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Stepping Forward?

Posted 11:32 PM ET | Comments 0
The Montreal Canadiens, especially general manager Marc Bergevin, are being praised for making the final four and finally becoming a major contender in the Eastern Conference. Even though the habs took huge steps forward with a much needed successful season, the pressure will surely mount as a hockey mad city is sure to have their expectations through the roof next season. Will the habs be able to build on their success? Will they crumble?rnrnEveryone knows how the Canadiens playoff run went. The Canadiens dominated the Lightning, barely squeezed by a massive challenge in the Boston Bruins and then "ran out of gas" against the New York Rangers. It's easy to blame the injury to Carey Price as the lone reason for failing to get past the Rangers but there was clearly much more to the situation. The Habs were simply not built to be a cup contender...yet. The Canadiens possession numbers were God awful all year.rnrnIt's no secret Bergevin believes in building through the draft, and those prospects who have gone through the system in Bergevin's tenure are just not ready to be playoff heroes. It's clear the Canadiens are on their way, and looking better year by year, but there's still one huge elephant in the room.It may not be brought up in the media often, but the Canadiens need to clear up some room down the middle. When the Canadiens drafted Alex Galchenyuk third overall. They made it clear he would be a pillar (along with Price and Subban) that they would build around. Galchenyuk made a quick transition to the NHL and hasn't put up extraordinary numbers, but what impressed me the most was when he came back from an injury late in the playoffs and was one of the best habs in the NYR series.rnrnGalchenyuk hasn't been given a chance to play a full season or even half a season in his natural position due to older more experienced centers eating up all the ice time down the middle. If the habs want to be a legitimate playoff contender, they have to develop Galchenyuk into the number one center he can be. Playing him on the wing with veteran defensive specialist Tomas Plekanec was a great idea. However, it's time for him to be given a bigger role and a better opportunity. Galchenyuk is the key to finally increasing the possession numbers that ultimately led to the habs demise this year.So who gets shipped out of town?rnrn Desharnais seems to be safe as he's the only center who's managed to find a little chemistry with star winger Max Pacioretty. Lars Eller is yet to be signed, but is definitely looking to contribute to a bigger role. Malhotra isn't going anywhere. So we're left with Plekanec. Plekanec is a strong role player on the team but as slowly trailed off offensively. He's not getting any younger and holds the most trade value out of the other three centermen. He could even be potentially shipped to a contender for a late first round pick in what is probably going to be a strong draft. The Canadiens are well on their way to becoming a real contender, and they don't really need to make any major moves to improve their roster. Don't be suprised to see the Canadiens take a small step back next year but take a huge leap toward their ultimate goal. The cup.
Filed Under:   Montreal   Plekanec   Subban   Habs   Canadiens  
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