Question Mark over the Montreal Canadiens Powerplay
The Vanek Effect
|Montreal Canadiens Powerplay|
Since signing veteran forward Thomas Vanek at the trade deadline Montreal's powerplay efficiency has taken a massive dip. In 64 games prior to Vanek joining the habs Montreal had scored 41 powerplay goals on 213 attempts, an efficieny of 19.2%. Over the last 18 regular season and 3 playoff games Montreal has mainly been using Vanek in conjunction with top goal scorer Max Pacrioretty, David Desharnais, PK Subban and Markov as it's primary powerplay unit. In that time they have only scored 8 times on 77 attempts, an efficiency of 10.4% despite getting more opportunities per game by almost 1 (4.3 afterVanek trade compared with 3.3 before).
Daniel Briere enjoyed his most successful powerplay years with the Buffalo Sabres playing alongside Thomas Vanek. During their two seasons together with the Sabres he scored 58 powerplay points, an average of 0.45 per game. Since then he has scored 108 powerplay points in 7 seasons, at an average of 0.25 per game. Daniel Briere has had limited opportunities playing for the Canadiens in 2013/14 and has spent much of the time he has played on the 4th line. Could it be time for Therrien to stick him on the powerplay with Vanek?
Suppose Therrien were to play Desharnais and Pacioretty with Gallagher on one powerplay line, withVanek and Briere together on the other with one of Borque, Plekanec, Gionta, Bournival or Galchenyuk (when he is fit), what would the effect be on Montreal's ailing powerplay efficiency?
- images courtesy of Getty Images & NHL.com