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How do you project our future at C?


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Reading the 'Latendresse' thread, I got to thinking about Grabovsky in particular and our situation at C in general. Koivu's got two more years on his deal, and I honestly don't think we can expect him to play at his current level for too many more years than that. Pleks is *probably* a valid 2nd-line C - certainly his production in the second half last season suggests as much - but do you project him to be a #1 guy eventually? Where does Grabovsky fit? Is he a possible #2 to Pleks(!) ? Or do we project Pleks as ultimately better suited to a #3 role and see Grabovsky in a 1 or 2 capacity behind Koivu or whoever else we can trade for/sign?

I know the easy answer is to trade or sign for a bona fide #1 C, but I'm curious about how you all see our options playing out, given the players currently in the system.

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I thinl that montreal brass is puting alot of hopes on Ben Maxwell. I hope he continues where he left last..minus the elbow situation, of course.

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Koivu is average for a 1st line center.

Smolinski is a 2nd/3rd liner but gone after the season.

Plekanec is looking like a solid second line center/awesome third line center.

Grabovski may never make it as a center but if he does, he'd probably be a boom or bust 2nd liner. So either he's an explosive offensive animal or he's a 4th line PP specialist.

Chipchura will be an awesome third line center.

Lapierre will remain an awesome fourth line center for the rest of his career.

Ryan White will be in the same boat as Plekanec - 2nd/3rd liner - he seems like the type of guy you can play anywhere.

Ben Maxwell I see as a second liner.

Olivier Fortier I think will be a more talented Maxime Lapierre - so, in other words, he can be a solid third liner or a great fourth liner.

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tomas is a 2nd line center at best, saku has 4/5 years left in him yet

Koivu has still 3-4 years as a second center men not number one.

We have no blue chip prospects at center.

We gonna have to deal ourself one, it's the only way. A trade for a blue chip center.

A project, this sound to me way better than a trade for another second liner.

We passed once on Brule but it doesn't mean he is untouchable.

Something like this and our prospect to fill in 2-3-4.

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I have to agree with that last post.

If we are lucky, Huet and Price have great seasons at the NHL and AHL level. A team out there with a 1st line centre or 1st line centre prospect is looking for a goalie - to which we say, "Whoah, we done got two. Switcheroo?"

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Koivu is average for a 1st line center.

Smolinski is a 2nd/3rd liner but gone after the season.

Plekanec is looking like a solid second line center/awesome third line center.

Grabovski may never make it as a center but if he does, he'd probably be a boom or bust 2nd liner. So either he's an explosive offensive animal or he's a 4th line PP specialist.

Chipchura will be an awesome third line center.

Lapierre will remain an awesome fourth line center for the rest of his career.

Ryan White will be in the same boat as Plekanec - 2nd/3rd liner - he seems like the type of guy you can play anywhere.

Ben Maxwell I see as a second liner.

Olivier Fortier I think will be a more talented Maxime Lapierre - so, in other words, he can be a solid third liner or a great fourth liner.

Grabovski wont be a 4th liner man come on lol,

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Grabovski wont be a 4th liner man come on lol,

And you think he can crack our top 2 lines at center? He's either a second line LW or a 4th line LW with PP time. I don't see him ever doing anything as an NHL center, he's going to have to play on our wing.

Just because you watched him play 3 games with Montreal and saw him make some moves doesn't make him an automatic first liner. :rolleyes:

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And you think he can crack our top 2 lines at center? He's either a second line LW or a 4th line LW with PP time. I don't see him ever doing anything as an NHL center, he's going to have to play on our wing.

Just because you watched him play 3 games with Montreal and saw him make some moves doesn't make him an automatic first liner. :rolleyes:

So because you watched (put game number here) games you can down play his future and "project " him as anything but a centre?

I agree, no way is he fourth line anything. Who knows, if we quit housing spots for Kostopoulos, Smolinski, Begin etc he might actually have something to show the big club.

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So because you watched (put game number here) games you can down play his future and "project " him as anything but a centre?

