Then again, when isn't it?
Since the lockout is now over, and we will have a season, I can't help but be extremely excited about the product that I believe the Habs will be putting out every night. Forget last year, I believe we're in for a great season and that we should all be as excited as I am, and I'm going to try and prove that to everyone who takes the time to read this fan post.
It seemed that within minutes of the lockout being declared over (Pending Ratification, and SO HELP ME GOD IF THEY SOMEHOW DON'T RATIFY), some Habs fans were entertaining the idea of us drafting Drouin, Jones or possibly even MacKinnon next year. I, for one do not think that we will be in any such position when the regular season concludes. In fact, I think that we will be in the polar opposite position; a playoff spot with a legitimate chance of bringing Stanley back to the city that he has visited more than any other.
For one, the likes of Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole and David Desharnais are still Canadiens. These 3 play unbelievably well as a top line and I expect that they will remain a line for the entire season, health permitting. Many I've expressed this to are of the opinion that this line can't be kept together because it is important to spread talent around, which was certainly true last year. THIS year, however, we have a bottom 6 that is much more complete with additions like Colby Armstrong and Brandon Prust, and a certain USA hockey prospect by the name of Alex Galchenyuk that I believe is not only good enough to crack the lineup, but maybe even good enough to play in the top 6.
Some will say I'm putting a little bit too much faith in a young prospect that missed essentially a full year of junior and has yet to play a single minute at the pro level, but I don't think I am at all. In junior, he dominated, and at the World Juniors he put up impressive numbers for someone who clearly got a raw deal in terms of ice time. I think that if given a tryout for the team, he'll shine and stay with the team all year. He has nothing left to prove at the junior level and is clearly a high value offensive talent that, in my opinion, could do very well as a rookie NHLer.
Now, I suppose I can't ignore the much maligned pair of perennial disappointments that are Scott Gomez and Rene Bouque. I've completely given up on Scotty. While he did put a few pucks in the net in the ECHL during the lockout, my friend's older brother happens to have done the same thing quite successfully. His name is Andre Deveaux. While they are completely different players, my point is that ECHL scoring success doesn't necessarily translate to the show. I think Scotty should be beamed down to 4th line duties until and unless he starts producing, which he probably won't, then we can buy him out at season's end and be thankfully rid of his awfulness. As for Bourque, I actually still have some hope for him. Perhaps coming off his surgery he will be able to produce playing on a line with Tomas Plekanec, and dare I say Galchenyuk? In any case I believe that there is still some hope for him within the Habs lineup, if of course he puts in some REAL effort this year.
I'm a little more iffy at the defensive end of things. I'm not worried about P.K. Subban, he'll get his deal and continue to be his usual awesome self. I hate Tomas Kaberle, and always have, but a guy like him can be helpful on the PP. Markov is healthy again, but I probably just jinxed that. Diaz and Weber are both pretty solid but I feel that they both have something to prove still. And finally, Francis Bouillon, Josh Gorges and Alexei Emelin all get big thumbs up from me, I like all three of them quite a bit and I'm particularly intrigued to see what Bouillon can do now that he's back with the CH. Beaulieu and Tinordi are the two guys in my eyes that will be likely to step up if needed in case of injury, which I'm sure we'll have to contend with at some point.
Speaking of Bulldogs prospects, Brendan Gallagher has looked pretty damn good to me considering how bad that team has been overall. I'd be pretty interested to see what he can do in the show if given the chance.
Sure there are some question marks, as there should be after a year that saw the Habs... Well... Just plain suck... But there is no reason that we can't, or shouldn't be excited. For one, we have a season to be excited about, which in and of itself is something to be excited about. And secondly, the Habs are not the same team as last year, and I for one think that they are going to be much better.
Oh yeah, we also have a certain guy that I don't think I need to name who plays goaltender and is pretty good at it. And I'm not talking about Peter Budaj.
Get stoked my fellow Habs fans. I am, and it feels great.