With the preseason in full gear, we have gotten to see a preview of what to expect in this defining 2012 NHL season. I know that lately my blogs have been focused on all 30 teams, but today I'm just going to talk Habs. This blog will be (obviously) about what I expect from the players (stat wise) and the team's opening night lines. Also, I'll write a blurb on a few of the rookies and their performances so far this preseason, and when you can expect them in a Habs uniform full time. So without further ado, here we go!
13 Mike Cammalleri- 35 G, 30 A - 65 P, +10, 10 PPG
X factor - Goal totals are expected to rise this year with Cammy apparently being in the best shape he's been since he scored 39 in Calgary.
72 Erik Cole- 20 G, 38 A - 58 P, +4, 9 PPG
X factor - Has performed well in the preseason so far. No reason to expect any less from Cole, who is in the first year of a 4 year, 18M pact with the Habs.
52 Mathieu Darche- 10 G, 10 A - 20 P, -5, 0 PPG
X factor - Not very impressive on paper, but considering he will be playing on the fourth line, and that he is 34, these numbers aren't bad. You can't win if you don't have a Darche like player on your team. He'll be as valuable as anyone this season.
51 David Desharnais- 13 G, 28 A - 41 P, -1, 2 PPG
X factor - Desharnais could see himself playing on the second line if Gomez/Eller falter this season, and if that happens, you will see steady numbers from the 5'7" centre.
81 Lars Eller- 5 G, 17 A - 22 P, -6, 1 PPG
X factor - I can see Eller sticking in the bottom nine all season. He just doesn't seem to have the drive, in my opinion. Expect to see low totals again this season.
21 Brian Gionta- 30 G, 19 A - 49 P, +13, 12 PPG
X factor - Our captain is poised for another solid goal scoring season. He scored 29 last year, and with no changes to the second line, there is no reason to not expect any more or less.
11 Scott Gomez- 9 G, 37 A - 46 P, -9, 3 PPG
X factor - He looked good in his first preseason game last night against Ottawa. If this is some kind of window to the future, you may see a mediocre season from Gomez. Still not worth 7M, but he's (kind of) getting there.
46 Andrei Kostitsyn- 18 G, 17 A - 35 P, +3, 7 PPG
X factor - A few nights ago, we saw that AK46 still has that wicked wrister that we know him for, but I still don't think he will finish the season with Les Canadiens. He and maybe a prospect/pick will be traded at the deadline for _______ (fill in the blank in the comments!!)
32 Travis Moen- 4 G, 13 A - 17 P, -6, 0 PPG
X factor - One of my personal favourites, Travis Moen is the kind of player we love. A big guy, solid hitter and won't back down from a tussle (although I noticed that after his eye injury last season he didn't drop the gloves at all). He'll be a solid third liner.
67 Max Pacioretty- 23 G, 34 A - 57 P, + 16, 8 PPG
X factor - He shows great chemistry with Brian Gionta, and he will be a Masterson Canidate this year. The fact that the guy is still walking is a miracle, let alone playing hockey, at a high level I may add. Look for a big year from Patches.
14 Tomas Plekanec- 19 G, 53 A - 72 P, + 17, 4 PPG
X factor - This will be a defining season for Plekanec, who signed a big six year deal back in 2010. He is labeled as a good second line centre, but a decent first liner. Though he scored 70 points in 09-10, he fell back to 60 last year. Injury depending, we may see Plekanec have his best year yet.
53 Ryan White- 5 G, 10 A - 15 P, -8, 0 PPG
X factor - I am a big fan of this kid, and unfortunately we may see him being the odd man out. But, you may see him take a roster spot half way through the season. Keep your eyes on this guy.
*UPDATED*17 Chris Campoli- 5 G, 18 A - 23 P, -4, 2 PPG
X factor - Not a bad pick up yesterday by Pierre Gauthier. Insurance if Emelin or Spacek don't pan out or if Markov gets injured. He will have a decent year this year.
