Alright I am deciding to go against the grain on this one. A lot of people are talking about lines lacking identity and not knowing where to put certain players and also unsure of who should centre. SO... here's the deal. Montreal definitely needs to address its centre issue (we're looking like Edmonton of a few years ago now with all these darn centres) The biggest thing is figuring out who plays centre. I have picked 6 players who I believe can only be centremen or should be developed as such. Those players are Desharnais, Plekanec, Gomez, Eller and Galchenyuk. And I think we can all agree that none of those players should be on the fourth line. That leaves 3 spots to be filled and 5 players. We saw last year some players sharing the centre role (like Plekanec and Eller). Other teams have also done this. So that's what my suggestion is, sharing centre positions.
What I also suggest is something little to no people are going to suggest.. and that is breaking up the Cole, Pacioretty, Desharnais line. I know it's crazy... but hear me out. Pacioretty and Desharnais have a great chemistry dating before Cole arrived. If my memory serves me right, Pacioretty had something like 14 points in the 19 games prior to "the incident". He was playing with Desharnais and they were tearing it up. Now where does Cole go?
SCORING (16~ MINS) Gomez - Plekanec - Gionta
SCORING (16~ MINS) Pacioretty - Desharnais - Armstrong
SCORING (16~ MINS) Eller - Galchenyuk - Cole
CHECKING (12~ MINS) Moen - White - Prust
Gorges - Subban
Markov - Emelin
Kaberle - Bouillon
I have some s'plainin to do... Alright so the first three line share the workload because realistically we don't necessarily have a top line like the Penguins, Flyers, Kings, etc. I think the "smurf line" of Gomez Plekanec Gionta can get it done, as much as they're a pretty small line. I just hope Gomez and Gionta can get some chemistry back. Also, Gomez and Plekanec can share that centre role.
As for the Pacioretty Desharnais Armstrong line, I think it doesn't diminish the line at all because Armstrong plays a really tough game and drives the net like Cole. (May not be as good as Cole, but he will produce with Pac and DD).
The Eller Galchenyuk Cole line My favourite. Cole was a great mentor for Pacioretty and now they almost mirror each other. Now Cole will be playing with two centremen so it's a different situation. But, he can at least teach Gally and Eller lots and who knows, maybe he can develop Eller into a winger. But realistically I think that Eller and Galchenyuk should share that centre position. Eller has so much skill, great hands and as we saw last year, he can put the puck in the net. Cole drives the net hard and opens up lots of space down low. This is the perfect line for Galchenyuk who has RIDICULOUS hands and great vision. It would be interesting to see him play with guys like Eller and Cole because you know they're going to put the puck in the net if Galchenyuk gets it to them out front.
Fourth Line is the sandpaper line. Lots of hits and potential to put up their fair share of points as well! White is my favourite player to watch on this team. Last year when he made his return, he played the first shift of the game and he set the tone from the get go hitting anything and everything in sight. Just had to throw that in there. Everyone appreciated White's hitting and fighting last year. I think he has a place on this team.
One player who does not is Bourque. If he proves himself in camp he can go somewhere on there. If Gomez gets bought out, he'll take that spot. But I truly think he will be traded for some picks after all this Bobby Ryan, Rick Nash stuff is done with.