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BigTed3

2018-19 Habs Lines

259 posts in this topic

^^^

We know MB has already stated he sees the 4 centers as being Domi, Danault, Plekanec, and Peca in that order. It could change, but it'll take a monster pre-season from JK or Suzuki to win a spot. They might well be able to get a 5-10 game tryout waiting for Andrew Shaw to come back from injury though. Arpon Basu reported that Kotkaniemi and a source from the Habs see him going back to Finland if he doesn't make the Habs, so I wonder if that makes it more likely he doesn't get the tryout games and just goes right back so he doesn't miss too much of the season there. Reports out of camp were that Suzuki looked more NHL-ready than JK, albeit JK is also reported "to have made big strides from rookie camp to last game."

Like I posted, I think the Habs want their top two lines to be the two they've already set up. I think they envision Lehkonen-Plekanec-Hudon as their third line. And I think long-term, they view Byron-Peca-Shaw as the 4th once Shaw is back. So to me, for JK, Suzuki, Scherbak, DLR, Evans, etc. to win a spot, they'll have to unseat one of those 12.

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I think Suzuki is far more likely to win a spot than Kotkaniemi. Kotkaniemi would need to have an absolutely incredible rest of the preseason to secure a spot since it just makes so much more sense to have him learn to play center in Finland. Suzuki's a full year older and probably doesn't have much left to learn in the OHL so I wouldn't be surprised if they try their hardest to keep him in Montreal. I also think we're underrating the fan engagement/GM on the hot seat factor here. I know we want the Habs to do what's best in the long term for a player like Suzuki but if you're MB it would feel really good if you added a young and exciting center that puts up 45 points on the 2nd line this year, and especially if that player isn't even the center you just took at 3rd overall. 

I know they've said Domi, Danualt, Plekanec, and Peca are the centers and there doesn't seem to be room for Suzuki, but we said the same last year about Mete. We didn't expect Mete to make the team at LD over Alzner, Benn, Davidson, Schlemko, Morrow, Jerabek, Streit, and Gelinas, but he made it impossible for the Habs to send him back and they ended up dumping a bunch of those guys or sending them to the AHL. They'd make room for Suzuki too.  

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2 hours ago, maas_art said:

Drouin - Domi - Armia
Tatar - Danault-Gallagher
Hudon - Suzuki/Kotkaniemi - Scherbak
Byron - Plek/DLR - Peca

Really, you think they would make our Checking line should under 6' tall with the exception of DLR. That is a disaster. Also no way Armia replaces Gallagher on the top line. Also Tatar Danault and Armia are 3rd/4th liners, so if you consider all of that and keep with your choices best lines would be

Drouin--Domi--Gallagher

Byron--Suzuki/Kotkaniemi--Scherbak

Hudon--Danault--Peca

Tatar--Plek/DLR--Armia

But that is only using the players you suggested

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43 minutes ago, Noob616 said:

I think Suzuki is far more likely to win a spot than Kotkaniemi. Kotkaniemi would need to have an absolutely incredible rest of the preseason to secure a spot since it just makes so much more sense to have him learn to play center in Finland. Suzuki's a full year older and probably doesn't have much left to learn in the OHL so I wouldn't be surprised if they try their hardest to keep him in Montreal. I also think we're underrating the fan engagement/GM on the hot seat factor here. I know we want the Habs to do what's best in the long term for a player like Suzuki but if you're MB it would feel really good if you added a young and exciting center that puts up 45 points on the 2nd line this year, and especially if that player isn't even the center you just took at 3rd overall. 

I know they've said Domi, Danualt, Plekanec, and Peca are the centers and there doesn't seem to be room for Suzuki, but we said the same last year about Mete. We didn't expect Mete to make the team at LD over Alzner, Benn, Davidson, Schlemko, Morrow, Jerabek, Streit, and Gelinas, but he made it impossible for the Habs to send him back and they ended up dumping a bunch of those guys or sending them to the AHL. They'd make room for Suzuki too.  

All good points. I agree about Suzuki making the most sense, and what makes that more reasonable is that if you foresee Poehling and Kotkaniemi breaking in within the next couple of years as well, you probably don't want all three as rookies in the top 9 in the same year. So would be nice to have one of them broken in a year before.

