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BTH

Gameplan

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Every thread seems to discuss the same things over and over again and every debate contains the same arguments over and over again so I'll give my take on it all. On everything. And then there will be no more needs for redundant threads. ^_^

So without further ado...

Chapter 1

Part 1 - Michael Ryder's significance to the team

Ryder is a good player, a useful player and a guy we can really use on our team for the sole reason that we lack players with goalscoring ability. For the moment, we can not downgrade him, there is no sense swapping him for a similar player and we can not let him go or dump him. However, I think it would be worth our while to try upgrading Ryder into a more complete first line player. Sure, Ryder is great at what he does best, but the fact is that he cannot do much else. He is similar, in that sense, to players like Souray, Ribeiro and Dagenais, all of whom were criticized by a great many for only being able to excel in one area of their game. In his 3 seasons here, he has never given us any reason to think that he has not already peaked and that he will be a one-dimensional thirty goal-scorer for the rest of his career. Now, I agree that that thirty goals is thirty goals, if we ever want to truly contend for a Cup, we would most likely need a better first line RW than Michael Ryder.

So can Ryder help us? For the moment, definitely. But only for the moment. He is one of the players that will soon be pushed out of the lineup by younger, more complete players. He is our best trade bait though so we should not consider him an untouchable asset. His alleged greed is a concern but in the present. In the present, his goals are too important to trade away just because he wants a few hundred thousand more dollars.

I believe he is worth about 3 million but will be awarded something like 3.5M by the arbitrator.

Part 2 - Alex Kovalev's significance to the team

He is a guy we should hang on to. He gives our team the opportunity to win every single game. He is an inconsistent player, of course, but I think our team now has the work ethic and talent to cover his ass on the games he doesn't show up. The biggest knock on him is that he is lazy and apparently has a bad attitude. It is true that he is often lazy, he saves his energy and uses it up in spurts (though I think a lot of this has to do with him not being able to hustle and skate like he used to) but I believe he is a good guy in the dressing room and displays signs of leadership. I know someone with a connection to Craig Rivet and apparently Craig thinks highly of Kovalev and never considered him as one of the problems that were believed to have been in the dressing room. Of course, none of this is confirmed, you don't have to point that out to me. Personally, I believe he has a positive influence on the younger players and that he adds a veteran (and Cup-winning) presence to our team.

I'd like to discuss whether a sporadic jab is more useful than a constant tap. I think Kovalev still has the ability to produce at a point per game pace, even if he takes a few games off. We can now say that just about every player on our team is a hardworker and a consistant player - this has been assured by Gainey's offseason moves. So what do we lack? A guy who can not only chip in but who can lead the pack, a guy with a presence that the opponent fears. At the very least, Kovalev presents us with the illusion of a threat. If our entire team was made of Samsonovs and Zherdevs and Ribeiros, I would say trading Kovalev for a guy like Smolinski would be a good idea. But now, we are dealing our only potentially explosive offensive threat for a player that we already have many times over. This is the same dilemma as dealing our only 30 goal scorer (Ryder) when we lack goals. If all of our players have limited offensive ability than we may be shutdown someday, especially in the playoffs. But with Kovalev on our team we can assure ourselves that we will never meet a defence that we have no hope of conquering.

I don't believe he is a distraction in the dressing room and I don't think he is a weak link on the line-up. He is a talented player that can help us out and what more, he is a proven playoff performer. Now, most of you will point to weak performances in our final two games of last season but those are, afterall, only two games and Alex is, after all, only human. He will not play well in every single big game that he plays in - but he plays very well in most important situations, plays better than he usually does in most important situations and plays better than most other players usually do in most important situations. There are all types of exceptions but they are exceptions nonetheless to a vividly painted rule.

To top things off, Kovalev's contract ($4.5M x 2) no longer looks half bad if he contributes how he could and should.

