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A look at Next Season

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Old
07-17-2017, 11:17 AM
  #26
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Originally Posted by Lshap View Post
Great read and very balanced analysis. Thanks! I quoted two players who deserve commentary.

...

Your judgment of Hudon scares the crap out of me. All he has to do is overcome a lack of skating, size, speed and strength. Aside from that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

If he's our most hopeful prospect it really underlines the developmental mess the team is in.
You were in attendance at Ford's Theatre in Washington where Abraham Lincoln was shot? How old are you, really?

I agree, good work by montreal. And I too wonder what they have in store for Hudon. Considering how they have handled him, is there anything to be garnered from Bergevin mentioning him in his last presser?

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Originally Posted by Lafleurs Guy View Post
I'm dumbfounded at how we go into every season without improving the forward (specifically the center) position. Something HAS to be done before the fall.
So this would be a literal fall, not a reference to a season.

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07-17-2017, 11:25 AM
  #27
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And this right there highlights the kind of trouble we're in. We desperately need some more talent here. Drouin was a great move but it's largely negated by losing Radulov. I'm dumbfounded at how we go into every season without improving the forward (specifically the center) position. Something HAS to be done before the fall.

Just looking at the names on our roster, I don't see how any team would be scared to play against us. There's just not nearly enough skill here.
If we can limit the soft goals allowed against us and score on turnovers and on the PP, we are going to frustrate many teams. Are we a legit top 5 cup contender? Hell No! But we are in the 2nd tier group and every year is different. I admire the types of improvements you are demanding but they are just not realistic. IMO, this team is getting better, it's just not fast enough for fans like you. I get that but expecting our roster to be overhauled in trade deadline or off seasons is just not going to happen. I believe our hope is with our age 25 and under core. Adding Drouin was a big addition but we need Hudon, McCarron, DLR to keep improving. Hopefully one of these kids makes an impact this year! We don't need them to score 20+ goals. We just need them to fill roster spots like Byron, Danault, and Lehkonen did last year and win puck battles.

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07-17-2017, 11:40 AM
  #28
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Originally Posted by Habaholicgolfer View Post
If we can limit the soft goals allowed against us and score on turnovers and on the PP, we are going to frustrate many teams. Are we a legit top 5 cup contender? Hell No! But we are in the 2nd tier group and every year is different. I admire the types of improvements you are demanding but they are just not realistic. IMO, this team is getting better, it's just not fast enough for fans like you. I get that but expecting our roster to be overhauled in trade deadline or off seasons is just not going to happen. I believe our hope is with our age 25 and under core. Adding Drouin was a big addition but we need Hudon, McCarron, DLR to keep improving. Hopefully one of these kids makes an impact this year! We don't need them to score 20+ goals. We just need them to fill roster spots like Byron, Danault, and Lehkonen did last year and win puck battles.
Yes this season will be on the shoulders of the teams young players. Drouin+AG need to take a big step forward and Galley needs to bounce back from last years horrible season. Hopefully Pleks has a bit more in the tank and can get closer to 40 points than 30 points.

Its a big risk being taken by MB and reminds me a lot of 2015. That year it blew up in his face and I can very well see it happening again.

If everything goes right the habs will be a very dangerous team. Contrary to popular belief there is actually talent on this team, young talent. We just need them to all take a step forward at the same time which in the NHL doesn't always happen.

Lets see what happens. MB still needs to spend his 9 Million which can cause some huge changes on the team. CJ will have a full year to coach.

Right now the Habs are still the division champs, its up to other teams to take that title away from them. Just like the Pens are the cup champs. I am fully aware the team can fall off a cliff but for now I will have some hope they can at least repeat last year and then hopefully improve and not disappoint in the playoffs.

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07-17-2017, 11:45 AM
  #29
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That group of forwards is quite soft especially in the potential top 9. There's a couple pests in Gallagher and Shaw, which can make the habs tougher to play against in some respects, but they will also raise the temperature of the game, and that can serve as a double edged sword with the way the rest of the top 9 looks.

Its hard not to see CJ go with a big body 4th line. I think you're right about McCarron. He does try to play a rugged game at the NHL level, and based on the lack of toughness, he could easily get pigeon holed in that 4th line. He will do whatever it takes to get in the NHL the quickest route possible.

Even if alot of the questions turn out to be positive answers regarding this forward group, it does not instill confidence in regards to a playoff run, mostly because it looks too easy to play against.

