The Montreal Juniors have extended the contract of general manager and head coach Pascal Vincent until the end of the 2012-2013 season.
With over 350 career victories behind the bench in the Q and at only 39 years old Vincent is well connected around the league and respected by his players.
At times last year it was frustrating watching the Juniors and I was starting to question Vincent's preference for player-types on his rosters, mainly due to the lack of size at the forward position.
At one point last season it seemed like every second Montreal forward was listed under 5'10". Eliezer Sherbatov at 5'7", Loik Poudrier and Matthew Brenton at 5'8" and David Rose at 5'9" accounted for 4 of Montreal's 9 forwards on the top 3 lines. While that's a large number of vertically challenged players on any team, it still doesn't consider Nicolas Choinard at 5'10", Jeremy Gouchie and Guillaume Asselin at 5'11".
While I don't have anything against smaller players, I believe in a having a diversified group of forwards. Last year just seemed a bit too much on the small side.
To Vincent's credit he seems to have addressed the size issue during the off-season. Poudrier and Asselin were dealt while Brenton has retired from Junior hockey. Vincent filled these holes with the likes of 26 goal scorer Philippe Lefebvre and, if he plays, Canadiens prospect Louis Leblanc. Both players are listed at 6'0" respectively.
One of the areas in which Vincent has excelled is making moves as he has proven to be capable of pulling off major deals. Vincent acquired the rights to Angelo Esposito in 2008 and both Charles-Olivier Roussel and Louis Leblanc in 2010. Flipping Luke Adam to Cape Breton in exchange for Nicolas Choinard and a 1st round pick in 2009 (Xavier Ouellet) wasn't too bad of a deal either. Transferring the asset value of Jake Allen in 2009 into Philippe Lefebvre and Charles Landry for the 2010 season was another smart deal.
The true test for Vincent will be to convince Louis Leblanc to play for the Juniors next season. If he's able to do that we'll improve his GM rating from a B+ to A-.