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Could Montreal Show Interest in Colin Miller?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported this week the Montreal Canadiens are looking to bolster their blueline. The Golden Knights are expected to make some moves this offseason and 26-year-old defenseman Colin Miller could be one of the players involved. We’ve speculated Miller could be moved in an attempt to make space for Golden Knights defensive prospects (Nic Hague, Jimmy Schuldt, Zach Whitecloud) and continue to build up organizational depth.

The sense that I’m getting is that (Bergevin’s) in the market for a good young defenseman. I don’t know who that might be, but if that’s what he’s looking for than he’s going to have to give up a good player or players. -Darren Dreger, TSN Montreal

Other defensemen rumored to be available are Islanders’ Nick Leddy, Toronto’s Nikita Zaitsev, and Calgary’s TJ Brodie. All three cost $4.5-$5.5M against the salary cap, and two shoot left-handed. Miller is more affordable (3.875M) and carries a right-handed stick.

Are there players, or is there a player that maybe didn’t have as good of a season as the team or the player expected last year of has struggled the last couple of seasons? Maybe that individual needs a change of scenery. -Dreger

One thing Montreal will take into consideration is Miller’s disappointing 2018-19 season. Accuracy was a major problem for Miller shooting a career low (2.3%), only edging out Deryk Engelland (1.9%) for the worst percentage for Golden Knights players with a minimum of 100 shots. The Canadiens front office could see that as a good problem. Montreal defenseman Shea Weber has one of history’s most lethal shots, and this could add some vital assistance.

There’s a lot of talk. There’s a lot of chatter out there. I’m going to be curious see how much of it is connected to the RFA, the restricted free agent pool. I look at the Vegas Golden Knights… they don’t have William Karlsson signed yet and they’ve got a lot of money. They’re at the cap and they’ve got players that they’ve got to attend too. I think more than ever, there are so many contracts that potentially are trying to be moved. I had a high profile player agent tell me the other he thinks there are at least 35 contracts in the league that are in play. -Dreger

Another note to mention is Montreal GM Marc Bergevin tends to make a splash early. Over the past few years Bergevin has traded for Shea Weber, Jonathan Drouin, and Max Domi in mid to late June. Miller’s not quite a big fish but he could fill a large need for the Canadiens.

To what degree and what is the willingness from Montreal’s standpoint to put up a good player, or players, or prospects, or draft picks to acquire this piece. -Dreger

The Golden Knights front office are clearly comfortable working with Bergevin after both parties came away satisfied after the Max Pacioretty trade late last summer. Who knows maybe both teams will work on future deals together. Possibly starting this Saturday.

MONTREAL CANADIENS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (20-15-3 43 PTS) – OT

Two unlikely heroes emerged as Brandon Pirri scored twice in his second game of the season for the Golden Knights. But it was the more unlikely hero on the other side that emerged as the story of the day. Phillip Danault, who had two goals on the season coming in, scored a hat trick including the game-tying goal inside of the final two minutes of the game. In overtime, the Golden Knights couldn’t get any extended possession and eventually conceded the game-winner.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Montreal Canadiens at T-Mobile Arena

  • Carp’s Interview with The Creator

Three Stars
*** Brayden McNabb
** Philip Danualt
* Brandon Pirri

MONTREAL CANADIENS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 (7-9-1 15 PTS)

The Golden Knights put in a dominant 1st period jumping out to a two-goal lead. The first goal came from Brad Hunt on the power play and then Jonathan Marchessault deflected one in with his skate for the second. However, a nightmare five minutes led to three straight Canadien goals. Vegas did respond with a goal of their own from Alex Tuch set up by some great forechecking from Cody Eakin. Vegas took yet another lead in the 3rd but blew it once again. Tomas Tatar scored the game-winner.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

  • Steve Carp’s column the impact Nate Schmidt must have when he returns.

Three Stars
*** William Karlsson
** Jesperi Kotkaniemi
* Andrew Shaw

Canadiens Players Fawn Over “Sick” Atmosphere At T-Mobile Arena

Not sure there’s a bigger difference between two NHL cities, arenas, and fan bases than Montreal and Vegas. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Imagine that place in the playoffs. It would be crazy. -Max Pacioretty, Montreal Captain

The Montreal Canadiens made their first ever visit to T-Mobile Arena, and received the full Las Vegas experience, including the butt-kicking. The in-arena entertainment was alive, Vegas fans created a wild atmosphere, and Montreal was clobbered by the Golden Knights. Sounds like a normal trip for most visiting teams.

It almost sounds like Pacioretty would consider trading in his red sweater for a suit of gold armor.

