The Montreal Canadiens had what many considered to be an abysmal year this past season, dropping from first in the Atlantic Division at the time of netminder Carey Price’s injury to a lottery spot by the end of the year.
As a result. the team has done some shaking up of things.
They started by dealing defenseman and Norris Trophy winner PK Subban to the Nashville Predators for Nashville’s captain, fellow defenseman Shea Weber. They also added polarizing pest Andrew Shaw, citing ‘winning culture’ during his time with the Chicago Blackhawks as a reason for bringing him on board.
Now, in keeping with their seemingly character-driven moves, they’ve also reportedly walked away from the team’s analytics specialist.
Montreal hired Hockey Prospectus stats guru Matt Pfeffer to work as an analytics consultant at the start of the 2015-16 season. Just one year later, his contract has expired – and it sounds like the team isn’t bringing him back. Eric Engels of Sportsnet reported that the team would not be renewing his deal, instead stepping away from their fairly new hire after just one season of work.
The Canadiens could have a number of reasons for this move. There’s a chance that they want to bring on a different analytics consultant next year – after all, things didn’t go well last year.
There’s also the chance that general manager Marc Bergevin and head coach Michel Therrien weren’t taking any of Pfeffer’s advice into consideration in the first place, leaving the team with the decision that they’d rather spend money elsewhere if Pfeffer wasn’t being utilized to begin with.
For a team that sorely needs to see things turn around, though, losing their analytics consultant – which is seemingly a step backwards – isn’t necessarily news that can be applauded.