Hockey NHL

2021 Montreal Canadiens: Roster or Load Management

The strategy that shall not be named may be making an appearance in the NHL this season. Not so much in the Kahwi Leonard sense because you would be hard pressed to find a hockey player that would voluntarily sit out that many games, but! With the way that the NHL schedule will be set up this season, be prepared to see a few more young faces than usual.

As the NHL and the NHL Player’s Association (NHLPA) positively trending towards an agreement, the NHL season appears to be set to start January 13th. This makes sense based on everything that has been speculated about the NHL not wanting to conflict with the Olympics and finish their season on time. The NHL will be playing a condensed 56 game regular season which equates to an average of four games per week across the 14 week NHL season. I also believe the NHL will give each team a ‘Bye Week’ of some sort because of the elevated Game per week.

This is not what I mean by load management; this year NHL fans should be prepared for their top players to miss the odd game here and there. Especially for a team like Montreal where their prominent leaders are on the ‘wrong side’ of 30. This team certainly has an exciting infusion of young talent starting to make their mark in the league and they should get additional chances to prove themselves this year. Trying to understand how Load Management will be factored into this season could also help explain a few of Bergevin’s moves this offseason.

Long but hilarious!

Starting with the obvious, in nets. I can with 100% certainty say that Price will not have to play more than 60 games this season. Furthermore, I would not be surprised to see Price play less than 40 games either. There is certainly a threshold that the Habs would like find between rested and in playoff form, but less is more here.

First, backs to backs will occur much more frequently this season giving way to a lot more Allen games. This is not to say that Allen will get every single one, but with a presumed 3 in 4 nights stretch being the norm, it’s easy to assume that Allen should see 1/3 games on average. Just this alone would have Price and Allen splitting the games 37/19 respectively. This allows for some wiggle room for the Habs to play Price in back to backs when needed. However, I do see this happening on the flip side for Allen as well.

For example if the Canadiens have a back to back games before a travel day, then another series, the Habs could get creative. So let’s say the Habs have a rest day Sunday before back to back on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday they fly cross country for the start of a 3 in 4 on Thursday. I apologize if that was hard to follow, but in this scenario I can see Allen playing both games on the Monday/Tuesday to give Price 5 days rest to play 3 games in 4 nights.

Did I make it better at all?

On the back end this is merely just a suggestion for Man Mountain, he does what he wants. That being said I think it would be wise for him to take 4-5 games off, maybe towards the end just to get himself right for the playoffs, under the assumption we would make them. If the race is still on for the final spot, good luck getting this guy to take a game off. For Weber the load management is more in the number of minutes he plays on a nightly basis. Not just for him but Petry and Chiarot as well.

It was very clear in the playoffs that the Canadiens depth at defense was probably the team’s biggest liability. Mete’s offensive upside seems to be limited to when playing next to Weber, and the Scandella departure left the team with only three top 4 defenseman. The signing of Edmundson is meant to alleviate that pressure. He is a strong 5on5 player and a reliable defenseman that tends to compliment a wide range of skill sets. Mainly because he plays a very simply, in your face game, but another small foot note is that he is comfortable playing both side of the ice.

Edmundson’s presence alone will reduce the big three’s time on ice. It would also provide the team with enough depth on defense to form additional shut down pairings. This burden must no longer be shouldered by Weber and Chiarot with Petry mixed in for back up. With the addition of Romanov, and last season’s analytical success of Petry and Kulak, the Habs have some interesting options not only for bodies but for pairings. I don’t think I’ve seen this since we had The General, PK, Gorges and Skillsy.

This won’t be a thing on forward, the name of the game is stay healthy. And help push Suzuki through a Sophomore Slump if he has one, but thankfully Danault is the perfect way to protect him. Since I don’t want to completely ignore the forward group, I have created a couple line up combos.

I did two here, one with the Tatar/Danault/Gally line and one without, because what if they didn’t?

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce content! Peeze, Terry and Alex take a break from hockey and bring in a couple of the members of the Hot Sauce Staff to sports and shenanigans! Tune in to hear what fellow members Duke and Will Power give their Spicy Takes on Jake Paul, NBA relationships, and Miami. Of course.

This week on Weekly Sauce! Alex the Intern, Terry sit down with Jack Gotsell from Tarps Off Hockey to talk ‘Bama Football, Habs/Bruins rivalry and drunk athletes. Tune in to find out which Habs player Terry bumped into during a night out on the town!

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