After the return of former Hab Alex Kovalev on Tuesday, the Canadiens will now face former
Habs Roman Hamrlik and Mike Ribeiro in Washington tonight. I thought this would be a good time to
reflect back on their time with the team.
Hamrlik showed up to his first game at Le Centre Bell backing in a dump truck overflowing with dollar
bills. $5.5Million dollar bills to be exact, and with that came high expectations. I think most people would say he never met those high expectations, and for the most part was an invisible member of the teams defense corps.
Now for a defensive defenseman being invisible is probably a good thing, it means
you’re not making any mistakes, but for a player like Hamrlik who put up .48 pts/game in his 4 years
before coming to Montreal, being “invisible” isn’t ideal. But upon looking at the numbers, was he really
that much worse in le bleu, blanc et rouge? In 312 games over 4 years Hamrlik put up 119 points. Good for .38pts/game which isn’t worth $5.5Million but isn’t terrible either. Also consider that he spent 2 seasons under the master of boring trap hockey Jacques Martin so his offensive contributions aren’t badat all. He also maintained his production in the playoffs, posting .36pts/game, so although he may not have been noticeable out there he certainly contributed.
Defensively, at the end of his time in Montreal, Hamrlik had amassed an overall +/- of +26 and
only had one season in the minus column (-2 in 09/10) signifying that his contributions to the defensive
side of the game were quite huge on some pretty mediocre teams.
Finally, lets look at a comparable player. Sergei Gonchar? Hes making $5Million a season. A
bit less than Hamrlik was, but he was also much older when he signed his current deal with the Sens.
With Gonchar your going to get better offensive production but your losing a lot in the defensive zone
when you compare him to a steady defensive presence like Hamrlik. So maybe Hamrlik wasn’t so bad
in Montreal, his style of play is just one that isn’t as noticeable as defenseman who make huge hits or
dazzling end to end rushes. But who cares what I think, what do you think about Roman Hamrlik’s legacy as a Canadien?
Well, after a couple seasons of decent seasons of 65 and 51 points with the Habs, Ribeiro’s
personality (did you see him freak out on the ref the other night?) and indifference about playing
defense got him shipped out to Dallas where he started putting up huge numbers with close to a point
per game. But whatever numbers I show you, whatever proof I present it won’t matter because your
mind is made up.
I think we can all agree that this is Ribeiro’s legacy as a Montreal Canadien…
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