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07-17-2017, 12:12 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by montreal View Post

Jacob de la Rose - I list him since I think he makes the team. I think CJ will be a fan as the kid works hard, has the size, skating, speed and defensive game that looks way more mature then someone just turning 22 2 months ago. The question will always been about his offensive game and what he can do in the NHL. In the past he was brought up too soon and then got the yo-yo treatment. he's started out very slowly the past 2 years in the AHL and he might not have that luxury this time around. That said there's a lot to like about him as a possible 4th line center/winger if he can make the cut. Will help out the PK and you can count on him in your own end when trying to protect those 1 goal leads which may be very common this season.

Andreas Martinsen - He brings size and a physical game that may come in handy on nights when we face bigger, more physical teams. He's more likely to be a press box player or in the AHL if someone steals his spot. I know when the Habs traded for him, it was said they liked his game and felt he had some untapped upside or something to that effect said during one of the first few games he played. We'll see if he can help the team or not.

Michael McCarron - As much as I would prefer for him to be in the AHL working on his offensive game, I feel CJ will keep him around and use him as a 4th line energy guy. It's a shame cause I do think he has some offensive abilities as he can pass and is good at scoring in tight around the crease. I wish they hadn't called him up these past few times as I still have high hopes that he can turn into a solid NHLer but hopefully more then a 4th line grinder.

Charles Hudon- won't be easy for Hudon to make the team, he's going to have to show that his skills/smarts can overcome his lack of speed, skating, size and strength. That's a lot to overcome, so far he's produced at every level but until we see him in a decent amount of NHL games it's anyone's guess as to what he can be in the NHL. He's a massive wild card for the season though imo, if he can produce at a good clip in the NHL that would be huge. he would give us cheap depth and he's got a solid 2 way game although he's clearly better in the offensive zone. I have said I'd like to see him with Danault as his speed/defensive game would really help Hudon who can get the puck to players anywhere in the offensive zone but also can score on his own. But the problem is he would need to show a ton in order to get time with Danault who is one of our best forwards as of now.
The 4 above may be inter-connected by the fact of McCarron not being waiver eligible, which either means McCarron has to have one hell of a camp to blow the other 3 out of the water or more likely, he goes back to the AHL allowing for one of the above to stay and not be waived. There is also Carr who was promising 2 years ago.

Hey Dan Kramer, did Redmond become Jamaican, or something?

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07-17-2017, 02:13 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by montreal View Post
Paul Byron - In his first season with the Habs he was on pace for 24 pts which would have been a career high. Then last season at 27 he breaks out and scores 22 goals after having a career high in points of 21. Very rare to see a 27 year old breakout like that by scoring more goals then he's ever had points. Now the question is what happens to him next season. Expect him to score 22 is a bit much, but the Habs will need to score since he was 2nd on the team in goals last year. The good news is he can bounce all around the lineup and not hurt the team as his speed is such an asset to any line.
The year before Byron's had a pace of 15 goals, but was only taking 0.8 shots a game. This past season his shots went up to 1.2 shots per game and the goals went up to 22. So being able to repeat likely depends on shots, which in turn probably depend on ice time. Byron will have more competition for top-6 ice time this year (Assuming everyone is healthy) compared to last year. If he wins one of those top-6 spots I could see him repeating or coming close, if on the other hand he ends up say behind Lehkonen on the depth charts his production will probably drop considerably.

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07-17-2017, 02:41 PM
  #32
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Originally Posted by Sorinth View Post
The year before Byron's had a pace of 15 goals, but was only taking 0.8 shots a game. This past season his shots went up to 1.2 shots per game and the goals went up to 22. So being able to repeat likely depends on shots, which in turn probably depend on ice time. Byron will have more competition for top-6 ice time this year (Assuming everyone is healthy) compared to last year. If he wins one of those top-6 spots I could see him repeating or coming close, if on the other hand he ends up say behind Lehkonen on the depth charts his production will probably drop considerably.
I don't see Byron winning a spot in the top-6 this season. Barring any trades, as it stands right now, there are 5 forwards who can be penciled into the top-6 already: Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, Drouin, Danault, & Gallagher. Who plays where is TBD but for now, those 5 have their spot in the top-6 secured.