To play devil's advocate though, I think it will be hard for Suzuki to break in. Yes, he can win a spot and yes I believe that's possible, but like we've said, it'd take a big pre-season from him to justify it. I listed the 12 guys who likely have the inside shot at being the starting 12. Then on top of that, you add in Scherbak (for whom I think it's even more important to create a spot if he has a good pre-season) and DLR and McCarron and Evans and Shinkaruk and Deslauriers and Froese. And while all of those players outside of Scherbak are largely expendable, the majority need to clear waivers to be sent down, whereas Suzuki is a free demotion. Doesn't mean it's the right thing to do, but it'll be a factor. If the Habs plan on exposing DLR or Scherbak or Shinkaruk or so on to waivers, it's not likely to be to give Suzuki a 9-game audition, it's because they believe the guy is legitimately ready. Up to him to really prove that in camp, and he's being given NHL-quality wingers to do that.

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3 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

^^^

We know MB has already stated he sees the 4 centers as being Domi, Danault, Plekanec, and Peca in that order. It could change, but it'll take a monster pre-season from JK or Suzuki to win a spot. They might well be able to get a 5-10 game tryout waiting for Andrew Shaw to come back from injury though. Arpon Basu reported that Kotkaniemi and a source from the Habs see him going back to Finland if he doesn't make the Habs, so I wonder if that makes it more likely he doesn't get the tryout games and just goes right back so he doesn't miss too much of the season there. Reports out of camp were that Suzuki looked more NHL-ready than JK, albeit JK is also reported "to have made big strides from rookie camp to last game."

Like I posted, I think the Habs want their top two lines to be the two they've already set up. I think they envision Lehkonen-Plekanec-Hudon as their third line. And I think long-term, they view Byron-Peca-Shaw as the 4th once Shaw is back. So to me, for JK, Suzuki, Scherbak, DLR, Evans, etc. to win a spot, they'll have to unseat one of those 12.

I still think there's a decent chance MB tries to package several players for picks/prospects or 1 upgrade prior to the regular season.  Guys like Byron, Shaw and others who are probably too old for our next window would still have value to a lot of teams. 

2 hours ago, Noob616 said:

I think Suzuki is far more likely to win a spot than Kotkaniemi. Kotkaniemi would need to have an absolutely incredible rest of the preseason to secure a spot since it just makes so much more sense to have him learn to play center in Finland. Suzuki's a full year older and probably doesn't have much left to learn in the OHL so I wouldn't be surprised if they try their hardest to keep him in Montreal.

This is kind of my thinking too.  If Laval was an option, I am sure Suzuki would go there but if he looks remotely ready, I think they give him a good long look for 9 games & then decide.   The 9 game thing isnt nearly as important as the 39 game either.   ECL vs UFA concerns. 
 

2 hours ago, campabee82 said:

Really, you think they would make our Checking line should under 6' tall with the exception of DLR. That is a disaster. Also no way Armia replaces Gallagher on the top line. Also Tatar Danault and Armia are 3rd/4th liners, so if you consider all of that and keep with your choices best lines would be

Drouin--Domi--Gallagher

Byron--Suzuki/Kotkaniemi--Scherbak

Hudon--Danault--Peca

Tatar--Plek/DLR--Armia

But that is only using the players you suggested

You assume too much.   The one thing this whole roster has going for it, is a relatively decent 2 way game.  I actually dont think we'll have a checking line.   Plus, remember, what i said was "Here's what I think they will do."   Not,  "here's what I would do."  Kind of a big difference.
 

1 hour ago, BigTed3 said:

All good points. I agree about Suzuki making the most sense, and what makes that more reasonable is that if you foresee Poehling and Kotkaniemi breaking in within the next couple of years as well, you probably don't want all three as rookies in the top 9 in the same year. So would be nice to have one of them broken in a year before.

To play devil's advocate though, I think it will be hard for Suzuki to break in. Yes, he can win a spot and yes I believe that's possible, but like we've said, it'd take a big pre-season from him to justify it. I listed the 12 guys who likely have the inside shot at being the starting 12. Then on top of that, you add in Scherbak (for whom I think it's even more important to create a spot if he has a good pre-season) and DLR and McCarron and Evans and Shinkaruk and Deslauriers and Froese. And while all of those players outside of Scherbak are largely expendable, the majority need to clear waivers to be sent down, whereas Suzuki is a free demotion. Doesn't mean it's the right thing to do, but it'll be a factor. If the Habs plan on exposing DLR or Scherbak or Shinkaruk or so on to waivers, it's not likely to be to give Suzuki a 9-game audition, it's because they believe the guy is legitimately ready. Up to him to really prove that in camp, and he's being given NHL-quality wingers to do that.

