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Habs lines, 2021-22 season.


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48 minutes ago, ramcharger440 said:

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.

But then again, Toffoli isn't any bigger than Drouin and Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield did just fine and in the playoffs to boot. I do think Drouin benefits from playing with a bigger guy like Armia or Anderson on the other wing, but there's also something to be said about giving Suzuki and Caufield the best transition forward on the team. Drouin's possibly the best Hab between the two blue lines and he can get the other two the puck in space. It could be a good fit.

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1 hour ago, BigTed3 said:

But then again, Toffoli isn't any bigger than Drouin and Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield did just fine and in the playoffs to boot. I do think Drouin benefits from playing with a bigger guy like Armia or Anderson on the other wing, but there's also something to be said about giving Suzuki and Caufield the best transition forward on the team. Drouin's possibly the best Hab between the two blue lines and he can get the other two the puck in space. It could be a good fit.

If they live.....Lol!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I wouldnt read too much into it, as players are being evaluated, some are injured etc but just FYI these are the lines to start camp:
 

Team Red
Jonathan Drouin - Christian Dvorak - Josh Anderson
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard - Jake Evans - Joel Armia
Joshua Roy - Jean-Sebastien Dea - Danick Martel
Michael Pezzetta - Jan Mysak - Lukas Vejdemo
Gabriel Bourque

Kaiden Guhle - David Savard
Mattias Norlinder - Ben Chiarot
Corey Schueneman - Chris Wideman
Terrance Amorosa - Charles-David Beaudoin

Jake Allen
Michael McNiven

Team White
Tyler Toffoli - Nick Suzuki - Cole Caufield
Artturi Lehkonen - Ryan Poehling - Laurent Dauphin
Matthieu Perreault - Cedric Paquette - Alex Belzile
Brandon Baddock - Jean-Christophe Beaudin - Alexandre Fortin

Alexander Romanov - Jeff Petry
Brett Kulak - Gianni Fairbrother
Xavier Ouellet - Cory Goloubef
Louie Belpedio - Amber Xhekaj

Cayden Primeau
Kevin Poulin

 

Does make you wonder if the plan is to start Suzuki & CC with Toffoli (not Anderson or Drouin) and whether Poehling is likely to play a checking role (lining up next to Lehkonen - although in fairness, not a lot of scoring wingers on that squad after Suzuki's line). 

I like the idea of Romanov - Petry although Im sure thats a placeholder until Edmundson is back. 

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^^

Yes, things can always change, but I think those top two lines show you what DD is thinking of going with and hoping to see work:

Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield

Drouin-Dvorak-Anderson

Personally, I would have preferred to see Anderson paired with Poehling and get a duo that's hard to match up against size-wise, but it is what it is. I think Drouin will benefit from playing with a big body like Anderson regardless. The other main takeaway I would have from the forward combos is DD trying to create duos... Perreault-Paquette, Evans-Armia, and maybe Lehkonen-Poehling. We have to keep in mind that Hoffman and Gallagher were both out today and in all likelihood, I think they are wingers on the same line, probably with Poehling OR else we're going to see this for the other two lines if we think there were placeholders today:

Lehkonen-Poehling-Gallagher (those two wingers played together with Danault in the playoffs)

Hoffman-Evans-Armia (as your energy line)

Last thing I would note from the forward group is that RHP appears to be ahead of others in terms of getting a shot, wheres Vejdemo may be on the outs. There is definitely an opening for a center to win a spot over Poehling, but if Vejdemo is being used at wing and not even getting a look at center over Mysak, it tells me he truly isn't in the Habs plans here. Ylonen, when he comes back, maybe slots in next to Perreault-Paquette on a practice trio, but I think he's Laval-bound to start the year after his vaccine storyline.

On D, this suggests to me Wideman and Goloubef are being looked at as veteran AHL options and have work to do to win a spot. It also suggests to me that Kulak is in trouble, not getting a look next to any of Savard, Chiarot, or Petry. If they were thinking of starting him in the top 6, you'd think he would have a partner in there somewhere. So I think he makes the team but probably also has work to do to get his ice time. It does look like they will give Guhle and Norlinder a chance to show what they have and it looks like they're willing to use Chiarot on the right side, which opens up the possibility for one of the two youngsters to make the squad. That said, I think they really need to make the Habs think they're ready after what they stated regarding Kotkaniemi being rushed to the NHL. I think they will give Guhle a better look knowing he's more responsible and less flamboyant as a player, as that fits with the team's philosophy of liking safer players who are less likely to make big mistakes. But all in all, I could still well see them bringing Ed back with Petry and combining Chiarot with Savard and then leaving open a battle to play with Romanov on the 3rd pairing.