I agree, no way is he fourth line anything. Who knows, if we quit housing spots for Kostopoulos, Smolinski, Begin etc he might actually have something to show the big club.

As the front page article states.....rookies will be brought in gradually. That's how good teams do it. It's called development. So quit making it like we have players taking work away from kids, unless you want to bring up the whole entire Hamilton team just because. Be patient. SHEESH!

Back in the day we would all just slowly watch players come in and out as they became nhl'ers withoutover analyzing it. With these forums and internet we suffer from too much information. It kind of blows in a way. "Hey I heard Mario tremblay has a nephew who didn't get drafted, he said he'd love to play for the habs. O but crap.........Smolinski is hogging a roster spot this year"

Can we all stop making that assesment, it's getting old. I would guess that everyone has a chance to be on this team come September, and believe me if ryan shows up next week, someone else will be sitting. Regardless off thier pay-check.

Can we cut the crap please? :rolleyes:

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As the front page article states.....rookies will be brought in gradually. That's how good teams do it. It's called development. So quit making it like we have players taking work away from kids, unless you want to bring up the whole entire Hamilton team just because. Be patient. SHEESH!

Back in the day we would all just slowly watch players come in and out as they became nhl'ers withoutover analyzing it. With these forums and internet we suffer from too much information. It kind of blows in a way. "Hey I heard Mario tremblay has a nephew who didn't get drafted, he said he'd love to play for the habs. O but crap.........Smolinski is hogging a roster spot this year"

Can we all stop making that assesment, it's getting old. I would guess that everyone has a chance to be on this team come September, and believe me if ryan shows up next week, someone else will be sitting. Regardless off thier pay-check.

Can we cut the crap please? :rolleyes:

Nice post.

If you had more of a clue it would be right. You missed the point completely.

I'm not talking about bringing up "The entire Bulldogs team" as you like to think. I am talking about one player specifically. Grabovski.

We all know what Kostopolous, Begin and Smolinski bring to the table... can you tell me what Grabovski brings to the table???

Didn't think so.

So in your infinite wisdom of player development, tell me when to bring Grabs in to the NHL...when he is 30?

At 23 now(24 in January) years of age when does he get a shot?? What else does he have to do?

Do you think he is going to wait forever. He will go back to Russia like Perezhogin did, or sign on with another team the first chance he gets.

Grabs leaving is a bad thing Because we have no clue as to what he can do and it is a real threat of happening.

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In my opinion, our future no 1 C will come by trade or free agency, or we're bound for mediocrity. Koivu doesn't have 4-5 years left in him as a real first line C, and I don't see a real no 1 C in our prospects that could play that role in 2-3 years. As stated in previous posts, we seem to have excellent future no 2-3 C, but no blue chip # 1 C Unless we draft in the top 5, we'll need to sign or trade for a real #1

If Gainey knew he had an imminent #1 C in its prospect, he wouldn't have offered a 7 years contract to Brière...

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You just said it yourself, Habitforming - he has a very small chance at making the lineup this season, a small chance we'll have a spot open for him next season, and a constantly increasing chance of him leaving the NHL or else having his potential ruined by playing in the AHL for too long.

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Well, let's not forget the likelihood of injuries clearing a place for him on at least a temporary basis. Also, if he goes back to Russia, we don't necessarily lose the rights to him, do we?

These comments lead me to wonder if he isn't being dangled as trade bait. I mean, if you project him to be a #2 centreman (sort of in the Ribeiro mould), well, that spot is clearly locked up by Pleks for the forseeable future...

Finally: I worry that our brain-trust, Gainey/Carbo/Jarvis/Muller is the sort that can absolutely make the most out of 'complete' players like Pleks and Higgins, but is liable to devalue what pure offensive talent can bring. Hopefully this isn't the case, and Grabs will get a chance, if he looks like a viable offensive NHL presence.

