The Center position is not looking like a contender in the east, especially not for playoffs. Pick one small center, and trade everyone else. Even one small C is a liability in the playoffs, but for the sake of the argument.... Nothing in the AHL. Nothing yet drafted.
Defense. It has been a sore spot for over two years. There is not enough NHL beef with talent there. No way can a team win with Kaberle, Diaz, Weber, Campoli and nothing in the AHL which is NHL worthy.
These two main issues are the most pressing but certainly not the only two elements that need to be addressed before Montreal can be a contender. Until then, the best they can hope for is a 8th to 11th place team and an early playoff exit, if they make it.
we have no front line players on this team on defense and forward ...none
and you cant win crap without some top talent
Pleks...Cole... etc.. are decent top 6 ...nothing more
PK .. great talent ...but nowhere near a finished product
the kids upcoming ...love them all but do you trust this organization to develop
with our track record ?
problem is we have no core so when Kristo is ready who is he going to play with
a 35 year old Cole ? or a 32 year old washed up pleks ?
look at Boston Seguin comes in to a nice sheltered young core to work with with no pressure .
we cant xpect all these kids to play prominet roles with a poor support staff helping them along
Lack of top talent is what's killed us forever. No top ten scorers in the last 25 years? That's absolutely pathetic. Every other team that existed back then plus most of the expansion clubs that have come after, have at least ONE player who's done this. The freakin' Montreal Canadiens can't muster up ONE guy to crack the top ten in a quarter century? That is absolutely embarrassing. Without having one of the greatest goalies of all-time on our roster, we'd be looking at going on 30 years without a cup now.
Max, Price, Pk... great trio to build around. But we're kidding ourselves if we think that we're done. First, we don't know how good any of these three are going to be. And it would help a whole lot more if we got them more elite talent to play with.
It just seems like our fans want us to do the bare minimum to get to 8th and then just hope for a cup. It doesn't work that way...
Anything can happen. Parity's a female dog, but it's the name of the game these days. For all we know, everything could go right and we could win the division next year. Or strike out again. Or be middle of the pack.
I'm just happy this year is almost over.
Parity means that trade deadlines may no longer have the significance it had in years past.
Trade for / free agents
Two steady d/men,
One skilled top 6
Two bottom 6 with heart and soul and size.
A decent backup goalie just in case price doesn't become an elite goalie or can't carry the load. This team will match any other team
As much as I dislike your Price bashing, I find myself agreeing with you.
A real 4th line with Moen White and a Prust like player. A gritty and more physical 3rd line player to go along with Bourque and Pleks/Eller. Gomez and Gionta traded for a bigger center or winger (depending if we get one of the big Russian centers in the draft). And clear Weber, Campoli, Kaberle out of Montreal and replace them with two solid and rugged DMen who can play physical hockey.
That would make the Habs a very competitive team..........as long as we get a coach who believes in physical and aggressive play.
every effort should be made over next year+half to target a top-pairing dman to fill out the top 4, be it via trade or UFA.
IF Markov can make a relatively successful return, then a "lesser" guy like Stuart or Jackman would work, if not, Suter/Weber... Edler/Vlasic... those are the 4 guys with impending UFA status coming up that would make sense to target (or whatever top-pairing caliber dmen become available in trade talks).
Patches is solid as a top-line winger, and should continue to improve.
Cole/Gionta/Bourque/Moen gives us a solid complement of veteran top-9 wingers.
Leblanc/Geoffrion/Palushaj/Gallagher/Kristo give us a decent group of young top-9 wingers that should push those vets over the next 2-3 years
like on D, we need to aggressively target a top-line fwd to complement this group.
Parise & Perry are the only two impending UFA's this year and next that would be worth "outbidding" on should they hit UFA market, otherwise trade (Radulov?) or the draft (yapukov).
as long as we don't go and pull another '09, waisting cap space overpaying for vets that aren't likely to give us consistent top-line minutes, we're in a good situation. The need for another top-line player is there, but in the meantime, better to go with what we have/target 1-year deals on vets that can fill a top-9 role temporarily (i.e Jagr, Bertuzzi type "reclamation" contracts).
Centre: I probably stand relatively alone on this, but I'm feeling ok with our top-9 centre trio moving forward.
Adding a bonafide #1 producer would be great, of course, but those are both hard to find and extremely costly.
Short of a UFA coup to land one of Getzlaf/Crosby in 2013, there's not much out there that we are likely to find that would be both an upgrade on what we have AND not cost us way too much to land.
Drafting Grigorenko/Galenychuk (Sp?) this year could be a solution, but still likely 2-4 years away from giving us definitive upgrade over what we have now.
In my mind, Pleks-Eller-DD give us enough from the C spot to ice a contender if we can add a top-line winger.
I also think that Eller will see an offensive explosion in the next 1-2 years... his ES production at his age is on par with a lot of the current top-level producers at centre. Once he finally starts getting some PP time, and as he continues to improve, I think a lot of people will find themselves shocked by just how good he is/will be.
and from a cap point of view, if we are getting continued production from DD, improved production from Eller, and more-or-less the same from Pleks, it will give us another 3-5 years of fantastic value at that position, freeing up cap space to spend on Defense/Forward.
White/Bournival/Engqvist... not much to get too excited about there, leaving us thin at centre in dealing with injuries.
UFA market and 2012 draft hopefully can help address the C depth.
all in all, definitely enough solid pieces in place to build towards a contender... just have to manage our assets properly to ensure that depth continues to improve (quality-wise), and to be in a position to pounce if/when that star winger/dman becomes available via trade.
no more kaberle/Gomez type deals or Cammalleri/Gionta/Spacek type signings, and we should be well on our way.