Well boys, this is it. The Northeast division is nearing the home stretch of the first phase of the Division Cup. By my count it took us 2 1/2 weeks to breeze through 22 rounds... Not bad!
So with that the are proud to round out their roster by selecting seasoned checking specialist LW Rob Zamuner and promising two-way forward prospect LW/C Chris Higgins.
Montreal's current 22-man roster:
Knuble - Spezza - Alfredsson
Not bad. Knuble is in his prime and had a wonderful Swedish league season and will hopefully feed off of Spezza's playmaking wizardry and make space for him and Alffy to work their magic.
Dumont - Rolston/Smolinski - Afinogenov
Afinogenov showed what he can do at this year's Worlds. He'll provide the speed, while hopefully Dumont can provide the finish. Rolston will keep this line defensively honest and be the intelligent workhorse. Smolinski could step in to provide more offense and playmaking ability if need be.
Axelsson - Smolinski/Rolston - Kotalik/Zamuner
Inserting Rolston and Zamuner would make this a great checking line when holding a lead. But I've built my team around balanced defence and pride myself in the defensive acumen of all four lines. Smolinski could provide great faceoff ability against the opposition's top centres and while Kotalik still has a lot to learn, he's showing good two-way potential in his youth, not to mention finishing ability which could provide this line with offense.
Ponikarovsky/Higgins - Begin - Zamuner/Kotalik
The fourth line will feature energy and youth. Begin is an absolute warrior, a winner, and the epitome of an NHL role-player. Higgins and Ponikarovsky, two natural centres, have loads of potential, both offensive and defensive, not to mention exemplary work ethic and drive. There is no 'goon' on this team, but plenty of toughness, grit, and determination.
Chara - Phillips
Chara is a big-minute norris-calibre beast entering his prime, while Phillips has battled inconsistency and lofty expectations, but is a legit top-four on any team who could let loose knowing he has the Big Slovak to back him up. These two are natural partners.
McGillis - Jillson
The underrated UFA McGillis is the elder-statesman of this defensive-corps and will certainly prove his worth with many suitors when the free-agent frenzy begins in the re-launched NHL. Jillson is improving by leaps and bounds with every game and has good puck-moving, offensive potential.
Tallinder/Berg - Komisarek
A trio of promising youngsters who all have top-four potential. All will go through growing pains early on but are good representatives of this defensive group as a whole: big, young, punishing, and mobile. Tallinder is steady. Given time Komisaerk will become a beast to make Chara proud. Berg is another huge man with surprisingly good skating ability. Has his lapses and could be more consistent, but the level of heart on this team will be contageous and he won't be permitted to loaf around if he wants playing time, surrounded by so many hungry, promising youngsters.
A proven CUP CHAMPION who, when healthy, can steal a game all by himself. Is nearing his twilight years but could still take any team on an extended run, and could a take team as defensively savvy as this one all the way to the Cup. Has the ability to get into the opposition's head. With this group of players in front of him he won't be bombarded night-in-and-night-out and won't be burnt out come playoff time. Can tutor the young up-and-coming Miller.
Is ready for the challenge of the next step. Has been a dominant performer in College and the AHL and is ready to prove he's worth the hype at the NHL level. Is known for his somewhat unorthodox style but when he's on, he has the Belfour-esque ability to dominate a game and frustrate opposing snipers. Is also known as a 'sponge', a fast learner who is very coachable. He'll be learning from one of the best in Eddie the Eagle.
Jillson can QB the second unit effectively and has the potential to develop into a 1st unit PP QB. Alfredsson can QB the 1st unit and is one of the league's best forwards at manning the point on the PP. Also Chara is often used as a forward on the PP to create havoc in front of the opposition's net. He's virtually impossible to move and displays decent deflection prowess.
I would argue that I've assembled some of the best penalty killers in the league and predict both PK units will be dominant with the ability to rack up short-handed offensive opportunities and give the opposition fits. Loads of smarts, discipline, speed, grit, toughness, heart, and determination.
Take your pick up front from Rolston, Axelsson, Knuble, Alfredsson, Zamuner, Begin, and Higgins. On the back-end Chara will have no problem double-shifting on both units. McGillis is steady while Phillips and Berg are more than competent. Of the youngsters Komisarek shows monstrous potential on the PK once he learns to pick his spots better, which will come with time and experience.
Daniel Alfredsson with the heart of a lion, led Frolunda to a Swedish championship this year and is the heart-and-soul of a Senators' club poised to make a Cup run when the NHL is re-launched.
Rolston, Phillips, and Chara could all wear letters. Solid veteran leadership and experience comes from Knuble, McGillis, Zamuner, and Smolinski. Ed Belfour has been through the battles. Even Dumont and Berg have briefly worn letters.
Several youngsters display exemplary leadership intagibles, like Komisarek, Higgins, and Spezza. Begin might never wear a letter but will wear his heart on his sleeve and lead by example.
Last edited by katodelder: 06-10-2005 at 10:33 PM.