 

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19 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

It also suggests to me that Kulak is in trouble, not getting a look next to any of Savard, Chiarot, or Petry. If they were thinking of starting him in the top 6, you'd think he would have a partner in there somewhere. 

I agree with most of your post although in Kulak's case it might just be a "we know what he brings" sort of deal -but i agree he's def. lower down the depth charts... 

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33 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:It does look like they will give Guhle and Norlinder a chance to show what they have and it looks like they're willing to use Chiarot on the right side, which opens up the possibility for one of the two youngsters to make the squad. That said, I think they really need to make the Habs think they're ready after what they stated regarding Kotkaniemi being rushed to the NHL. I think they will give Guhle a better look knowing he's more responsible and less flamboyant as a player, as that fits with the team's philosophy of liking safer players who are less likely to make big mistakes. But all in all, I could still well see them bringing Ed back with Petry and combining Chiarot with Savard and then leaving open a battle to play with Romanov on the 3rd pairing.

I believe they will give Guhle a good look strictly for feedback purposes on what he should work on, and he has almost zero chance to make it this year. Guhle is targeted as a leader on his junior club and a leader on the cdn national junior tournament team. Much like when they loaned Mete back to the tournament, this would be the best development path for Guhle and I think mgmt buys into that. If there’s any rookie that gets carried on D, it’s Norlinder, but that’s a pretty big ask for him to step up. 

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45 minutes ago, maas_art said:

I agree with most of your post although in Kulak's case it might just be a "we know what he brings" sort of deal -but i agree he's def. lower down the depth charts... 

I think Kulak will make the team in the top 7. But if they thought he would be a key player, he'd likely be partnered with the player they think he'll end up playing with (ie if they thought Kulak-Chiarot would be their 3rd pairing or Kulak-Savard their 2nd pairing, they'd want to give them time to gel). It suggests to me they don't see him as a likely partner for either Petry or Savard and that he's more likely to be rotating in and out of the 3rd pairing.

22 minutes ago, claremont said:

I believe they will give Guhle a good look strictly for feedback purposes on what he should work on, and he has almost zero chance to make it this year. Guhle is targeted as a leader on his junior club and a leader on the cdn national junior tournament team. Much like when they loaned Mete back to the tournament, this would be the best development path for Guhle and I think mgmt buys into that. If there’s any rookie that gets carried on D, it’s Norlinder, but that’s a pretty big ask for him to step up. 

I think it's unlikely they keep Guhle too, but you count the bodies... Edmundson-Petry, Chiarot-Savard, Kulak-Romanov, and there's still a need for a 7th D man to make the team. Brook has now been confirmed as having had surgery on his knee, so he's out. It could be Ouellet, Wideman, or Goloubef, but it means there's room for a younger guy to win a spot. Again, the partnerships here suggest both guys will get a look playing with an NHL-quality partner. Norlinder is older but Guhle is more well-rounded and better-accustomed to the North American game and atmosphere. I think their comments regarding Kotkaniemi tell me they're going to have pause keeping a young guy this year, but especially if they can send a player like Norlinder back to Europe to play in a men's league. If they keep Guhle, they can always demote him later and/or release him for the WJ tournament and repatriate him afterwards. Norlinder IMO is a better fit for the skillset that we are missing in our current D corps, but I also believe the Habs will have a shorter leash for him.

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5 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

It also suggests to me that Kulak is in trouble, not getting a look next to any of Savard, Chiarot, or Petry. If they were thinking of starting him in the top 6, you'd think he would have a partner in there somewhere. So I think he makes the team but probably also has work to do to get his ice time. 

I too agree with most of what you have presented, BigTed3,  but what maas_art mentioned,  also has some merit. They pretty well know what the top 7 D can do, but putting Kulak with a lesser player may motivate Kulak into showing more. It's a good opportunity for Kulak to step up his game. If he can't do it,  then his long term future as a Hab may be in doubt. Players need to step up and earn their coaches trust. Make themselves more valuable. Here's his opportunity. 

