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Habs lines, 2021-22 season.


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All right, let's give this a shot. Pretty sure we'll need to trade some bodys but as it stands, my preliminary lineup would probably look something like this:

Anderson - Suzuki - Caufield
Drouin- Kotkaniemi - Toffoli
Hoffman - Evans - Gallagher
Perreault - Paquette - Armia
Poehling

Edmundson - Petry
Romanov - Savard
Chiarot - Wideman
Kulak

Price
Allen

Not a bad team at all but Gallagher and Toffoli are our most experienced forwards, which may not be ideal. However, I'm fine with giving the kids a real shot, it's time we find out if Kotkaniemi can take the next step or not and he needs to be put in a position to succeed in order to accomplish that. Losing Danault will hurt I think, even though Evans could be a decent replacement. We'd probably have a #1 line centered by Suzuki, whereas our #2 and #3 lines are pretty much interchangable and could take any shape or form. I'm already missing our 4th line from the playoffs though, they were so much fun to watch.

On D, I'd prefer to spread out the 4 big guys to give additional responsibilities to Romanov and not have two of Ed/Chiarot/Savard on the same pairing. That's probably what they're planning though and I'm sure we'll see them play together often enough. I do think the playoffs are possible with this roster, but it's not going to be easy in our division.

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2 hours ago, ChiLla said:

All right, let's give this a shot. Pretty sure we'll need to trade some bodys but as it stands, my preliminary lineup would probably look something like this:

Anderson - Suzuki - Caufield
Drouin- Kotkaniemi - Toffoli
Hoffman - Evans - Gallagher
Perreault - Paquette - Armia
Poehling

Edmundson - Petry
Romanov - Savard
Chiarot - Wideman
Kulak

Price
Allen

Not a bad team at all but Gallagher and Toffoli are our most experienced forwards, which may not be ideal. However, I'm fine with giving the kids a real shot, it's time we find out if Kotkaniemi can take the next step or not and he needs to be put in a position to succeed in order to accomplish that. Losing Danault will hurt I think, even though Evans could be a decent replacement. We'd probably have a #1 line centered by Suzuki, whereas our #2 and #3 lines are pretty much interchangable and could take any shape or form. I'm already missing our 4th line from the playoffs though, they were so much fun to watch.

On D, I'd prefer to spread out the 4 big guys to give additional responsibilities to Romanov and not have two of Ed/Chiarot/Savard on the same pairing. That's probably what they're planning though and I'm sure we'll see them play together often enough. I do think the playoffs are possible with this roster, but it's not going to be easy in our division.

I'm sure you found the same thing but I think it's become clear that we have too many wingers... your line-up doesn't even feature Byron and Lehkonen, so something has to give. We're not going to pay those guys to sit in the pressbox. I do like your lines although I'd consider moving Anderson around. I think Droun benefits from having an Anderson or Armia on the other wing to create space for him. Down the line-up, I'd personally rather see Poehling over Paquette, although I highly doubt the Habs view it that way. I also wouldn't mind seeing Ylonen get a shot at being on the roster and I think the team would still benefit from having Lehkonen in there somewhere for balance. Hard to fit everyone in right now.

On D, I'm completely agreed with your top 4 and not pairing Chiarot and Savard together as the Habs likely will. I'd play Kulak over Wideman but otherwise don't have much to add. Our best hope is that Brook or Norlinder is able to make the squad and gives us another option.

All of this points to the need for a trade to dispatch a winger or two and acquire help at C or D.

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41 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

I'm sure you found the same thing but I think it's become clear that we have too many wingers... your line-up doesn't even feature Byron and Lehkonen, so something has to give. We're not going to pay those guys to sit in the pressbox. I do like your lines although I'd consider moving Anderson around. I think Droun benefits from having an Anderson or Armia on the other wing to create space for him. Down the line-up, I'd personally rather see Poehling over Paquette, although I highly doubt the Habs view it that way. I also wouldn't mind seeing Ylonen get a shot at being on the roster and I think the team would still benefit from having Lehkonen in there somewhere for balance. Hard to fit everyone in right now.