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Right, we're quite stacked at center (in DEPTH, not talent - just getting ready for all the retorts I'd get) so there is no open roster spot for him in the foreseeable future (which is the only time he has left, he's getting old). With the top center spots being locked up to Koivu and Plekanec, the fourht line roster spot seeming to be Lapierre's for possibly another decade and Smolinski, Chipchura, Maxwell, White, Aubin and Fortier as bodies that could possibly play #3 C this year or within the next couple of seasons, there seems no spot for Grabovski - and even if he does, the coaching staff will surely prefer guys like White, Fortier and Chipchura because these are balanced guys who can play defence. He'll either have to get very lucky, or play on the LW (something he has experience with), a position he should have less competition for.

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Grabovski and Maxwell are the only kids in the system who have the potential to become #1 centers, and both are longshots to make it to that level. Right now the hole in the habs lineup, especially for an offensive player, is at left wing. Grabovski has a decen shot at making the team as a winger but as a center, barring injury, he's clearly behind Koivu and Pleks. I expect he'll get at least a good look in the NHL this year, and he might well make the team. Grabs is likely first in line for top-six icetime if someone goes down, Chips for bottom six.

In the longer term, Gainey tried to buy Briere as his future #1 center. He's still got cash and prospects, so I'd presume he'll keep looking for a center outside the system. Meanwhile, Koivu's coming off a career year, points wise, so he's not washed up yet.

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I don't think there's anyone who is likely to become a #1 centre within the prospect pipeline and obviously that is Gainey's biggest concern as well - hence as mentioned, the failed pursuit of Briere.

Grabovski might get a shot at the wing, but it's true that the clock is ticking. The toughest part for most prospects seems to be making the jump from part-time NHLer to full time player NHLer and if it doesn't happen sucessfully in the age 22-25 range, then they end up being written offf by their organization. For that matter, I'd suggest it is ticking for Kostitsyn as well - if he doesn't play well this season, then his career prospects are not that good.

I would like to add that the Canadiens don't have seem a potential offensive star in the system either. It's quite nice to see such depth, but none of the players being added are projected to be elite offensive talents in the 40 goal range. Obviously, it is a consequence of not being able to draft early, but the Canadiens haven't had such a player since Guy Lafleur (and no, Stephane Richer does not count).

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To answer the topic question : as long as we will miss the point with Superstar Center player coming from UFA or a trade, the future will never shine at C.

I don't really see us finishing bottom 2 or 3 so we'll have to pass buy the superstar Center player from the draft, and unless we are up to trade Ryder with Kostitsyn and a top 4 D man, we'll never get a 1rst line center from a trade.

Now UFA... Datsuyk out, Brière out, the next big thing is Lecavalier 09-10...

As long as Koivu will be #1, i won't be pleased with our C.

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I don't think there's anyone who is likely to become a #1 centre within the prospect pipeline and obviously that is Gainey's biggest concern as well - hence as mentioned, the failed pursuit of Briere.

Grabovski might get a shot at the wing, but it's true that the clock is ticking. The toughest part for most prospects seems to be making the jump from part-time NHLer to full time player NHLer and if it doesn't happen sucessfully in the age 22-25 range, then they end up being written offf by their organization. For that matter, I'd suggest it is ticking for Kostitsyn as well - if he doesn't play well this season, then his career prospects are not that good.

I would like to add that the Canadiens don't have seem a potential offensive star in the system either. It's quite nice to see such depth, but none of the players being added are projected to be elite offensive talents in the 40 goal range. Obviously, it is a consequence of not being able to draft early, but the Canadiens haven't had such a player since Guy Lafleur (and no, Stephane Richer does not count).

While I am concerned over the #1 center thing, I do think BG is looking for a way to address it, and I don't think there's no way to win without it.

Your second point about the lack of a potential "elite offensive talent" isn't as big an issue to me. Obviously it would be nice, and I'd love it, but I think the team can easily win if the other pieces are in place and this piece isn't. We do have many potential offensive threats, and a handful of 20-30 goal scorers can contribute in the end as many goals as a fewer number of 40 goal scorers. I think Higgins / Kostitsyn / Ryder / Plekanec / Latendresse can do this.