Everyone around the league that I’ve talked to that has already played here said the same thing and I just said, ‘oh yeah that’s great,’ but when you experience it for yourself, that was a treat to play and I wish we played them more than once a year. They do such a good job with the entertainment in this building. It was really a lot of fun except for the result. -Pacioretty

Yeah that’s one of the better atmospheres I’ve ever been involved in. It’s obviously a pretty sick place to play. -Jordie Benn, Montreal Defenseman

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Golden Knights vs. Montreal Canadiens Photo Gallery – February 17th, 2018

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6 (39-15-4 82 PTS) MONTREAL CANADIENS 3

An absolute wild 1st period which involved five goals, a pulled goalie, a two penalties saw the Golden Knights ahead 3-2. The 2nd period was dominated by Vegas as they extended the lead to 5-2 with goals from Ryan Carpenter and Reilly Smith. Nate Schmidt cashed in to give the Golden Knights a four goal lead, they would eventually come out on top by the final score of 6-3.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Montreal Canadiens at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Photo gallery from Brandon Andreasen
  • Guest Post: What should the Golden Knights do at the deadline

Three Stars
*** Nate Schmidt
** Ryan Carpenter
* Reilly Smith

MONTREAL CANADIENS 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (9-5-1 19 PTS)

A miserable start put the Golden Knights in an early hole. They were able to manage just two shots on goal in the first period. However, one of them was the goal of the year so far by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Erik Haula gets one late, but it’s just not quite enough for Vegas to tie it up. Three points on a six game trip is very “e-word” like.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

Three Stars

*** David Perron
** Jordie Benn
* Brendan Gallagher

Al Montoya’s Deal In Montreal Was Expansion Inspired

We’ve been talking about the expansion draft since 2015 and how we know teams aren’t going to make it easy for the Golden Knights. The current 30 other teams will make trades, juggle prospects, or even expose good players; all with the expansion draft in mind. However, some moves get ignored because they seem small and insignificant, when in reality, teams are quietly preparing for June’s expansion draft. Al Montoya‘s two-year extension in Montreal is a perfect example.

In 2007 Montoya was the sixth overall selection. New York took the goaltender after Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler were off the board. Sidebar, the Rangers had a terrible period of first round selections. Here’s a sample from 1999-2004; Pavel Brendl #4, Manny Malhotra #7, Jamie Lundmark#9, Dan Blackburn #10, Hugh Jessiman #12. I guess all is forgiven when you hit a home run like Henrik Lundqvist in the seventh round (2000). Some scouts will always argue against drafting first round goaltenders, which brings us back to Carey Price‘s backup. Montoya may have been scouted as a top pick, but now he’s an average NHL backup. He’s obviously doing something right if Montreal is willing to pay him for two more years. Or is the backup just a chess piece?

Montreal signed Montoya for two-years at $2.1 million. Not a bad payday for a guy who averages 25 games a season. Since Price has an NMC, the signing means we know Montoya will be available for Vegas. Making it a risk for Montreal… or so it would seem. George McPhee will obviously scout and consider Montoya, but there are likely to be a few better options to take from Montreal. Alexei Emelin, Tomas Plekanec, and Andrei Markov, to name a few. These are older players, with expensive contracts, who bring experience and leadership. Making them more attractive to Vegas than Montoya.

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Can Las Vegas Learn From Non-Playoff Teams?

Watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s easy to see why some teams are perennial cup chasers and why the rest chase the draft lottery. If you look at the team’s that didn’t make the playoffs this year, you end up with a lot of the same teams from years past. Organizations like the Oilers, Sabres, Hurricanes, Coyotes, Leafs and others barely sniffed the playoffs. Fans in these cities never expect to win… Really when’s the last time Toronto fans felt good about their team?

You can give the Sabres, and Coyotes a small break because they have talent. The Leafs and Canes are a mess, but are rebuilding. Lastly, there’s the ever failing Oilers. They solidified their bench by hiring Todd McClellen, and drafted McJesus #1 overall. However, Edmonton didn’t show any progress and failed to make the playoffs for the 10th straight season. Imagine that from a franchise that hoisted five Stanley Cups in the 80s. Other than the play of Taylor Hall, Connor McDavid and Cam Talbot, the Oilers did nothing to excite their die-hard fans. Oh I apologize, Edmonton had a funeral for an old, depressing, run-down arena.

Now, you can always learn from failing teams, the mistakes are easy to spot. Poor hiring, horrible scouting, and bad leadership. What about non-playoff teams that should be still playing? The Bruins, Canadiens, Avalanche, and Senators all held playoff spots this season. We know what happened up in Montreal, tough to win without Vezina winner Carey Price. The Habs front office is taking the lets move on and forget about it approach. The Owner and GM have already announced Michelle Therrien will be back, and they expect Price to be 100% healthy. Even though you could argue Montreal should’ve fired their coach, you can understand their patient attitude. If a coach doesn’t have his star goalie, than its tough for fun to win. I accept that.

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Double Minor With Jason Pothier – 2/6/16

Montreal won’t hire an anglophone coach. Smart people talk about dumb Dennis Wideman’s dumb decision. AHL affiliates. Jason’s in the bin for a look around the world of hockey. It’s Double Minor with Jason Pothier.

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