I agree with all points.  I do think there's a chance that Suzuki sticks with the bigs as a winger though.  I dont know if thats ideal but maybe he slowly starts to shift back over the season. 

 

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This kind of ends up going back to why I find the plekanec signing so annoying. If suzuki SHOULD be on the team and has to play wing or go back to  junior because plekanec is on the team wasting a roster spot its really going to bother me. and I could totally see it happening

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39 minutes ago, jeff33 said:

This kind of ends up going back to why I find the plekanec signing so annoying. If suzuki SHOULD be on the team and has to play wing or go back to  junior because plekanec is on the team wasting a roster spot its really going to bother me. and I could totally see it happening

Agreed.   Its not like we lack middle-bottom 6 depth. We could probably ice 3 fourth lines.   Its just like our defense. We have (arguably) 3 guys (maybe only 2 depending upon your own beliefs) who are top 4 dmen.  Then we have upwards of 10 guys who are legit #5-6 dmen.   Quantity does not mean quality Marc!!

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47 minutes ago, maas_art said:

Agreed.   Its not like we lack middle-bottom 6 depth. We could probably ice 3 fourth lines.   Its just like our defense. We have (arguably) 3 guys (maybe only 2 depending upon your own beliefs) who are top 4 dmen.  Then we have upwards of 10 guys who are legit #5-6 dmen.   Quantity does not mean quality Marc!!

we got a lotta dep....remember that? uggh

it also applies to why we should be 100% moving on from guys like byron and shaw. a guy like scherbak should not be in the minors this year we have to see what we have and give the guy the chance to be a contributor 

 

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37 minutes ago, jeff33 said:

we got a lotta dep....remember that? uggh

it also applies to why we should be 100% moving on from guys like byron and shaw. a guy like scherbak should not be in the minors this year we have to see what we have and give the guy the chance to be a contributor 

 

I disagree about Byron, he should stay IMO. However Shaw, Price and Plekanec should go. Along with Alzner & Shlemko.

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1 minute ago, Habs=stanleycup said:

I disagree about Byron, he should stay IMO. However Shaw, Price and Plekanec should go. Along with Alzner & Shlemko.

I like Byron too but at 29 is there any point keeping him? He wont be around for our next window... Same with a guy like Petry.  If we're rebuilding, we should do it right. 

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8 minutes ago, maas_art said:

I like Byron too but at 29 is there any point keeping him? He wont be around for our next window... Same with a guy like Petry.  If we're rebuilding, we should do it right. 

A little bit of leadership age wise is good, specially when said player can still perform with speed & agility the way Byron does. He's in no way showing his age or any lack of skill IMO.

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24 minutes ago, maas_art said:

I like Byron too but at 29 is there any point keeping him? He wont be around for our next window... Same with a guy like Petry.  If we're rebuilding, we should do it right. 

Byron is our own little modern version of Yvan Cournoyer. ;)

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Byron and Shaw are both quality NHLers. I admittedly don't like the trade we made to acquire Shaw, nor the fact we dumped Eller to make room for him, nor do I like his contract. And I definitely think he was immature and undisciplined when he came here. But I really like what he's done under Julien. Credit to the coach for setting the player straight when a lesser coach could not.

That said, agreed that neither player is likely a huge part of our future, especially Byron, whose role would be replaced by younger guys like Hudon or Suzuki or so on. I think Shaw could still have value as a 4th liner, but he's overpaid for that role, so I think if you can tease out value from a trade you look strongly at it.

And yes, agreed on Plekanec being a waste of a roster spot, I've been saying that all along. No way we should have been okay with foregoing development of a younger player to accommodate him into our squad.

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4 hours ago, jeff33 said:

This kind of ends up going back to why I find the plekanec signing so annoying. If suzuki SHOULD be on the team and has to play wing or go back to  junior because plekanec is on the team wasting a roster spot its really going to bother me. and I could totally see it happening

The Plekanec signing may bring about the only time this year we get to celebrate something. His 1000th game ceremony.

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If Suzuki impresses they'll just move Domi back to the wing and run Danault/Plekanec/Suzuki/Peca at center. 

