Rabid Habs

Crystal Ball: 2015-16 Habs Edition

Habs' Alex Galchenyuk Photo - NHL.com

This article is a compilation of what I expect to go down, not only for the Habs, but around the league for the upcoming season. Feel free to make me eat crow if I end up super wrong (I did predict the Blue Jackets finishing at the top of their division and New Jersey making the playoffs last season… Hey, nobody’s perfect!)

MY LINE-UP PREDICTIONS

Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Zack Kassian
Alex Semin – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk – Lars Eller – Sven Andrighetto
Devante Smith-Pelly – Torrey Mitchell – Dale Weise
Brian Flynn

Andrei Markov – PK Subban
Alexei Emelin – Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu – Tom Gilbert
Jarred Tinordi – Greg Pateryn

PP UNITS

Alex Semin – Alex Galchenyuk – Max Pacioretty
PK Subban – Andrei Markov

David Desharnais – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Jeff Petry – Nathan Beaulieu

Sven Andrighetto – Lars Eller – Zack Kassian
PK Subban – Jeff Petry

PK UNITS

Max Pacioretty – Tomas Plekanec
Lars Eller – Dale Weise
Torrey Mitchell – Devante Smith-Pelly

ANALYSIS

  • Based on the fact that we’ve seen literally every combination imaginable on the right wing of the Pacioretty & Desharnais duo, I don’t think it’s far fetch to suggest that Michel Therrien will try Zack Kassian on their right at some point this season. I think given his size and his playmaking abilities, he’ll be a good fit on that line. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have a similar impact than the one Benoit Pouliot had in his first season in Montreal when he was put on the same line as Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta.
  • I think Alex Semin and Tomas Plekanec should play on the same line. Not only would it help spread out the offense, but I think these two could develop some nice chemistry. They both play a cerebral type of game and although Semin obviously isn’t as good as Plekanec in his own end, he’s underrated in that aspect and I think they could be surprisingly hard to play against. I would utilize Plekanec’s line the same as in the 2013-14 season when him and Brian Gionta had the responsibility of shutting down the other team’s top lines. That way, Desharnais’ line can be used against softer opposition and help increase Desharnais’ value during the summer. Also, Semin on his off-side allows him to have more space to utilize his very powerful shot. With Gallagher on the right, I think we could see a patented play of Semin shooting low on the goalie’s left side only for a streaking Gallagher to bury the rebound in his classical fashion for him.
  • Some fans might be disappointed that Galchenyuk still isn’t playing center in my projected line-up but patience my friends. I think Marc Bergevin will force his coach to use Galchenyuk at center on the top unit to slowly ease him into the position at Even Strength. Baby steps my fellow comrades!
  • I don’t see Devante Smith-Pelly being back in Montreal next season. First off, his lack of conditioning last year was inexcusable for such a fringe NHLer. I don’t know about you, but if I had less than 100 NHL games of experience  I would make damn sure to be in the top shape of my life to increase my chances of being a full time NHLer. The NHL is all about speed and even if he comes to camp in shape, I think it’ll remain a problem in his case. The dude looked like Georges Laraque out there last season… With the likes of Jeremy Gregoire, Michael McCarron and Jacob De La Rose all coming up in the next year in potential bottom six roles, someone has to go and in my opinion that someone will be DSP.
  • One player that fans have seemingly thrown the towel on is Jarred Tinordi and I think that’s a mistake. I won’t pretend he’s been lights out in the NHL games he’s played but I think he’s been decent given the minutes he was given by the coaching staff. Some people have to keep in mind a couple of things. He’s only 23 years old and that’s where most defensemen start to come into their own at the pro level. I recall reading in Bruce Boudreau’s book that it takes around 300 NHL games for a defenseman to break out of his shell. That’s A LOT of games.
  • As we’ve seen as recently as last year with one of our prospects, Nathan Beaulieu, confidence is KEY and the coaching staff has to let Tinordi play his game. So he doesn’t want to be the wrecking ball that was initially expected out of him when Montreal picked him 22nd in 2010? So what! Hal Gill didn’t go around destroying people and made stick work and solid positional play his bread and butter and it’s not too late for Tinordi to turn into a more mobile version of Gill, which I’d be more than fine with to be honest. Some people might forget this, but Gill played over 1100 games in the NHL and didn’t reach the NHL full time until he was around Tinordi’s age. I think Tinordi will get a fair chance at some point during the early stages of the season and will make Alexei Emelin expendable. Some people quickly dismiss the idea of trading Emelin because, in their opinion, the roster would become soft as Michel Therrien would say. Subban, Petry, Pateryn and Tinordi can all hold their own in that department. Emelin is a fringe top four defenseman and replacing him with Tinordi would help a lot in terms of cap savings. One thing that doesn’t hurt Tinordi’s chances of getting some opportunities to play is that with the departure of Brandon Prust who was the team’s ‘enforcer,’ he becomes the de facto enforcer for the team. That could help him get in the coaching staff’s good graces.
  • I think Sven Andrighetto will be the rookie to make it out of camp for that open spot on the third line. He’s the one with the most NHL experience (excluding the likes of De La Rose, Christian Thomas and Michael Bournival), he can play all positions up front and he’s probably the most NHL ready. Although I will say one thing, Bud Holloway could create some headaches for the coaching staff. I have never seen him play, but I’ve read good things about him and he could have made the Los Angeles Kings team if he hadn’t left for Europe.
  • I think the additions of Alex Semin and Craig Ramsey will help our PP rise out of mediocrity. Semin is a multi-threat in the sense that he can shoot, he can deke and he can pass the puck as good as anyone on the team. He’s also a creative threat on the left wall, which is something we haven’t had in a LONG time. He’ll make other teams respect the Habs’ power play down low, which could open up some opportunities for Subban or Markov at the point. Anyway, our PP can’t be worse than it was last season.

