Depth down the middle is a key ingredient to success in the NHL. The most consistent teams in the league over the past 5 years have definately benefitted from having a strong top 3 centreman in the top 9 scoring-line scheme.
Pitt: Crosby, Malkin, Staal
LA: Kopitar, Richards, Stoll
SJ: Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski
VAN: Sedin, Kesler, Hodgson
1C - This is the elite franchise guy, elite scorer among the top 20 in pts yearly
2C- You almost want a clone of the #1C with similar production/a slight dropoff in scoring
3C- This is the guy who brings it everynight, he's a quality scorer and grinder who can fill 2nd line minutes when needed. He brings whatever side of his game the team needs night in night out.
This is not the ONLY way too succeed, but clearly there is something to be said about this formula.
The Habs don't have the C's to fill in this scheme. Thats not to say they don't have depth at C because they definately do. Here's a look at the team's current Centre depth chart
Plekanec - He's been the most productive Hab points wise over the last few years, no doubt. He definately isn't the number 1 you need to do damage in this league. However I really feel Pleks is the type of guy who fits in that #2 role discussed above. He can play in all situations, and he's productive. He's not the guy who's going to put a team on his back and to this point I haven't seen what I would like to see out of him in the playoffs. This year he really has seemed to have trouble finding chemistry with any one of his wingers.
Desharnais - A lot would argue he's been our #1 this yr. Its a fair argument, but given that he has played with the best wingers (Cole, Patch) pretty much all yr and its his first full season we can't get ahead of ourselves. Given the structure of this team I really feel Cunneyworth needs to try DD on the wing. If this team takes it to the next level DD seems to fit in best on the wing in those plans IMO. He's nifty in the corners and can swivel in and dig out pucks, he's a great setup man who has some finish to his game as well.
Eller - This guy doesn`t get enough credit period. He`s thrown under the bus for his mistakes faster than anyone else by the coaching staff (JM and Cunneyworth). He has a great all around game similar to Plekanec, but has a physical edge no other centre on this team possesses. Not to mention his puck possession skills are top notch. He has the ability to be the #3 C of right now, and the potential to be a #2 on a GREAT team one day. I see a bit of Eric Staal in his game, lets hope his development continues and mtl hires a coach who can really develop his game.
Gomez - Okay plain and simple, Gainey flat our missed on this deal. Yes Gomer's got one of the worst contracts in the league, yes he's probably not worth half his salary. Hopefully the new CBA will have a clause where you can eat one bad contract per year (one can hope). Gomez and his ridiculous contract signify what could be for the Habs. If we had acquired a Lecavalier type guy who was brought up in rumours at the time this would be a completely different team. We probably never had the return to bring in Vinny. However this shows if MTL had someone worth that contract at C right now (ex. Kopitar, M. Richards, Spezza, Getzlaf) they could look really good on paper.
Pacioretty - *Elite Centre* - Cole
Bourque - Plekanec - Gionta
DD - Eller - Kostitsyn
Moen/Blunden/Darch/White/Nokelainen splitting 4th line duties
My first blog. Thanks for reading