Friday, December 10, 2010


Philippe Paradis has 27 points in 27 games with PEI this season.
Is Philippe Paradis the missing piece of the puzzle?

He may be for the Montreal Juniors who are currently sitting in 2nd place of the QMJHL standings with 52 points through 32 games played, only 2 points behind the league leading Saint John Sea Dogs. Montreal boasts a record of 24 wins, 4 losses and 4 overtime losses.

Paradis is enjoying offensive success with the PEI Rocket this season. Through 27 games he has scored 13 goals, 14 assists, 27 points, 28 PIMS and +14 plus/minus rating. The Rocket, however, haven't been as successful as a team and are currently hovering around the bottom third of the QMJHL standings, sitting in 12th place among the league's 18 teams.

Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes during the first round (27th overall) of the 2009 NHL entry draft, Paradis has since had his NHL rights traded twice. In December of 2009 Paradis' rights were dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Jari Tlusty. Then, after signing a 3 years entry level contract with the Leafs Paradis' rights were dealt again, this time to the Chicago Blackhawks as part of the compensation the Leafs swapped in order to land Kris Versteeg.

Knowing Paradis is a '91 born player and coupled with the fact that he will likely turn pro next season means the 6'2", 205 pound left winger's name will likely be mentioned in trade rumours during the next few weeks. If the PEI Rocket were a contender they would hold onto Paradis, but since this isn't the case we can expect his services to be shopped around the Q with various contending teams.

But why would Montreal want to acquire Paradis when their roster already includes a long list of talented top six capable forwards like Leblanc, Lefebvre, Parkes, Aubry, Chouinard, Gouchie and Rose? The answer is this. Paradis would add an element to the Juniors forward group which they are lacking; an intense (sometimes reckless) and physical forward who can score at a point per game pace.

The current group of top six forwards work hard to finish their checks. Nobody here says they're ain't doing a good job of that, because they are. But guys like Parkes, Aubry and Lefebvre are predictable when finishing their checks. Paradis is not.

For example, last month I went to Drummondville to watch game 2 of the Subway Series between Team QMJHL and Team Russia. During the 3rd period I witnessed Paradis destroy a Russian defenseman with a clean open ice hit. The result; for the rest of that game the Russians were both unfocused and indiscipline. The Paradis hit completely threw the Russian off their game. They wanted revenge against Paradis and Paradis didn't back down. He continued to hit hard and drove the Russian defensemen bonkers while driving their net after each and every whistle. He took punches to his face after the whistle which led to a couple of Russians players to receive minor penalties.

His style reminds me of Jean-Sebastien Berube who played in Rouyn Noranda the past few years. Another comparison is Danick Paquette who played in Lewiston and Quebec City during the last couple of seasons. Both of these players kept their opponents heads on a swirl because of their intimidating physical play and both were capable of putting up solid offensive numbers.

In summary, Paradis changed the tone of that game. He plays on the edge and it makes his opponents loose their focus. His style of play can benefit any contender and it's style of which the Montreal Juniors are currently lacking.

So if the Montreal Juniors try to acquire Paradis, what will be the Rockets' asking price? That's not an easy question to answer but let's take a shot at it anyways.

Looking at next season and beyond PEI has needs at every position. Therefore the question becomes less about what PEI want and more about what Montreal has to offer....and is it enough?

Every seller will ask the Juniors about Xavier Ouellet in terms of acquiring the stud d-man prospect for next season (similar to how Montreal's return for Jake Allen arrived the season after they dealt him to Drummondville last January). But Ouellet has 2 more years of playing in the junior ranks and is arguably already more valuable than Paradis so don't expect that type of deal to occur. The Juniors won't deal away the 2 best junior years of Ouellet for a few months of Paradis. No way that's happening.

So what else is available?

On defense, perhaps one of Montreal's three underrated defensemen (Provost, Narbonne and Micallef) would be of interest to the Rocket. Each rearguard has played a vital role for the Juniors this season and are the 3 best kept secrets in the league. In Montreal they act as the number 5, 6 and 7 defensemen however elsewhere they could fill a top 3 or 4 defense spot, if given the chance. Coach Pascal Vincent will probably want to keep all three players on his roster for the playoff push but all could be made available as compensation starting next June. Provost, Narbonne and Micallef were all born in 1992 and are therefore considered 18 years olds allowing their playing availability to last for at least 1 more season. Maybe 2 more if either were to play as overagers.

At the forward position Montreal has a few young assets that could be of interest to PEI. Jean-Christophe Laflamme (17), Michael Clarke (17) and Olivier Roy (16) are likely the club's best young forwards who can each play for another 2-4 seasons. Similar to Provost, Narbonne and Micallef, none of these players have played in enough games or enjoyed enough ice time to demonstrate their true abilities because of the fact that they're stuck lower down on the Juniors depth of the downsides of being a good young player on a contending team.

In terms of draft picks, Montral already dealt away their 1st rounder last summer as part of the deal to acquire Louis Leblanc's rights. In that deal they acquired Chicoutimi's 3rd rounder in 2011 therefore they still have 3 picks in the top 3 rounds to use as trade bait.

Perhaps a combination of 3 or 4 of these assets is what it would take to lure Paradis away from the Rocket? Maybe more. The word around the league is that this year's crop of players on the trade market is less than last year's group which could mean that the price for a guy like Paradis drives up higher than expected......ever hear of supply and demand?

As for now we'll have to wait and see.

In other potential trade news....there are rumours that Patrick Roy and the Quebec Remparts are about to make a move to acquire a very significant 20 year old player. Will watch that situation over the next few days.


No comments:

Post a Comment