On D, I'm completely agreed with your top 4 and not pairing Chiarot and Savard together as the Habs likely will. I'd play Kulak over Wideman but otherwise don't have much to add. Our best hope is that Brook or Norlinder is able to make the squad and gives us another option.

All of this points to the need for a trade to dispatch a winger or two and acquire help at C or D.

Yup, no room for Byron and Lehkonen really, although I don't know if Perreault is an upgrade (he may well be). They could all alternate on the 3rd/4th lines (including Paquette) and there will be injuries for sure but like you said, we just have too many wingers under contract and they're not really press box material. I don't want to lose Lehkonen because he's smart and clearly valuable in a shutdown role but if we can use him and some combination of draft picks/prospects to upgrade, so be it.

Completely agreed on Poehling, if he's ready and still in the plans, using him on the fourth line would definitely preferable. He seems to have taken a step forward last season, but that would make the forward group even less experienced than it already is, especially down the middle.

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4 hours ago, ChiLla said:

All right, let's give this a shot. Pretty sure we'll need to trade some bodys but as it stands, my preliminary lineup would probably look something like this:

Anderson - Suzuki - Caufield
Drouin- Kotkaniemi - Toffoli
Hoffman - Evans - Gallagher
Perreault - Paquette - Armia
Poehling

Edmundson - Petry
Romanov - Savard
Chiarot - Wideman
Kulak

Price
Allen

Not a bad team at all but Gallagher and Toffoli are our most experienced forwards, which may not be ideal. However, I'm fine with giving the kids a real shot, it's time we find out if Kotkaniemi can take the next step or not and he needs to be put in a position to succeed in order to accomplish that. Losing Danault will hurt I think, even though Evans could be a decent replacement. We'd probably have a #1 line centered by Suzuki, whereas our #2 and #3 lines are pretty much interchangable and could take any shape or form. I'm already missing our 4th line from the playoffs though, they were so much fun to watch.

On D, I'd prefer to spread out the 4 big guys to give additional responsibilities to Romanov and not have two of Ed/Chiarot/Savard on the same pairing. That's probably what they're planning though and I'm sure we'll see them play together often enough. I do think the playoffs are possible with this roster, but it's not going to be easy in our division.

Barring any trades I think we line up

Toffoli/Drouin-Suzuki-Caufield 

Hoffman-Kotkaniemi-Gallagher/Anderson

Lehkonen/Toffoli-Evans/New Center-Anderson-Gallagher

Lehkonen/Byron-Parrault/Evans-Armia/Lehkonen

Edmundson-Petry 

Romanov-Savard

Chiarot-Wideman

I think we make a move or two though. I think Drouin and Byron are gone up front and Chiarot on the back end. We need a C and RD. I would try to see if Colorado would go Drouin + Chiarot for Jost + Johnsson and give either Guhle, Norlinder or Kulak a shot at 2 or 3 LHD. Our lineup becomes

Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield

Hoffman-Kotkaniemi-Anderson

Armia-Jost-Gallagher

Byron-Evans-Lehkonen

Perrault-Paquette

Edmundson-Petry 

Romanov-Savard

Guhle/Norlinder/Kulak-Johnsson

Wideman

If Guhle or Norlinder make the team Kulak gets moved for a 4th.

Price

Allen

 

Sorry for the book LOL

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3 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

Our best hope is that Brook or Norlinder is able to make the squad and gives us another option.

 it highlights the fact that even if Brook could make the team he's probably the only decent pure RHD prospect on the farm now that Cale is gone  ...for sure a concern area...Wideman was brought in only for Laval as far as I can see ...Leskinen can play both sides but isn't even  top 6 though still only 24 

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2 hours ago, ChiLla said:

Yup, no room for Byron and Lehkonen really, although I don't know if Perreault is an upgrade (he may well be). They could all alternate on the 3rd/4th lines (including Paquette) and there will be injuries for sure but like you said, we just have too many wingers under contract and they're not really press box material. I don't want to lose Lehkonen because he's smart and clearly valuable in a shutdown role but if we can use him and some combination of draft picks/prospects to upgrade, so be it.