Part 3 - Guy Carbonneau's role in the team's placing in the 2006-2007 season

Don't get me wrong, Carbonneau is a good coach who showed potential last season as a rookie. But Guy played a big part in our downfall last season, in many ways. For one thing he never quite used Samsonov properly. Once Samsonov was re-inserted into the line-up and began hustling, he should never have been benched again. Samsonov had every right to be pissed off and had Carbonneau kept him happy, he would never have whined to the media and the team would never have lost focus. I'm not saying Samsonov was right in complaining to the media, but he should never have been given any good reason to whine (which he was) in the first place.

Another mistake of Carbonneau's was to bench Craig Rivet, one of our hardest working players. That sent the wrong message to the team and that may very well have been when he began to lose control of our players as well as lose their respect. At this point, players began to think that it was unnecessary to work hard because they would not be rewarded appropriately.

I also didn't like him benching Perezhogin. He was a useful, young player that was leading the team in +/- and needed lots of icetime to tap into the offensive potential that he had. We can thank Carbonneau for losing this asset to Russia.

Another problem, possibly Carbonneau's worst mistake, was refusing to let the boys go into an offensive system. He also forced them to play defensively even though our team was built for a run and gun philosophy.

However, I believe Carbonneau had a great hand in our spectacular special teams throughout the first half of the season. He helped out our team defensively and helped guys with their faceoffs and defensive zone coverage.

I hope Carbonneau has learned from his mistakes this season and I expect him to make better decisions this time around.

Part 4 - Bob Gainey's off-season acquisitions

So far, this has been something that many fans have criticized Gainey for. I would like to start off b ypointing out the fact that on July 1st, everyone was pissed that Gainey hadn't signed anyone but then once he actually does bring in a capable defender and a replacement for Bonk, it is suddenly too much money for someone that will all of a sudden only hardly help us. You will never earn any credibility if you don' stay consistant with your opinions.

With the departure of Souray, Gainey had absolutely no choice but to sign a defenceman and I think Hamrlik was a good choice. It's a lot of money and it has Hamrlik signed until he is 37 but it is market value and that's what we have to pay to get a quality guy like Hamrlik. Roman is a safer option than Souray and better overall. Also, he has one of the hardest and most feared slapshots in the game so he may be able to replace Souray's point shot (as well as it can be 'replaced).

Smolinski is an all-round player with leadership and a strong work ethic who has more offensive potential than Bonk. He comes at a reasonable price and will be a nice centrepiece to the third line. He is also a big center who can fill on the secondline short-term in case of injuries to one of our two favourite smurfs.

Kostopoulos is a simple signing - we get an extremely hard-working player (think Begin, season before last) for quite cheap. Kostopoulos is a guy who will not only add some punch to the fourht line, will motivate our other players to do their best (because hustle is contagious) and stand up for his teammates, but he also allows us to shift Streit back to defence, a big addition to our D.

Beauregard was a good pickup because there is no risk involved whatsoever, yet he has high potential.

Some will be upset because they feel that these signings do not improve upon what we already had. These rumblings bring us to

Part 5 - How have we improved from last season?

I think we have improved in many ways, though most of them are minor. We must hope that all the little things add up and that are team can, at last, produce the way it can and play a complete 82 game season without a major slump.

a) Guy Carbonneau has a season of experience under his belt

I already mentioned this; Guy made quite a few rookie mistakes last season and we're all hoping he has learned from those and will use our players to the best of their abilities this season. A coach is a very important part of every team and now he may have gained some confidence in his abilities.

b.) We should expect continued improvement from all the young players

Of course, we cannot bank our playoff hopes on the growth of Guillaume Latendresse, but considering how many young players we have on the lineup, it is safe to say that each one will atleast be a bit better than last season - these small developments from so many different players combined can make a pretty significant difference. We all know that all three members of the Higgins-Plekanec-Kostitsyn line have a lot more to prove and a lot more room to grow.