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41 minutes ago, Noob616 said:

If Suzuki impresses they'll just move Domi back to the wing and run Danault/Plekanec/Suzuki/Peca at center. 

Wow that's brutal.

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Interesting article over at HEOTP about Kotkaniemi - saying that he continues to improve at a ridiculously fast pace.  It was interesting to watch how he went from a nobody, to a projected 2nd rounder, to a 1st rounder, to a nearly consensus top 10 pick and finally a 5 pick leading up to the draft in a matter of 1/2 a year or so.  And his improvement continues, with him coming to camp looking to get better at certain things & apparently already doing so.  

I think everyone agrees he should go back to Finland (or at most, play in Laval) so I dont think he'll make the roster this year but if he was a big bigger (he's reaaaaally skinny) then I think he'd even have a shot at making the habs this season.   Its nice to see a prospect actually seem to improve after we draft them!!

 

Peca is also a guy that is starting to turn heads and I think may end up higher up the depth chart than most thought during the offseason.   I have a friend in TB who told me that he was a lot better than you might expect & it looks like he might be on to something. I dont think he'll leapfrog Danault or Domi/Drouin but he may well be the choice for 3rd line centre.  We have enough quality wingers he should get some decent guys there too...  Assuming Suzuki doesnt beat him out for that spot. 

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Hudon-JK-Lehkonen is a line for tonight's game... really excited to see this trio. I do think the Habs are aiming to use Hudon and Lehkonen together as a pairing, likely with Plekanec at center, but interesting to see JK getting a shot with two wingers likely to be in the top 9.

If we extrapolate and say Kotkaniemi has such a good camp that he blows everyone away and makes the team as a top 6 center, it really changes the dynamic of the line-up, because it allows you to put everyone else down the middle back into a more appropriate seat. You could fiddle around with something like

Drouin-Kotkaniemi-Lehkonen

Tatar-Domi-Gallagher

Hudon-Danault-Armia

Byron-Peca-Shaw

Plekanec, DLR as the two extras, for example (and yes, if Suzuki or Kotkaniemi wins a center job, I don't see how you can legitimately keep Plekanec in the line-up over the 12 guys listed above).

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4 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

Hudon-JK-Lehkonen is a line for tonight's game... really excited to see this trio. I do think the Habs are aiming to use Hudon and Lehkonen together as a pairing, likely with Plekanec at center, but interesting to see JK getting a shot with two wingers likely to be in the top 9.

If we extrapolate and say Kotkaniemi has such a good camp that he blows everyone away and makes the team as a top 6 center, it really changes the dynamic of the line-up, because it allows you to put everyone else down the middle back into a more appropriate seat. You could fiddle around with something like

Drouin-Kotkaniemi-Lehkonen

Tatar-Domi-Gallagher

Hudon-Danault-Armia

Byron-Peca-Shaw

Plekanec, DLR as the two extras, for example (and yes, if Suzuki or Kotkaniemi wins a center job, I don't see how you can legitimately keep Plekanec in the line-up over the 12 guys listed above).

No question, this roster is entirely different (well the defense is still a tire-fire) with a #1 centre. Everyone shifts back & players play the correct positions.   The problem is, even with his apparently insane improvements, is it remotely possible Kotkaniemi would be NHL ready? I dont see it. I think there's an outside chance Suzuki makes the team but with the option of either Pro league in Finnland or Laval for Kot, i just cant think they would rush him. 

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17 minutes ago, maas_art said:

No question, this roster is entirely different (well the defense is still a tire-fire) with a #1 centre. Everyone shifts back & players play the correct positions.   The problem is, even with his apparently insane improvements, is it remotely possible Kotkaniemi would be NHL ready? I dont see it. I think there's an outside chance Suzuki makes the team but with the option of either Pro league in Finnland or Laval for Kot, i just cant think they would rush him. 

Like you, I'm not sure either JK or Suzuki will end up being ready, was just talking in hypotheticals. That said, I think the concept of rushing a prospect is different than it was 10 years ago. In the cap era, teams are turning to younger players more often, and with the game being faster, older guys are falling off the cliff at a younger age. I feel like we used to see many more 30- and 32-year olds being top 6 players on teams and now we see a lot more 18-, 20-, and 23-year olds cracking the top 6 and being key cogs in teams' line-ups.

