After a recent six-game win streak, the Montreal Canadiens have now lost two of their last three, scoring just one goal over the two defeats.
The lack of goal-scoring was the biggest issue facing the team at the trade deadline, but with a dearth of offensive talent available, with exorbitant prices for those who reportedly were, the additions the Canadiens made were largely of the depth variety, acquiring three fourth-line forwards.
After the deadline passed without a top-six player joining the fold, the focus immediately turned to how much bigger the team got. With the smaller David Desharnais and Sven Andrighetto shipped out for three big, heavy skaters, some suggested that these moves may not have been solely the work of the general manager, but a response to a request from the new head coach, Claude Julien.
From the time Julien won the Stanley Cup in 2010-11 to the end of his tenure in Boston, the Bruins made seven deadline deals for forwards who went on to play significant time for the team that season. None of these players were listed at under 5’11”.
Julien is known to get the best out of his players. This includes those who come over via trade and directly into a new atmosphere and his system.
Below is a table that shows the aforementioned seven players and how they performed the season they were traded to Boston, before and after joining the team.
Corsi-for percentage, goals for per 60 minutes, and goals against per 60 were the chosen stats because each is a measure of the player’s on-ice success.
From 2010-11 to 2012-13, the chart is almost fully painted green – or at the very least shows progression. The one anomaly is Jaromir Jagr’s possession, which is offset by his high goals-for rate.
Julien’s most recent two seasons do not exhibit the same general success of the newcomers. However, that may be explained the weak overall roster the Bruins possessed, missing the playoffs both years. Despite that lack of quality, Brett Connolly and Lee Stempniak still produced very high possession numbers in what was consistently a tenure of strong possession for Julien.
Has Julien’s past success with new players translated to the Canadiens organization?
At first glance, the trio does not impress with a combined one assist and 13 shots on goal in 14 games. However, the Habs have struggled to produce offence from top to bottom, and winning doesn’t just come from goals.
How are the new additions faring?
Not what you would expect.
So far Dwight King, Steve Ott, and Andreas Martinsen have not done much good for the Habs. In fact, the lone bright spots are Martinsen and Ott’s GA/60, but they are completely negated by an exact same or lower GF/60.
To further that, they both own a below-standard Corsi with a Habs team that overall has strong possession numbers. Ott also has only a 43.4% faceoff percentage with the Habs so far, which was one of the areas cited as a positive of his acquisition, so the numbers suggest things could get worse for these guys before they get better.
King, Ott, and Martinsen may have been dubbed “Julien players” but so far they are not responding that way. None have done as good for the Habs as players have previously done under Julien in the past.
The Canadiens are 8-4 under Julien, but unfortunately cannot contribute much of their success to the new additions at forward. There is still time for any of these players to right the ship in the last 12 games before the playoffs.
However, if all stay on their current paths, it may be better for the Habs to leave them in the pressbox and play Michael McCarron and some of the other St. John’s IceCaps players instead.
What do you think of this deadline trio so far?