After Kent Hughes, Geoff Molson has just given us, on Wednesday, an index of the Canadian’s objectives, in the short, medium and long term.
Molson is not wrong to recall the team’s performance before the carnage. On December 19, the CH had a record of 14-12-2 and found themselves four points from the last place giving access to the playoffs.
On the night of that 2-1 shootout victory over the Calgary Flames at the Bell Centre, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach, Josh Anderson, Kaiden Guhle, Juraj Slafkovsky and Arber Xhekaj were still undefeated. And we were still without Mike Matheson.
The management of the team therefore expects to see the CH fight for a place in the playoffs next season. The goal is not unrealistic.
The club’s surprising participation in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2021 masked an important fact: the club’s rejuvenation phase did not begin with the arrival of Kent Hughes in 2022, but in 2018 when the Canadian traded his captain Max Pacioretty to acquire his eventual successor, Nick Suzuki.
This period also marked the departure of veterans like Tomas Plekanec, Andrew Shaw, Jordie Benn and Karl Alzner (buried in the minors).
The choice of Jesperi Kotkaniemi in third place in July 2018, and his insertion in the formation from the age of 18, was also part of this movement. What followed, unfortunately, was not very happy and ultimately resulted in Christian Dvorak, a 27-year-old center who was neither very good nor very bad, and a bit lost in the current process.
The new administration was also able to take advantage of wise choices from the old group in 2019 and 2020, Cole Caufield and Kaiden Guhle, drafted in the middle of the first round following an exclusion from the playoffs.
The current reconstruction, preceded by the reset of the Bergevin era, therefore makes it possible to establish the duration of the current rejuvenation phase at five years.
Despite his desire for short-term success, the former GM of the Canadian has never sacrificed draft picks to achieve it, on the contrary: Montreal has drafted 17 times in the first three rounds in the 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Among them, Caufield, Guhle, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Jesse Ylonen, Jordan Harris and Sean Farrell are still with the club and Alexander Romanov reported Kirby Dach.
It is therefore legitimate for the owner, after five years of the rejuvenation phase, and with a core of players aged 21 and 23, not to mention several players still in their late twenties, early thirties, the Mike Mathesons, Josh Anderson, David Savard, Brendan Gallagher and company to hope for better results next year.
There is not one reconstruction model, but a thousand. Take the New York Rangers, rebuilt by the current vice-president of hockey operations of the CH, Jeff Gorton.
Rangers have had a tough two seasons after trading Antti Raanta, Derek Stepan, Rick Nash, Nick Holden, Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller for youngsters and draft picks between 2017 and 2019.
The process was accelerated with Gorton’s judicious acquisition of young players in their early twenties such as Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Lindgren, Ryan Strome, Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox, among others.
The many draft picks between 2017 and 2019 (NY drafted ten times in the first two rounds during these three vintages) allowed the Rangers to add some good young people in the formation, Filip Chytil, Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko, K’Andre Miller, Braden Schneider.
The appeal of the New York market obviously facilitated the arrival of Fox and Trouba and also, above all, that of Artemi Panarin, the most coveted unrestricted free agent on the market in 2019.
Two years into their rebuild/reset, the Rangers were battling for a playoff berth in 2019-20. They missed them the following year, before reaching the four aces last year, with a new GM, Chris Drury.
The Rangers are coming off 110 and 107 point seasons. Despite their elimination in seven games at the hands of the Devils a few days ago, we can speak of two consecutive years of lasting success.
The presence of Jeff Gorton, then the arrival of his lifelong lieutenant, Nick Bobrov, in charge of the repechage with Martin Lapointe, allows us to imagine a similar plan in Montreal, even if it will be more difficult to attract a big player. autonomous without compensation like Panarin in Montreal.
“You’ll have to find a way to get me back to 100% or close because I look back on the series and I could have helped the team win if I had been healthier,” said Patrick Kane during the review. Rangers.
Kane won’t have cost New York too much though. As the Rangers have not reached the four aces, they will give up a second-round pick to the Blackhawks in 2023 (56th overall) and not a first-round pick. We also gave a fourth-round pick in 2025 to Chicago and a third-round pick in 2025 to the Arizona Coyotes to absorb a portion of Kane’s contract on their payroll.
The former Hawks star must decide whether or not he will undergo surgery and is not ruling out the possibility of playing for Rangers next year.
“Obviously I would like to come back. They have several young people to sign and other priorities, but I have nothing negative to say about this organization. It was an extraordinary experience. I’ll be 35 next year, but I don’t feel old. I still have the conviction that I can be a top player. »