Completely agreed on Poehling, if he's ready and still in the plans, using him on the fourth line would definitely preferable. He seems to have taken a step forward last season, but that would make the forward group even less experienced than it already is, especially down the middle.

If we forget the politics of trying to squeeze Quebec-born players in and the coaches' preference to always have veterans in over rookies regardless of performance, I'd probably line up something like this:

Caufield-Suzuki-Toffoli

Drouin-Kotkaniemi-Armia

Hoffman-Poehling-Anderson

Lehkonen-Evans-Gallagher

 

But it's hard to make these pieces fit. We have more quality offensive players at wing and not enough established skill at center to match them up. I didn't list lines here is a particular order, I think we'd be giving each of these lines good minutes in different roles, but the Evans line would be the "shutdown line" more than anything. The first two I have listed are really because I think they had established chemistry and Armia complements those other players well, even though he's likely our 4th-best RW offensively.

Perreault IMO is an upgrade on Byron but not on the 8 wingers I have listed here. And Paquette isn't an upgrade on anyone unless he surprises me. He's an energy guy but not much more.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We've got possibly the best winger depth in the league...  Sure, maybe not elite franchise wingers but we've got guys on our 4th line that would be on 2nd/3rd on several teams... but our centres are definitely a question mark. 

I would be comfortable with:

Toffoli - Suzuki - Caufield
Hoffman - Kotkaniemi - Anderson
Drouin - __________ - Gallagher
Lehkonen - Evans - Armia

Extras:  Perrault, Pacquette, Poehling, Byron (IR) 

Honestly Im comfortable with every winger on that list and Suzuki & Evans in their roles.  I worry a little about Kotkaniemi in 2nd line spot but I do think he's capable, just not sure if he's ready.   But that 3rd line...   I dont want Evans there, I dont think Poehling is ready and i think Pacquette is also unsuited.   I really think we need to add a quality centre. Someone like Dvorak would be ideal but i dont know what the cost would be. Maybe exploring a guy like Casey Cizikas would be worthwhile as a short term solution - although I assume he wants a multiple year deal (I doubt it would be expensive, so he would be tradable). 

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Personally my lines for at least the first 10 games (assuming no trades) would be:

Drouin-Suzuki-Caufield 

Hoffman-Kotkaniemi-Gallagher 

Toffoli-Poehling-Anderson

Lehkonen-Evans-Armia 

Edmundson-Petry 

Romanov-Savard

Chiarot-Widman

Price

Allen

Extras

Kulak, Perrault, Paquette 

This also assumes that one or two of our prospects can't push their way onto the roster.

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17 hours ago, campabee82 said:

Personally my lines for at least the first 10 games (assuming no trades) would be:

Drouin-Suzuki-Caufield 

Hoffman-Kotkaniemi-Gallagher 

Toffoli-Poehling-Anderson

Lehkonen-Evans-Armia 

Edmundson-Petry 

Romanov-Savard

Chiarot-Widman

Price

Allen

Extras

Kulak, Perrault, Paquette 

This also assumes that one or two of our prospects can't push their way onto the roster.

I completely agree with this line up. I would also start the season this way. It give you depth and great balance. Also you finally have a top line that is all skill. O-Zone starts especially after icings should be a dominant line "if" Suzuki can be better in the face off circle. I have a gut feeling he will be great on face offs this year. He just seems to get better with his overall game as he goes.

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  • 3 weeks later...

What I'd be thinking of now:

Caufield-Suzuki-Toffoli

Hoffman-Dvorak-Gallagher

Drouin-Poehling-Anderson

Lehkonen-Evans-Armia

 

The 1st line played well together last year. Dvorak is likely going to be given the Plekanec/Eller/Danault role of getting tougher match-ups, so he needs to have wingers who can handle tougher match-ups too. I don't see him getting Drouin and Anderson as wingers, so Hoffman/Gallagher makes more sense to me. Drouin, on the other hand needs at least one linemate who handles the physical game. So we'll give him two instead. Would reserve the right to move Drouin up with Caufield and Suzuki as an alternative if Drouin can' generate offence on that line though. . Lehkonen-Evans-Armia is your forechecking/energy line.

