Rabid Habs

High Expectations for the Habs

I’ve been following the Montreal Canadiens for quite some time, and this year’s edition of the Habs has to be, in my opinion, one of the deeper teams in recent memory. The Habs have four centres that on any given night, if needed, can play on the top 2 lines. Desharnais, Plekanec, Eller and Galchenyuk are all capable of playing in a top 6 role. There aren’t too many teams in the NHL that can boast about having such a luxury.

Then there is Jiri Sekac, Sven Andrighetto and Jacob De La Rose all competing for a spot in the Habs lineup, and it’s pretty safe to say that one of them will surely be there (most likely Sekac) on opening night against the “Laffs” (oops, Leafs), and the other two may get some time in the lineup at some point in the season.

Then on defence, the Habs have three NHL caliber defenders who are all battling for the same spot (Beaulieu, Pateryn and Tinordi), which can only be a good thing. Speaking of good things, the fact that Alexei Emelin can move to his natural side bodes very well for the Canadiens, and the fact that he will most likely be paired with Subban only makes a good situation better. Tom Gilbert and Andrei Markov have been playing together during camp, and developing some chemistry. The fact that they seem to compliment one another very well is more good news for Les Habitants. Then you have Mike Weaver, who will definitely do wonders for whomever he’s paired with – be it Beaulieu, Pateryn or Tinordi.

I’m not even going to talk about goaltending depth, there’s no need, because we all know how well off the Canadiens are in that department, and whomever ends up backing up Price – be it Budaj or Tokarski, will be solid no doubt.

The projected fourth line of Prust, Weise and Malhotra will undoubtedly be one of the better 4th lines in the entire league. It’s probably the best 4th line that the Canadiens have had in two and a half decades. Then you have Michael Bournival, who is a very good and capable bottom 6 player, who desperately wants a spot on the Habs permanent roster, and let me point out that when it comes to physical specimens, Bournival is amongst the very best. I’m almost convinced that he isn’t a human being at all, and that he is in fact a machine. Have you seen how ripped this guy is? Incredible! Unfortunately for veteran Travis Moen, it doesn’t look like there is a place on the Habs for him any longer, and his name has already been linked to trade talks, as reported by Sports Illustrated and TVA Sports. But, if there is something I’ve learned from following hockey for all these years it’s to never count any player out.

There are still questions surrounding the Habs, like every team. Will Galchenyuk start the regular season at center, and if so, will he stick? Only time will tell. If Lars Eller is asked to play wing for the majority of the season, due to Chucky sticking at center if that indeed does happen, will he find success there? Only time will tell. Can Rene Bourque pick up where he left off last playoffs? Only time will tell. PA Parenteau has looked great on a line with Desharnais and Pacioretty all camp long. Will that carry over to the regular season? That is yet to be seen. If Jiri Sekac makes the team, will he have an immediate positive impact? As of right now it’s impossible to know. Will the PP be better this year, and will the PK be just as effective? We will see when the season gets under way.

Despite these questions, I think, as I mentioned in the beginning of this article, that this is one of the deeper teams I remember the Habs having in recent memory. Despite the obvious question marks hovering above them, and due to the factors I have mentioned earlier, I really think that the Habs can make some noise in the East this season, and challenge to knock the Bruins off their Eastern Conference regular season throne.

I’m pretty confident that good times are ahead Habs fans, and expect a repeat of last season. Expect the bleu, blanc et rouge to have another deep playoff run. Heck, expect the Canadiens to make it to the Stanley Cup finals. As a matter of fact expect them to win the Stan… wait, I won’t go there just yet.