I'd like to weigh in on this discussion with a few notes:
To start- yes, that Left Wing is a big hole. I know Bergevin comes from an organization where cap creativity was common, but at the same time I'm not sure if he's willing to make the 'big move' to fill that hole (Lets be honest, the big 'Star' Left Winger which would made an immediate impact isn't coming from this FA-Crop, barring some amazing convincing by Bergevin on bringing down Semin's price and term- and to be honest, I wouldn't MIND taking a look at Semin, despite having had such a good view of his faltering in the 7 games we played against him not too long ago post season.) I'm not sure what we would have to give up to get that big LW, as I'm not sure of how talented and confident Bergevin is. In a city like Montreal where the slightest INKLING of a player who appears to have been a bad deal (See: Cole in first 20 games of last season), it'd take some real cahoonas for him to make a big splash in the trade market with out prospects.
That said, I'd be impressed if he did, as I like to see my team win. Assessment year or not, '15-'20 Dynasty or not- this franchise isn't Toronto, they won't put up with mediocre for long. Not only that, but the players aren't going to stand for a half-arsed season either. This is a proud franchise, which was missing a hell of a lot of stability and pride last year, and if Bergevin makes a big move which he feels helps restore the pride to some degree this year then I'm fine with him trying, and I'm not going to throw him under the bus 30 games in if it hasn't panned out- so long as it's done before training camp so the guys can get to work immediately on a feeling of stability and cohesiveness.
If no LW is brought in who has legitimate talent and desire to be a piece of our top six, then I'm not sure what I want to see on line two- if Bourque can come back to form he's fine there for a season, allowing Eller to develop on #3 C, if not, I'm not AGAINST Eller centering L2 if Pleks is willing to take a wing, but I'd want some sort of commitment from the coaching staff on giving him a proper chance to hold it (I.E. not throwing him onto line four every game he makes a mistake- mistakes are how you learn, and you need to be given the chance to make them to become a better hockey player, instead of being tossed down to the checking line where your offense can't develop (See: The ridiculous treatment of Stamkos a few years back, or from a defense point of view Subban, who makes mistakes every night and shines through better later.) Hell, if Toronto had left Kadri up and let him make some mistakes he may very well be a shining top 6 himself by now.
As for the defense, I'm not entirely sure why everyone is QUITE as negative as they are. Here's my summary of how I think it looks:
Subban: As I said earlier, makes mistakes, but is getting better and better. With a year under his belt of being the real and only 'go to guy,' playing in every role in his position, this guy is a huge piece of our puzzle going forward, and a true top 2 defense man.
Gorges: Top tier shut-down defense man- +14 on a 15th place team, and leading shot blocker with 50 more than the next closest- say what you want about the amount of shots heading towards the goalie that he had to block helping him get that high, when it's 125% the next closest in the category, you're the best at it, period. One of the top 4 guys you need to be successful.
Markov: Really think people need to give him a break. Wasn't his normal self after a couple seasons off coming into a roster of players closing out the end of a horrible season, and it's surprising his points per game weren't up to snub? If he's even 1/2 the player he was before hand then he's a solid top four who can also help IMMENSELY in developing our younger defense men. If he's 3/4 what he was before he's a top four who can log the minutes of time where the north south forwards who played best for us last year (Cole/Patches) get the great first pass they need to break out. Markov's talent has never been 'super-in shape young defense', it's been 'amazing hockey sense and a fantastic distribution pass on the pp, as well as the knowledge of when to pinch in or rush the net on the pp for the extra body.' Last I checked hockey sense didn't dissappear over time for smart defense men, and quarterbacking a powerplay involves a need to have been playing/practicing with that powerplay for a good amount of time to get into a rhythm of knowing your forwards and where they'll be. Give him a training camp and regular play with the PP again and I don't think the Markov you'll see will be dramatically different from the one you used to see. Feel free to disagree though.
Emelin: Not top 4 ready yet, but the way he makes you think before you go free willing into our zone makes him a good guy to have in the lineup, and a player who with improvement is a good fit on any team.
Kaberle: I'm not a fan of the trade either, but I'll be honest, I'm not as disgusted and negative as some. I'm really not sure what stats some people have been looking at, but let me throw a few facts at you. Since arriving in Montreal, Kaberle put up 22pts (3G/19A) in 43GP- that equates too a 42pts (6G/36A) Season over 82 games- that's only a couple pts back from the most reason good seasons he had in Toronto when he was considered a high quality defense- and did that point/per/game average whilst being given about 6-7min less ice time per game than he got a few seasons ago. Oh and by the way, thats more pt/per/game average than Matt Carle- and while Carle is 'better' than Kaberle defensively, he's also now making a couple million more than Kaberle, and isn't exactly a huge hitter/shot blocker/defense smart super star either. I'm NOT saying Kaberle is amazing- but I'm not sure what NHL a potential 42pt defense man is a terrible player in.
The rest of the D-core is young talent (Other than our extra man Boullion, who by the way is a fine 5-6th defenseman statistically in the NHL, and is as mean and hard to play against as any 6'3'' 220lber, in case everyone has forgotten.
Disagree/counter argue or not, I really don't see our defense core- which by the way has a plethora of young talent only a year or two away from NHL readiness which will need room to grow into- as as troublesome as some think.
I've a lot more to say, but I think I owe you all a dinner for that long of a read anyway- so I'll wait!