I think the major thing we need to ask ourselves with respect to these young guys is whether they're ready to assume the role we want them to play. By that, I mean that it would be a mistake to retain JK or Suzuki and play them as the 4th line center or a 3rd line winger. If you want these guys to be top 6 centers, you need to judge whether they're ready to play that role. It doesn't mean you need to play them 20 minutes a game. It means you can give them 14-16 minutes a game with good linemates who can help them produce. It means you give them powerplay time to show their skill. And it means you shelter their minutes, both in terms of trying to win at line-matching and in terms of giving them favorable offensive zone starts. But all that can be done. If you have a rookie on your top scoring line, you have the horses behind them in Danault and Plekanec and Peca to eat up the D-zone starts and the penalty kill.

If if if the team feels a young guy is ready, then I'm all for keeping him, so long as they use him in an offensive role. No sense in retaining a guy that we project as a 1C and then asking him to play 6-7 minutes a night with Froese and Shaw and DLR and Deslauriers as linemates. That isn't going to help their development and it isn't going to help their confidence. So either you think they're good enough to play an offensive role or else they go play those roles elsewhere and make the team in a year or two when they're more prepared.

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51 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

Like you, I'm not sure either JK or Suzuki will end up being ready, was just talking in hypotheticals. That said, I think the concept of rushing a prospect is different than it was 10 years ago. In the cap era, teams are turning to younger players more often, and with the game being faster, older guys are falling off the cliff at a younger age. I feel like we used to see many more 30- and 32-year olds being top 6 players on teams and now we see a lot more 18-, 20-, and 23-year olds cracking the top 6 and being key cogs in teams' line-ups.

I think the major thing we need to ask ourselves with respect to these young guys is whether they're ready to assume the role we want them to play. By that, I mean that it would be a mistake to retain JK or Suzuki and play them as the 4th line center or a 3rd line winger. If you want these guys to be top 6 centers, you need to judge whether they're ready to play that role. It doesn't mean you need to play them 20 minutes a game. It means you can give them 14-16 minutes a game with good linemates who can help them produce. It means you give them powerplay time to show their skill. And it means you shelter their minutes, both in terms of trying to win at line-matching and in terms of giving them favorable offensive zone starts. But all that can be done. If you have a rookie on your top scoring line, you have the horses behind them in Danault and Plekanec and Peca to eat up the D-zone starts and the penalty kill.

If if if the team feels a young guy is ready, then I'm all for keeping him, so long as they use him in an offensive role. No sense in retaining a guy that we project as a 1C and then asking him to play 6-7 minutes a night with Froese and Shaw and DLR and Deslauriers as linemates. That isn't going to help their development and it isn't going to help their confidence. So either you think they're good enough to play an offensive role or else they go play those roles elsewhere and make the team in a year or two when they're more prepared.

Agreed.  Id have more confidence with a history of better asset management but maybe with Ducharme and Richardson - both known for working well with young players - we will finally have turned a corner & if they bring up an offensive player they will use him as such in the NHL.


That seems to be the biggest knock on BigMac:  he was used as an offensive player in the AHL & then every time they called him up they'd throw him out there with grinders.  Maybe thats all he could do at the NHL level but then when he goes back to the AHL, groom him to be a #3c, dont put him back at 1 line centre & then call him up again some time to play with the grinders once more.  

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Lines for tonight:

Drouin - Kotkaniemi - Armia

Tatar - Danault - Gallagher

Byron - Plekanec - Scherbak

Shinkaruk - McCarron - Ward

 

Benn - Petry

Mete - Juulsen

Alzner - Reilly

 

Price

Lindgren

 

Missing Domi, Hudon, Lehkonen, Peca, but gotta figure those D pairings are pretty close to what we're going to see opening night. Getting closer to what CJ envisions the line-up to be. That 4th line tonight is likely all on the bubble and on the outside looking in right now, with a chance to improve their sort if they play well.

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Julien says he’s still evaluating the best position for Drouin; for the moment he wants to observe more of his capabilities at wing.

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2 hours ago, kinot-2 said:

Julien says he’s still evaluating the best position for Drouin; for the moment he wants to observe more of his others' capabilities at wing center.

FIFCJ

 

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3 hours ago, kinot-2 said:

Julien says he’s still evaluating the best position for Drouin; for the moment he wants to observe more of his capabilities at wing.

He's a winger

Best position for him is wing.

He was a flop a C much like Domi will be this year 'cause he's not a C either

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