Summer Reading - SCH's Season Review: The Free Agent D-Man Who Was Treated Like A Prospect And Now He's Dizzy So We Don't Know Anything

Ok, the widgets aren't available today, so we'll have to do Montador's stats by hand.

2011-2012: 52GP - 5G - 9A -14P - +4 - 45PIM

Here's what I know about Monty. Last summer, the Hawks were in the market for a rugged, third pairing d-man who could provide some stability, minutes, and physicality and could play enough minutes to give the top pairs the break they needed. Montador was the best available in that category, and Stan Bowman jumped on him to get him before the market doors opened.

And then Joel Quenneville started him at forward his first game. That pretty much sums it up. Oh, and then he got concussed and wasn't seen from February on. So we're pretty much where we started, except now he's banged up and we don't know if he'll ever be healthy.

The Good: Well, the fact that he didn't pass out from confusion at being punted to forward in the opener and then a long stretch there on the power play. And actually, Monty made his time at forward on the man-advantage, as inexplicable as it was, somewhat work. He did it by getting to the high slot, which for some reason everyone else on the team except Dave Bolland ignored. Monty also displayed a booming shot from the point which he could actually get through. Maybe not as much snarl as we thought we'd see, but more than most were giving on the Hawks. Love to tell you what he provided on the penalty kill, but he never got a chance.

The Bad: A great deal of this will probably end up being about how Monty was handled. But first off, there were some things that Montador did to himself. When Seabrook and Keith missed a couple games earlier in the year, and Montador was given a higher role than the third pair, he looked awfully jumpy. Bad pinches, silly decisions, it wasn't pretty. Small sample size, but still not as encouraging as you'd like. Could get goofy in his own end too, but how good was he supposed to look when he spent a lot of time paired with John Scott, and Sean O'Donnell was the best he could hope for? But mostly, it was his lack of presence on the penalty kill, which had nothing to do with him. He rarely cracked 12 minutes, even when 2, 7, and 8 were gasping for air. His big shot was needed on the power play point, and it rarely if ever got a look there. Looked slow at time, but he looked a fuckload of a lot faster than Scott who he was constantly having to cover for. And then the concussion problem started, as he came up for air briefly against New Jersey and then was banished back to the closet after one hit. This is the biggest worry.

Contract: 2.7M hit for three more years.

Stick Around Or Hit The Bricks: There's little choice here. Few teams are going to leap at a slightly overpaid third pairing d-man who has missed almost half a season with a concussion. And he's got a no-trade. So barring some miracle, Montador will be here next season, though I'm sure he wouldn't mind getting away from Quenneville (how many times am I going to write that in these reviews?). The biggest question is health. Montador missed two solid months, came back for that New Jersey game and then was gone for the rest of the year. There was some buzz about him skating on his own during the Phoenix series, but nothing much. We can't sit here and say that Montador is a definite to be there for camp, or the beginning of the season, or any of the season. No one knows.

If Montador is healthy, and if he can stay upright for more than five minutes, then it really depends on if Q can get over himself. Montador is a useful piece, or at least he should be. While his paycheck would tell you he should be counted on for more, there is what Montador can do and what he can't. Apparently, Quenneville got overly focused on the latter. He can be useful on the kill, he can man the third pair for 15 minutes a night. He can bomb shots from the point on the PP. He should be allowed to do all of these things, if only to keep the d-men above him from dying of exhaustion.