The last spot likely comes down to Byron, Lehkonen, Shaw, Plekanec, and Hemsky. Barring a trade for another centre, I think we'll see one of Galchenyuk/Drouin at centre in the top-6, relegating Plekanec to the 3rd line. Hemsky could develop some chemistry with Plekanec, so it's likely that he drops down to the 3rd line as well. Shaw is best suited for a role in the bottom-6. That leaves Byron and Lehkonen. I'd like to see Lehkonen get a shot in the top-6 going into his second season. 18 goals as a rookie is great and he played very well in the playoffs, enough to probably convince management that they might have a future top-6 winger on their hands. That leaves Byron in the bottom-6, where I think he's best suited anyways.

Pacioretty - Danault - Gallagher

Pacioretty and Danault played well together dating back to last season, it's wise to keep them together again. Gallagher can play anywhere, he's played on the same line as Pacioretty before, I'd keep them together.

Lehkonen - Galchenyuk - Drouin

Pairing Galchenyuk and Drouin has immense potential, I'd put them together to start the season and see what they can do. Having Galchenyuk as the "2nd line centre" could provide for some easier match-ups at the beginning, allowing him to become more comfortable at centre. Lehkonen's speed and skill could compliment Galchenyuk and Drouin nicely.

Byron - Plekanec - Hemsky

At this point, Plekanec is the perfect 3rd line centre. Although he's paid like a top-6 centre, his two-way ability makes him perfect for the 3C position. Like I said above, him and Hemsky could develop chemistry, so starting them off together is a good idea. Byron's speed and forechecking could compliment the two Czechs nicely.

De la Rose - Mitchell - Shaw

Shaw isn't really a 4th liner, but I'd rather have him there than Hemsky, who would be utterly useless on a Claude Julien 4th line. I think this is finally the year that De la Rose earns a roster spot. This could be his last chance to stick in the NHL with Montreal given his waiver eligibility. Surely some team would claim him. He plays a very responsible defensive game and can engage physically as well. Mitchell is probably the best candidate to play centre on the 4th line for now.

That leaves Martinsen as the 13th forward. McCarron is waiver exempt so he goes down to Laval to start the season, likely earning himself a call-up during the season. Hudon is the wild-card here. He's waiver eligible and there's no way he passes through. Highly doubtful he snags a top-9 spot, and you'd have to believe Julien would prefer a De la Rose on his 4th line. Unless the 2 rotate in and out of the line-up until one proves they're more worthy and the other goes on waivers to be sent down to Laval.

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07-17-2017, 02:54 PM
  #33
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I'm confident in my thinking that Galchenyuk SHOULD be our 1C to start the season. That's for sure.

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07-17-2017, 02:57 PM
  #34
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Originally Posted by M.C.G. 31 View Post
I'm confident in my thinking that Galchenyuk SHOULD be our 1C to start the season. That's for sure.
then we are in the same trouble we were last season,

nothing has changed here,

drouin in, rad out,

a few d out, a few d in,

same crap different day,

no plan, making changes just for the sake of making changes,

spinning the wheels deeper into the mud

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07-17-2017, 02:58 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by M.C.G. 31 View Post
I'm confident in my thinking that Galchenyuk SHOULD be our 1C to start the season. That's for sure.
Unless Bargain Bin pulls a rabbit out of his hat, it sure looks that way.

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07-17-2017, 03:04 PM
  #36
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Unless Bargain Bin pulls a rabbit out of his hat, it sure looks that way.
Honestly I have no problem with Chucky being our 1C. Give him heavy o-zone starts and shelter him. He (and Drouin) is our most talented and dynamic forward. Let him work his magic offensively -- it will succeed -- and give Danault, Plekanec and Mitchell more of the defensive responsibilities.

Of course, ideally we do land a legit 1C and Chucky shifts down to 2C, but we don't have the assets to get a real, legit 1C.

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07-17-2017, 03:22 PM
  #37
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Originally Posted by NH57 View Post
I don't see Byron winning a spot in the top-6 this season. Barring any trades, as it stands right now, there are 5 forwards who can be penciled into the top-6 already: Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, Drouin, Danault, & Gallagher. Who plays where is TBD but for now, those 5 have their spot in the top-6 secured.

The last spot likely comes down to Byron, Lehkonen, Shaw, Plekanec, and Hemsky. Barring a trade for another centre, I think we'll see one of Galchenyuk/Drouin at centre in the top-6, relegating Plekanec to the 3rd line. Hemsky could develop some chemistry with Plekanec, so it's likely that he drops down to the 3rd line as well. Shaw is best suited for a role in the bottom-6. That leaves Byron and Lehkonen. I'd like to see Lehkonen get a shot in the top-6 going into his second season. 18 goals as a rookie is great and he played very well in the playoffs, enough to probably convince management that they might have a future top-6 winger on their hands. That leaves Byron in the bottom-6, where I think he's best suited anyways.
I don't think Gallagher's spot is as secure as you do. Down the stretch he mostly played on the third line. If he's back to his old self, sure he's got a spot locked up, if he doesn't bounce back then his spot in the top-6 is in jeopardy.