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6 hours ago, electron58 said:

I too agree with most of what you have presented, BigTed3,  but what maas_art mentioned,  also has some merit. They pretty well know what the top 7 D can do, but putting Kulak with a lesser player may motivate Kulak into showing more. It's a good opportunity for Kulak to step up his game. If he can't do it,  then his long term future as a Hab may be in doubt. Players need to step up and earn their coaches trust. Make themselves more valuable. Here's his opportunity. 

So let me re-phrase what I'm saying... if the Habs were set on keeping Ed-Petry, Chiarot-Savard, Kulak-Romanov, Wideman as their 7 D men, for example, I think they'd be playing Chiarot-Savard together right from the get-go. Those two have never played together and Savard is new to the team. Ditto if they planned on playing Kulak-Savard as a pairing or Romanov-Savard. I think most of us believe Ed-Petry will be a pair and that Savard will be the 2nd-pairing RHD. So all I'm saying from the pairings we saw thus far is that it doesn't look like the Habs are locked into a partner for Savard yet. Likewise, Kulak and Chiarot have never played together for an extended period, and if they were thinking of using those two as a 3rd pairing, they should also be getting accustomed to playing together.

So the fact that they're taken two guys who are 100% locks to make the top 6 in Savard and Chiarot, one of whom is new and the other whose longtime partner is out for the season and is in need of a new one, and matched them up with the two rookies, tells me they're open to various combinations and giving the two young guys a look. Ultimately, I still believe Romanov and Kulak have the highest odds of being in the top 6, but I'm saying it doesn't look good for Kulak that the team isn't set on that. It looks more to me like they're willing to shuffle people around and that Kulak likely won't have a set partner but rather be part of a rotation in and out of the 3rd pairing.

I get what you guys are saying in that the team knows what Kulak can do, but I think the Habs also leaned very heavily on their top 4 last year and believe chemistry between their pairings is important. With new players and combos, figuring out which guys can play together (and who is going to play on the right side with Brook no longer being an option) is probably more important than just knowing Kulak's skillset. So my takeaway is that the team's first priority is to figure out what the rookies can do and whether they can hold their own next to a veteran. If the rookies aren't ready, then Kulak is their default 3rd-pairing LHD, but if the rookies perform well, I think they're going to be given a shot to bump Kulak down to 7th D man. In other words, it looks like the decision is going to come down more to whether the rookies step up as opposed to what Kulak himself shows in camp, and that's not a good sign for Kulak.

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4 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

So let me re-phrase what I'm saying... if the Habs were set on keeping Ed-Petry, Chiarot-Savard, Kulak-Romanov, Wideman as their 7 D men, for example, I think they'd be playing Chiarot-Savard together right from the get-go. Those two have never played together and Savard is new to the team. Ditto if they planned on playing Kulak-Savard as a pairing or Romanov-Savard. I think most of us believe Ed-Petry will be a pair and that Savard will be the 2nd-pairing RHD. So all I'm saying from the pairings we saw thus far is that it doesn't look like the Habs are locked into a partner for Savard yet. Likewise, Kulak and Chiarot have never played together for an extended period, and if they were thinking of using those two as a 3rd pairing, they should also be getting accustomed to playing together.

So the fact that they're taken two guys who are 100% locks to make the top 6 in Savard and Chiarot, one of whom is new and the other whose longtime partner is out for the season and is in need of a new one, and matched them up with the two rookies, tells me they're open to various combinations and giving the two young guys a look. Ultimately, I still believe Romanov and Kulak have the highest odds of being in the top 6, but I'm saying it doesn't look good for Kulak that the team isn't set on that. It looks more to me like they're willing to shuffle people around and that Kulak likely won't have a set partner but rather be part of a rotation in and out of the 3rd pairing.

I get what you guys are saying in that the team knows what Kulak can do, but I think the Habs also leaned very heavily on their top 4 last year and believe chemistry between their pairings is important. With new players and combos, figuring out which guys can play together (and who is going to play on the right side with Brook no longer being an option) is probably more important than just knowing Kulak's skillset. So my takeaway is that the team's first priority is to figure out what the rookies can do and whether they can hold their own next to a veteran. If the rookies aren't ready, then Kulak is their default 3rd-pairing LHD, but if the rookies perform well, I think they're going to be given a shot to bump Kulak down to 7th D man. In other words, it looks like the decision is going to come down more to whether the rookies step up as opposed to what Kulak himself shows in camp, and that's not a good sign for Kulak.

