"Nowhere" is a very revealing place. Before the bar was raised to Stanley Cup or bust, most anti-roster posters were satisfied to derisively point out that in their opinion, the team would never get past the first round, and that real success only starts with getting past two rounds.
Now that we have done that, and not only winning two rounds but winning them against the TWO favourite teams in the Conference, it turns into "nowhere". The grass is greener elsewhere, always, for these people. "The Habs backed into the playoffs" - yeah, but the Flyers got in even later and were fifth with three weeks to go. "The Habs were lucky to win the two series, seven-gamers can go either way" - yeah, and the Flyers getting an OT win in Game 4 against Boston and then some PP help in Game 7 were not also lucky?
Fact is, that the COMBINATION of Gomez and Plekanec is one of the best combinations in the league. Yes, Crosby and Malkin are better, but the TOP TWO LINES of the Habs are better overall, since the Pens have ZERO good wingers. The Pens series proved that even relying on just 4 top-6 forwards actually producing is better than relying on 2 elite top-3 forwards.
A healthy and improving Pouliot, a healthy Kostitsyn or another guy replacing him and his $3.25M on the roster, a full year of Subban, and the players that we can add as soon as Hamrlik's contract is a thing of the past, which is at most one year away, could conceivably take us over the top.
Of course, it is almost ALWAYS a safer bet to put your money on NOT winning the Cup than winning it - when there are 30 teams. It doesn't take a lot of sharpness to take that easy way out.
You can't possibly truly feel it to be valid to compare the Flyers luck with the Canadiens. Can you?
Flyers were my pick at the start of the year to win the cup (although, I was basing this on a bounce back from Emery which was not the case). I can list the names to compare the cores but I'm sure we all know the differences. All this to say that most of time, teams that make it to the finals are the ones regarded with a good chance on paper. There's usually a handful of such teams , or less ... and never are the habs included on that list. Flyers and Hawks surprisingly were on most peoples short list to make it.
The point of this thread is not to justify whether or not this team will be capable of competing - I don't doubt that. I want to know - are we going to be "regarded" as contenders?
Sure we can sign UFA's and such - but that's not how you plan to be a contender IMO. In fact, as far as UFA's go - Montreal will always be at a disadvantage do to our taxes and such. Will see if last year UFA's was the start of a new trend - still not convinced.
IMO, we need elite young talent to push-us over the top as you say.... I just don't see Gomez and Plekanec leading the way. Strength down the middle defines the top 6 / core IMO. Don't most SC winners have a superstar down the middle?
Will we get this elite young talent - history says no if you pick 27th.
Again, this is not "are we going to be competitive and perhaps pull an upset " thread.
This is about whether or not our prestigious hockey team will be considered as a "favourite" for once in a very long time! We deserve a team that belongs on everyones short list of favorites - not a team that gets through the underdog way. ... IMO, locking-up Plekanec for the next 4 years or more will solidify our chances of making the playoffs perhaps more often than not (maybe others disagree) ... but it certainly does not make us a contender ---- unless, of course - we find our stud center and Gomez becomes mr.7.3 3rd liner.... hard to conceive this in a cap-era though.
We went over this a few weeks ago Trotter is not a Center he plays wing replace him with Desh on the 4th line. and in order for us to get these new FA's like marleau and pouliot's estranged twin brother playing on your third line one of the goalies would have to be traded and also say buh bye to Hall gill. You say we can win the cup with better defense, well i would not call this an improvement on dee what so ever