FanPost

Habs Future Depth Chart and Theoretical Lineup

Here is my take on a long-term depth chart for the Montreal Canadiens. It includes current players who I consider part of the Habs' long-term core and prospects who I think have the potential to crack the roster at some point. The chart is arranged by position in the lineup, with the names ordered from the prospect most likely or best suited to occupy that spot to the least likely or least suited. Prospects can appear in several different spots - they are listed at every position which they could eventually occupy. For current roster players whom I consider part of the Habs' core, I have italicized their names and left them alone in the slot for their position, as I consider them a ‘lock' for that position in the long term.

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Soon... soon... via magazine.canadiens.com

1st line

LW: Pacioretty

C: Galchenyuk

RW: 1- Scherbak 2- Sekac

2nd line

LW: 1- De La Rose 2- Lehkonen 3- Hudon 4- Bozon

C: Eller

RW: Gallagher

3rd line

LW: 1- Bournival 2- De La Rose 3- Lehkonen 4- Hudon 5- Bozon 6- Reway

C: 1- Bournival 2- Hudon 3- McCarron 4- Audette 5- Reway

RW: 1- Sekac 2- McCarron 3- Andrighetto 4- Thomas 5- Evans

4th line

LW: 1- Bournival 2- Crisp

C: 1- Bournival 2- McCarron 3- Dumont 4- Gregoire 5- Naatinen


RW: 1- McCarron 2- Dumont 3- Holland 4- Fournier

1st pairing

LD: 1- Beaulieu

RD: Subban

2nd pairing

LD: 1- Beaulieu 2- Tinordi

RD: 1- Nygren 2- Dietz 3- Thrower

3rd pairing

LD: 1- Tinordi 2- Bennett

RD: 1- Nygren 2- Pateryn 3- Dietz 4- Thrower 5- Ellis 6- Didier 7- Lernout 8 - Koberstein

Goalies

Starter: Price

Backup: 1- Tokarski 2- Fucale 3- Hawkey


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Here are some observations I take away from the above chart:

-Why did we draft Lernout and Koberstein? We're stacked in 3rd pairing RD prospects.

-If Beaulieu doesn't pan out, it would be nice to have another potential 1st LD prospect to play with Subban. I'd make that a first-priority draft target. (I think Beaulieu will pan out though).

-Obviously there's a huge imbalance in our D prospects pool: only 3 LD versus a boatload of RD. Strange that the Habs didn't draft a LD.

-Also, we have a ton of "shut-down" or "two-way" D prospects, and not many true puck-movers. Beaulieu and Nygren seem like the only true offensive Ds in the pool, with Pateryn, Dietz, Bennett, and Thrower looking more like two-way guys who can chip in offense but who won't be game-changers.

-I have Thrower and Dietz, but not Pateryn, in the 2RD slot because I think that although all three have similar profiles, Pateryn doesn't have the offensive flair to be a top-4 D. Sure, he scored 15 goals in the AHL this season, but he was shooting at over 10%, which is obviously unlikely to happen next season. Dietz and Thrower have definitely shown that flair in juniors, and hopefully Dietz finds it again next season in Hamilton. Nevertheless, Pateryn is ahead of Dietz and Thrower for the 3RD spot because I think he's pretty much NHL ready now and could be a good callup option next season.

-Looking at our defensive prospect pool, it seems like size and grit shouldn't be issues on the Habs' blue line in the future. They may even be strengths.

-Obviously this is a tall order, but we do need more RW prospects with first-line potential. I included Sekac with Scherbak, but there are still a lot of question marks about Sekac (although he looked awesome in dev camp). Scherbak, I believe, has undeniable first line potential.

-Our bottom-six looks absolutely stacked. Plenty of guys with bottom-six upside, but also a few guys who could probably play top-six but will end up in more of a checking or secondary scoring role because of the Habs' depth.

-I think we're only two players away from an awesome top six in the future, and it's not crazy to imagine that those two slots (1RW and 2LW) will be filled by Habs prospects. Bergevin always underscores the importance of building through the draft, and it seems like the Habs are on the right track (at least for forwards).

-Considering our bottom-six and third-pairing prospect depth, I don't think it would be a bad idea for the Habs to go for maximum upside next draft, even if it means taking "boom or bust" prospects.

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Theoretical Lineup

This lineup is a theoretical exercise. It assumes that every prospect hits their potential, and that the prospect listed first at each position occupies that position. The #1 prospect for a position will occupy the highest position in the lineup for which he is listed, and his name will be removed from other slots to leave the #2 prospect as #1, and so on. This lineup is composed entirely of current Habs core players or prospects, and reflects a long-term ‘best-case' scenario, signings and trades notwithstanding.

Note: This was actually quite hard to do honestly. The lineup had to be drawn directly from my depth chart rankings without any kind of subjective ex post facto input. The results are not the same as my preferences. For example, I would think that Hudon would be a better 3C than Bournival, and that Bournival would slot in nicely as 4LW, but I have to accept that I ranked Bournival ahead of Hudon (and Lehkonen at 3LW) because he has pretty much made the NHL. Despite their higher ceiling, Hudon and Lehkonen have more uncertainty, and that hurts them in this chart and in the lineup.

Pacioretty - Galchenyuk - Scherbak

De La Rose - Eller - Gallagher

Lehkonen - Bournival - Sekac

Crisp - Dumont - McCarron

Beaulieu - Subban

Tinordi - Nygren

Bennett - Pateryn

Price

Tokarski

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PP1:

Pacioretty - Galchenyuk - Scherbak

Subban - Beaulieu

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PP2:

Lehkonen - Eller - Gallagher

Nygren - Pateryn

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PK1:

Pacioretty - Eller

Tinordi - Subban

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PK2:

De La Rose - Sekac

Beaulieu - Pateryn

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Comments are welcome! Feel free to chime in with opinions or feedback.

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