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Who Will Have The Best Comeback Year?


ramcharger440

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Gomez. With the linemates he'll have (Gionta, Camm, AK) he should be able to get 55-60 assists. If he can add 20 goals to that total, he's laughing. He had 42 and 54 assists in his last 2 seasons playing with wingers who either had talent but didn't work hard...or at all (Zherdev) or had no talent (the rest).

He's got 3 guys who could get 30-40 goals this season, so he should be able to get to 55-60 assists out of those 3.

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Several players on this team need to bounce back from a sub-par effort last year.

However, I have a hard time picking one because there are so many. But I will pick someone who could surprise a lot of people as he keeps coming along and working hard - Maxim Lapierre. This is not so much a comeback, but a case of someone making a name for himself with hard work.

Other than that, I think the one person everyone is counting on to make a comeback is Carey Price. If I had to zero in on one guy, he would be the first place I'd start. I would also look at some of the guys like Latrendresse, who up until now, haven't quite fulfilled their potential. Him, the Kosititsyn brothers, and Plekanec (I know he is a bit older, but time is still on his side) need to step up and play better.

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Carey Price: while an undermanned defence contributed to his woes, he also let in some softies and for the most didn't make key saves when needed. He seemed lost after the all star break. This is the player I worry about the most.

Scott Gomez: I think he'll bounce back fine and I only expect him to put up the "good" numbers like he has in the past. Expecting him to put up numbers in accordance with his contract is unrealistic IMO.

Tomas Plekanec: the effort is always there so I'm not worried about Plekanec either. He seems to recognize his faults and is willing to work to improve. Can't ask for much more, well except for goals and points. LOL

Honorable Mention:

Andrei Kostitsyn: he was doing fine until the media attack. Hopefully he's cleared his mind and is ready to do magic. And I think he can.

To summarize: I'm getting excited to see what unfolds on the ice. :D

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I think we will see several people have bounce back years. Probably not all of the below, but hopefully at least a few:

Gomez: I think this year he will finally live up to his contract: A two-way centre who can score 80+ points. It may seem lofty as its something he's only done once, but we're talking about a 29 year old player. He's in his prime, he should have a good system that caters to his strengths AND have several choices for linemates. I really, truly think he's going to bounce back the most - and lets face it, if your best/highest paid player has a great season - the whole team will have one. 20g 70a 90pts

Price: While I hope this team doesnt NEED price to be at the top of his game, the fact is, I think he will. More than any one person he has the ability to shape games. People forget that he was playing outstanding hockey from Oct-Jan of last year. The wheels came off after that & he undid all the good he did prior. This year I think we'll get a consistent effort & hopefully with the new goalie coach, if/when problems arise, they'll be able to work through them properly and quickly. 35w

Andrei Kostitsyn: Some may argue he's never really had a "bad" season, but i think considering that he may be the most skilled guy in our lineup, his numbers have been disappointing. Arming him with good quality linemates AND another line with great marksmen (thus aliviating extra checking) should do wonders for him. It wont hurt having a coach known for getting the best out of his players. Big year for andrei. 40g 40a 80pts.

Hamrlik: Maybe more than anyone on our blueline, Hamrlik needs a bounce back. Its not that he was terrible. Last year he played decent, if not solid, hockey for stretches. Like many of his teammates he was inconsistent & lets face it: at just a hair less $$ than Markov, he didnt live up to his contract last year. Dont expect 80 points or something, but i think he will return to his 07-08 form & solidify the defense & chip in some key points when needed.

Plekanec: The player on the roster with the most "need" of a good season. Playing for a new contract & trying to prove he deserves to stay in montreal. I think solid, stable linemates, as well as a good martin system is going to see good things from pleks. He may not return to almost 70pt form, but 55-60pts from a defensively minded second line centre would be just fine by me.

Sergei Kostitsyn: Another player who has been more a victim of growing pains. Like so many young rookies I think he had unreasonable expectations heaped on him after a strong start. I think with the right linemates, ice time & patience, he could possibly crack 20g this years. Id be happy with a consistent, team-first effort & imho that, regardless of the numbers, will be enough to call his year a 'bounce back'

Ben Maxwell: Yes, I know its funny to put him on this list because he's barely played any games with us. However, moreso than any young player in our system, Maxwell virtually has a 'reserve' spot on a position (2nd line centre) if he can just meet the expectations. My hope is that by the end of the season, he's worked his way onto the roster. I dont care if he's a 4th line centre, getting valuable NHL experience will make me a LOT more comfortable about letting plekanec walk (which is what I think is going to happen) next summer.

Kyle Chipchura: This is the year, Kyle. If he doesnt finally put it all together this year, look for him to be dealt. Another example of unfair accolades - the guy should have changed his name to "guy carbonneau jr" based on the way the media talked about him. He's never been able to put it all together and make the jump to the bigs, but maybe this year he will. I personally would hate to give up on this kid. I like him a lot & I think he still has what it takes to be a great 3rd liner...we just havent seen it all come together yet...

