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The 2017 Habs Preview

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jammer2    4,673

 I was just saying to a co-worker the other day, I'm interested to see how Bergevin wiggles out of the awkward position he put himself in. Not a big fan of trading Belieau at all, much less for a measly 3rd round draft pick. That kid was worth a 1st all day long. Shocking to see him go for a 3rd rounder....really awful use of an asset there!! 


 The Habs overpaid for Karl Alzner, but he is a dependable top 4 guy, who helps solidify the iffy group that will be playing in front of newly signed Carey Price. If no further trades are made, the Habs will have some surprising depth on offense and a reasonable blue line corps. 



1st line

Johnathan Drouin/Philip Daneault/Galchenyuk


I figure Daneault is the right guy to put between these two snipers. The other option Plekanec is not nearly as creative. Daneault can get these guys the puck and has above average moves and vision. He's the guy for this important job on the Habs. Not ideal, but he is the most creative C they have. He wins the top line assignment by default. Daneault can/should be a very sneaky late round fantasy pick. If he sticks with these guys, you might be looking at a surprise 70 pt season....who knows?  


2nd line


Max Pacorietty/Thomas Plecanek/Ales Hemsky


A sneaky good add by Bergevin, to secure Hemsky's serives for one year and one mill....a bargain any way you slice it. He's a talented top 6 guy who should make a respectable impact if used in the Habs top 6, which I suspect will be his landing spot. No long term commitiment, and if he sucks (which he won't) most of the contract can be buried in the A with no real cap danger. Plekanec gets this #2 gig by defeault, but I really like Petr Holland and he could move Thomas down the depth chart with some strong play. I have always thought Holland was underrated, he can really prove himself this coming year AND increase his value for new suitors eventually. Max will mesh well with these two. 


3rd line


Paul Byron/Petr Holland/Brendan Gallagher


This has the potential to be one of the better scoring 3rd lines in the league if it all goes right. Holland can put up 20 with solid linemates, which these two are. Byron has some nice wheels and Gallagher's front of the net presence will be dangerous with these two linemates. 


4th line


Daniel Carr/Torey Mitchell/Andrew Shaw


This is where the Habs forward depth really sticks out. Carr, Shaw and Mitchell are fast, rugged, hard nosed and terrific forecheckers. Carr and Shaw will (and probably should) be moved up and down the linemate and like a lot of Habs wingers....they are versatile and can play any role from checker to a complimentary piece in the top 6. Lots of options here for Coach Julien. 


 Left out forwards


A lot of the guys left out have one common thread, the Habs have not drafted forwards all that well in recent history. 

1)Jacob De La Rose....checker, limited scoring, only average speed...can win a spot on the Oct Habs but will need a huge camp. A make or break year for him. 

2)Stephan Matteau.....French, so he is never out of the running...LOL!

3)Dwight King...a past his prime checker whose skating is getting worse.

4)Atturi Lehkonen....showed some real flare, will be shuttled in and out of the line up....nice upside.

5)Nikita Scherbak...a promising young scorer, may need more AHL time, but the talent is there...

6)Michael McCarron...a former 1st rounder who is very close to being labeled a bust, a huge year for him, a make or break kinda year. 

7)Charles Hudon.....I know the Habs are high on this kid, just don't know how close he is, but part of the future, yeah. 

8)Jermiah Addisson.....Know him well, played for my hometown Spits on their Memorial Cup winning squad. Honestly, they don't win that trophy without the valuable contributions of Addisson. A real sleeper who could use a year in the AHL, but his skating, tenactiy (his REAL calling card) and skill should have him playing some type of Habs role in the 2018 season. A year away, but worth the wait for this ultra feisty kid. 




1st Pairing


1)Shea Weber and Andri Markov....assuming the Habs give into his contract demands, do they really have a choice?  No one out there that can supply his kind of offense, even for an old man.


2nd Pairing


2)Karl Alzner and Jordie Benn....a decent yet unspectacular 2nd pairing. The Habs are not deep on defense. 


3rd Pairing


3)Jeff Petry and Brandon Davidson.....I suppose Petry could be interchanged with Benn on the 2nd pairing, but this look give the d a tad more depth. Davidson makes the team cause Bergevin traded Deharnais (a fairly valuable asset) for him, so the GM looks bad if he misses the final roster, which means he makes it....LOL!


Just left out...


1)Noah Julsson....a strong camp can do wonders for this kid. An offense first kinda dman who is getting better in his own end. Can skate in the NHL right now, the mental part will determine his fate this year, but tremendous upside. Did not look out of place on Canada's World Jr team. 

