Currently tied for last place in the Eastern Conference — and second-last in the entire NHL — the Montreal Canadiens are a frontrunner only in the race for the best draft lottery position. Visiting the Bell Centre on Thursday night was the Chicago Blackhawks, who also stand to be a part of that lottery. Which team would improve their standings in the Shane Wright Sweepstakes?
Welcome to your Bottom Six Minutes, in which I’ll discuss Montreal being that team.
Losses don’t draw the ire they once would, but the usage that Dominique Ducharme is employing comes close. His two least used forwards on the night were Michael Pezzetta and Jesse Ylonen. If the plan is to have them up with the Canadiens but play them a meager five minutes per night, it seems better to leave them in Laval and call up some of the older players.
The same can be said for the use of Ryan Poehling on the wing. Given that the fourth line saw such little usage, why not let Poehling centre it instead of Cedric Paquette, then spread the minutes out more? This season should be more about development than being scared of losing games, but Ducharme appears to be more the latter than anything.
Your silver lining of the night once again comes in the form of a solid Jake Allen performance. He may have been overshadowed by Marc-Andre Fleury in this particular game, but if he keeps putting up solid efforts he will be a very attractive trade target. Fleury has also been rumoured to be on the move, so we may have been watching two of the hottest goaltending commodities in action last night.
Click the play button below for my full thoughts, and as always we will return with another episode after Saturday’s game against the St Louis Blues.