Grabovski, Ferland, Lapierre, Murray, Kostopolous and Begin are all good energy guys but the team seems stacked with that calibre of player and in the end, they are not the problem. No team misses the playoffs because of their third and fourth lines. It's the top two lines that need to improve. Since it's going to be the same six guys as last year, it's all about them stepping up at even strength.]]>
barring injury, this leaves one spot for either a defenseman (streit can be moved to forward) like Dandenault or Gorges or a forward like Chipchura, Grabovski, Murray or Sergei Kostitsyn. At the outset of camp I would have thought Dandenault is a lock to make the team, but Habs mgmt has been critical of his play making me wonder if they don't waive, demote, trade or buy him out. Assuming Dandenault does not make the team, Chipchura has the best shot so far of making the team. Chipchura is a first round pick from 2004. Murray is a third rounder from 01 who has yet to prove himself. Grabovski is a 5th rounder from 04 and Sergei Kostitsyn is a 7th rounder from 05. I think management always gives the roster spot to the first round pick.
the top tow lines for montreal will be made up of higgins, koivu, kovalev, ryder, plekanec and either latendresse or andrei kostitsyn. there is no point to keeping segei kostitsyn to play on the third or fourth line given that he is first and foremost a scorer.
next year, it is likely that kovalev and or ryder will not be with the team. this will open a couple spots on the top two lines. unless montreal manages to sign a decent free agent (ha) sergei will get his chance in 08.]]>
Trust me, I am well aware that evolving the third line center position from Joe Juneau to Radek Bonk to Smolinski to Chipchura isn't going to turn this team into a powerhouse.
No offense taken to your comment. Though I criticize the Habs probably 100x as much as I say anything negative about the Leafs, or their fans.]]>