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I think we will see several people have bounce back years. Probably not all of the below, but hopefully at least a few:

Gomez: I think this year he will finally live up to his contract: A two-way centre who can score 80+ points. It may seem lofty as its something he's only done once, but we're talking about a 29 year old player. He's in his prime, he should have a good system that caters to his strengths AND have several choices for linemates. I really, truly think he's going to bounce back the most - and lets face it, if your best/highest paid player has a great season - the whole team will have one. 20g 70a 90pts

Price: While I hope this team doesnt NEED price to be at the top of his game, the fact is, I think he will. More than any one person he has the ability to shape games. People forget that he was playing outstanding hockey from Oct-Jan of last year. The wheels came off after that & he undid all the good he did prior. This year I think we'll get a consistent effort & hopefully with the new goalie coach, if/when problems arise, they'll be able to work through them properly and quickly. 35w

Andrei Kostitsyn: Some may argue he's never really had a "bad" season, but i think considering that he may be the most skilled guy in our lineup, his numbers have been disappointing. Arming him with good quality linemates AND another line with great marksmen (thus aliviating extra checking) should do wonders for him. It wont hurt having a coach known for getting the best out of his players. Big year for andrei. 40g 40a 80pts.

Hamrlik: Maybe more than anyone on our blueline, Hamrlik needs a bounce back. Its not that he was terrible. Last year he played decent, if not solid, hockey for stretches. Like many of his teammates he was inconsistent & lets face it: at just a hair less $$ than Markov, he didnt live up to his contract last year. Dont expect 80 points or something, but i think he will return to his 07-08 form & solidify the defense & chip in some key points when needed.

Plekanec: The player on the roster with the most "need" of a good season. Playing for a new contract & trying to prove he deserves to stay in montreal. I think solid, stable linemates, as well as a good martin system is going to see good things from pleks. He may not return to almost 70pt form, but 55-60pts from a defensively minded second line centre would be just fine by me.

Sergei Kostitsyn: Another player who has been more a victim of growing pains. Like so many young rookies I think he had unreasonable expectations heaped on him after a strong start. I think with the right linemates, ice time & patience, he could possibly crack 20g this years. Id be happy with a consistent, team-first effort & imho that, regardless of the numbers, will be enough to call his year a 'bounce back'

Ben Maxwell: Yes, I know its funny to put him on this list because he's barely played any games with us. However, moreso than any young player in our system, Maxwell virtually has a 'reserve' spot on a position (2nd line centre) if he can just meet the expectations. My hope is that by the end of the season, he's worked his way onto the roster. I dont care if he's a 4th line centre, getting valuable NHL experience will make me a LOT more comfortable about letting plekanec walk (which is what I think is going to happen) next summer.

Kyle Chipchura: This is the year, Kyle. If he doesnt finally put it all together this year, look for him to be dealt. Another example of unfair accolades - the guy should have changed his name to "guy carbonneau jr" based on the way the media talked about him. He's never been able to put it all together and make the jump to the bigs, but maybe this year he will. I personally would hate to give up on this kid. I like him a lot & I think he still has what it takes to be a great 3rd liner...we just havent seen it all come together yet...

While at times more optimisitc than seems probable I appreciate your analysis. ;)

I think the team will sink or swim based on Scott Gomez's performance this coming season. 80 points, I suppose, is possible, but seems highly unlikely to me. I know we're supposed to be giving him solid linemates, but I'm still not sold on the team Bob has assembled. Last season we were also supposed to have a virtually unstoppable team... They ended up sputtering to the finish line and being whooped in the post-season. If we can get solid production (65-70 points) from Scott, bouncing back from last season's disappointment, I will be happy. Combine that with seconday scoring and I believe we have a competitive team.

Secondary scoring, I think, is where the team as a whole really needs to bounce back. Lots of second-tier players took steps back last season, in my opinion. You have already named a few. Sergei Kostitsyn, Andrei Kostitsyn, Kyle Chipchura, etc. If one of these players (most likely Andrei) can become a bonified secondary scoring threat, capabale of scoring 30+ goals, we will have a competitive roster! Players like Plekanec, Andrei K., and Gionta are really going to have to show solid numbers this season or we can kiss the 2nd round of the play-offs good-bye!

As for Carey... I am less worried about him bouncing back and having to perform 110% than I would be worried about the fans/media tearing him to pieces should he have a bad streak for a week or two. We always have a competent Jaroslav Halak to play games, and Carey's not going to take us to the promise land this season on his own.

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While at times more optimisitc than seems probable I appreciate your analysis. ;)

Thanks Jen. Definitely its on the optimistic side, but as I always say: If you cant be optimistic in the off season, when can you be? :P That said, I fully expect at least a couple of the players on my list NOT to have great years. I mean lets face it, if they ALL had bounce backs, we'd cruise to the cup. But, I DO believe that at least a few WILL bounce back & i think a couple will bounce back in big ways.

Gomez is definitely the one Im being loftiest about in my hopes - but there is a reason. Since his days with the devils, he always reminded me of one player - the similarities were striking. Who is that player? Adam Oates. Similar style, similar build, similar speed & similar creativity passing the puck. (im not saying he's as good as oates, just that he REMINDS me of him - before I get jumped on here).

Like Oates in Detroit, Gomez always looked like he was capable of more, but just didnt have a sniper to finish for him. Once Oates was traded & matched up with Hull, look out, he exploded into the player we remember him as. He became a star in his own rights & when he went to Boston to play alongside Neely was actually good enough to get the points even when Neely was (often) injured.

Im not saying Gomez will pan out in this way, but I am saying that if you have a playmaker as creative as gomez & you line him up with second tier talents (zherdev, callahan etc) or players past their prime (Naslund, Jagr) its not surprising he didnt pan out. With the team we have now & the options Martin has: Cammy, Gionta, AK - I would say that NOW is the time we will finally see what Gomez is capable of...and for some reason I think that will be something pretty special.

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Price is the key to so many things this season. Would not say he needs a comeback season, so much as just to settle down and play his game. Gainey has done everything he can, new goalie coach, new coach, and a new defense. Everything is in place to have a great season. Price could roll with it or let us down in so many ways.

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