With training camp starting tomorrow I felt it would be fun to check out every single battle that will be going on and
predict what will happen. While there are some well known and highly takes battles going on " 3 LW,RW, 6'th
defenceman" there are some other battles that haven't been in the limelight as much "1'st RW 1'st LD".
Here is my preseason depth chart
"P.S even though there is news that Alex Galchenyuk is going to practise as a centre in training camp I've put him down as definate 2 LW as until there is news that A) the Canadiens are aggressively trying to trade a centre or B) They are going to move Derek Desharnais " I could't see Montreal move Plekanec or Eller off centre" to a winger position.
Line 1 Max Pacioretty Derek Desharnais P.A Parenteau/ Brandan Gallagher
Line 2 Alex Galchenyuk Tomas Plekanec P.A Parenteau/ Brandan Gallagher
/Jacob De La Rose/Brandon Purst Jacob De La Rose/ Dale Weise/
/Michael Bournival Brandon Purst
Line 4 Rene Bourque/Brandon Purst Manny Malhotra/Michael Bournival/ Dale Weise/Brandon Purst/
Travis Moen/Michael Bournival Brandon Purst Travis Moen
Line 2 Andrei Markov/ Alexei Emelin Tom Gilbert
Jarred Tinordi/ Nathan Beaulieu
Line 3 Alexei Emelin/ Jarred Tinordi Mike Weaver/ Jarred Tinordi/
Nathan Beaulieu Nathan Beaulieu
I'll start with the forward battles then the defence man battles and then the goaltender battle.
Who I want to win:
While Gallagher seems to work with whoever his line mates are "or as I say everything Gallagher touches turns to goals." This is manly about how I feel Parenteau will work best with an all offensive group. While being on the first line means the Canadians will be able to exploit his offensive abilities, while Gallagher who is much better defensively can work with Plekanec. That is my #1 reason why he should be on the 1'st line with Pacioretty and Desharnais. Another reason why Parenteau should be on the first line is his way of playing. Parenteau is a classic playmaker who always looks for the pass first. If he was on the first line he could work with 39 goal scorer Max Pacioretty while Gallagher will take passes from Galchenyuk and Plekanec. If Parenteau is on the second line he will work with Galchenyuk and Plekanec who are all playmakers. Those 3 styles of play don't work well together and would likely not have much chemistry. Those are the main reasons as for why I want Parenteau to have the 1'st RW position.
Who I think will win:
I think the main reason he will win is the fact that like Pacioretty and Desharnais he is an offence manly forward. This would allow Montreal to as I said exploit there abilities and have them do manly offensive zone faceoffs.
Jacob De La Rose
Who I want to win: Rene Bourque
I must say even though Bourque frustrates the living **** out of me by process of elimonation he is the best candidate. Jacob De La Rose I feel would benifite from some work in the AHL, while Brandon Purst I not a big fan of having as my 3 LW. That leaves it down to 3 people Sekac, Bourque and Bournival. Because I feel that both Sekac and Bourque would be useless in a 4 LW role while Bournival would do well in one. That leaves it to Bourque and Sekac. Even though do like Sekac more then Bourque in the end I choose Bourque over Sekac due to the fact that Sekac can play RW and can still be in the lineup. This allows Andrighetto a bit more time in the AHL which I feel he needs.
Who I think will win: Rene Bourque
I feel he will win manly because of 2 reasons, 1. He had a great playoff run last year, and 2. when he is on his game he can be a great talent. In the end I think that's what get's him a 3'rd LW spot.
Jacob De La Rose
Who I want to win: Jiri Sekac
This battle is heavily affected by the 3'rd LW battle and vice versa manly because many of the candidates are versatile and can play both LW and RW. In the end there were only 2 candidates in my mind for the reasons being that De La Rose I feel needs some time in the AHL, and Weise and Purst are more suited to 4'th line roles. For the LW and RW spot there were manly 3 candidates for the 2 open spots, Sekac, Andrighetto and Bourque. The reason I choose Bourque and Sekac was that Bourque as I said had a great playoff run and he can be a great talent when he's on his game, the reason I choose Sekac was that looking at him playing in the development and rookie camp he not only I find has 2'nd line potential, he is NHL ready. WHile he may have been older then most at both camps he always looked like the best player on the ice in my mind. He also has NHL ready conditoning "seriously that beep test". To me because Sekac is more NHL ready then Andrighetto he deserves the 3'rd RW spot.
Who I feel will win: Jiri Sekac
In the end I think the Canadians will likely choose either Sekac the most NHL ready prospect in my eyes "over Andrighetto and De La Rose" or they will choose a vetrean " Weise or Purst". I feel they'll go Sekac because they want a better scoring presences in there top 9.
Who I want to win: Michael Bournival
This one was easily the toughest battle as both Purst and Bournival are such good players in this role but by a hair I got to go with Bournival. The main reason is that Bournival while he is a good defender he also has great speed allowing him to create more scoring chances then Purst. Many Habs fans saw this throughout the playoffs. This would also help him become a 3rd line player which I believe is his potential. In the end I feel Bournival's speed and youth is better in the lineup then Purst's toughness and leadership.
Who I think will win: Brandon Purst
Even though I want Bournival to win I think this spot goes to Purst. I think this for 2 reasons, 1. Michael TherrIen typically likes more experienced players then youngsters and 2. With Gionta and Gorges gone I feel Therrien would like more leadership on the lineup.
