The Canadiens re-sign Michael Therrien and trade Louis Leblanc, plus another candidate for the Canucks head coaching job.
CANADIENS.COM: The Montreal Canadiens have re-signed head coach Michel Therrien to a new four-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m of mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, Therrien is doing a better job than I expected when the Habs brought him back for another tenure as head coach. He’s calmer, works well with most of the younger players and evidently has the respect of the room. The team has improved with each season since his return.
On the other hand, his constant line-juggling, especially at forward, makes it difficult for players to develop any longstanding chemistry. For all his work with his younger players, I believe he’s misusing forward Lars Eller, keeping him in a checking role when he’s clearly ready for second-line duty.
Still, he did guide the Habs to the Conference Final, and was smart enough during the playoffs to remove the constraints from P.K. Subban, allowing the young superstar to play his game. For better or worse, Habs fans, Therrien’s going to be around for a while.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens traded forward Louis Leblanc to the Anaheim Ducks for a condition fifth-round draft pick in 2015.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the optics of giving up on a former first-round draft pick could attract criticism for GM Marc Bergevin, Leblanc was a selection of the previous Habs management. He reportedly was unwilling to fit into the third-line role Bergevin envisioned for him. Time will tell if this turns into another Habs GM giving up too soon on a young player who goes on to stardom elsewhere. Given the Habs depth in young star now, it’s a move they can afford to make.
VANCOUVER SUN: Portland Winterhawks coach Mike Johnston is another candidate for the vacant Canucks head coach job.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With no decision yet on a new head coach and the NHL Draft only two weeks away, that could spark some unease among Canucks followers.