c) Hamrlik over Souray

Our team relied too much on Souray and that dampened their creativity - they always went for the one-timer from the point. Now they will have to actually make plays. Also, Hamrlik is all-round, a better player than Souray and he is a guy that can help us get the puck out of our zone. He is a complete player and though he is not as good as he once was, he is still a very handy player that can do many things Souray never could.

d) Smolinski over Bonk

A slight upgrade, but more leadership and more offence.

e) Kovalev

Hate him or love him, Kovalev can do no worse than he did last season. So we are all but guaranteed some improved play from him, whether that means 50 points or 80.

f) No more Samsonov

The team is rid of most distractions and now has a better work ethic (increased ability of evading slumps). They should be able to concentrate on hockey this year and hopefully, not have any controversies over who hates who in the locker room.

g) Adaptation

Gainey has witnessed the style of play that Carbonneau has forced are offensive team to implement so this year, Gainey has modified our team into one that can play Guy's system better. We are now better overall, especially defensively.

It is my conclusion that we ARE better than last year and that we should make the playoffs this season. My suggestion is that instead of comparing our team to last season's which missed the playoffs, compare them to the team showcased in the season before that when we DID make the playoffs. there is definite improvement between those two lineups.

Part 6 - Plans for the future

At the moment, our biggest need is a top 4 defenceman. After that we could use a second line LW or a top 2 centre with some size. All it takes is one player to slide everyone else down the depth chart and improve the team considerably. While we are this stacked with prospects, I would consider trading some of our lesser guys for current talent. We should not trade guys like Higgins, Price or Kostitsyn at any cost, but guys like Aubin, D'Agostini, Grabovski and Maxwell could be worth moving. An offer that I always repeat is Ryder + Grabovski for Marleau. It seems plain to me that if we acquired Marleau, there would never be any room for Grabovski in our system (atleast not at center). As I said at the top of this post, Ryder is important to our team, but he is good trade bait and the best thing he could do for our team would be to allow us to upgrade him into a star first line center like Marleau.

I think we're in excellent position with the amount of quality prospects we have but it's obvious that not every single one of them can make it with the Habs. We may as well trade them instead of losing them like we did with Mikus, or having them become busts on our laps, like Milroy and Locke. I will always agree, that there is no point mortgaging the future for the present though - that is why I suggest we keep the gems in jewel box, while only considering deals involving the stones we found in our front lawn.

Part 7 - Size down the middle

This is one thing that I find is a bit overrated. It is important for a team to contain a general multitude of size and toughness but I don't think it is important to be big in every specific position. Why does it matter if Koivu is small if he is playing with two big wingers? What if we have a small centre playing with two big wingers on a line where the wingers are the real threats - so focusing on the center won't do much? As lone as we have a generally big team, it will not matter what position each big player plays. I agree that we could use a big, talented center but I don't think it is a must that the player in question must be over a certain height and weight.

This season, our team will be tougher and grittier than last year's version. I don't think a big center is as much a priority as getting a talented puck-moving defenceman, maybe a cheap one in the mould of Mark Streit.

To conclude this point, as long as we have enough size inserted randomly in the line-up, it is okay to have a small player centering the line, especially if they play bigger than they are, as Koivu and Plekanec do.

Part 8 - Montreal's UFA Situation

Montreal's perpetual failure on the open market is constantly blamed on Bob Gainey. This is foolish because he has no say in the players's decisions. All he can do is lay the best offers down on the table, which he did, and hope the stars accept them, which they didn't. Each summer, he tries his best and tops every other GMs offers. two years ago, it was Aucoin, last year it was Shanahan. This year it was Briere, Smyth and Souray who turned down great offers by the Habs for similar or worse deals from other teams. This is clear evidence that the players never really had any intention of playing in Montreal whether it be the high taxes, the bilingual environment, the (slightly) weaker dollar, the media pressure, the competitiveness of our team or whatever other foul factor they can think of. Sure, it is the GM's job to make the city seem attractive but Gainey can only twist the facts so much without lying. If the players don't want to play here, they won't, no matter how good Gainey is at hyping Montreal up.