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2 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

What I'd be thinking of now:

Caufield-Suzuki-Toffoli

Hoffman-Dvorak-Gallagher

Drouin-Poehling-Anderson

Lehkonen-Evans-Armia

 

The 1st line played well together last year. Dvorak is likely going to be given the Plekanec/Eller/Danault role of getting tougher match-ups, so he needs to have wingers who can handle tougher match-ups too. I don't see him getting Drouin and Anderson as wingers, so Hoffman/Gallagher makes more sense to me. Drouin, on the other hand needs at least one linemate who handles the physical game. So we'll give him two instead. Would reserve the right to move Drouin up with Caufield and Suzuki as an alternative if Drouin can' generate offence on that line though. . Lehkonen-Evans-Armia is your forechecking/energy line.

Yeah I like your combos

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22 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

What I'd be thinking of now:

Caufield-Suzuki-Toffoli

Hoffman-Dvorak-Gallagher

Drouin-Poehling-Anderson

Lehkonen-Evans-Armia

 

The 1st line played well together last year. Dvorak is likely going to be given the Plekanec/Eller/Danault role of getting tougher match-ups, so he needs to have wingers who can handle tougher match-ups too. I don't see him getting Drouin and Anderson as wingers, so Hoffman/Gallagher makes more sense to me. Drouin, on the other hand needs at least one linemate who handles the physical game. So we'll give him two instead. Would reserve the right to move Drouin up with Caufield and Suzuki as an alternative if Drouin can' generate offence on that line though. . Lehkonen-Evans-Armia is your forechecking/energy line.

Basically agree here as well, basically. I like Hoffman-Dvorak-Gallagher, it just makes sense. Very similar to Tatar-Danault-Gallagher. Lehkonen, Perreault, Evans, Pacquette and Armia will likely rotate in and out of the 4th, so basically spot on there. I would like to see Drouin on the top line with Suzuki and Caufield, I think their skill should compliment one another’s nicely. But I also agree that if not, Toffoli is Drouin’s likely replacement.

Drouin-Suzuki-Caufield 

Hoffman-Dvorak-Gallagher

Toffili-Poehling-Anderson

Perrault-Evans-Armia

Lehkonen-Pacquette 

The power play is where it gets interesting. I’d like to see us try and mimic Tampa’s set up. Caufield on the left half wall, Hoffman on the right half wall, Suzuki in the high slot, either feeding it right, left or taking the shot him self. I. The point, I don’t know, Petry for sure, Drouin on the left? We’ve had him there before, how did that work out? He’s got the vision to see the ice, is always a threat to skate in and take the shot. Defensively I’m not to sure, but then again, we did just go through the playoffs with Gus on our point, Drouin can’t be any worse defensively than that. There’s Romanov, but might be best to save him for the second unit

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34 minutes ago, jennifer_rocket said:

Would anyone be in favor of starting the Drouin, Suzuki, Anderson line again this season?

I can't see them breaking up Suzuki/CC - who seemed to have instant chemistry.  Usually you're better off playing your main offensive winger with a centre who is a "natural passer" in that direction. With Suzuki being a right handed shot, ideally his main winger would be a LW but  a) CC can and did play LW, and b ) Suzuki seems to have no problem passing accurately with his backhand.  So I think those 2 stay together.
 

The third guy on that line is a question mark. I think Toffoli is the person they will try there to start.  Anderson was good the last little bit in the post season but he was there because Toffoli was hurt. Toffoli also plays both wings equally well so you can switch your two wingers as needed.  I think they go back to Toffoli - Suzuki - CC 

 

I also am not convinced they wont try drouin at centre.    We know that Suzuki, Dvorak and Evans will be 3 of our 4 centres but i think at camp they decide whether #4 is Poehling, Pacquette or possibly Drouin.  (Hoffman and Byron - who is hurt obviously - can also play there but id be shocked if they tried either this year).

Honestly with a forward group that includes Suzuki, CC, Toffoli, Anderson, Dvorak, Gallagher, Hoffman, Drouin, Poehling, Lehkonen, Armia, Evans, Perrault, Pacquette and possibly Ylonen, im really not too worried about how our forward lines stack up this year.  Thats a really solid group.

