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05-22-2013, 02:48 PM
Talks to Goalposts
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Edmonton
Country: Canada
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Originally Posted by MXD View Post
Plekanec is not a first line center, that's the problem.

No problem with him on the second or even the third line, but slotting him at first center for future pretty much screams "we will suck".

Oh, as the postcount... That kind of comments usually follows Bantam-material Sophistry.
Plekanec has been the best center on two divison winners and a ECF team. In his prime years as the Habs most talented centerman the team has only missed the playoffs once.

You could say that him as the best center means the Habs won't be the very elite of the league but to imply that him as the top center means the Habs will in fact "suck" is needless hyperbole. That's the logic of "there are 5 or 6 good teams in the league and everyone else sucks." If you want to think that way its your prerogative, but I think that it needless sorts the league into "top team" and "everyone else" which isn't really productive.

What having Plekanec as the top C actually means is that the team won't have a comparative advantage at that position relative to the rest of the league. In this role he's not the reason for winning but That they will be at best somewhere in the middle 10 at that position and success will depend on having comparative advantages elsewhere in the lineup.

In summary, saying he's not a first line center uses the first line center term in a way that isn't particularly useful. He obviously can play that role in a lineup to a moderate amount of success. Equally obviously, he's not a particularly desirable player to have in that roster spot, being of the average variety rather than the elite. Obviously the team would be better if you upgraded at the position, but that also discribes many points in the lineup. Adding an elite winger or defenseman to the mix would also be effective.

As of right now, the Habs are relatively strong but not dominant at center due to superior depth, but it isn't has great as their advantage of having an elite two-way defenseman as their number one and very strong depth at wing. Beyond Subban the team doesn't really have generally elite skaters relative to their position anywhere in the lineup (They have players elite at particular things, like Markov on the PP, Plekanec on the PK, Pacioretty on ES) so upgrading at any point in the depth chart is desirable. Getting a better top C is one way, but its also something of a pipedream, as a rule of recent history, truly elite Cs don't change teams, the guys that move are no more valuable than Pleks. If he gets surpassed in the depth chart, the overwhelming likelihood its because somebody inside the organization got better than him.

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