Once again, sorry I posted so early, I hope no one replied before I post this. I believe I answered many questions that are being discussed over and over again in several different threads. If I come up with any more subjects then I will add another post to this thread. Thanks, if you managed to read through all this.

- BTH

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HOly Mother of the mothersss Havent read this thesis yet but the size just blew me away!! hey BTH if you have some spare time can you help me out wiht my thesis??? joke and no joke at the same time!!! holy batman Im gonna read this in steps... baby steps

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Great assessment of the team! :clap:

Ryder and Kovalev can be great parts of a winning team. I just only wish we didn't have to rely on them to win. I think we need to add one or two gamebreakers to this team in order to make it a real threat in the conference. We have a nice team with players for each roles. We need to define our style and be really good at whatever we do.

You only forgot one thing... it starts between the pipes! I wish Huet will be back to his Crozier-style performance, and that Halak will be stellar when he is given the net.

HOly Mother of the mothersss Havent read this thesis yet but the size just blew me away!! hey BTH if you have some spare time can you help me out wiht my thesis??? joke and no joke at the same time!!! holy batman Im gonna read this in steps... baby steps

Reminds me of the movie "What about Bob" lol

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Thanks for spoling a forum BTH :)

Now what are we going to talk about?

You ruined my offseason!!!

Edited by PurpleHills

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It's huge...too huge...but pretty sharp. I'd like to lend further support to your analysis of Kovalev by reminding all the haters that he produced at a point-per-game pace for the Habs in 2005-06. (At the time people tended not to appreciate it because they were so wrapped up in the delusion that Kovy could be a superstar if only...blah, blah, blah. Face it: 4.5 mil for a point-per-game winger looks damned good about now). Kovy is 1 for 2 with us and should not be written off just yet. I just worry that he's damaged goods.

Your points on Carbo, I could not agree with more. Every last one of them.

I do think you're a bit optimistic about the (lack of) a need for a big top-6 centreman. yes, if you have big power forwards on the wing, you can have two munchkins at C; but I don't see these incredible hulks on the Habs, except maybe for Lats. So it's a purely theoretical point that has little bearing on our actual situation. Given that situation, we need a big C - if, that is, we are to CONTEND and not just be 'pretty good' (which is what we'd be had Briere signed).

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See you in September...nothing further needs to be discussed here apparently!

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splendid post, BTH. You make some valid points, and project an overall optimist view of next season. I would like to reiterate that we'll be MUCH better in goal this year... no Aebi to much things up, Huet will hopefully be healthy, and Halak will likely improve.

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I really don't see Michael Ryder as greedy as others on here and considering he plays the PP, PK and has scored 30 goals the last two years he deserves to be overpaid by the Canadiens just like Koivu, Kovalev and now Hamrlik.

The only reason he is limited to 30 goals is that there is no decent playmaker on this team to feed him the pucl. Otherwise, he'd have hit 40 and has potential to hit 50 on some other clubs. Trading him away would be similar to trading away Leclair to Philly 10 + years ago. He deserves a long term contract and I see nobody inn the organiztion who provides the offense that Michael Ryder does.

BTH is correct that only the new contracts handed out this offseason make Kovalev's contract palpable. When Briere only racks up 65 points in Philly this year, Montreal fans are going to rejoice at Kovalev's $4.5 Million dollar contract. Other than that he is just another enigmatic Russian...thats all that can be said. Maybe he's alot like Ryder and would be better off with a better centre, but thats just not feasible.

Carbonneau made far too many mistakes last year, cost us a great young player in Perezhogin, and unfortunatley is here for the long haul. Gainey has personally chosen him, and will not cast him aside quickly, for it would show Gainey made a huge mistake. Hopefully he improves behind the bench this year, especially his attitude towards the European players, who seem to be the only players that want to come to Montreal.