I agree with this Ted, but will note this. Romanov is currently slotted next to Petry with Edmundson out (I suspect just as a place holder as well). With DD saying Romy will play the left side and seeing Chiarot already on the right side I think Romanov is locked in next to Savard unless Guhle or Norlinder steal that spot (I do not see Kulak taking that spot). so I think our top 6 will be 

Edmundson-Petry

Romanov-Savard

one of Kulak\Norlinder\Ghule -Chiarot

with Wideman either as the 7th D if Ghule and Norlinder don't make it or in the AHL if one does make it. This is a much better D alignment than we have seen in the past and I think the best we can hope for with Weber out.

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Defence - in no particular order or match up

Edmundson,Petry,Savard, Romanov, Kulak , Chiarot

Spares :Wideman , Niku and any rookie that stands out at camp 

So basically in the depth chart, the #Habs have lost Mete to waivers and picked up Niku.

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5 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

Defence - in no particular order or match up

Edmundson,Petry,Savard, Romanov, Kulak , Chiarot

Spares :Wideman , Niku and any rookie that stands out at camp 

So basically in the depth chart, the #Habs have lost Mete to waivers and picked up Niku.

Yup.  And Niku is essentially "mete with more size" and maybe a touch more offensive potential. 

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1 hour ago, campabee82 said:

I agree with this Ted, but will note this. Romanov is currently slotted next to Petry with Edmundson out (I suspect just as a place holder as well). With DD saying Romy will play the left side and seeing Chiarot already on the right side I think Romanov is locked in next to Savard unless Guhle or Norlinder steal that spot (I do not see Kulak taking that spot). so I think our top 6 will be 

Edmundson-Petry

Romanov-Savard

one of Kulak\Norlinder\Ghule -Chiarot

with Wideman either as the 7th D if Ghule and Norlinder don't make it or in the AHL if one does make it. This is a much better D alignment than we have seen in the past and I think the best we can hope for with Weber out.

They could be doing anything, but my question is this: if you KNOW who you want to put with Savard and Chiarot, why not just put those pairs together now? You need time to get them used to playing to each other. I wouldn't putz around with Savard playing with a guy who has no chance of making the team. So it suggests to me they don't know what they're going to end up with yet.

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3 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

They could be doing anything, but my question is this: if you KNOW who you want to put with Savard and Chiarot, why not just put those pairs together now? You need time to get them used to playing to each other. I wouldn't putz around with Savard playing with a guy who has no chance of making the team. So it suggests to me they don't know what they're going to end up with yet.

Because sadly i think they believe Savard and Chiarot will play together... 

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Ducharme said Gallagher will be at practice tomorrow and in the line-up for Game 3... assuming the core players are playing every 2nd game and that the Habs make their major cuts after Game 4 (a back to back sequence), it makes you wonder if he'll slot in on a line playing tonight's game. If that's the case, the obvious answer is that he's going to be playing with Lehkonen and Poehling. So with that info, it suggests Ducharme's first attempt at a line-up could be

 

Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield

Drouin-Dvorak-Anderson

Lehkonen-Poehling-Gallagher

Hoffman-Evans-Armia

Perreault-Paquette

 

Not a huge fan of the bottom 3 lines... if Dvorak is your shutdown center and is getting the tough match-ups, you haven't given him very good defensive support with those wingers. And if you want Poehling to take over Kotkaniemi's role, you haven't really given him very offensively-creative players to make that work. You've given him the best defensive wingers, but does that mean you're going to be entrusting him with key D zone starts and tough opposition? And what is Hoffman going to do as a sniper without a set-up man? This would seem to be a bit of a mess.

 

 

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Ducharme today said that the lines they have built are the ones they're hoping to go through the pre-season with into the start of the regular season. Specifically, he said they were trying to build duos of wingers that would remain stable. So he inferred that the top 6 will remain

Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield

Drouin-Dvorak-Anderson

 

Gallagher was subbing in for Caufield today, but a number of media people believe that RHP has been a placeholder for Gallagher and that Gallagher will end up on a 3rd line with Evans and Armia. With Hoffman out, there is a question of whether the 4th line could end up being Perreault-Paquette-Lehkonen unless Poehling can impress in camp.

 

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https://www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/article/canadiens-notebook-drouin-feeling-love-guhle-standout-lines-take-shape/

 

Lines mostly set?