74 Alexei Emelin- 2 G, 9 A - 11 P, +3, 0 PPG
X factor - The Russian import who was taken by the Habs in the third round of the '04 draft will finally be making his NHL debut at the age of 25. He will bring part of what we lost in James Wisniewski (Columbus, 6 years, 33M), which is a physical edge but unfortunately he does not bring the kind of offensive talent that Wiz had.
75 Hal Gill- 1 G, 7 A - 8 P, -2, 0 PPG
X factor - He is great in the locker room, and solid defender. But, every rose has it's thorn. Gill is aging, plus he was slow on his feet to begin with. He was re-upped for this season, but it looks like it may be his last, at least with Montreal anyways.
26 Josh Gorges- 3 G, 13 A - 16 P, + 11, 0 PPG
X factor - He is coming back from a major injury and he looks better than ever. He'll play 20 minutes every night, and will be quarter backing the first P.K unit.
79 Andrei Markov- 12 G, 47 A - 59 P, +19, 8 PPG
X factor - Like Gorges, Markov is coming off a major knee injury, and though he may miss the first week of the regular season, we will probably see the old Markov that we know and love.
6 Jaroslav Spacek- 1 G, 13 A - 14 P, -4, 0 PPG
X factor - He's lost some weight this past offseason, and he is faster. He actually won a footrace against Sabre Speedster Nathan Gerbe. I actually did a double take. He'll kind of bounce back from last year's bad season.
76 P.K Subban- 21G, 38 A - 59 P, + 23, 14 PPG
X factor - Love him or hate him, Pernell-Karl Subban is a budding superstar. Barring a sophomore slump, expect him to pull off HUGE numbers. He'll get a big contract next summer too.
68 Yannick Weber- 2 G, 18 A - 20 P, -1, 1 PPG
X factor - Weber has the potential to be a second pairing defeseman, but right now he may be on the outside looking in due to the strong play of Emelin.
30 Peter Budaj- 7 W, 11 L, .912 SV%, 2.89 GAA
X factor - Budaj may be a step down from Alex Auld (Ottawa, 1 year, 1M) on paper, but Budaj has the potential to be a great back up for Carey Price. Expect to see an OKAY season.
31 Carey Price- 38 W, 26 L, .925 SV%, 2.25 GAA
X factor - Remember last time his preseason debut was horrible? Just chill out guys. Carey will be as good, if not better than he was last season. Maybe, just maybe, we can see a Vezina nomination.
2011-2012 Starting Line Up
LW- 13 Mike Cammalleri C- 14 Tomas Plekanec RW- 72 Erik Cole
LW- 67 Max Pacioretty C- 11 Scott Gomez RW- 21 Brian Gionta'C'
LW- 32 Travis Moen C- 51 David Desharnais RW- 46 Andrei Kostitsyn
LW- 52 Mathieu Darche C- 81 Lars Eller RW- 53 Ryan White
LD- 79 Andrei Markov 'A' RD- 74 Alexei Emelin
LD- 76 P.K Subban RD- 26 Josh Gorges
LD 6 Jaroslav Spacek RD- 75 Hal Gill 'A'
7th D - 68 Yannick Weber
Starting Goaltender - 31 Carey Price
Back Up Goaltender - 30 Peter Budaj
Brenden Gallagher- I think he has the potential to be a top line forward. But for now, he will be returned to the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, where he will tear it up again. I think you will see him in the NHL full time before you know it, in about two or three years.
Nathan Beaulieu- I like this kid's game. I can't believe we got him at 17th overall this past draft. He was expected to go in the top 10! He has a good, if not really good first pass, and his shot from the point is pretty good. Expect him in the NHL in 2013-2014.
Jarred Tinordi- He has had a shaky preseason so far, but hey, its his first pro experience. He's a big kid, with a good stick. His skating could use work, but other wise a solid prospect. Rookie year could be 2014-2015.
Well there you have it. My full expectations of this year's team. Don't forget to leave a comment, or follow me on twitter @allanrayer! -->http://twitter.com/#!/allanrayer