I imagine its hard for Carbonneau to watch some of the indept players in the lineup struggle, since Carbonneay was such a great player, but he has to realize he can't strap on the skates anymore and contribute. He needs to find ways to motivate players and make sure the team is ready to play every night. That was the area he really failed last year. You can tell when the team is outshot 40 to 20 for the game and like 20 - 4 in the first period. Get the boys ready Carbonneau

Are we better than last year. Maybe.

Carbonneau being better with a year under his belt? We'll see.

Can we ask for more from out young players? Latendresse should be expected to slump this year with the Sophomore jinx. I would expect him to see playing time in the AHL this year. Its just something that happens.

HIggins, Komisarek and Plekanec will hopefully be just as good or better.

HIggins has to be. Hopefully he doesn't have the injury problems and should hit 30 goals. Plekanec is going to tbe the #2 centre, but probably isn't a #2 centre. And Komisarek is only as good as Markov will let him be. He's just too big and physical. Needs to concentrate more on the front of his net, and learn to provide more offense and better passes out of his zone.

Hamrlik over Souray. Yes he's better defensively. Thank god. No he is nowhere near as frightening offensively.

But I'll take the defense over the offense. The ideal would be to have them both in the fold, but thats not going to happen.

So are we better. Not drastically no. We did not address scoring problems, which are huge, but we got a little better defensively with Hamrlik and Smolinski.

I see no great improvement.

And if thats straight up, Marleau for Grabovski and Ryder its a joke. San JOse would expects picks atleast a 1st rounder and more in Return. Unfortuantley Ryder would probably score 50 playing with Joe Thornton and Marleau would walk in free agency and it would be Patrick Roy, JOhn Leclair all over again.

Grabovski will most likely end up a winger in the NHL, and not a centre. He's just not good enough in the faceoff circle and his speed and size make him a winger. Remains to be seen if he can put up offensive numbers in the NHL. He'll need atleast another year in the AHL.

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splendid post, BTH. You make some valid points, and project an overall optimist view of next season. I would like to reiterate that we'll be MUCH better in goal this year... no Aebi to much things up, Huet will hopefully be healthy, and Halak will likely improve.

That's what we were saying before last season - that Theodore had lost us atleast five games all by himself and that we would be much better thanks to our Aebischer/Huet tandem. Now we are saying that we'll be much better because we no longer have Aebischer.

And if thats straight up, Marleau for Grabovski and Ryder its a joke. San JOse would expects picks atleast a 1st rounder and more in Return. Unfortuantley Ryder would probably score 50 playing with Joe Thornton and Marleau would walk in free agency and it would be Patrick Roy, JOhn Leclair all over again.

Grabovski will most likely end up a winger in the NHL, and not a centre. He's just not good enough in the faceoff circle and his speed and size make him a winger. Remains to be seen if he can put up offensive numbers in the NHL. He'll need atleast another year in the AHL.

Superstars usually come cheaper than we imagine them to be. Like you said, Ryder can be a big threat on Joe Thornton's line and Grabovski is a fireball player that could either replace Marleau at center or help them out as a top 6 LW. Keep in mind that if Wilson is really shopping Marleau, he'd come at a cheaper price than if Gainey went up to him and asked for him.

If Thornton is worth Stuart, Sturm and Primeau - a deal I don't think was that bad - then Marleau is worth Ryder and Grabovski. After all, Ryder has more value to other teams than he does to us. Teams see 25 goals, then 30, and then 30 more and think "wow, this is a great goalscorer - imagine what he could do with Joe Thornton!"

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splendid post, BTH. You make some valid points, and project an overall optimist view of next season. I would like to reiterate that we'll be MUCH better in goal this year... no Aebi to much things up, Huet will hopefully be healthy, and Halak will likely improve.

And if thats straight up, Marleau for Grabovski and Ryder its a joke. San JOse would expects picks atleast a 1st rounder and more in Return. Unfortuantley Ryder would probably score 50 playing with Joe Thornton and Marleau would walk in free agency and it would be Patrick Roy, JOhn Leclair all over again.

If Gainey did trade for Marleau he would agree to an extension before the deal was done.

