The Snipers Perspective
So, the Montreal Canadiens, the team with the longest history, most Stanley cups, so many hall of fame players, what happened to them? The simple answer is Bergervin and his trades. But is the Montreal roster really all that bad going into next season? Lets have a look.
On left wing: going into 18-19 they have Pacioretty (assuming hes not traded, which hopefully he is), Domi, Byron and Hudon.
On right wing: they have Gallagher, Lehkonen, Scherbak & Armia.
On Center: they have Drouin, Danault, Plekanec, Shaw.
Lets discuss these forwards. Left wing; Pacioretty is a 30 goal scorer, we know what he can bring to the table night in and night out, lets not worry about him. Domi is still a very young man, who has shown he can play big minutes and also throw down just like his father did in the day. But he will need to put up some numbers this year in his new home. I would expect 15-20 goals from him this season. Byron is good for 15 goals and Hudon is still a young player with lots of potential. If he can put in 15+ this year, which he is more than capable of, I would say they have a pretty solid LW.
Right wing; Gallagher is a player who continues to improve and put up 31 goals last season, Lehkonen showed flashes of a player who is capable of a 20+ goal scorer with his skill and speed. Armia is a late bloomer but I would expect 12-15 goals out of him playing 3rdline minutes, and Scherbak we need to see more from before we make any predictions.
Center: This is where Montreal has a bit of an issue. Drouin who is an ideal left wing, is more of a 2ndline center, Danault would fit more in a 3rdline center role, and Plekanec & Shaw are ideal 4thline centers. All players are slotted in a one slot higher role than I believe they are capable of.
Now the Defence: The Canadiens are working with Weber (out until December), Petry, Alzner, Schlemko, Juulsen, Benn & Mete.
While this Dcore is not as good as say Nashville or Tampa Bay, its not as bad as you may think. Weber is still a top pair and top of the league defenceman when he is healthy, Alzner is a top 4 shutdown guy who is great on the penalty kill, Petry put up 12 goals and 42 points last season! Juulsen got his first taste of the big league last year and expect him to be even better coming into this season. The player that excites me in Victor Mete! Those who say him play, know he is a very fast and versatile defencemen. He is great with the puck and if given more minutes will be a bright spot in the blue line come October. When Weber becomes healthy they still have a very solid back end.
Goaltending: This is not a topic for debate, Carey Price is the best goalie in the NHL, every player has an off season.
Recommended course of action:
Current forward lineup:
Pacioretty – Drouin – Gallagher
Domi – Danault – Lehkonen
Byron – Plekanec – Armia
Hudon – Shaw – Scherbak
Recommendations is trade Pacioretty and Shaw + 2nd round pick to Edmonton for Nugent-Hopkins & Ryan Strome.
New Lineup following trade:
Drouin – Nuge- Gallagher
Domi – Strome – Lehkonen
Byron – Danault – Armia
Hudon – Plekanec - Scherbak