What the Habs need for a successful 2007-2008 campaign

We’ve a lot of youth on this team. What do we need to become a contender for next year?
I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the Habs desperately needing help at the center position, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I think we need help on defense and finding a scoring winger.

On the top line, we have Koivu. He had an excellent first half. It’s possible that he’s getting a bit old, and that the cancer treatement has taken a bit of energy from him, but unless we intend to dump him, I don’t see anybody else taking his place.

One the second line, we have Plekanec. He’s a great faceoff man, showing a lot of potential as a two-way player. He may be great, but in a bit he could be a big piece of future Habs success. There’s also Higgins, who’s a center, that could play there.

On the third line, we have Bonk. His first season in Montreal was a disaster (there were times I thought he was playing to lose), but he’s really turned it around this year, and I’m hoping he’ll be back next year.

Fourtch line, there’s Max Lapierre, who I really enjoy watching. He’s grit and determination. He’s got a lot to learn, but he’s doing really well and can only get better.

As for the wingers, most of them appear to be struggling.

Ryder is having an OK year in regards to production (projected to end the season with about 50 points) and is second on the team with 16 goals, but is a -21.

Higgins started the season on fire but has not been the same since his injury and has been missing a lot of scoring opportunities of late.

Kovalev is projected to get about 55 points at the end of the season (though he’ll miss the next three weeks, so it’ll be lower), which is not much for 4.5M per year.

Latendresse is a rookie; he’s playing a very physical game right now, and in the next couple of years will pick up his offensive contributions.

Johnson has been a bit inconsistent on offence, and is projected to get about 34-40 points at the end of the season, but has a team leading +15, and has been a dynamic part of the third line, the only line that seems to be getting things down this season.

Samsonov has been a bit of a disapointment this season, definitively under-achieving this seaons (or over-achieving in years past). He’s missed numerous scoring opportunities, and rumours have him playing next in Hamilton to avoid having his salary on the cap.

Streit’s been doing a good job for a player that has never played forward. He’s a multi-faceted player, although with limited talent. He does however seem to be giving his all every shift, either on powerplay, penalty kill or 5 on 5.

Perezhogin appears to be another player with talent that is having a hard time scoring. Hopefully he’ll be more productive next season.

Begin: Heart and soul and grit. Limited talent, but gives it his all every time he’s on the ice. Excellent third / fourth liner.

We’re definitely short a big strong gritty scoring type player. Ryan Smith might be available in the offseason. If not, Vanek is RFA, might be a nice scoring winger.

As for D, we have:

UFA
– Markov
– Souray who might be traded,
– Rivet
– Niinima (thank god)

Others
– Komisarek (love this guy)
– Streit (when he’s not playing on the fourth line)
– Bouillon (not quite what he used to be, but doing ok)

Now, assuming that we sign Markov, we’d still need to solid D… Any suggestions?

Next year, we could have, unless there are major changes

Line 1

Samsonov – Koivu – Kovalev
Now, it’s possible that Samsonov might be demoted to Hamilton next year, and it’s possible, then we might have Higgins playing left wing, or possibly someone brought in (would LOVE to see Smith playing lest on that line; player that loves to crash the next would be great with Koivu and Kovalev, and Smith bring a bit more grit)

Line 2

Higgins – Plekanec – Ryder
This is a young line, and Higgins and Ryder are ice cold at the moment, but I believe they have a big upside. Ryder is interchangeable with Latendresse.

Line 3

Perezhogin – Bonk – Latendresse
Assuming we resign Bonk, this gives us a good line with a bit of speed, a bit of grit, and some decent physical play. Begin could be interchangeable with Perezhogin if they want a bit more physical play on the third line. If we don’t sign Bonk, we might want to put Plekanec on the third line, and go after a top or second line center. Briere anybody? Though if we get a top line center, does that mean Koivu is bounced down to the second line?

Line 4

Begin – Lapierre – Streit

Not much to be said about this line. Begin and Lapierre give good energy and Streit is a decent defensive player, nice to have on the fourth line.

DEFENSE

Markov – Bouillon

Komisarek – Dandenault


I don’t know if we have any young players at the farm. I’ve heard good things about Cote, but don’t know if he’s ready yet. I think we need to bring in a top 4 D.

GOALIES

Huet – Halak

Halak is interchangeable with Danis, depending on who plays. Aebischer is UFA, and might be good insurance for a playoff bound team that is missing depth at the Goalie position. People give Abby a hard time, but he’s done well (great save percentage), and would be great as a back up for a cup bound team looking for a decent backup. In the next 3-4 years, Price might be our starting goalie.

