After a dismal powerplay during the post season, and an aggressively mediocre power play in the regular season, one would have thought fixing this would be priority number one. A week into free agency the power play is worse than it was not better. The inconsistent Michael Ryder has moved on. Mark Recchi has retired after a glorious career. They have not been replaced.
Michael Ryder for all his faults, was one of the top two forward contributors to the powerplay. Mark Recchi, for every minute of his age was the other. Recchi led the entire team in powerplay points. Ryder was first on the team in powerplay goals. To replace them, Peter Chiarelli signed Benoit Pouliot. The latest Habs discard had exactly one powerplay goal last year. One powerplay goal is exactly the same number that Greg Campbell had. The issue is not just his lack of production, but how bad what little production he had really is. Campbell saw a bare 17 minutes of powerplay time. Pouliot was on the ice for four times that. Campbell even managed to add an assist in his powerplay time, Pouliot, not so much.
So here we sit, a week into free agency. All indications point to Marc Savard not being on the ice to start the season. The top points producers from last years powerplay are gone. A roster spot has been filled by a chronic underperformer with less career goals than one of the players lost had just last regular season, his worst full season to date. What are we to expect? A full season going by with teams hacking away at our best players because they know the powerplay is no threat? Should we expect Claude Julien for all his other strengths to suddenly take untested prospects and make them the movers and shakers of the powerplay? And if so, which ones? The Providence Bruins last year had a powerplay that was not only the worst in the AHL but five percent more useless than Boston’s. I suppose its possible Julien will take an entirely different route from what has won him coach of the year awards both the AHL and NHL, and most recently allowed him to hoist the Stanley Cup with his team. I don’t see it, but sure, we could very well spend the year watching Maxime Suave and Jordan Caron getting two plus minutes a night of powerplay time. I think we’re just as likely to see Tyler Seguin lead the team in fighting majors at the end of the season as to see that, but it is possible.