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splendid post, BTH. You make some valid points, and project an overall optimist view of next season. I would like to reiterate that we'll be MUCH better in goal this year... no Aebi to much things up, Huet will hopefully be healthy, and Halak will likely improve.

And if thats straight up, Marleau for Grabovski and Ryder its a joke. San JOse would expects picks atleast a 1st rounder and more in Return. Unfortuantley Ryder would probably score 50 playing with Joe Thornton and Marleau would walk in free agency and it would be Patrick Roy, JOhn Leclair all over again.

If Gainey did trade for Marleau he would agree to an extension before the deal was done.

I was quoting kaos' post but screwed up. I fixed it though - my answer is underneath.

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splendid post, BTH. You make some valid points, and project an overall optimist view of next season. I would like to reiterate that we'll be MUCH better in goal this year... no Aebi to much things up, Huet will hopefully be healthy, and Halak will likely improve.

That's what we were saying before last season - that Theodore had lost us atleast five games all by himself and that we would be much better thanks to our Aebischer/Huet tandem. Now we are saying that we'll be much better because we no longer have Aebischer.

You're right, but the difference is that we know that Halak can play well in MTL. The few games Aebi played the year before weren't anything to be proud of, and I remember having concerns last year in the off-season. Granted, it's no guarantee, but I have more faith in Huet/Halak than Huet/Aebi.

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...An offer that I always repeat is Ryder + Grabovski for Marleau. It seems plain to me that if we acquired Marleau, there would never be any room for Grabovski in our system...

Excellent summary of what I have been trying to relay myself. Nice work BTH. I have a feeling that a move like the one you mentioned might work but Wilson might want more. If Gainey could get Marleau for Ryder and Grabs, I'd be DELIGHTED :clap:

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Damn, I forgot to include my projected line-up for the start of the season. I'll just post them here in this post.

Latendresse-Koivu-Ryder

Higgins-Plekanec-Kostitsyn

Lahti-Smolinski-Kovalev

Begin-Lapierre-Kostopoulos

OR

Latendresse-Koivu-Ryder

Higgins-Plekanec-Kostitsyn

Lahti-Smolinski-Kostopoulos

Begin-Lapierre-Kovalev

That second line-up features Kovalev on the fourth line not because he's worthless, but because he's shown good production with Latendresse and Lapierre last season and besides, Kovalev isn't the type of guy you want getting much even strength icetime anyway. If this insults Kovalev, then go with my first line-up.

I think that both of these line-ups present us with 2 dangerous offensive lines, 1 shutdown line and 1 limbo line that can do a bit of both.

Here are my D pairings:

Markov-Komisarek

Hamrlik-O'Byrne

Streit-Dandenault

OR

Markov-Komisarek

Hamrlik-Streit

Bouillon-Dandenault

These second pairings imply that O'Byrne has missed the team. Honestly, in the first scenario I don't see much of a problem with our D. It would take a bit of time for O'Byrne to develop but he should be a wall back there with Hamrlik.

In the case of Grabovski making the team, Lahti will begin the season on the bench, as shown below.

Latendresse-Koivu-Ryder

Higgins-Plekanec-Kostitsyn

Grabovski-Smolinski-Kovalev

Begin-Lapierre-Kostopoulos

In net, I believe Carey Price will crack the roster but I have no clue what Gainey will do. I know for a fact Gainey would not trade Huet and leave us with Halak and Price. Why wouldn't he? For the same reasno he held onto Aebischer last season even after Huet's emergence as our starter - for security. It is too big a risk to leave us in the hands of two rookie netminders. I think Gainey will send Halak down to the minors (I'm pretty sure he's still allowed to without having him hit waivers) and go with a Price/Huet tandem. I believe Huet would play 30 of the first 40 games, begin to slump after the All-Star break (after possibly making the team) and then Price will take over, leading us into a playoff spot.

If Chipchura proves to be NHL ready, then we will have problems but if Gainey had any doubts about Chipchura still being AHL calibre he wouldn never have plugged the final two roster spots for him with Smolinski and Kostopoulos.