POINTS PREDICTIONS

PK SUBBAN – 79 GP, 12 GOALS & 66 PTS
MAX PACIORETTY – 76 GP, 31 GOALS & 61 PTS
TOMAS PLEKANEC – 82 GP, 24 GOALS & 57 PTS
ALEX GALCHENYUK – 79 GP, 22 GOALS & 54 PTS
ALEX SEMIN – 77 GP, 21 GOALS & 52 PTS
BRENDAN GALLAGHER – 63 GP, 18 GOALS & 45 PTS
ANDREI MARKOV – 78 GP, 4 GOALS & 42 PTS
ZACK KASSIAN – 73 GP, 16 GOALS & 42 PTS
DAVID DESHARNAIS – 82 GP, 11 GOALS & 42 PTS
LARS ELLER – 74 GP, 14 GOALS & 33 PTS
SVEN ANDRIGHETTO – 68 GP, 13 GOALS & 29 PTS
JEFF PETRY – 66 GP, 4 GOALS & 25 PTS
NATHAN BEAULIEU – 70 GP, 2 GOALS & 22 PTS
DALE WEISE – 82 GP, 8 GOALS & 17 PTS
TOM GILBERT – 55 GP, 2 GOALS & 11 PTS
TORREY MITCHELL – 63 GP, 5 GOALS & 10 PTS
JACOB DE LA ROSE –  43 GP, 3 GOALS & 8 PTS
DEVANTE SMITH-PELLY – 55 GP, 3 GOALS & 5 PTS
ALEXEI EMELIN – 34 GP, 5 ASSISTS
BRIAN FLYNN – 38 GP, 2 GOALS & 3 PTS
JARRED TINORDI – 40 GP, 3 ASSISTS

CAREY PRICE – 66 GP, 37 WINS & 5 SHUTOUTS
DUSTIN TOKARSKI – 12 GP, 5 WINS

CHARLES HUDON – 9 GP, 2 GOALS & 4 PTS
MIKE MCCARRON – 13 GP, 1 GOAL & 2 ASSISTS
BUD HOLLOWAY – 6 GP, 1 ASSIST
CHRISTIAN THOMAS – 4 GP
MICHAEL BOURNIVAL – 8 GP
MIKE CONDON – 4 GP, 2 WINS & 1 SHUTOUT

TOTAL – 44 WINS & 218 GOALS

STANDINGS PREDICTIONS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1.    WASHINGTON CAPITALS
2.    TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
3.    PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
4.    NEW YORK ISLANDERS
5.    MONTREAL CANADIENS
6.    OTTAWA SENATORS
WC. NEW YORK RANGERS
WC2. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
9. DETROIT RED WINGS
10. FLORIDA PANTHERS
11. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
12. BOSTON BRUINS
13. BUFFALO SABRES
14. CAROLINA HURRICANES
15. NEW JERSEY DEVILS
16. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. ANAHEIM DUCKS
2. MINNESOTA WILD
3. CALGARY FLAMES
4. NASHVILLE PREDATORS
5. ST LOUIS BLUES
6. SAN JOSE SHARKS
WC. LOS ANGELES KINGS
WC2. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
9. COLORADO AVALANCHE
10. DALLAS STARS
11. WINNIPEG JETS
12. EDMONTON OILERS
13. VANCOUVER CANUCKS
14. ARIZONA COYOTES

STANLEY CUP WINNER: ANAHEIM DUCKS

STANLEY CUP FINALIST: TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

HART TROPHY WINNER: JOHN TAVARES

ART ROSS WINNER: TYLER SEGUIN

NORRIS WINNER: KRIS LETANG

VEZINA WINNER: BRADEN HOLTBY

JACK ADAMS WINNER: BRUCE BOUDREAU

ROCKET RICHARD WINNER: ALEX OVECHKIN

CALDER WINNER: CONNOR MCDAVID

One Comment

  1. jaja

    September 6, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    uh