For me there are two open top-6 winger spots, competing for them will be: Gallagher, Lehkonen, Byron, Hudon, Hemsky, Shaw.

But like all seasons there will be injuries/slumps/etc... so Byron is bound to get some top-6 time, how much is hard to predict.

All else being equal if it's between Lehkonen and Byron, I'd rather see Lehkonen get that ice time since there's more room for growth.

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07-17-2017, 03:28 PM
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Lehkonen is a lock for the top-6 imo.

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07-17-2017, 03:45 PM
  #39
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Lehkonen is a lock for the top-6 imo.
Could Lehkonen be an option as the 2nd line C?

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07-17-2017, 03:48 PM
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I think the Habs try to roll four lines. I don't think we'll see that much difference between 4th line and 1st line minutes. Considering depth in the wings, the Habs could end up being a nitemare to matchup against if we roll four lines almost evenly.

I'm of the opinion that both DLR and Hudon make the team, and not necessarily as fourth line players. Worst case scenario, I see Martinsen being placed on waivers if both DLR and Hudon look good, but can't both be in the lineup.

Patches- Danault- Drouin
Lehkonen - Chucky - Gally
Hudon - Pleks - Hemsky
Byron - DLR - Shaw
Rotate Mitchel for DLR

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07-17-2017, 05:09 PM
  #41
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Could Lehkonen be an option as the 2nd line C?
He thrives as a winger much more. Focuses too much on defensive assignments down the middle and doesn't produce as much offensively.

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07-17-2017, 05:24 PM
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He thrives as a winger much more. Focuses too much on defensive assignments down the middle and doesn't produce as much offensively.
Yeah, I saw a scouting report along those lines. He's a player Julien is going to like on account of his defensive responsibility. I just hope they have other options before the season starts so they can leave him at his current position.

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07-17-2017, 05:28 PM
  #43
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Yeah, I saw a scouting report along those lines. He's a player Julien is going to like on account of his defensive responsibility. I just hope they have other options before the season starts so they can leave him at his current position.
Considering what Lehkonen brings, I think he has a ready made, permanent spot in the top-6, particularly on a line with Galchenyuk and/or Drouin.

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07-17-2017, 05:43 PM
  #44
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Defense -

While there are legit concerns on the offense and where goals will come from, the big question will be the defense after so much turnover. The Habs dressed 15 blueliners last season, 9 of those 15 have been traded or left via UFA. That's a very high turnover rate as only 2 of the 9 were on the opening night roster from last season (Weber/Petry). So how these new additions fit in is going to be very interesting and highly important to the Habs success.

Shea Weber - Some people don't like him, but if you just look at the player and not the trade, one things for sure and that is Weber will score goals. In the last 4 seasons he's had 75g. He's also been consistently healthy missing just 4 games in each of the last 3 seasons and 3 games the season before that. He's got the resume, WJC Gold, Memorial Cup winner, WC Gold, World Cup Gold, Olympic Gold. But he turns 32 next month and has 9 more years (although he is paid only 3M total over the final 3 years so he could easily retire as it likely won't be easy to go from making 12M a year to 1M in the final 3 years) It was rumored he had a nagging injury this year but played through it. Perhaps if he's healthy he will have a better showing then the 42 pts he had which put him at 18th in the NHL in scoring for defensemen. His 17 goals were tied for 2nd in the league for defensemen so it's clear he's here to score goals and play solid defensive hockey.

Jeff Petry - Petry had his ups and downs but hit career highs in goals and points, tied his career high in games at 80. To me he's a solid 4th D, can put up some offense in the 25+ range (he was on pace for 25 in his first full season with us) he needs a partner that plays more of a safe game. Sounds like he and Alzner could be a great fit together perhaps. Will be interesting if that's the case as it could make for a much better 2nd pairing as Petry is more mobile and quicker with some offensive abilities whereas Alzner is better in his own end and both bring veteran experience.

Jordie Benn - A good pickup for cheap, he is a solid 5th/6th type that is going to play well in his own end as long as he's not put into a position he's not made for. He's a cheap vet that can play on either side and is a good PKer but he can also chip in some offense as well. Over the last 4 seasons he's had 65 pts over the last 4 seasons and that's with missing 42 games over the 4 seasons.

