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Christian Dvorak not much use in training

This morning, the Canadiens became the 26th team in the NHL to score the most goals so far this season: 76. That’s not a lot.

Since the team also ranks second in goals scored by defensemen(21, behind the Avalanche at 23), you’ll understand that the CH inevitably ranks last in the entire league in goals scored by its forwards, guys generally paid to produce offensively. Houston, we have a problem!

(Credit: StatMuse.com)

Suzuki and Monahan have 8, Caufield and Newhook have 7, Gallagher has 5… and everyone else has 4 or less. And there are already 28 games played!

It’s important to be good without the puck when you’re a forward, but it’s just as important with the puck…

My goal today, however, is not to repeat that Cole Caufield needs to be more productive, that Josh Anderson still hasn’t beaten a goalie or that Juraj Slafkovsky has just two goals in 28 games…

It’s Christian Dvorak who’s been giving me the heebie-jeebies for the past few games.

Dvorak is the fifth-highest-paid forward this season ($5.725 million), as well as having the fifth-highest cap hit on the team ($4.45 million). Except that in the stats column, Dvorak isn’t ranked nearly as high as that.

Dvorak is the team’s 18th top scorer – all positions combined – with one goal. No fewer than five defenders have more goals than him in 2023-24… and no player who has played at least 18 games (his total) has scored fewer goals than him (one). It’s a wrap!

Points-wise, it’s hardly better: Dvorak is the team’s 13th-highest scorer (5).

Dvorak hasn’t beaten a goalie since November 7, i.e. in 16 games. And he’s collected just two points in his last 10 games!

That’s a far cry from Phillip Danault and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the two players he came to Montreal to replace… and from whom he was said to be better in the hours following his acquisition by Marc Bergevin. Let’s just say that his vaunted talent as a passer didn’t follow him to Quebec…

“Max, you’re acting in bad faith! Dvorak is good defensively! He’s important to the team.” – Someone, somewhere

Dvorak has a negative differential(minus-3) even though he plays on the third pair (alongside defensive players such as Brendan Gallagher). He doesn’t even face the best opposing defenders, especially on the road.

Montreal’s penalty kill is the fourth worst in the NHL this season. Need I remind you that Dvorak is an integral part of this special unit?

All four players on the ice have to show extraordinary commitment to succeed when down a man. Let’s just say that Dvorak and commitment are similar in sound, but not in definition

And in any case, it’s not “defensive attacking talent” that we need most right now, it’s raw offensive talent.

If Dvorak was as important as some claim, the Habs wouldn’t have let him sit on the LTIR for weeks on end, even though he was training hard before training camp opened and was ready to play in October.

As long as guys like Dvorak get minutes and a quality role in the line-up, the team will tread water in its progress. Veterans need to help the team AND show the younger players the way. I’m not sure Dvorak is the guy you’d most like to model your younger players on.

What good is he, if not to fill a jersey in the meantime? At the very least, Gallagher, Savard, Allen and company help to establish a certain culture within the dressing room. If you know the answer to my question, you know where to find me.

In short

– A man of the people.

– Suspension in the AHL.

– Josh Anderson still hasn’t scored since his empty-net goal.[La Presse]

– A suit that leaves a lasting impression.

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– A warrior.

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