Well it is the time of the year that hockey fans across North America start getting excited about the upcoming season in the NHL. The training camps are started; fantasy pools are almost under way, pre-season games are around the corner, and the opening puck drop is just a few weeks away. So let’s take a look and see whether or not Habs fans should be excited about the 2010-2011 season.
Price vs Halak
On June 17th, when the Canadiens announced that they have traded Halak to the Blues, the Price vs Halak debate started and once again a goalie controversy was started during the off season. Newspapers, sports talk radio, local TV; fans were debating this subject all summer long. It has always been clear to me, that the Habs organization see Price as the future goaltender; therefore Halak had to be moved. As the Price contract signing took longer to get done, the debate continued.
On September 4th, 8000 fans showed up at a local mall to show their appreciation to Halak as he signed autographs to raise money for a local Montreal organization.
Left the organization:
Jaroslav Halak, Sergei Kostisyn, Cedrick Desjardins, Glen Metropolit, Dominic Moore, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Paul Mara, Georges Laraque.
The biggest surprise from this list is Cedrick Desjardins as he was traded to the Lightning in return for Karri Ramo; even though Ramo confirmed that he will be playing in the KHL next season.
Dustin Boyd, Alex Auld, Alexandre Picard, Karri Ramo, Jeff Halpern, Lars Eller, Ian Schultz
Not as many big names that the Habs acquired compared to last year. Lars Eller and Ian Schultz will have the most pressure from all these players as they were obtained in the Halak trade with St.Louis. Even though they are not in goal, they will be tagged as Halak’s replacements. Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier was criticized by fans and the media that the team did not get enough in return for their goaltender. Boyd and Halpern will be good 3rd and 4th line players for the Habs.
Extending their stay with the club:
Tomas Plekanec, Maxim Lapierre, Benoit Pouliot, Mathieu Darche, Tom Pyatt, Carey Price, Curtis Sanford
Tomas Plekanec was the first signing during the off-season for Gauthier as he signed him to a 6 year $30 million contract. Carey Price’s contract negotiations extended all the way to September 2nd when it was announced by the team. All the spotlights will be on Price this season as he has been identified as the team’s number one goalie. For more on the Carey Price signing, click here.
The contract signing that I am the most surprised about is Benoit Pouliot that received a substantial pay increase even though he spent a lot of time on the bench during the playoffs.
Pouliot- Gomez- Gionta
Camamalleri- Plekanec- Kostitsyn
Eller- Lapierre- Moen
Boyd- Halpern- Darche
Reserves: Tom Pyatt, O’Byrne, Picard
As you can see, there are not many spots available on the Habs roster. The only players that have potential of causing a surprise and may have a chance of making the team would be Curtis Sanford, Max Pacioretty, and Aaron Palushai. Palushai was the player that the Canadiens got in return for Matt D’Agostini.
On offence, the Habs will have to rely on the top 2 lines once again to score goals even though I believe that the 3rd and 4th lines improved compared to last year.
A lot of bodies once again this season for the Habs on defence. We will see if Hamrlik and Spacek will be able to handle an 82 game workload this season.
On special teams, even though Marc-Andre Bergeron’s shot would be missed on the power play, Subban should be a great addition. The acquisitions of Halpern and Boyd will give the opportunity of Plekanec skip some shifts on penalty kills.
The key to the Canadiens success will be the goaltending. If Price has the good season, so will the Habs. There are only 9 Habs players with a contract after this season, so there is definitely potential of a couple of players having a great season.
In my opinion, contrary to some of the media, I believe that the Canadiens will make the playoffs by finishing between 6th and 8th in the Eastern Conference. And once you’re in the playoffs anything can happen. We saw that last season.
Come back to www.prosportsblogging.com throughout the season for the best Habs and NHL coverage you can find. A major announcement about Habs coverage will be announced shortly on this site so check back daily not to miss it.
About the Author
Written by Chris G
Host of Habs360 every Saturday @ 3PM ET Montreal sports fan. Favorite teams are: NHL: Montreal Canadiens CFL: Montreal Alouettes NFL: Chicago Bears NASL: Montreal Impact MLB: Montreal Expos...so you know that there won't be much baseball talk