WEBER, RADULOV & SHAW ARE NOT THE FINAL PIECES IN THE CANADIENS OFF-SEASON ORGANIZATIONAL PUZZLE

Jul 4th, 2016 | By | Category: Canadiens, Latest News

12 farm systemNever make a jujdgement on a work that is clearly still in progress and Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has a long off-season road yet to travel before he writes finis to his summer’s work.  

To date he has added three important pieces in Shea Weber, Andrew Shaw and Alexander Radulov plus the under-the radar signing of goaltender Al Montoya.  Of course, along the way he also lost P.K. Subban.

There’s still the rest of the summer and training camp before the Canadiens have to declare a final roster and for better, and worse he did sign Alexander Semin in late July and Tomas Fleischmann during training camp last year.  

The early July Canadiens depth chart leave plenty of room for debate.  

THE FORWARDS

The off-season goal was to somehow fill gaping holes on both left and right wing on the top two lines.  Alexander Radulov may solve the right wing problem.  Left wing remains a problem after the Canadiens finished second to the Oilers in the bidding for Milan Lucic.  

With some room for shuffling, the Canadiens up-front depth chart as it stands now –

Max Pacioretty    Alex Galchenyuk    Brendan Gallagher

Daniel Carr    Tomas Plekanec    Alexander Radulov

Andrew Shaw    David Desharnais    Sven Andrighetto

Paul Byron     Phillip Danault    Torrey Mitchell

Brian Flynn

ALSO

Artturi Lehkonen    Mike McCarron     Nikita Scherbak

Martin Reway     Charles Hudon    Jacob de la Rose

Stefan Matteau   Mark MacMillan    Chris Terry

The two major issues were a top six left winger and right winger. On paper he has solved the right wing situation with Radulov whether he plays on the first line with Galchenyuk or stays with Plekanec.

43-Daniel Carr - Candidate at Second Line Forward

43-Daniel Carr – Candidate at Second Line Forward

Left wing is a large question mark. Daniel Carr has the talent to be a top six left wing and showed it with his six goals in the 23 games before he was hurt. Whether his game is overall NHL-ready remains to be seen but Bergevin is committed to giving his prospects a solid chance to win an NHL job. If that doesn’t work out Andrew Shaw can move up the second line if necessary. The dark horse is Finnish/Swedish prospect Artturi Lehkonen but unless he makes the Canadiens outright he seems destined to honour his final contract year in Sweden.

There is also a chance of a training camp tryout contract like the one given Tomas Fleischmann last season. (the only name that comes to mind is Jiri Hudler. Most of the others, including Alex Tanguay and Brad Richards seem to be past their expiry date).

Former first round picks Mike McCarron and Nikita Scherbak will again get a lot of attention in training camp. McCarron is close but will probably start the season in St. John’s. Scherbak’s rookie season was filled with injury so he’ll need more time. Charles Hudon scored 30 goals last season with IceCaps but seems to be reluctant to buy into the Canadiens commitment to defense. The Canadiens have an overabundance of third and fourth liners which leaves Jacob de la Rose in St. John’s until injuries hit the team.

Stefan Matteau was on the Canadiens roster last season after coming from New Jersey. Unless there’s a marked change in his game his chances of making the team are considered slim.

ON DEFENCE

The big differences on defence will be the arrival of Shea Weber and a full healthy season from Jeff Petry.

Andrei Markov    Shea Weber

Alexei Emelin    Jeff Petry

Nathan Beaulieu     Greg Pateryn

Mark Barberio         Zach Redmond

ALSO

Joel Hanley      Ryan Johnston

Mikhail Sergachyov     Brett Lernout

Tom Parisi       Philip Samuelsson

Colorado UFA Defenseman Zach Redmond Signed by Canadiens July 2nd

Colorado UFA Defenseman Zach Redmond Signed by Canadiens July 2nd

The big decision seems to be deciding between Mark Barberio and recent free agent arrival Zach Redmond, who seems to be one of those late developers.  Like Barberio in Tampa, Redmond was caught in the numbers crunch in Colorado and comes to Montreal with very good possession numbers, based on limited exposure with the Avalanche. Barberio and Redmond give the Canadiens depth while prospects are given room to develop.

There’s a chance that either Joel Hanley or Ryan Johnston whom we saw late last season, might also crash the party eventually.

It will be interesting to see at what stage top draft pick Mikhail Sergachyov‘s game is. We might see him remaining with the team for his first nine games before he is returned to junior. Gone from the organization are free agents Darren Dietz (Washington) and Morgan Ellis (unsigned). Not much yet known about college free agent signing Tom Parisi who graduated from Providence College in the spring.

Before the summer is out there’s always the possibility of a trade, especially if it helps fill out that left wing situation.

GOALTENDING

The signing of goaltender Al Montoya came as a surprise.    Montoya’s presence means that Mike Condon has been pushed down the depth chart.

Carey Price

Al Montoya  

Mike Condon

Charlie Lindgren

Zach Fucale

35-Al Montoya - 2.18 GAA Last season with Florida

35-Al Montoya – 2.18 GAA Last season with Florida

Montoya’s arrival gives the Canadiens five goaltenders to stock two teams. Montoya is a solid NHL backup goaltender who was pushed out of Florida by the multi-year James Reimer contract.  Unless something extraordinary happens at training camp it appears the Canadiens tandem will be Price and Montoya and Condon, assuming he clears waivers, is headed to St. John’s.  (For the record Montoya is the first Cuban-American in NHL history)

There were St. John’s games last season when 20 year old rookie Zach Fucale was excellent. On other nights he seemed over his head. With Fucale’s consistency an issue, it’s possible the Canadiens are thinking of starting his season with Brampton in the ECHL leaving Charlie Lindgren and Condon in St. John’s.

2 Comments to “WEBER, RADULOV & SHAW ARE NOT THE FINAL PIECES IN THE CANADIENS OFF-SEASON ORGANIZATIONAL PUZZLE”

  1. Kevin says:

    It’s good to see decent competition for spots, though you’re right about LW looking weak (sidenote: I thought Shaw was C/RW?). My bigger concern up front is that only the 4th line looks any good defensively, so I wonder how we’ll try to match up against opposing top lines. Perhaps power vs power, with Pacioretty and Gallagher making up for any defensive deficiencies on Galchenyuk’s part. Then again, Therrien doesn’t line match, so maybe this doesn’t matter.

    On D, while I could see them trading Emelin to clear some cap space, I also have a feeling they’ll just carry 8D. They did it for most of last year, and Bergevin always talks about never having enough Dmen. Redmond seems like a solid addition, hopefully he pushes Pateryn for 3R, while Beaulieu, Emelin, and Barberio all improve as they seek to be 2L, or even 1L – I really don’t like the idea of a Markov-Weber pairing, it looks way too slow, so I’m hoping Beaulieu does enough to get the spot beside Weber, while Markov can slot in on the 2nd pairing beside Petry.

    I’m curious to see who wins the backup spot out of camp and, more importantly, who ends up in the ECHL. From what I’ve seen and read, it seems like Fucale is the most likely to end up there, despite a decent (though not great) rookie season.

  2. Katzino says:

    Marky and Weber looks like way too slow a tandem for our #1 pair at this point in their careers. Markov with Petry seems very solid to me as a #2 pairing. Can Beaulieu step up and grab that top pairing spot? I sure hope so, because if not, it seems like we are in big trouble on D. Fast top offensive lines will eat us alive.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: