The Habs roster for the 2010-2011 season looks like it is all but set in stone. The signings of Carey Price and Maxime Lappierre are imminent. So we have to assume, barring any random trade involving Gomez, Hamrlik or the remaining Kostitsyn, these are our Habs. Here is what I think the lineup will be come October 7th:
Kostitsyn - Plekanec - Cammalleri
Pouliot - Gomez - Gionta
Moen - Eller - Lappierre
Pyatt - Boyd - Darche/Pacioretty
Hamrlik - Spacek
Subban - O'byrne
Gorges - Gill
The 3rd and 4th lines are more speculation than the top 2 lines. They could look much different than that. Lappy can play center...Boyd can be on the wing...who knows. Either way, I am pretty excited about next years team. And I believe, as scary as this may be, that the success or failure of the Habs depends completely on the quality of play we see from Pouliot and Kostitsyn. If one of the two players has a breakout season, and the other plays to HALF of his potential, the Habs will be a serious playoff team. We all know that Cammy, Pleky, Gomer and Gio will have good years, their numbers will be impressive. If Pouliot and Ak46 USE their size, SCORE big goals, PLAY with heart, and WORK HARD. They will have unbelievable seasons and the Habs will have 6 amazing forwards. Now I know everyone thinks this is a tall order, but is it really?
Pouliot had done NOTHING in the NHL before coming to the habs. In 65 NHL games with the Wild over 4 seasons, he had a total of 19 points. 19!!!! With the Habs, despite a shaky playoffs, he brokeout with 24 points in 39 games. The sweet taste of NHL point production lingers on the lips of Benoit Pouliot. He will have a good season playing next to Gio and Gomer next year.
Kostitsyn has gone from being the golden future star of the Habs to another underacheiver. With one year left on his contract, this is his ABSOLUTE FINAL chance to prove to the Canadiens that he can be an offensive force. The moose has size, hands, a shot and he's a smart guy. We all thought last year would be the year for Andrei, but his slow start and an untimely injury postponed his success. I believe that the departure of his brother Sergei, and more comfort with his linemates Cammy and Plek after a season of playing with them will spark him to earn a new, and respectable contract with this team. I think that the whole city is hoping Andrei will prove to us he wants to be a Hab in the future. We all become AK46 fanboys as soon as he starts scoring. He can easily earn a place in our hearts. All he has to do is learn from the work ethic of Cammalleri, Gionta and Plekanec. These guys can show him how to be a true NHLer.
And last but not least, le piece de resistance, Carey Price. When the Canadiens signed Alex Auld (??!??) to a 1 year, $1M dollar deal. They paved the way, AGAIN, for Price to take the keys to the city. In today's theme of optimism, I will say this. I believe in Price, we all saw how he matured in the playoffs and read the articles of his hard work and good team ethics. Carey Price could have an amazing year. I hope he does, I like him alot. And if he doesn't, Auld will not be pulling a Jaro Halak any time soon. So here's to crossing our fingers that Price becomes the next Roberto Luongo...and soon!
So considering that our top 6 looks good, we have a new shiny toy named Subban on the back end. And the golaie controversy has been "solved", I think we will see a good team next year. Lets look at it this way. At least our only offensive player ranking doesn't look like this: Gaborik, Prospal...a la NYR. And at least we didn't sign Gonchar to a 3 year deal worth $5.5M when we clearly have to rebuild...a la Senators. And at least we didn't bring back 2 players we ousted in the last 5 years...a la CGY??!!!???!!!!! The Habs are in good shape!
Now lets all start a petition to start hockey one week after July 1st. Waiting until October really hurts.