Interesting revelation from Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme, who was asked if Drouin-Dvorak-Anderson was a line he had in mind or one borne of necessity after Mike Hoffman was injured prior to leaving for Montreal and Brendan Gallagher was absent from the start of camp due to “family reasons.”

“We had a good idea of what we wanted to do, but there are certain key points or positions where we have battles and need to see what happens,” Ducharme said. “But I’d say we were pretty sure in our winger duos. We’ll see, but we made our lines hoping we could start this way and work on it for three weeks during training camp.

"So, to see Dvorak’s line have a good game was a positive for us.”

 

That’s one less thing to figure out, with Cole Caufield -- upon his return from an upper-body injury in about a week’s time -- completing a line with Tyler Toffoli and Nick Suzuki.

Here’s another: Gallagher taking Rafael Harvey-Pinard’s place on a line with Jake Evans and Joel Armia, who appears to have taken confidence from his excellent playoffs — and the four-year, $13.6-million contract he signed thereafter — into this camp.

Sure, the Canadiens’ heart-and-soul winger was in Caufield’s place at Tuesday’s practice, but it’s an easy conclusion to come by that he’ll complete the Evans-Armia duo by the time camp reaches its final phase and the start of the regular season comes into view.

Which brings me to this: boy, did I ever get hammered by the fans for initially placing Hoffman, a five-time 25-goal scorer who’s topped out at 36, on the team’s fourth line to start when I put out this notebook a couple of weeks ago, but I might end up being right. I’ll get hammered now for my suggestions for the other lines, too, but my thinking was that Hoffman would be on the top unit of the power play and rove around the lineup at five-on-five, where he’ll be deployed for what would amount to fourth-line minutes.

I argued you’d see the 31-year-old move up when a goal — or a spark on a given line — is needed, and that he could be the go-to finisher and offensive driver on a fourth line that would start most of its shifts in the offensive zone.

I don’t know that it would’ve been Ducharme’s plan out of the gate, with Hoffman signing a three-year, $13.5-million deal with the Canadiens to likely play a more prominent role, but it might prove to be the one he opts for if Armia carries momentum into the games that matter. Hoffman could be out another three weeks with a lower-body injury, and that obviously puts him behind the eight ball to start, as I wrote about last week, but his absence might have given Ducharme a better sense of how he can achieve the optimal balance to get scoring and defensive reliability out of all four of his lines.

One thing Ducharme said, after we wrapped our one-hour conversation last week, was that we’d likely see a lot of movement on his lines throughout the season. And one thing that feels clear, just looking at the paper composition, is that there are a number of combinations he can come up with that can work.

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Not saying this is what I want, but given what we've seen I think we're trending towards this line-up to start the season:

 

Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield

Drouin-Dvorak-Anderson

Armia-Evans-Gallagher

Perreault-Paquette-Lehkonen

Vejdemo, Bourque

 

Edmundson-Petry

Chiarot-Savard

Kulak-Romanov

Wideman

 

Price

Allen

 

For my money, this is not a playoff-bound roster.

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46 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

Not saying this is what I want, but given what we've seen I think we're trending towards this line-up to start the season:

 

Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield

Drouin-Dvorak-Anderson

Armia-Evans-Gallagher

Perreault-Paquette-Lehkonen

Vejdemo, Bourque

 

Edmundson-Petry

Chiarot-Savard

Kulak-Romanov

Wideman

 

Price

Allen

 

For my money, this is not a playoff-bound roster.

In fairness, Perrault will not likely be playing when Hoffman gets back and Poehling is blowing the best opportunity he has ever had to get into the lineup, so by default we will have to run Pacqutte instead. The D is just a hot mess though, too many big hulking lumbering guys who can't skate. This is going to be a long long season which may be over by February. We really needed Poehling to step up and one of those puck moving D to work out.

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11 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

Not saying this is what I want, but given what we've seen I think we're trending towards this line-up to start the season:

 

Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield

Drouin-Dvorak-Anderson

Armia-Evans-Gallagher

Perreault-Paquette-Lehkonen

Vejdemo, Bourque

 

Edmundson-Petry

Chiarot-Savard

Kulak-Romanov

Wideman

 

Price

Allen

 

For my money, this is not a playoff-bound roster.

Vejdemo to Laval.  Needs to clear waivers. The rest, assuming healthy?

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