Rabid Habs

Starting Lines For The Habs 2015-2016 Season

Photo - Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

The Montreal Canadiens open up their 2015-2016 season on Wednesday, October 7th in Toronto vs the Maple Leafs. I will admit that when I wrote this blog last night I did so because I thought that the line up was set for the season. Enter Alexander Semin and a quick edit later and you have my new all improved post. Now I want to mention quickly that when it comes to stats and analytics, I am more on the Marc Bergevin side of things. I watch all the games so I don’t really feel like I need tonnes of stats to make my point. I can tell by watching, who is playing well and who is not. So here are my line combos.

Line #1

Max Pacioretty is the undisputed goal leader on the Habs with back to back 35 goal seasons. David Desharnais is our best offensive center (see my last blog). He was solid in the face off circle last year and has great chemistry with Patch. If Alexander Semin can find his old form or even close to it, the Habs may have a legitimate elite first line. More importantly his presence will take a little pressure off Patch as the only legitimate sniper on the team.

Predicted numbers: Goals-Assist-Points

Patch: 38-35-73
Desharnais: 15-46-61
Semin: 24-28-52

Line #2

The Canadiens have too many centres and because of this the Habs have no choice but to play Alex Galchenyuk another year on the wing. Whether this will continue into the 2016-2017 season I have no idea. Plek will be Plek and will have another solid year at centre. Brendan Gallagher will bring a toughness and work effort to this line and will make it a legitimate 2nd line with three 20-25 goal scorers.

Predicted numbers: Goals-Assist-Points

Chucky: 26-25-51
Plek: 25-38-63
Gallagher: 25-30-55

Line #3

If the Habs are going to be more offensive this year they need more production from the 3rd and 4th lines. I am not really sure how they are going to pull this off but with five NHL right wingers on the team someone is going to have to make the switch to left unless another deal is coming. If the Habs are serious about Zack Kassian and I think they are, they must have him in the top 9. This will also be a make or break year for Lars Eller if they are going to move Plek next season to free up space at centre for Chucky. DSP is the third member of the line and hopefully he can pick up with the rugged play he showed in the payoffs.

Predicted numbers: Goals-Assist-Points

Kassian: 18-22-40
Eller: 18-22-40
DSP: 14-22-36

Line #4

I expect the 4th line to bring more production to the team this year and they will stack up with the best 4th lines in the league. Flynn and de la Rose are solid and smart and will be in and out of the line up with Bournival as forwards 12-13-14 on the team. Mitchell is great on face offs and brings speed to the 4th line. Dale Weise showed last year he is a reliable forward that can fill in on any line but is best suited as a bottom 6 player.

Predicted numbers: Goals-Assist-Points

JDLR/Flynn: 8-12-20
Mitchell: 12-20-32
Weise: 12-25-37

D-Line #1


In a perfect world, Andrei Markov would not have to play on the first pairing but since nobody else, aside from the right handed shot Jeff Petry, is ready to be a #1 pair, I think Markov has to be there. Hopefully the team will cut back his PK and PP minutes and get him closer to the 20-minute mark per game.

Predicted numbers: Goals-Assist-Points

Subban: 20-52-72
Markov: 8-35-43

D-Line #2


Jeff Petry was a great addition and I think he will bring a new dimension to the PP this year. Nathan Beaulieu has shown he has great potential and with a team that lacks scoring. This pair’s offence will be just as important as their defence.

Predicted numbers: Goals-Assist-Points

Petry: 10-30-40
Beaulieu: 8-25-33

D-Line #3


I cannot say that they were better than Greg Pateryn last season, but they were good enough that they would be a very solid 3rd NHL pairing. If one of them falters, Pateryn and Barberio are waiting in the wings.

Predicted numbers: Goals-Assist-Points

Emelin: 3-12-15
Gilbert: 5-16-21

There it is friends, your 2015-2016 Habs starting line up. Let me know what you think? I’m heading off to the woods, so see you all in two weeks.

Follow Scott on Twitter @scottobrien99.


  1. Marc Checknita

    July 26, 2015 at 1:24 am

    What about Tinordi?

  2. PM Perron

    July 26, 2015 at 8:00 am


  3. Jeff

    July 28, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Speculation about lines is fun but pointless given the Habs’ coach. Michel Therrien rarely keeps the same lines for two consecutive games running. The only two players who (mostly) kept to the same lines were Patch (1st liner, deservedly so) and DD (undeserving 1st liner), but they were major exceptions. Mt doesn’t rely on data or stats; he just goes with his feelings (usually wrong) about which player belongs on which line for every game. This is why we see players like Weise who are useful but don’t belong anywhere near the top line, playing the top line. We also know that rookies / young players need not apply for anything greater than 4th line duty and if a player makes a mistake on defense he sits. So for all of the congratulations about MB’s signing of Kassian and Semin they will likely be in the press box after the two first weeks of the season because they don’t fit “da system”.

  4. Michael Abboud

    August 28, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    The Habs should copy the Hawks philosophy. Hawks 1st line in playoffs: sharp-Toews-Hossa(two way line). Montreal’s 1st line: Patches-Plekanec-Semin. Chicago’s second line: Saad-Richards-Kane. Montreal’s second line: Eller-Galchenyuk-Gallagher. Chicago’s third line: versteeg-teravainen-Vermette. Montreal’s 3rd line: Smith-Pelly-Eller-Kassian. Blackhawks 4th line:Bickell-Kruger-Shaw. Montreal’s fourth line: Carr-Mitchell-Weise.

    Habs defensive pairings:


    No.1 PP unit: Patches-Chucky-Gallagher
    No.2 PP unit: Kassian-Eller-Semin