Hope you are all excited for the upcoming season! I know I sure am! For me, its a feeling g akin to the lead up to Christmas, your excited for all the surprises and fun nights coming up.
Anyways, let's muse about Les Canadiens.
So far in the preseason I think there's been a couple reasons to be very excited about the prospects and I'm going to list them in MY order of importance:
1) Jarred Tinordi. All of us were hoping that he could fulfill a physical role in the 4-6 Dman spots. Well, I think that he's proving to everyone that he's ready for that role and then some. Tinordi has demonstrated a much needed element of physicality to the line up, a ability to scrap when needed, and composure with the puck. At this point, if the season started today Tinordi is on the big club and possibly playing in the first game. I'm very excited with his progress.
2) Magnus Nygren and Greg Pateryn. I'm very happy with the future of this D corp with these two likely to see some injury replacement time this season. These two seem like they are on the cusp of making the jump to the NHL with their performances this preseason. More so for Nygren. He's has shown that he could probably play in the NHL now but he will start in Hamilton to adjust to the NA style of game. With so many free agent D next year, having these two (plus Beaulieu) waiting in the wings tells me that next years D rebuild may not have as many growing pains as I initially thought. Just need to add a solid #2 D man to the team and keep a couple depth vets around and you will have a good D core heading into the future. I like it.
3) Michael Bournival. He's had a great preseason and is showing some good hockey sense. He is also going to start in Hamilton but will be he first called up when one of the top 9 lose time to injury. This is the guy everyone is talking about but let's not rush to thinking this guy is the next Gallagher for this season. If he goes to Hamilton and scores at a 30-35 goal pace then he earns a third line spot for NEXT season. No need to rush right now, but looking good here.
4) Christian Thomas. This guy has some solid tenacity, hockey sense, and a quick hard shot. I'm very curious to see how he does in Hamilton.
5) Michael McCarron. Looks like everyone who criticized Bergevin's first round pick should be struggling eat all those words of judgement... For now. The big kid has looked pretty good for a player his age. He's only going to get bigger and stronger, this is a very good thing. He may not be a point per game guy but he's going to be used in London for goal scoring and face punching. If his development pans out he could become a 20 goal NHLer just playing a tough game around the net. Good to see him in this preseason getting his feet wet.
This would be the part where I talk about the disappointments in camp. Not necessarily prospects, but just overall about the team.
1) Goaltending. Yeah yeah, we just shut out the Hurricanes in a dominant team performance. But the whole team played great and it wasn't really the goalies who kept us in it. This is mainly aimed at Carey Price (I know, very limited action) and Peter Budaj. I'm the first person to tell people "it's preseason. Who cares", but after last years goaltending collapse I was hoping for these guys to come out hot and try to really prove a point. I'm willing to save my worry about this because a) it's preseason, and b) new goalie coach. I'm a huge Price supporter and I really believe he will be more engaged this year because of the Olympics, possible playoffs (I think the Canadiens are a pretty good team), and coaching. Waite has coached two different, good goalies that won Stanley cups. I'm not saying the Canadiens are the Blackhawks, but our GM and goalie coach were for the last few years. I digress. Goalies got something to prove, but there still good, carrying on.
2) The Power Play. It still looks like crap. This will be a work in progress as new guys are going to be getting PP time. Namely the "third" line. But so far it doesn't really click. PK Subban could be much more lethal with a good PP. Hopefully it gets better sooner rather than later.
3) Louis Leblanc. To be honest, this isn't a issue for me but it seems to be for a lot of other fans. There's no opening for Louis right now, and he needs to earn his spot on the depth chart back. He had a brutal season in the AHL and we can stop blaming it on the injury. He still played a lot of games and didn't bounce back. He goes and tears up the AHL and starts hitting then he will get his call up after injury or he gets traded to a team that wants to put him in the line up. So he has to go work hard, put up the results, and keep his girlfriend quiet. She can be pissed, but don't take it public and try to make the organization look bad. That won't go over well, hard work and results will go over well. Anyways, a lot of people were upset by this but why? He didn't standout in camp, didn't stand out in his preseason game, so why is he being cut a big deal? Personally, I'm sick of his perceived pouty attitude the last year. I'm ranting, and I'm done.
So, I'm liking the apparent lines that are being practiced. I think that with Gio being done with the Habs after this season that Pleks will be traded as well. This will let Chucky move to center next year, Eller keep the third line, and DD/Briere is the second line center. I'm getting ahead of myself but realistically I see some changes coming to this team. They are paying a awful lot of attention to the prospects and we have some expiring/aging contracts.
Some things that look good are obviously PK being PK. Imagine our D without him? Scary. I'm very interested in watching Gallagher, Eller, Galchenyuk grow this year. So far they look good. I think they have the potential to be Line 1a/b towards the end of the year. Let's hope this next week has less injuries and shows some improvements.
Any thoughts or good ideas for the team?