Brandon Davidson - Not sure what to make of Davidson yet, he's got only 89 games in the NHL in the last 2 seasons with 14 pts. He looks like he could be a solid 7th D for us that can fill in on the bottom pairing and not really hurt us. Wish his cap hit was a little lower at 1.425M for a depth D but gives us some depth and at 26 next season he's still young enough that he might have some upside since he's had some injury issues in the past that cost him some time.

Karl Alzner - The Habs spent big on the soon to be 29 year old, giving him over 23M over 5 years and a limited NTC (7 teams he can't be traded to). Alzner has been a solid 2nd pairing defensive defensmen but injuries and likely wear and tear have impacted him. Now the question will be what are the Habs buying with their 23M. I do think he can be a solid #4 that makes up a very good pairing with Petry if they go that route while also being good for the PK which needs to be better. while not known for his offense, he's put up 73 pts over the last 4 years but his numbers took a big hit from back to back 21 pts to just 13.

David Schlemko - I really like this pickup and think he could be a steal for what they paid for him. Good skating/speed and can chip in some offense for the bottom pairing. Is another blueliner from western Canada since that's where the bulk of our defense are from. If he's paired with Benn, they could be one of the better bottom pairings in the league imo.

Jakub Jerabek - I don't know much about Jerabek having only seen him once. I assume he makes the team or if sent to the AHL doesn't spend much time there. Looks to have offensive upside but will need to be paired with someone that can handle more of the defensive side of things. If the Habs found something in Jerabek it will be huge as he's a major wildcard to the season if he can be a decent blueliner and put up points while not hurting us in his own end. Going to be very interesting to see how it goes for him as he adjusts to the smaller ice.

Joe Morrow - With CJ likely pushing for Morrow I would assume, he should easily be in the mix for a spot and if not perhaps the first call up. In the dub he looked like a solid prospect from what I remember, but needs to find a way to get on track. If he beats out Jerabek, will be interesting to see where they use him as he's another from Western Canada.

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07-17-2017, 06:03 PM
  #45
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Originally Posted by M.C.G. 31 View Post
I think Lehkonen will score 25 goals and 40 points this season. I'm not too sure we have a 70-point scorer this season, though, but if he's given a proper chance, I can see Galchenyuk (along with Drouin) leading the team in points with Pacioretty still leading in goals.

Hopefully Drouin can produce ES, though, because our powerplay won't be as strong as Tampa's was where he got nearly 50% of his points last season.

I don't see Byron sustaining his SH% from last season even though it was so high because most of them were on the breakaway. I think most teams would know now that his speed alone makes him dangerous. I still see him scoring 15 though.
I could see Lehkonen getting 25 and 40 or around that at least and that will help for sure. Not sure about the 70 pts, if we will see one or not but I bet if Galchenyuk didn't get injured he either hits 70 or is real close so I could see him doing it or Pac if they are with Drouin who could be a 60 or 70 pt player next year or the following.

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If the team has internal improvment and bounc back years from some of its players they can be a pretty good team.

Galley needs to get 20+. And Pleks won't ever bounce back but if he can get closer to 40 pts then 30 thats good enough.

AG needs to return to his 30 goal form from 2 years ago and Drouin needs to take the next step and get 30 G or 60+ pts.

Danault and Lek are still young if they can improve on last season that would round out the top 6 very nicely.

Is there a wild card? MaCarron/JDLR/Hemsky/Hudon ? .
Gallagher is the guy I think they most need to bounce back. He's been a big part of the offense in the past but am concerned about the injuries and if he can bounce back or not. Hudon for me is a major wildcard. There's just no telling what he can be, a career AHLer or a very good NHLer, or something in between.

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Originally Posted by shutehinside View Post
With $9m in cap, there's no way we're done. Likely wait until closer to the season when teams have to get below cap, players released if RFA arbitration is too rich, unsigned UFA's on the cheap etc.

Point is this isn't the finished project yet so I'm not willing to give a post mortem yet.
I hope he's not done but we'll see, it's getting closer to August so I wonder if he waits and sees how the season unfolds. I got to think his job is getting to closer to being on the line (I don't want an MB discussion to unfold) so I'm sure he's feeling the heat after back to back disappointing years, will be very interesting to see if he does something rash or sits back and let's things unfold.