Who I want to win: Manny Malholtra
As much as I want Brandon Purst in the lineup there is one thing Bournival can't match up to Malholtra that is very important, faceoffs. Having an elite face-off specialist can be very great for defending at even strength and the PK. Along with the fact that the Canadians don't have a great face-off centre and to me this is a no brainer.
Who I think will win: Manny Malholtra
Pretty much I think he will win for the reasons stated above. There are a lot of advantages to having an elite face-off specialist.
Who I want to win: Dale Weise
Again as much as I want Purst in the lineup Weise is the perfect 4'th liner, he can hit, he can defend, and he can chip in on the scoring from time to time. After scoring lots of key goals in the playoffs he easily deserves this spot in the lineup.
Who I think will win: Dale Weise
He wins this spot for the reasons I stated above he is a player who is suburb as a 4'th liner but can come in as a 3'rd liner, this is a player coaches love to have.
Who I want to win: Andrei Markov
The longest standing Canadian Andrei Markov I feel should get the honour of being paired up with Subban. I feel this because for Tinordi and Beaulieu as much as I love both these prospects and I feel they are NHL ready thats the problem of them being a part of a first pairing group, there prospects. I don't think they have enough experience when the both of them combined don't have enough games to have played a full season. Meanwhile I don't feel Emelin is good enough to play with Subban, if he went back to his 2013 season I would but until he can play at that level again I don't think he is good enough for the first pairing. Meanwhile while Markov can't skate as well as he used to he has elite hockey I.Q, has great passing and is defiantly good enough defensively to play with Subban.
Who I think will win: Andrei Markov
Markov is the most experienced defender, a great 2 way defender, and is the second best defencemen on the team. I see no reason why the management wouldn't put him on the first line.
Who I want to win: Jarred Tinordi
This one was close but in the end I decided I wanted Tinordi just over Beaulieu and Emelin. The main reason why is for 2 reasons. The 1'st is that I feel that both Tinordi and Beaulieu should be in the lineup, but since it's probably not a good idea to have 2 rookies on the same line one of them has to be one the 2'nd line. The 2'nd reason was that I felt it would be better to have 2 puck carrying-hard hitting defensive lines " Tinordi-Gilbert, Emelin-Beaulieu" then it would be to have 1 total puck carrying line and another total hard hitting line " Beaulieu-Gilbert, Emelin-Tinordi".
Who I think will win: Alexei Emelin
This one will likely happen because Therrien probably won't want 2 rookies in his lineup at the same time. And because Emelin with Gilbert makes more sense then Beaulieu and Gilbert, I see Emelin taking this spot.
Who I want to win: Alexei Emelin
Because it's either Emelin in this spot or he goes on the bench plus the fact that Beaulieu can either take the 3 RD spot or go down to Hamilton it's a easy choice.
Who I think will win: Nathan Beaulieu
Since in this case the battle for this spots between Beaulieu and Tinordi "Emelin got the 2 LD spot". I think Beaulieu would win as it seems the team going for Beaulieu over Tinordi in last years playoffs signalled that they consider Beaulieu a more NHL ready player.
Who I want to win: Nathan Beaulieu
As much as I and everyone in Montreal loves Mike Weaver, the truth is that he is a 6'th defenceman while Beaulieu is one of or top defence prospects and is NHL ready. While Weaver can be on the bench and come in the game when he needs to, Beaulieu needs to go down to the AHL where he doesn't need to be. In the end Beaulieu's puck moving abilities deserve to be in the lineup.
Who I think will win: Mike Weaver
Between Weaver and Tinordi, Therrien would choose Weaver because of his experience, his playoffs last year, and the fact that he wouldn't want Beaulieu and Tinordi on the same line together.
Who I want to win: Mike Weaver
This is a no brainer, considering that while Pateryn can go back to the AHL and Nygren to the SHL, Weaver can't go anywhere "at least without being claimed" and the fact that he is the best of these 3. He easily wins this spot
Who would actually win: Marcus Nygren
This battle could be very interesting depending on the lineup. Considering that Tinordi would be sent to the AHL it would likely be a battle between Marcus Nygren and Greg Pateryn. In the end I think that Nygren would win due to the fact that unlike Pateryn who is in the AHL, Nygren can't be called up in the middle of the season, as he is in the SEL.
This one is different from the others since it is agreed everywhere that if the Canadians if they keep both goalies they send Tokarski to the AHL. This one looks at if they should Trade Tokarski, Trade Budaj or keep both of them.
Who do I want to trade: No one
Even though there would be a logjam of goalies we should keep all of them and here's why. The trade market for backup goalies if very big, which means that Budaj will not get very much value, I could see Budaj getting a 4'th and 5'th round pick at most and a 5'th at the least. Meanwhile I feel that with Budaj's contract if they trade Tokarski they are left with no backup. Also Tokarski won't get good value because while he is a better backup then Budaj he won't have much value do to his inexperence. I wouldn't trade anyone until the trade deadline.
Who do I think will get traded: No one "yet"
I feel that do to limited spots avaiable to trade to Budaj won't get traded until more teams need backups do to more injures or poor playing.
Here is the lineup I would put on the ice:
Pacioretty Desharnais Parenteau
Galchenyuk Plekanec Gallagher
Bourque Eller Sekac
Bournival Malholtra Weise
Here's the lineup I think the Canadians will put on the ice
Pacioretty Desharnais Parenteau
Galchenyuk Plekanec Gallagher
Bourque Eller Sekac
Purst Malholtra Weise
That is it. This is the team I feel the Canadians should use and the team I think the Canadians will use. "Sorry for it being so long definitely didn't plan on it."
And to the EOTP staff I hope you consider me for the Feature Columnist Job, thank you alot.