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Damn, I forgot to include my projected line-up for the start of the season. I'll just post them here in this post.

Latendresse-Koivu-Ryder

Higgins-Plekanec-Kostitsyn

Lahti-Smolinski-Kovalev

Begin-Lapierre-Kostopoulos

OR

Latendresse-Koivu-Ryder

Higgins-Plekanec-Kostitsyn

Lahti-Smolinski-Kostopoulos

Begin-Lapierre-Kovalev

That second line-up features Kovalev on the fourth line not because he's worthless, but because he's shown good production with Latendresse and Lapierre last season and besides, Kovalev isn't the type of guy you want getting much even strength icetime anyway. If this insults Kovalev, then go with my first line-up.

I think that both of these line-ups present us with 2 dangerous offensive lines, 1 shutdown line and 1 limbo line that can do a bit of both.

Here are my D pairings:

Markov-Komisarek

Hamrlik-O'Byrne

Streit-Dandenault

OR

Markov-Komisarek

Hamrlik-Streit

Bouillon-Dandenault

These second pairings imply that O'Byrne has missed the team. Honestly, in the first scenario I don't see much of a problem with our D. It would take a bit of time for O'Byrne to develop but he should be a wall back there with Hamrlik.

In the case of Grabovski making the team, Lahti will begin the season on the bench, as shown below.

Latendresse-Koivu-Ryder

Higgins-Plekanec-Kostitsyn

Grabovski-Smolinski-Kovalev

Begin-Lapierre-Kostopoulos

In net, I believe Carey Price will crack the roster but I have no clue what Gainey will do. I know for a fact Gainey would not trade Huet and leave us with Halak and Price. Why wouldn't he? For the same reasno he held onto Aebischer last season even after Huet's emergence as our starter - for security. It is too big a risk to leave us in the hands of two rookie netminders. I think Gainey will send Halak down to the minors (I'm pretty sure he's still allowed to without having him hit waivers) and go with a Price/Huet tandem. I believe Huet would play 30 of the first 40 games, begin to slump after the All-Star break (after possibly making the team) and then Price will take over, leading us into a playoff spot.

If Chipchura proves to be NHL ready, then we will have problems but if Gainey had any doubts about Chipchura still being AHL calibre he wouldn never have plugged the final two roster spots for him with Smolinski and Kostopoulos.

I like your lineups, but about goaltending, BG's said that Price won't come up here to sit. In your first scenario, Price is basically on the bench for the first 40 games...

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I like your lineups, but about goaltending, BG's said that Price won't come up here to sit. In your first scenario, Price is basically on the bench for the first 40 games...

Yep. I know, but realistically, if Price is definitely NHL calibre and has nothing left to learn in the AHL, they'll keep him with Montreal and decide how to use him after. Maybe they start off the season using Price, then they use Huet for a game (we play two nights in a row or something) and Huet plays unbelievable so they play him again and again, riding him while he's hot. Then suddenly, he starts to cool down and Price carries us for the second half of the season.

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I like this lineup that you posted:

Latendresse-Koivu-Ryder

Higgins-Plekanec-Kostitsyn

Grabovski-Smolinski-Kovalev

Begin-Lapierre-Kostopoulos

I think there would be a switch between Ryder and Kovalev at some point in the season though.

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Hold on a second. All you people talking about Marleau, what the hell man! Why would San Jose give up Marleau? Every team needs two offensively skilled centers to balance their offense. This whole Grabovski and Ryder thing can't work. Ryder would be outstanding with Thornton but I don't care how good that line is, no team can go far with only one good line. Basically, what I'm saying is, we need what they have, a skilled center. They do not need what we have, which is rookies and Ryder.

Just for the heck of it, let's pretend for just a moment that San Jose's management isn't stupid....

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I like your lineups, but about goaltending, BG's said that Price won't come up here to sit. In your first scenario, Price is basically on the bench for the first 40 games...