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Originally Posted by Lshap View Post
Great read and very balanced analysis. Thanks! I quoted two players who deserve commentary.

Your take on Shaw deserves to be repeated since he was the subject of some of the worst analysis on this board. His downside is obvious -- he was way overpenalized and continues to be somewhat overpaid. But he is a valuable forward with a proven track record in the playoffs. Anyone pointing to his four/five playoff games as an accurate summary is simply uninformed or looking for an argument.

Your judgment of Hudon scares the crap out of me. All he has to do is overcome a lack of skating, size, speed and strength. Aside from that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

If he's our most hopeful prospect it really underlines the developmental mess the team is in.
thanks. yea I think some are way to hard on Shaw, but some just seem hell bend on blasting everything Hab now or just about. I do think he can be a decent 3rd liner for us.

Hudon is like many of our prospects, small and or skinny but good skills. The problem is you never really know which one is going to end up like Johnny Hockey or the career AHLers since odds are clearly against him. That said when you have the mix of high end hockey IQ and talent that can do a lot. But with the NHL becoming a skating league more then ever, he's going to have to overcome several hurdles. To me it's one of the biggest story lines for camp, as I think he can be a very good NHLer at some point but I also fear his lack of speed/skating will cause him to end up a career AHLer.

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Originally Posted by Habs100 View Post
I think you're take on Hudon is spot on. I just hope he sticks with the team, probably starting on the 4th line. But Julien likes size on the 4th line so that doesn't bode well for him. Hickey thinks, based on his sources, that McCarron is a lock to be in the top 12. But I'd really like to see Hudon get a regular shift and fill in in the top 9 when there are injuries. I think he has talent, although as you say his size and skating are concerns. But I think he's a much better skater than Corey Locke was and has much better hockey sense than Aaron Palushaj.

I don't think we gave Ghetto enough time with offensive players and I could see the same happening to Hudon.
Hudon doesn't compare to Locke or Palushaj, imo. I really hope we give Hudon a chance, at least as much as Ghetto got, since Hudon was the better prospect.

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Originally Posted by ColinO View Post
It's hard to say what CJ will do. As you say, AG is our most talented center. Having not obtained a top 6 C in the off-season, I think it will be hard not to play AG as either 1C or 1aC even if CJ doesn't like him defensively. Who else is there?
It's going to be very interesting to see what CJ does now that he's had an off-season to work on things. If no moves are made, I got to think one of Galchenyuk/Drouin has to be tried at center. It sounds like Galchenyuk will be the better fit but with Drouin's skating/speed he might be a better fit then Galchenyuk.

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Originally Posted by scrubadam View Post
I am looking forward to how CJ plays his players.

MT rode Pleks and Max as much as he could. Those 2 were always the team's top forwards as far as ice time. Finally Pleks minutes were reduced last year but only after he was totally flopping.

So will CJ use these guys less? Whoever was tied to Max's hip usually just got extra playing time (see Danault or DD). Maybe not so much with CJ.

Is CJ just MT V.2 here or are we looking at a guy who will coach the team differently. Last summer I was told everything wrong with the team was on MT and DD. Neither are here this year that should automatically take the team from bottom third to middle of the pack or better no?
I happen to think CJ is much like MT, better for sure but by how much I'm not sure. I could see him riding the guys he trusts like Pleks, Danault since he's much more of a defensive minded coach.

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Originally Posted by Sorinth View Post
The year before Byron's had a pace of 15 goals, but was only taking 0.8 shots a game. This past season his shots went up to 1.2 shots per game and the goals went up to 22. So being able to repeat likely depends on shots, which in turn probably depend on ice time. Byron will have more competition for top-6 ice time this year (Assuming everyone is healthy) compared to last year. If he wins one of those top-6 spots I could see him repeating or coming close, if on the other hand he ends up say behind Lehkonen on the depth charts his production will probably drop considerably.
good point, but he made a lot of those chances count going from a guy that was known as having stone hands on breakaways (at least from reading flames fans at the time we picked him up) to being able to burry his fair share of breakaways. Going to be very interesting to see what kind of season he has.

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Originally Posted by Runner77 View Post
Could Lehkonen be an option as the 2nd line C?
If the try Galchenyuk and Drouin and both don't work, I do think they could consider it since he's smart, hard working 2 way player and has played there before.

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07-17-2017, 08:02 PM
  #46
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Originally Posted by Lshap View Post
Great read and very balanced analysis. Thanks! I quoted two players who deserve commentary.

