When Plek gets older and his production starts to decline, he'll probably make a great shutdown center for many years...
This is how I hope it turns out :
1st -> Galchenyuk (elite centerman)
2nd -> Eller (two-way threat)
3rd -> Plekanec (shutdown guy)
4th -> Leblanc (defensive specialist)*
*could be turned into a winger but would fit that role perfectly if he doesn't pan out offensively.
I would be more than surprise if Leblanc end up being a 4th Liner.
He did great and show good offensive flashes last season. People tend to forget that he was injured at the end of 2011 season and had surgery. I'm pretty sure during this summer he'll get extra pounds and will be stronger and get better. 10 pts in 41 games isn't that bad. Eller, being 1 year older, had 17 pts in 77 games while MaxPac at the same age had 11 pts in 34 games.
I just hope Leblanc will start the season in Hamilton this year as the 1rst center or winger on 1rst line. He would certainly improve faster than playing on 3rd line in Montreal.
By today's NHL standards it is. Forwards have been getting younger the past 5 years compared to 20 years ago.
It's almost pretty much a lock unless Galynchuk is a complete flop.
I began watching the Habs in the 1940s. There were no 23-man rosters. For many years teams dressed 11 forwards, 5 D men, and 1 goaltender and the games were much slower paced. The Habs used essentially 3 lines and spotted the 2 extra forwards and rotated the 5 Dmen. Of course, the top 4 Dmen played the most minutes. As for young players, they had to wait years in the minors unless they were extraordinarily talented. There were no free agents and the Habs could stockpile their talent. Players in their 30s were very common up to (and even past) the expansion from 6 NHL teams to 12 in 1967. When there were only 6 teams I didn't need a score card because I had memorized the names of every player in the league. I had heard about Jean Béliveau for several years before he finally signed with the Habs. The reason he didn't sign earlier was because he was making more in Québec than what the Habs were offering him.
Why not have roll 4 lines of Desharnais, Pleks, Eller and Galchenyuk in the future. Seems like having depth down the middle is essential to be competitive. Sure we won't have a grinding line, but we'd sure as hell be hard to play against when our "4th line" is two times more talented than the oppositions grinders. just sayin'