Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Deal or No Deal?

The Canadiens are going to make the playoffs.

I don't believe that, but the players think they have a chance if they play their hearts out and get a bit of luck along the way. The important thing is, the veterans are holding to that belief.

For a team that purports to be dedicated to developing a winner from within, that's a very important teaching tool. The core of young players like Jonathan Drouin, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Nick Suzuki, Cale Fleury, Max Domi and Victor Mete and those who will be following them to the Show soon, need to know how to believe.

That's why it's important for Marc Bergevin to avoid moving players like Tomas Tatar at the trade deadline next month.

Unless he intends to do a proper, thorough rebuild and attempt to trade big-salaried veterans like Carey Price and Shea Weber, there's not really a point in trading for picks that may or may not pan out eventually and giving up players who are producing and helping the current youth group grow.

The Canadiens draft record isn't so stellar that they can count on converting second and third-round picks to lineup regulars in the next three years. So becoming caught up in a cycle of trading for picks, then trading those fledgling players for more picks in an eternal void of success doesn't make sense.

It's better for the youth to develop with leadership and hope for a year or two before dumping players for picks.

After all, how many examples have we seen of young players arriving, filled with hope and expectation, only to be mishandled, underdeveloped or traded away? And all the other examples of trading for picks, only to trade those picks on for another player who'll, in turn, be traded away?

The Canadiens have to do something different if they hope to develop this group well enough to actually open a Cup window. Right now, if they learn to believe in themselves, that's enough.

So, no deal. The Canadiens are likely not going to make the playoffs, but if they get healthy and pull together, that belief could make all the difference.