So here's a look at what I think will be the starting lineups for this upcoming season, given there's no trades the happen after.
Mike Cammalleri -- Tomas Plekanec -- Andrei Kostitsyn
Erik Cole -- Scott Gomez -- Brian Gionta
Max Pacioretty -- Lars Eller -- Travis Moen
Mathieu Darche -- David Desharnais -- Veteran UFA(Mike Grier)
Andrei Markov -- P.K. Subban
Hal Gill -- Josh Gorges
Alexei Yemelin/Yannick Weber -- Jaroslav Spacek
F-Line 1: This is where I expect most of our scoring will come from. Kostitsyn over the years have been most successful playing with Plekanec whether he had Cammy or Kovy on the other side. This is just about the fastest and quickest line in the league and you can except many odd man rushes from this line. Plus with Markov and Subban maning the points, passes from Subban, Markov & Plek will lead to easy goals for Cammy and AK.
F-Line 2: The American lineup. Gomez will rebound, the fans except him to, the teams excepts him to, and he excepts him to. Gomez has said he will be better in 2011 and that's great to hear, cause Gomez is a tremendous player, he just needs to be smarter and more passionate. Gomez & Gionta have always been a great pair, back in Jersey, and now as Habs. Though they are small, which is why I added Erik Cole. Erik Cole has been a consistent 50 point player except playing as an Oiler (comon, they suck) and when injured in 2009. Cole has size and power and has a nice little snap release. Cole isn't a speed demon, but he ain't slow, he'll drive to the net and cause havoc for goaltenders, I expect big things from this line.
F-Line 3: Lars Eller worries me, not because he only had 17 points in 77 games last season and not because he's got a small body, but because he just doesn't seem to understand the game. There's lots of potential for Eller, and I can see him and Pacioretty gaving a good season, but Eller needs to be smarter with his decision making. After that horrific injury, Pacioretty is now well and seems to be ready for the upcoming season. He needs to continue using his size and shoot as much as he can. Pacioretty could easily be compared to Benoit Pouliot, Pacioretty just needs to do what Pouliot didn't and that's use his body size. Watch for checking and nasty garbage goals from this line.
F-Line 4: Like last year and the year before, Mathieu Darche will be a hard working consistent player as will Desharnais. Desharnais will be better and he's got a great career ahead of him in the NHL. They just need a linemate. Ryan White? No, Ryan White is not an 82 game player. White is a great checker and plays with intensity and passion, but Ryan White isn't a good enough grinder, by next season, maybe, for now, no. And with Tom Pyatt and Jeff Halpern gone, Montreal needs a solid veteran, penalty killer. So free agency searching, I found a player that I think would fit in perfectly into the Montreal system and into the 4th line. Mike Grier. A respected veteral who's one of the top penalty killers in the league, hard checker, and can occasionally score too, Grier would fit in perfectly into the Montreal system. Especially with Desharnais and Darche, they would have size, speed, finess, and defensive abilities. I say, get Grier signed.
D-Line 1: 2 injury plagued seasons and a busted up knee, Markov's career is now in jeopardy. If Markov injures his knee again, it could be the end of his career. While on the other side, PK Subban, my oh my, what a player he is now. Amazing skating abilities, hard checking, cannon of a slapper, Subban is an all around defenseman. He's learned from his mistakes, and this season, he and Markov will stop opposing stars and put up lots of goals.
D-Line 2: Gill and Gorges. Trying to score against Gill & Gorges is like trying to punch down a brick wall. 2 solid defensemen that will be a nightmare for opposing powerplays. Solid.
D-Line 3: Alexei Yemelin is kind of a beast. Check out his video (click his name). The guy reminds me of a Darius Kasparitus. Big body buy whos got smooth hands too. He's going to be a beauty passer to Spacek and wingers and got a nice shot too. Not to mention his explosive hits. It might take some time for him to get used to Montreal's and the NHL system, so Yannick Weber will back him up. Weber has offensive skills but is lacking on defence. He doesn't pickup his man too well and makes mistakes quite often. Hopefully, Spacek will be back in full and can clean up any mistakes. It's disappointing that Habs couldn't get Hamrlik signed since Spacek and Hamrlik were a shutdown pair for the Habs early last season.
Carey Price: Holy crap, what a season for Carey. Proved his critics wrong, consistent player, shutdown everybody, made an amazing save against Chad LaRose among other players and earned 8 shutouts while at it. Except just as a good season if not better.
Peter Budaj: With the departure of Alex Auld, I thought Curtis Sanford was going to backup Price. Then he signed with another team, shame, Sanford was debatebly the best AHL goalie last season. So with one Slovak gone (Halak), comes in another (Budaj). What a career this guy has had, great backup, then a terrible starter, had the swine flu, became the first Slovak goalie to 100 wins, improving stats, then decreasing stats, not to mention having The Simpson's Ned Flanders on the back of his helmet. He's a character alright. There's not much to expect out of him, he's not going to be a Jaro Halak, but he's not going to be like the last Avs goalie that came to the Habs, David Aebischer. I do expect Budaj to play more games than Alex Auld did.