Quick edit: we've won cups since Lafleur left, so that's proof we can do it without that kind of a player.

Edited by ShortHanded
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Interesting observations about the lack of elite scoring talent in the system. That's something that's been bothering me, in a low-level way, for a while now. Yes, our scouting staff have done a terrific job stacking our system with good players. Yes, the Habs never get to draft in the top 5 or even 10 (the Price pick excepted). However you do have to wonder how it is that, say, the Colorado Avalanche can draft a Stastny (guaranteed to have a long career as a stud C) or a Wolski, or how the NJ Devils can draft a Zach Parise, and the Wings a Datsyuk, while the Canadiens, even in this golden era of drafting, never seem to turn up this kind of elite offensive player in our system. These are all franchises who have been in a shitty drafting position for years, and yet they've got these kinds of stars or soon-to-be stars. Granted, Higgins has this potential. Nonetheless, unlike these other examples, he's not yet shown that he can do it for a full season. Kostityn looks like the real deal, too, and Lats could be a major force, but who knows? Perezhogin looked that way too.

The issue at C aside, it's past time the Habs produced a bona fide scoring machine from within the system. The last truly elite-level offensive star we produced was Saku Koivu - who, of course, would probably have been a top-5 player in the league had it not been for the devastating knee injury he suffered when he was leading the league in scoring in 1996-97. It still breaks my heart to think of what might have been...but I ramble.

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Nice post.

If you had more of a clue it would be right. You missed the point completely.

I'm not talking about bringing up "The entire Bulldogs team" as you like to think. I am talking about one player specifically. Grabovski.

We all know what Kostopolous, Begin and Smolinski bring to the table... can you tell me what Grabovski brings to the table???

Didn't think so.

So in your infinite wisdom of player development, tell me when to bring Grabs in to the NHL...when he is 30?

At 23 now(24 in January) years of age when does he get a shot?? What else does he have to do?

Do you think he is going to wait forever. He will go back to Russia like Perezhogin did, or sign on with another team the first chance he gets.

Grabs leaving is a bad thing Because we have no clue as to what he can do and it is a real threat of happening.

My infinite wisdom tells me grabovski will be on the team when he makes the most of his chances. He has not done that YET. I'm sure he will get a few chances this year. Time will tell.

You should call Gainey with your thoughts, maby he doesn't know Grabovski will be 24 this year. That might change everything :lol:

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Interesting observations about the lack of elite scoring talent in the system. That's something that's been bothering me, in a low-level way, for a while now. Yes, our scouting staff have done a terrific job stacking our system with good players. Yes, the Habs never get to draft in the top 5 or even 10 (the Price pick excepted). However you do have to wonder how it is that, say, the Colorado Avalanche can draft a Stastny (guaranteed to have a long career as a stud C) or a Wolski, or how the NJ Devils can draft a Zach Parise, and the Wings a Datsyuk, while the Canadiens, even in this golden era of drafting, never seem to turn up this kind of elite offensive player in our system. These are all franchises who have been in a shitty drafting position for years, and yet they've got these kinds of stars or soon-to-be stars. Granted, Higgins has this potential. Nonetheless, unlike these other examples, he's not yet shown that he can do it for a full season. Kostityn looks like the real deal, too, and Lats could be a major force, but who knows? Perezhogin looked that way too.

The issue at C aside, it's past time the Habs produced a bona fide scoring machine from within the system. The last truly elite-level offensive star we produced was Saku Koivu - who, of course, would probably have been a top-5 player in the league had it not been for the devastating knee injury he suffered when he was leading the league in scoring in 1996-97. It still breaks my heart to think of what might have been...but I ramble.

Kostitsyn was drafted with that role in mind. He turned out to be a lot more raw than anticipated when he came over, and his medical issues (which the Habs helped solve) didn't help his early development, either. Let's hope all the hard work pays off.

I understand the sentiment, but it's really difficult to project guys like Statsny and Datsyuk and Bergeron and so on.

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