Are the Montreal Canadiens a legit Stanley Cup contender?
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01-07-2014, 08:57 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: victoria bc
I'm not a GM or coach, not even close but I can still dissect a team and figure out that the Habs aren't in the running for the Stanley Cup this season. Price is definitely ready as is Subban, Markov & Emelin on defence, the forward strength is lacking though and that's the biggest flaw. The defence is passable with a solid forward group (the depth at forward is a C+) combine that with (a defence of B/B-) and (a goalie strength A/A+).
Either the defence needs a big boost 3rd or 4th Dman that could sub for a #2, or the forward group needs another top center and upgrades on 2-3 wingers. That's a lot of needs, the depth of which the Habs haven't yet developed. Given a couple years more development, no serious injuries(career ending or retirement Markov)and the Habs will be serious contenders IMHO.
The Habs are overmatched by the "Elite Playoff Teams" at center, the most important position in possession during the playoffs. On defence the Habs 2nd pairing isn't close unless their forward ranks are superior to the opposing team defensively. This is significant in that Plekanec usually plays against the Top line with the first pairing. Leaving Pacioretty's line with DD and Gallagher playing with the 2nd pairing, nullifying their offence and not making up for the lack of a true 2nd pairing. Eller is a quality center with Galchenyuk and Prust but not quite experienced enough to carry that load and produce offence. The 4th line is adequate when Bournival is on it but inexperience is a factor again.
IMHO the Habs are a couple of years away from the finals and the depth/experience isn't there yet.
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