Yep. I know, but realistically, if Price is definitely NHL calibre and has nothing left to learn in the AHL, they'll keep him with Montreal and decide how to use him after. Maybe they start off the season using Price, then they use Huet for a game (we play two nights in a row or something) and Huet plays unbelievable so they play him again and again, riding him while he's hot. Then suddenly, he starts to cool down and Price carries us for the second half of the season.

The only way Price makes the MOntreal lineup is if he outplays Huet and Halak and is the starting goaltender. Bob Gainey will not have him sitting and rotting on the bench in Montreal. He'll start the season in Montreal and will only be called up if Huet and Halak faulter or get injured.

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Just for the heck of it, let's pretend for just a moment that San Jose's management isn't stupid....

Excellent Point.....thank you.

And why do people think they want Ryder when they already have Cheechoo, Bernier, Michalek, Clowe and Grier.

Why would it be ok to have 6 top 4 wingers, but not two #1 centres? And why are there no rumours out there in the real world about this, only on this site?

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Watch for us trying to trade Huet during this season as well, I think Price will be our no.1 before this upcoming season ends.

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Just for the heck of it, let's pretend for just a moment that San Jose's management isn't stupid....

Excellent Point.....thank you.

And why do people think they want Ryder when they already have Cheechoo, Bernier, Michalek, Clowe and Grier.

Why would it be ok to have 6 top 4 wingers, but not two #1 centres? And why are there no rumours out there in the real world about this, only on this site?

Bad example....but Eklund has talked about it for weeks now and the boys on TSN were talking about it a few weeks before the draft (I think the Gazette did too).

I really want Marleau, but I'm not sure it will happen now. Gainey is stocking up on depth for something though.....I just hate waiting for the trigger to be pulled, but I'd rather wait it out for a good deal then do it for the sake of doing it.

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Marleau is the BPA for SJ right now. They didn't land Drury like they supposedly wanted, and now they'll probably try and get Marleau re-signed long term. If negotiations with him sour, maybe they'll trade him... but that still seems remote at best.

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Just for the heck of it, let's pretend for just a moment that San Jose's management isn't stupid....

Excellent Point.....thank you.

And why do people think they want Ryder when they already have Cheechoo, Bernier, Michalek, Clowe and Grier.

Why would it be ok to have 6 top 4 wingers, but not two #1 centres? And why are there no rumours out there in the real world about this, only on this site?

You honestly consider Clowe and Grier top 6 wingers? If we had Grier on our second line you'd rip him to shreds.

And obviously, SJ would have to want to trade Marleau first. Only reason I can think of them trading him is because they consider him a playoff choker (which he isn't).

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Just for the heck of it, let's pretend for just a moment that San Jose's management isn't stupid....

Excellent Point.....thank you.

And why do people think they want Ryder when they already have Cheechoo, Bernier, Michalek, Clowe and Grier.

Why would it be ok to have 6 top 4 wingers, but not two #1 centres? And why are there no rumours out there in the real world about this, only on this site?

The only reason he is limited to 30 goals is that there is no decent playmaker on this team to feed him the pucl. Otherwise, he'd have hit 40 and has potential to hit 50 on some other clubs. Trading him away would be similar to trading away Leclair to Philly 10 + years ago. He deserves a long term contract and I see nobody inn the organiztion who provides the offense that Michael Ryder does.

I don't get it. In one sentence you say that Ryder with a great centreman should score 40-50 goals (insert Thornton here) then you mention him in the same category as John Leclair in the next......and then follow it up by saying that why would they want Ryder (as you expressed, a 40-50 goal John Leclair type player) when they already have Bernier/Michalek/Clowe and Grier. ????????

If I take your initial assesment of Ryder then San Jose would be crazy not to trade for that type of player. But then I see you comparing him to Bernier/Michalek/Clowe and Grier. If he is a John Leclair type player he would be a top 2 winger along the lines of Cheechoo.

Are you not contradicting yourself here?

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