2)Zach Redmond....always liked this cat, nice skater, smart and plays within his means....nice shot also. A solid #7 guy who can force someone in the top 6 out with consistent play. 

3)Joe Morrow....former Pens first rounder has never really made an impact, don't expect it to start now. 

4)David Schlemko....decent depth guy. 

5)Brett Learnot....had a nice WHL career, not a lot of offense, but the 2014 3rd rounder is big (6'4 and 220lbs) AND a whole lotta nasty. This trait could move him up the pro ranks quickly, cause the Habs have little to no toughness on D except for Weber, who you really don't want fighting. One to watch here. 




1)Carey Price....world's best goalie?  He is at least in the running and in his prime. Another injury and we can start to label him injury prone though....he needs to stay healthy to earn this big( but deserved) raise.


2)Al Montoya....was lights out to start the year, struggled later on, then rebounded a bit. Hab's must have seen enough to like him for the back up job once again. 


3 Charlie Lindgren....signed as an NCAA free agent, posted really solid numbers last year. Might push for playing time in the NHL as the year wears on. Potentially the first call up in case of goalie ememrgency. 


4)Zachery Fucale....former starting goalie for the Canadians World Juniors team....he was anointed early and like so many Canadian WJ goalies, has failed to live up to expectations. A big make or break year for Fucale, he risks getting by passed in the org if his AHL numbers are not very good. 


5)Michael McNevin....this is the guy who might squeeze Fucale out of the org. He was one of the better goalies in the OHL last year and the 4 year starter is graduating to the pro ranks next year. A good SOLID prospect for a team with wonderful riches in net, both NHL and prospects wise. A kid to keep an eye on, he's the real deal. Had a nice 17 game run for the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL playoffs, before falling to eventual champs Erie Otters. Average size, 6'1 which is small for today's goalies, but he's quick as hell. 



Edited by jammer2

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yave1964    1,779



Great write up on the Canadiens, I was just gonna post an offseason review of the team but yours about covers it. A few things:


Steit may land there if Markov doesnt sign, I dont like the defense in Montreal a bit even tho Weber is one of my favorite players for anyone. Benn sucks, Alzner was a good signing but has zero offensive ability and Petry is what he is. a very ordinary defense that does not look to be a playoff caliber one.


  Price signed that mega deal, they do have Fucale as trade bait when someone loses a goalie. He could be used to fill a hole.


 Danault is not now and never has been and never will be a number 1C on any team ever, period- end of story. He is a late bloomer who might have a meh career floating in the middle six but that is about it. Byron WAAAYYYY punched above his weight class and is certain to slip this year. Chucky and Drouin are likely going to slot into the 1C and 2C roles at some point and I think it is a stretch for not one but both.


  Overall the loss of Radulov (and likely Markov) Sergachev being sent out, losing Beaulieau and Emelin who are both steady performers all without truly addressing the gaping crater at 1C leaves last seasons division winner as an also ran. Price makes any team a playoff contender, as currently assembled that is it, at best (and fifty fifty that) they could be a first round cannon fodder for a real team to tune up against. They are just as likely to miss the playoffs altogether.

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jammer2    4,673
13 hours ago, yave1964 said:

 Danault is not now and never has been and never will be a number 1C on any team ever, period- end of story. He is a late bloomer who might have a meh career floating in the middle six but that is about it. Byron WAAAYYYY punched above his weight class and is certain to slip this year. Chucky and Drouin are likely going to slot into the 1C and 2C roles at some point and I think it is a stretch for not one but both.



 I'm pretty sure the Habs don't like Chucky at Center. He does seem like a square peg in a round hole there. Last year was the first time Drouin took more than 20 face offs in a season and was a miserable 96 wins to 126 losses...plus, Drouin seems an awful lot like a natural winger. Still, something has to give here, cause if the Habs want to maximize their talent, they need a center that can actually score with consistency. 


 Daneault was kinda streaky, and I agree with you, he's not a 1C, but he may get handed 2C by default unless somebody really steps up. You almost wonder if there will be chemistry problems moving forward. As far as the top pp goes, we know it will be Chucky, Paxioretty, Drouin and Weber on the top unit. The 5th guy could be Markov if he resigns....if not, don't think the 5th guy would be a dman...maybe Gallaher sneaks on the top pp with an out front net presence? If Markov does not resign, Streit may be signed and get the other gig on the top pp. Figuring out who that elusive 5th guy will be will be very important fantasy wise. 

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