Your take on Shaw deserves to be repeated since he was the subject of some of the worst analysis on this board. His downside is obvious -- he was way overpenalized and continues to be somewhat overpaid. But he is a valuable forward with a proven track record in the playoffs. Anyone pointing to his four/five playoff games as an accurate summary is simply uninformed or looking for an argument.

Your judgment of Hudon scares the crap out of me. All he has to do is overcome a lack of skating, size, speed and strength. Aside from that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

If he's our most hopeful prospect it really underlines the developmental mess the team is in.
The Danault is one of our best forwards piece scares the crap out if me.

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07-17-2017, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Hackett View Post
That group of forwards is quite soft especially in the potential top 9. There's a couple pests in Gallagher and Shaw, which can make the habs tougher to play against in some respects, but they will also raise the temperature of the game, and that can serve as a double edged sword with the way the rest of the top 9 looks.

Its hard not to see CJ go with a big body 4th line. I think you're right about McCarron. He does try to play a rugged game at the NHL level, and based on the lack of toughness, he could easily get pigeon holed in that 4th line. He will do whatever it takes to get in the NHL the quickest route possible.

Even if alot of the questions turn out to be positive answers regarding this forward group, it does not instill confidence in regards to a playoff run, mostly because it looks too easy to play against.
Similar to what I see.

In my opinion, the Habs aren't a fast team (nor slow), they are a smaller team (as evidenced when they played the Rangers), their skill is average and they are not a team that will dominate puck battles.

I don't think Bergevin is done, he may be waiting to see if anything shakes loose from the restricted free agents, several are still unsigned. Or it could even be looking more down the road, leaving the cap space available for when a significant player does become available.

Without Radulov and Markov don't know how they will score even as much as they did last season. Radu is the type of player who excels when the game is on the line, 3 on 3, shootout, playoff ot, etc. I find those players are rare. Markov is just smart back there, seldom making the wrong play.

They have to see some of the same things we see and that the team needs upgrades to be a serious contender. What the short and long term plans are, who knows?

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07-17-2017, 11:23 PM
  #48
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Originally Posted by Habaholicgolfer View Post
I think if we had decent depth at center and Pleky didn't decline so bad, Galchenyuk would of developed better as we would of been able to shelter him better. However, I am not sure if he is a center or winger but I have no issues with trying him at both again. Julien is going to manage and communicate way more better than MT did IMO.

Galchenyuk has something to prove after how the last few months ended last season. He signed the 3 year deal instead of forcing arbitration so this means he has bough in to what the team is telling him. Lets see how one more year of experience helps him.
So, using Desharnais all those years was the right move? And Galchenyuk's misusage somehow makes sense because we had "no center depth?"

Okay....
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Originally Posted by ColinO View Post
It's hard to say what CJ will do. As you say, AG is our most talented center. Having not obtained a top 6 C in the off-season, I think it will be hard not to play AG as either 1C or 1aC even if CJ doesn't like him defensively. Who else is there?
Well, why the hell didn't we do it last year?

I get that the guy struggled but we put him on the wing and this team was 28th in goals for from Feb onwards. So what the hell were we thinking?
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Originally Posted by Habaholicgolfer View Post
If we can limit the soft goals allowed against us and score on turnovers and on the PP, we are going to frustrate many teams. Are we a legit top 5 cup contender? Hell No! But we are in the 2nd tier group and every year is different. I admire the types of improvements you are demanding but they are just not realistic. IMO, this team is getting better, it's just not fast enough for fans like you. I get that but expecting our roster to be overhauled in trade deadline or off seasons is just not going to happen. I believe our hope is with our age 25 and under core. Adding Drouin was a big addition but we need Hudon, McCarron, DLR to keep improving. Hopefully one of these kids makes an impact this year! We don't need them to score 20+ goals. We just need them to fill roster spots like Byron, Danault, and Lehkonen did last year and win puck battles.
We came into the season with a real need to get better offensively and we're now actually worse.
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Originally Posted by M.C.G. 31 View Post
I'm confident in my thinking that Galchenyuk SHOULD be our 1C to start the season. That's for sure.
Never underestimate this team's ability to do things the hard way.

He SHOULD have been our number one in the playoffs too... Mgmt talks about how he hasn't shown he can handle center. Meanwhile he has fewer CAREER faceoffs than Bergevin had all last season. We've done everything we can to mess this guy up.

