. and his first NHL playoff performance, Suzuki demonstrated the extreme potential to meet this moment. He may not be a real, Art Ross-style No. 1, but keeping him at the top of your depth chart works just as well as Canadians – although they choose to play it – should play another two or three great pivots behind him.