The habs this year will be a taste of whats to come. Without the arrival of a first line UFA (once again) the Canadiens finally have the luxury of having good building blocks at every position. The lines this year will hopefully involve a rookie or second year player on at least three of four lines, and since these rookies are highly touted prospects, this is an excellent sign. The teams that are doing this, using youth in all areas of the game, are the ones that are getting places in MyNHL.
Case in point: The Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup. While their defence was based on two future hall of famers, their offensive spark was provided by the influx of young talented players within the group. Getzlaf, Perry and Penner formed the best line in the Finals, scoring big goals and cycling the puck in a dominant fashion. Meon, Miller, Shannon, Carter and Rome all had parts to play in the late stages of the playoffs. It's no coincidence that these young players are having such success. Having inexpensive homegrown players coming through your system has never been more important, as the recent UFA debacle just showed us. Unless you want to overpay, getting a top players is difficult and the desirable contract lengths make it fiscally irresponsible. Development is the best way to acquire a good team over the short and long terms.The Buffalo Sabres: consensus choice for model team of the (uggh) "New" NHL. This team was one of the most entertaining to watch, as their high-tempo, high-scoring style wowed the rest of the league for the better part of the regular season and into the playoffs. In the past two weeks it would seem that the Sabres have lost their core, when in fact this could not be farther from the truth. Yes, they lost their two co-captains, but in reality they just decided not to overpay two overrated players. Briere's 95 points was an anomaly and Drury only averages about 60 points per season. Instead, they pay Thomas Vanek what he is worth and keep their actual core of Connolly, Paille, Stafford, Gaustad, Pominville, and Hunter. All of these players are born in 1982 or later, with the exception of Connolly who was born in '81. Many of these players will become household names, with Pominville already having the most popular jersey sold on NHL.com.
As you can see from these examples, having players progress through your system creates chemistry and breeds success. The financial advantages are obvious and the certainty gained from RFA status is comforting (unless you're the Buffalo Sabres in 2007). The Canadiens are on this same path, except they have the best goaltending prospect in the world to add to the mix.In my opinion, the future looks bright for the Habs.
Steeze and Respeeze