All in all, I’m seeing the need to sign a big winger, and if we let Bonk go, a first or second line center. We also need a top D man.


21 Responses to What the Habs need for a successful 2007-2008 campaign

  1. BieksaForMVP says:

    I'm sorry, but that's not a good team and I just posted and article about the Hab's, and that there not a playoff team, so if it get's posted say what dumb things you guess want at the comment's part of my article.

  2. EasternHockey says:

     I'm sorry, but don't criticize people rudely like that for posting an article.  His article was clear, and concise.  Judging by your hardly English reply, yours isn't.

  3. Mainer87 says:

    What fans are we to say we r already out? There is quite a bit more to play and we r only like a game out. This happens every year with us. We have a fast start then we fall off the map and then we win and sneak in the playoffs. So all the habs fans that are giving up on our team might as well start going to cheer for the leafs. When you give up and bad mouth our team u show no respect and hope. You Bastards. The Belle Province doesn't need u.

  4. brocarl99 says:

    Coming from a guy who's name is Bieksa for MVP, i dont give much credibility to whatever article you may write. Even more if you talk about the habs

  5. Archion113 says:

    Can we talk about this during the summer?

    No offense, but i'm thinking most of us really don't care about the canadiens.

    Trade deadline is 10 days away man.  Screw the Canadiens, and their clueless management.

  6. SabresFan220 says:

    That's the funniest thing I've ever seen, you think the Sabres would ever let Vanek walk away to Montreal? I suppose if Montreal wants to hand Buffalo 3 or more 1st round picks.

  7. Cimolini says:

    It's good to know that you Habs fans are packing it in this year and already looking forward to next year… Realistically though, maybe the Hab's habit of letting good players rot away in the minors without bringing them to the show is finally coming back to haunt them.

  8. Stubbs25ca says:

    Man. What ever happened to the most Storied hockey franchise in world. The good old days where we had guys that loved the city , played hard and nothing short of victory was accepted. paying guys basically pennies and peanuts to put the bleu blanc et Rouge colours on with Pride. Now what do we have about 5 guys on our team that play with passion and want to win . Koivu has struggled a little bit but who has he played with this year .. Ryder who is a 25 goal man at best and higgins a player comming into his own . and Koveleve who has he played with sence he got to montreal .. Riberio  and Placanks not bad players but not good enough to play with him .. Souray has been the heart and soul of this team and people that allways brag markov say sign him he is better .. Trade Souray .. if they trade souray this team is gone .. Markov is a very good hockey player but can he score 15-20 goals .. i dont think .. can he protect his captain no i dont think so .. will he do anything to win .. im not so sure .. Souray will . everybody is on Huets back .. did you look at his stats .. his save % is still amazing considering the habs went on that awfull losing streak. We need a Franchise player that can get us over the top .. Why not talk to Tampa bay .. they are having huge cap problems and goaltender problems .. What i think we really need is a French Canadian player that can be the home town hero .. LEcaviller would be perfect .. now it will be hard to get him but we hav loads of prospects that we can trade .. guys that will be only fourth liners if they do make the nhl … i am rambling on here but I remember when Players wanted to be in Montreal .. they perforemed great and were judged by there heart not by their numbers .. now there is only  ahandfull of players that are doign that .. unfortunetly some are struggling but still playing hard .. we need the passion back .. Wher is Maurice "The Rocket" Richard when we need him .. he would be  ashamed of the Canadiens if he were to look down ..

  9. PaulK123 says:

    Oh how the mighty have fallen. I told all of you Habs fans that anything can happen and you guys were just hot, like the Leafs were in the beginning of the year. Now look who's laughing.

  10. DoubleDown says:

    not to mention the fact that his team would be in 12th place if not for luongo. but thats what happens with fans: there team wins a few games and all of a sudden they are THE authorities on hockey.

    as for this article, i hope its dead wrong. the lineup you posted for next year is the same as this year. wont be my friend. especially not up front. there is no way were gonna go into next season with the same forwards who havent been able to score all year.

  11. DoubleDown says:

    little insecure, are we? the leafs suck hard, too. stop laughing…

  12. jayhabsjay says:

    listen man, just because you're probably a leafs fan who would rather read about if they will resign tucker 40 times in a row, doesnt mean that "most of us really dont care about the canadiens". why read this post then? why post a pointless comment?

  13. TheStryker says:

    This could possibly be the worst post of all time. To say Ryder is having a decent season is rediculous. To say Samsonov is a BIT of a dissapointment is just insane. All I see you doing is taking the same players we have now and shuffleing the lines up. Gainey has to blow this thing up. He has to get rid of alot of players, cause this group is and will be going nowhere.