Im far more concerned about our defense.  Petry - Edmunson should be a totally capable first pair, especially if Joel continues to play like he did in the playoffs.

The next 4 arent horrible - Savard, Romanov, Chirot, Wideman  - but i am concerned their deployment will be bad.  

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3 hours ago, maas_art said:

I can't see them breaking up Suzuki/CC - who seemed to have instant chemistry.  Usually you're better off playing your main offensive winger with a centre who is a "natural passer" in that direction. With Suzuki being a right handed shot, ideally his main winger would be a LW but  a) CC can and did play LW, and b ) Suzuki seems to have no problem passing accurately with his backhand.  So I think those 2 stay together.
 

The third guy on that line is a question mark. I think Toffoli is the person they will try there to start.  Anderson was good the last little bit in the post season but he was there because Toffoli was hurt. Toffoli also plays both wings equally well so you can switch your two wingers as needed.  I think they go back to Toffoli - Suzuki - CC 

 

I also am not convinced they wont try drouin at centre.    We know that Suzuki, Dvorak and Evans will be 3 of our 4 centres but i think at camp they decide whether #4 is Poehling, Pacquette or possibly Drouin.  (Hoffman and Byron - who is hurt obviously - can also play there but id be shocked if they tried either this year).

Honestly with a forward group that includes Suzuki, CC, Toffoli, Anderson, Dvorak, Gallagher, Hoffman, Drouin, Poehling, Lehkonen, Armia, Evans, Perrault, Pacquette and possibly Ylonen, im really not too worried about how our forward lines stack up this year.  Thats a really solid group.

Im far more concerned about our defense.  Petry - Edmunson should be a totally capable first pair, especially if Joel continues to play like he did in the playoffs.

The next 4 arent horrible - Savard, Romanov, Chirot, Wideman  - but i am concerned their deployment will be bad.  

Yeah I agree about the forwards being pretty interchangeable especially everyone except Suzuki and Caufield as they are 2/3 of our top line no matter what happens in camp IMO. The guy I want to see on their left is Drouin, I think the speed, scoring, playmaking and hockey IQ of a Drouin-Suzuki-Caufield line is just going to be mesmerizing. All 3 are great passers, they all see the game really well and can slow down play in their heads, everyone of them can easily score 20+ goals a season and they are all incredible skaters. All they need is to find the chemistry and it will be one of the best offensive lines we have seen in a long long long time. Like you I worry about the D however IF Brooks can come into camp and steal a spot I think everything else falls into place. The problem is then we have to decide who to waive between Wideman, Kulak, Perrault and Paquette if Brooks and Poehling both make the team. I feel like if any of them get waived they will be claimed. IMO I would waive Wideman but only cause Kulak, Paquette and Perrault have more trade value for later in the year and he might be the least likely to be claimed out of the four of them.

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3 hours ago, campabee82 said:

Yeah I agree about the forwards being pretty interchangeable especially everyone except Suzuki and Caufield as they are 2/3 of our top line no matter what happens in camp IMO. The guy I want to see on their left is Drouin, I think the speed, scoring, playmaking and hockey IQ of a Drouin-Suzuki-Caufield line is just going to be mesmerizing. All 3 are great passers, they all see the game really well and can slow down play in their heads, everyone of them can easily score 20+ goals a season and they are all incredible skaters. All they need is to find the chemistry and it will be one of the best offensive lines we have seen in a long long long time. Like you I worry about the D however IF Brooks can come into camp and steal a spot I think everything else falls into place. The problem is then we have to decide who to waive between Wideman, Kulak, Perrault and Paquette if Brooks and Poehling both make the team. I feel like if any of them get waived they will be claimed. IMO I would waive Wideman but only cause Kulak, Paquette and Perrault have more trade value for later in the year and he might be the least likely to be claimed out of the four of them.

I really like the sound of that line and I would try it right from the start the only worry I have is that is a small line against a heavy D much like ours is they will have to pay attention coming into the zone and against the boards! don't want to see them get hurt. I think they have the speed and smarts to stay out of trouble at least I hope so.

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