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Looking Ahead: Karl Alzner

August 24, 2019, 5:20 PM ET [11 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
While I am by no means a fan of TVA Sports, I must admit that the interview that they published with Karl Alzner was quite interesting content. For all of you French speakers, you might want to have a look here:

For all of you English speakers, I'll do my best to convey the highlights. First and foremost, Karl Alzner says that he still doesn't know what went wrong last season. He felt good on the ice in the games he played and since he didn't get an exit interview, he's still somewhat puzzled. He did speak with Joel Bouchard for a couple of minutes at the end of the season but he wasn't exactly to get much insight as to his future from that chat. No one can say that Alzner is not a nice guy though, he goes out of his way to say that Bouchard just has to be coaching in the NHL one day because, and I quote; "my experience was amazing. Joel really gets it and remembers what it's like to be a player in the NHL. He's super transparent and will tell you how it is. He'll build you up when you deserve to be and will also tell you when what you're doing is wrong".

While he's a nice guy though, he remains first and foremost a hockey player who wants to play at the highest level. Contrarily to what I thought, Alzner says that he didn't request a trade last season but should the Canadiens intend to bury him in the AHL this season, he will be making sure that his voice is heard. He was however opened to a trade last season when he saw that the writing was on the wall. Alzner wants to play the game and be coached himself...He has no desire to be a mentor and coach a load of guys up to the big league. He's aware that at 31 he doesn't have that many years left as a hockey player and wants to make the most of those. At the same time, he's also aware that his contract makes him somewhat hard to trade given the fact that many teams are up against the cap.

Last season, Alzner played 9 games with the Canadiens the last of which came on the 10th of January before being returned to Laval. Has he got a chance to find a niche in Montreal this season? Well, I sure wouldn't bet on it. I very much doubt it. Unfortunately, Alzner is not made for today's NHL and it's highly unlikely that he would be preferred to any of the penciled in top 6 or even top 8 d-men at the blue line: Weber, Mete, Chiarot, Petry, Juulsen, Kulak, Folin and Reilly. As things stand, the top 6 should look like this (considering the comments made after Chiarot's signing):

Mete - Weber
Chiarot - Petry
Kulak - Juulsen

Even if he was to maybe be able to crack the bottom pairing, how would it make sense to pay a bottom pairing defenseman $4 625 000 for a job that Kulak and Juulsen can do for a lot less money? Of course, the Canadiens have the cap space to do it if they want to but why would they? Both Kulak and Juulsen are younger at 25 and 22 years old respectively and fit much better in the team's future plans. Furthermore, when you have youngsters on cheap contracts on your third pairing, you kind of expect them to make mistakes but if you have a 31 years old veteran on there being paid upwards of $4 M to play there? You demand more and rightfully so...problem is, Alzner cannot now deliver more.

The chances of seeing Alzner wearing the Habs' jersey this season are rather slim at best and I dare say the odds of seing him traded are just as slim...with that kind of contract and that kind of playing style, I strongly believe that if Bergevin had been able to trade him, it would have been done already. The more likely outcome, unfortunately for Alzner, is that he will spend another season in Laval and be bought out come the offseason.

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