  14. Tim_Silver says:

    just cause u dont care doesnt mean no one else does…some people are just idiots?

  15. SabresFan220 says:

    How has Montreal fallen off the world in the last 30 years? Well it certainly helps that they no longer automatically get the 2 best canadian players in the draft every year. They were in contention for a good long while during the season, I think it was that bout with the flu that really did Montreal in. They were winning until the entire team seemed to get the flu, then they couldn't buy a win. It's tough luck, I kinda feel bad for Habs fans, they could still make the playoffs and make some noise, but without Huet I'm sorry but you're toast in the playoffs if you get there.

  16. xJayce says:

    You know, I hope I'm wrong also. For the lines, I took a look at what we have on hand, and added the possibility of a couple of free agents. But unless there is room made for new players, and some big transactions this summer, that's the team we have.

    I've heard people talking about 'changing the face of the team', and they're talking about trading Kovalev, Koivu, Samsonov, etc. But lets face it, how much, if we trade Koivu, will we be getting in return? What can we get for Kovalev? Samsonov is already up for grabs, and nobody seems interested. Dumping Kovalev and Samsonov is nearly 8M in salary. That's Briere money right there. Droping Koivu and Ryder's salary is another 7M. That could be a Ryan Smyth type guy.

    There's a lot of different things that can happen, but I'm not sure how different this team will be next septembre.

  17. xJayce says:

    Hummm. Your post seems to be a bit pointless.

    I said Ryder is having an OK seaons, production wise. He's going to end up with 20-25 goals at the end of the season, which isn't too bad for a player in his third year. A decent year would be 25 goals? A good year would be 30? Argue that however you want, he's still second on the team in goals. Maybe if there was a solid first line, Ryder could play on the second line, and if anybody was scoring goals, it might take some of the pressure off.

    As for Samsonov, I'm not sure what they were expecting. He's never scored 30 goals in a season, last season he had about 50 points, and he's not getting any younger. A wrote he was a bit of a disapointment cause I wasn't expecting too much from him. If you take a look at his stats on nhl.com, he still has about the same number of shots that he has every season, but his scoring rate is down from and average of about 13% to about 7-8%. Doesn't appear to be lack of effort. Either he's lost the ability to score, or the puck just isn't bouncing for him.

    Anyways, the point of my post was to see what people felt we needed to do to make sure we have a stronger team this year. I took what we are most likely going to have next year, added that maybe Smyth would be a nice edition, and see what other people would add. The only answer you've given is 'blow this thing up'. Have any better suggestions?

  18. BieksaForMVP says:

    The Hab's would be 12th place if it wasn't for Souray, and the goalies (combined they might be comparable to Luongo). Also just because Bieksa is one of my favorite players and I put something about him in my name does that mean your not gonna listen to me? If someone puts "MarkovForMVP" in there name I wouldn't care, because he is a good player, and likely someones favorite player.

  19. BieksaForMVP says:

    The Leaf's are probal better then the Hab's.

  20. TheStryker says:

    After the Preds getting Forsberg, alot of teams in the west are getting itchy to make moves. We all know Souray wants to move out west, well let's make his wish come true. We all know Detroit isin't going to stand pat, so let's see if we can package Koivu, Ryder, and maybe a pick and get Datsyuk. The Canucks maybe looking for a vetran d-man, Dandenault comes to mind. I know the Penguins are looking for a 3rd line center and a stay at home D-man= Bonk and Rivet. All the talk of Sammy going to Chicago, well let's bring in Aucoin.

    So…

    Souray
    To San Jose
    Bernier

    Koivu,Ryder,2nd round pick
    To Detroit
    Datsyuk

    Dandenault
    To Vancouver
    Burrows

    Rivet,Bonk,Perezoghin
    To Pittsbugh
    Talbot,Letang

    Samsonov
    To Chicago
    Aucoin

    Re-Sign
    Markov,Johnson,Datsyuk

    Sign Briere,Sykora,Hannan as UFA's

    Higgins-Briere-Kovalev
    Sykora-Datsyuk-Bernier
    Latendersse-Pleckanec-Johnson
    Burrows-Lapierre-Begin

    Komisarek-Markov
    Hannan-Letang
    Bouillon-Streit

    Huet
    Price

  21. brocarl99 says:

    In my opinion, you are just not looking at the situation logically. You should feel grateful that Mike Keenan was dumb enough to give you Luongo for a couple sticks and a bag of pucks cause your Canucks would not be where they are right now! But dont get me wrong, you guys have a good team, but to say that you are way better than Montreal, thats where you are wrong

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