“The Habs are in win now mode” they keep saying.
Win now mode is when you make a big sacrifice for the future to win today. It’s the type of sacrifice you make where you give up a young up and comer like Jarome Iginla who is about to start his career and trade him for a proven veteran near the end of his like Joe Nieuwendyk in an attempt win the Stanley Cup today giving you little opportunity to win it tomorrow.
What the Habs are in is ‘win always’ mode.
Acquiring a 22 year old and signing him as a six year asset like Jonathan Drouin and trading him for a 19 year old Mikhail Sergachev who is a seven year asset is not a ‘win now’ move. It’s a ‘that’s a good trade’ move. Drouin is going to be committed to Montreal potentially for the rest of his career considering his roots are local. That’s a ‘win for over a decade’ mode.
Acquiring a 31 year old Shea Weber for a 27 year old PK Subban is also not a ‘win now’ move considering the older player is signed longer on your team that the younger player is on the other team. One could argue that four years is a longer period of time, but there’s no guarantee that Subban is on the Predators longer than Weber is on the Habs. Add to that, the salary cap reclaim on the Predators if Weber retires early could basically bankrupt the Predators, so Nashville is actually going to have to trade for Weber just before he may retire to save themselves from a debilitating punishment. GM Marc Bergevin is going to have the Predators over a barrel at the end of the Weber deal. He can demand a king’s ransom.
Teams in a win now mode are old and they know that if they don’t win now, then they have lost their only opportunity, so let’s see how many win now players the Habs have that indicate that they better win now because tomorrow looks grim on this brutally aging team set for retirement.
Let’s start in goal where the ridiculously old Montreal Canadiens have a goalie set for a retirement village in Fort Lauderdale. Oh, but not before he finishes playing year one of his eight year deal. Surely, then the back up spot is win now with Charlie Lindgren the best young goalie not playing in the NHL, and Michael McNiven who just won the junior goalie of the year in Canada. This is quite obviously a win now moment except that the next entire decade looks strong.
At forward, again, so many old players that they better win now. Players like Jonathan Drouin at 22 who has nothing in front of him. The rest of the first line the aging Brendan Gallagher and the geriatric Max Pacioretty. More trouble for the club on the second line with Phillip Danault fresh off his best season in his career with nothing in front of him, then there’s Andrew Shaw with a full 25 years of life lived, and the line completes with that has been Alex Galchenyuk. They better win now obviously as none of these guys are going to be around next year or the year after or the year after that or the year after that or…..
Hold it, the third line actually has a player aging as Tomas Plekanec at 34 appears to be in the twilight of his career. Now we are making a thesis for win now. Here we go. Let’s take this thing home. Look at those old line mates in Charles Hudon who will play his first season and Artturi Lehkonen who is heading into his second season. These two are so old they can’t even grow hair on their face.
The win now thesis just hit the breaks hard again and started a ten car pile-up behind them.
The fourth line is ready for its 5 pm early bird special buffet and can’t figure out how the internet works with such geriatrics as Paul Byron who is so old he can’t even skate, Jacob De La Rose who never met a senior citizen’s discount at the movies he wouldn’t cash in and Ales Hemsky who actually may be at the end of his career. Emphasis on ‘may be’.
That leaves us with the oldtimers on defense. Victor Mete at 19 is nearly done. Shea Weber they keep saying past his prime five years ago. Karl Alzner, Jeff Petry, in their twenties and Jordie Benn and David Schlemko just turned 30.
Oh and Mark Streit at 39. 39. Wow. See, I told you this Habs team was in win now mode or why would they have Mark Streit?
The point to all this sarcasm could not be any clearer. The Habs have only one player of significance who is in the twilight of his career and that’s Tomas Plekanec.
His replacement is Ryan Poehling who is a top prospect on the team after making significant strides even after draft day at the summer showcase tournament when he was the best forward at it.
The truth is the Habs are one of the youngest teams in all of hockey. Whatever the opposite of win now mode is called, that’s the mode the Habs are actually in.
That’s one hell of a state of the union.