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07-18-2017, 12:54 AM
  #49
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Originally Posted by NH57 View Post
I don't see Byron winning a spot in the top-6 this season. Barring any trades, as it stands right now, there are 5 forwards who can be penciled into the top-6 already: Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, Drouin, Danault, & Gallagher. Who plays where is TBD but for now, those 5 have their spot in the top-6 secured.

The last spot likely comes down to Byron, Lehkonen, Shaw, Plekanec, and Hemsky. Barring a trade for another centre, I think we'll see one of Galchenyuk/Drouin at centre in the top-6, relegating Plekanec to the 3rd line. Hemsky could develop some chemistry with Plekanec, so it's likely that he drops down to the 3rd line as well. Shaw is best suited for a role in the bottom-6. That leaves Byron and Lehkonen. I'd like to see Lehkonen get a shot in the top-6 going into his second season. 18 goals as a rookie is great and he played very well in the playoffs, enough to probably convince management that they might have a future top-6 winger on their hands. That leaves Byron in the bottom-6, where I think he's best suited anyways.

Pacioretty - Danault - Gallagher

Pacioretty and Danault played well together dating back to last season, it's wise to keep them together again. Gallagher can play anywhere, he's played on the same line as Pacioretty before, I'd keep them together.

Lehkonen - Galchenyuk - Drouin

Pairing Galchenyuk and Drouin has immense potential, I'd put them together to start the season and see what they can do. Having Galchenyuk as the "2nd line centre" could provide for some easier match-ups at the beginning, allowing him to become more comfortable at centre. Lehkonen's speed and skill could compliment Galchenyuk and Drouin nicely.

Byron - Plekanec - Hemsky

At this point, Plekanec is the perfect 3rd line centre. Although he's paid like a top-6 centre, his two-way ability makes him perfect for the 3C position. Like I said above, him and Hemsky could develop chemistry, so starting them off together is a good idea. Byron's speed and forechecking could compliment the two Czechs nicely.

De la Rose - Mitchell - Shaw

Shaw isn't really a 4th liner, but I'd rather have him there than Hemsky, who would be utterly useless on a Claude Julien 4th line. I think this is finally the year that De la Rose earns a roster spot. This could be his last chance to stick in the NHL with Montreal given his waiver eligibility. Surely some team would claim him. He plays a very responsible defensive game and can engage physically as well. Mitchell is probably the best candidate to play centre on the 4th line for now.

That leaves Martinsen as the 13th forward. McCarron is waiver exempt so he goes down to Laval to start the season, likely earning himself a call-up during the season. Hudon is the wild-card here. He's waiver eligible and there's no way he passes through. Highly doubtful he snags a top-9 spot, and you'd have to believe Julien would prefer a De la Rose on his 4th line. Unless the 2 rotate in and out of the line-up until one proves they're more worthy and the other goes on waivers to be sent down to Laval.
I understand your idea to put Galchenyuk and Drouin together, but I prefer switching Galchenyuk and Danault. Both of the top two lines will be responsible enough defensively that we don't have to worry about who the opponent plays against them, and I think Drouin will ignite Lehkonen while Danault takes care of the D but still has the speed to keep up.

67-27-11 was one of the best lines in the entire league for several months not too long ago, and I would not be afraid to go back to it at all.

If Hemsky can be healthy, he might do well with Plekanec and Byron, leaving Shaw to CENTER the fourth line, and be the injury replacement and/or situational replacement in the top 9.

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07-18-2017, 07:07 AM
  #50
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Originally Posted by BaseballCoach View Post
I understand your idea to put Galchenyuk and Drouin together, but I prefer switching Galchenyuk and Danault. Both of the top two lines will be responsible enough defensively that we don't have to worry about who the opponent plays against them, and I think Drouin will ignite Lehkonen while Danault takes care of the D but still has the speed to keep up.

67-27-11 was one of the best lines in the entire league for several months not too long ago, and I would not be afraid to go back to it at all.

If Hemsky can be healthy, he might do well with Plekanec and Byron, leaving Shaw to CENTER the fourth line, and be the injury replacement and/or situational replacement in the top 9.
If we are coming back with Galchenyuk (I still could see him traded in the summer) then it might not be a bad idea to put him back with Max and Galchenyuk. Problem with that is that you're really hoping that Drouin can carry the other line offensively. Lekonen was a nice surprise last year but I just don't see Dannault being able to generate a lot of scoring. Dannault himself was a nice surprise but I still think he's better suited to the 3rd than the 2nd.

I guess that alternative would be... Plekanec. Not exactly great options up the middle for us.

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