Here we are ... about 40 days away from the drop of the puck.
Is anyone as antsy as I am for the season to start?
It's not that I don't like summer, but watching baseball just doesn't do it for me. But at least there's some Canadian Football to tide me over. Speaking of which, Ottawa is supposed to get a team for next season. But I digress ...
Since the Habs roster is just about set I thought I would try my hand at making predictions, from a fan perspective, for your enjoyment. Feel free to disagree with anything that you read. All I ask that you keep your comments clean and back-up your argument.
I'll start with the Centers and work my way through the forwards before moving on to the back end.
#11 - Scott Gomez
We all know what Gomez has done and what he can do. Since coming to the Habs the biggest complaint I hear from other fans about Gomez is about his salary. I will agree that he is overpaid, there is no disputing that but I have yet to hear a complaint about his play and the intangibles he brings to both the bench and the dressing room.
I like Gomez because he has many weapons. He is fast as lighting, very intelligent with the puck, has a great shot and can feather a pass with the best of them. His biggest drawback is his size, but his heart more then makes up for it. He is a proven leader and Stanley Cup champion who serves as an example to his teammates by always giving 100% no matter what the score is. Finally, his chemistry with Gionta is just creepy. I look forward too seeing what else they have in store.
2009/2010: 12 Goals, 47 Assists, 59 Points
2010/2011: 15 Goals, 60 Assists, 75 Points
#14 - Tomas Plekanec
Plekanec is coming off his most productive season as a Hab, with 70 points, and was rewarded with a brand new 6 year, 30 million dollar contract. Plekanec was drafted by the Habs and brought up through the Habs farm system so it was nice to see one of our own prospects earn that big contract. He is not afraid to admit when his game is off and works his butt off to correct his mistakes.
Plekanec has all the tools it takes to be a great play making center, doesn't mind getting his hands dirty and has a great scoring touch to boot! Baring any injuries, I expect him to have another career year.
2009/2010: 25 Goals, 45 Assists, 70 Points
2010/2011: 20 Goals, 75 Assists, 95 Points
#40 - Maxim Lapierre
After having a career year in 08/09, Lapierre is coming off what is possibly the worst season of his pro career. That being said, he was able to turn it around in the playoffs and showed Habs fans and management alike why he should be here. Known for having a big mouth, “Yappy lappy” used that tool to perfection in the playoffs by keeping players occupied with him instead of the game. When his mouth is mixed with his grit and offensive skills, Lapierre is often regarded as the best 3rd line center in the league.
After seeing him elevate his game in the playoffs, I expect more of the same from Lapierre this coming year. Having only signed a 1 year contract in the off season, I believe that he will be reminding us of why we love him all year long!
2009/2010: 7 Goals, 7 Assists, 14 Points
2010/2011: 15 Goals, 15 Assists, 30 Points
#17 – Dustin Boyd
I remember watching Boyd playing with both the Flames and the Predators last year and can honestly say that this is the type of guy that Montreal needed, the perfect replacement for Metropolit. He is a hard worker who plays an all-around game. He can also step up the offense when his team needs it and can play either center or wing.
I suspect he will be the 4th line center to start the year but could possibly move up the third line if anyone gets hurt or under performs. His sand paper play of offensive upside should be enough to ensure him a permanent spot with the club come Training Camp.
2009/2010: 11 Goals, 13 Assists, 24 Points
2010/2011: 12 Goals, 20 Assists, 32 Points
You will notice that I neglected to add Lars Eller to this list. I assure you that it is not an oversight on my part as I honestly believe that he will be playing the wing on the 3rd line in order to give him more ice time. I will include him in my winger list.
That’s it for now… but keep an eye out for my next piece on the Wingers!