Who's In Who's Out?

For the Canadiens Section Please

Looking at the Canadiens roster section of the TSN website I figured we could take a look at what the Canadiens have now in terms of depth at each current position, who the odd men out could be and who is expendable. I’m not going to talk about who should be traded for who or play on what line as at this point, Who cares? I’m not the coach or GM and unless Bob or Guy signed up for HTR and are reading this…neither are you.
Last Years NHL Stats (GP-G-A-P)

Higgins (61-22-16-38)
Latendresse (81-16-13-29)
Begin (52-5-5-10)
Murray (43-2-1-3)
Lahti (N/A)

I think its safe to say Montreal is unproven at this position, if the young players can continute and add to what they did last year in terms of production then the team will be ok. Lahti is unknown, he did score 20 goals last year in Europe, but he could fit in anywhere from the 2nd line to reserve player, I would think more realistically a 3rd liner or lower if he makes the team at all. Difficult to judge with no NHL or AHL experience.

Koivu (81-22-53-75)
Plekanec (81-20-27-47)
Smolinski (82-18-26-44)
Lapierre (46-6-6-12)
Grabovski (3-0-0-0)
Chipchura (N/A)

Montreals centers aren’t going to win the coring race anytime soon, but Plekanec, Smolinski and Lapierre are all very good defensively. Again a very young group other than Koivu and Smolinski, and much of the teams outcome will be the speed of their developement in their specific roles. If Grabovski doesn’t move to the wing it looks highly unlikely he will start the year in Montreal. Chipchura should start the season in the minors but could be ready for a call-up part way through, although it appears that would require an injury or player being moved.

Ryder (82-30-28-58)
Kostitsyn (22-1-10-11)

Montreals right side has a little more stability then the left side. Ryder has been a goal scorer since he came into the league and shows no signs of letting up. Kostitsyn was red hot with Plekanec and Higgins at the end of the year and showed he play play at both ends of the rink. Kovalev, who knows? A big part of the team will be if he returns to form, remains stagnent or dwindles away. Milroy was a scorer in Junior and came around last year in Hamilton, but unless a player moves he is likely to be back in the AHL waiting for a call-up or player move. His style in more suited for a Mike Johnson type role rather than a 4th line grinder.

Markov (77-6-43-49)

A decent devensive group with the addition of Hamrlik but lack the extra offence from Souray. This group does not look like it will put up many goals but could be solid if they can be consistent from night to night unlike last seaon. I have 9 listed here so it appears Streit will line up somewhere at the forward position 5 on 5 and maybe return to the back end for the powerplay. O’Byrne will likely be back in the AHL as he would be wasted as a reserve player.


There is no shortage of options for Montreal between the pipes, Price will be given a chance to start no matter where he ends up. Yann Danis was re-signed and will likely share AHL duties barring a goaltender being moved. Training camp will determine who goes where, no real point speculating about the other three until then.

Available? (That would realistically have a taker)

Ryder, Perzehogin, Kovalev, Dandenault, Bouillon, Gorges, Danis & Halak.

Ryder is a UFA at seasons end and has been difficult to resign, unless he signs and extension mid-year it looks like his days are numbered. He was in the minus last year, but so was most of Montreals offenive players. He is a goal scorer at a decent price, which could make him appealing.

Realistically Kovalev will be staying in Montreal with his 4.5M price tag, but you never know if someone is willing to take a chance on him, he would have to go to a team to play with higher skilled players than Montreal has to offer as that is when he has played his best in the past (he seems to be more of a compliment player).

Perzehogin will not be with the team next season yet could return to the NHL given a chance in another city. I would think a similar deal that Ottawa made for Kaigadorov could be made. It doesn’t look like they will get high return on his own, maybe better of part of a package. He is more proven than Alexi was and has some NHL experience but needs to be on the top 2 lines to be effective as he has shown flashes of great offence, but never really was given the chance with more offensive players to show it off more.

Bouillon, Dandenault are currently just sitting on the 3rd pairing. Bouillon plays with more of an edge so he has slightly more value than Dandenault. If either of these two are moved it does not appear their return would be high, they both make just under $2M and are not overly offensive. Their best assest is they are both very good skaters which could help.

Gorges does not seem like he would be more than a 3rd pairing defenceman and has no real value as of yet that would make him untouchable. Doesn’t appear he would have much trade value other than to a team with little or no defence. Likely to be the 7th defenceman or less.

Danis & Halak have both proven that they can play in the AHL and Halak showed he has the potential to play in the NHL at some point but did not look like he had the consistency to be a starter just yet. Price is on his way up and both of these goalies look like they would max out as the back-up in Montreal behind Huet now or Price later. One or both will be let go or moved as Desjardins is AHL ready and there is a log jam. Halak could be more appealing due to his experience, age and end of season run. Danis is currently the odd man out in all situations and is stagnent.

It appears all or most of Montreals success will depend on how their young players develop and produce. The team does not look like its going to blow teams out in terms of offence, but are building around players that play at both ends of the rink. Their PK should be just as good or better this year but the PP is up in the air with the loss of Souray. 5 on 5 they look better defensively than last season, so it appears that the Canadiens will be relying on the power-play to win games again this year. They have a few expendable parts but none really would bring in anything significant via trade. Ryder and Perzehogin would be the best trade bait and given Alex isn’t playing with the team this season and looks to be falling behind many of the Canadiens rising prospects, he would be the best to move from the clubs standpoint. The fact that he is in Russia hurts, but Ottawa had the same situation last year and were able to obtain Comrie, so who knows.