Mid-Season Report Cart – Part 2

Galchenyuk-Radulov_Mid-Season-2

Max Pacioretty – It was a rough start to the season for the Captain, struggling to find the back of the net throughout the month of October. Whether it was the micro fracture in his foot or the blame (unwarranted) many fans placed on him for Subban’s departure, Max only had 5 games through the first 24 games. However, as of late Pacioretty has been on fire, leading the depleted Habs to first in the division, including back-to-back game winning overtime goals against Nashville and Dallas. He is what he is, he will never be the prototypical power forwards a la Wayne Simmonds, but he is still an elite goal scorer, B+

Alex Galchenyuk – At the time of his knee injury in Los Angeles, Galchenyuk was 5th in the league in scoring and was a thorn to opposing defense. The knee injury stopped Galchenyuk’s breakout season dead in its tracks but look for Chucky to return to full force for the second half of the season. Finally positioned as the number 1 centre on the depth chart, how Galchenyuk plays will directly correlate to how far the Habs go in the playoffs. Crosby, Toews, Kopitar, the last few cup winners have been carried by the strong play of their number 1 centerman. A-

Mid-Season Report Card – Part 1

Alexander Radulov – Radulov has been the catalyst for the Habs’ offense at the midway point of the season. It seems that whomever Michel Therrien has put Radulov with, has thrive having him playing beside them. Radulov is like Gallagher on steroids and it shows with Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, Danault and Byron having all benefited from playing with him. There were question marks about Radulov entering the season but he has erased all of those with an impressive 10G and 22A through 40 games. A

Tomas Plekanec – Wow, how the mighty has fallen. Plekanec has been one of the Canadiens’ most consistent players for the past decade. However, with just 4 goals in the first 41 games of the season, that 2 year 6 million dollar contract that Bergevin dished out last year is looking like a disaster. Definitely overpaid for what he is currently producing, the good news is that Plekanec’s defensive play has not deteriorated. Plekanec’s defensive and shut down ability will be very useful come playoff time when the Habs will have to stop the likes of Crosby and Ovechkin to reach the Stanley Cup finals. C-

Brendan Gallagher – If not for Plekanec’s season long drought, Gallagher could be the Habs’ biggest disappointment to date. Having scored 19 goals in just 53 games last season and 24 goals the year before, Gallagher has a mere 6 goals 39 games this year. Gallagher’s disappointing season reached a new low in Dallas as a Shea Weber bomb broke the same hand he broke last year. It’s hard to hate on Gallagher as he gives it his all every game but at a point he must start to produce. C-

Andrew Shaw – Shaw has been the Habs’ Swiss army knife this season, starting on the 3rd line and eventually moving up and down the lineup. A concussion suffered from a hit by Tory Krug couldn’t have happened at a worst time as Shaw was playing some of his best hockey as a Hab. Acquired for his playoff performance, Habs fans are seeing why Bergevin traded for him, as like Gallagher, Shaw leaves it all out every game. B

Artturi Lehkonen – I wasn’t sure what to expect from Artturi Lehkonen coming into the season. Having not seen Lehkonen play in Europe and only have read reviews, I was pleasantly surprised by Lehkonen’s two way game. He’s fast and has a good shot, as noted with his 9 goals through 32 games, and is defensively sound. My only concern is his lack of size, which may play against him in the playoffs when games are tougher and more hits are dished out. B

Phillip Danault – Am I dreaming or did Marc Bergevin thieve Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks last year. Danault has been a revelation for the Habs all season with his speed and two way game. Even though he has slotted in nicely between Pacioretty and Radulov in Galchenyuk’s absence, I don’t see Danault as a number 2 centerman on a top contending team. But if the Habs have him slotted in as the 3rd center, this could push the Habs over the top in the deep Eastern Conference. At the time of writing this, Danault just scored the goal of the season, going end to end against the Jets and making Dustin Byfgulien look like a fool. A-

Paul Byron – Is this déjà vu or did the Flames once again lose another undersize stud on waivers. Now, now, I’m not saying that Byron will become the next Martin St. Louis, but there is no doubt that Byron has been one of the Habs top reliable players this season. Having the breakout season of his career with 12G and 13A through 41 games, Byron has shown signs that he has top 6 talent. Not only that but Byron has also logged heavy minutes on the PK. The best news of all though, is that Byron is signed for the next 3 year with a cap hit of just 1.1 million. A

Torrey Mitchell – Mitchell has been a reliable bottom 6 player for the Habs for the past two seasons. It’s even safe to say that if Mitchell is your 4th centerman, with his speed he will cause trouble for other team’s 3rd pairing. Similar to last year, Mitchell started out on fire with 5 goals in his first 10 games, however has slowed down mighty since. It’s hard to put the blame on Mitchell though as he never was a consistent goal scorer. It’s his ability on the defensive end that makes it tough to remove him from the lineup and with Lars Eller no longer on the team, Mitchell, along with Plekanec, now have the objective of shutting down opposing team’s top lines. B-

David Desharnais – Trying to be unbiased, Desharnais has been tolerable this season. When he’s positioned further down the lineup and with Therrien utilizing him in a favourable matchup, I have no problem with Desharnais. However, when he’s move up to the first or second line that’s when I feel that he becomes a liability to the Habs going up against other team’s top tier centermen. When you have Desharnais lining up against the likes of Patrice Bergeron or Sidney Crosby, you just know it’s going to be a long night. It’s safe to say with the emergence of Danault and McCarron it is very unlikely that Desharnais will be resigned at season’s end. Yes Habs fans, the David Desharnais era in Montreal is coming to an end. C

Projecting Next Year’s Lineup: Part 1 – Forwards
Projecting Next Year’s Lineup: Part 2 – Defense & Price

Brian Flynn – I’ll be honest, it hard to judge Brian Flynn. He does everything you ask of him, winning face-offs, defensively sound and potting a few goals here and there. However, he doesn’t do anything exceptional and that’s where many fans believe he doesn’t belong in the lineup. On a healthy Habs roster, I see Flynn on the 4th line or as the Habs’ 13th man. That said, having 5G and 4A in 31 is not bad for a bottom line winger with tangibles and isn’t a defensive liability. C

Daniel Carr – Yes Carr has been pretty bad so far this season. Being healthy scratched every other game and even being sent back to St. John’s, Carr has only 1 goal in 27 games. Having shown promise in his rookie season last year with 6 goals, Carr hasn’t been the same player before last year’s season ending knee injury. I don’t blame him; sometimes it takes time, especially for a younger player, to return his game to where it was. Unfortunately, the problem is time is not of essence as the longer it takes him the possibility that more players surpass him on the depth chart. D

Sven Andrighetto – Similar to Carr, Andrighetto could be running out of time in Montreal with the likes of McCarron and Scherbak knocking on the door. He has been a disappointment this year, a far cry from his 8 goals in 20 games last season. He will need to pick it up soon because I don’t see him in the lineup as a bottom 6 and with his current skill set and size, I don’t see him as a legit top 6 player. D

Chris Terry – I’ll be honest; I am pleasantly surprised by Chris Terry. Then again, I wasn’t expecting much when Bergevin signed him in the off-season.  Having played in 13 games this season, Terry has notched 2 goals and 2 assists. I don’t see him as an everyday player on a contending team like the Canadiens but his work ethics will keep him as a border line NHL player. D+

Michael McCarron – McCarron has slowed down a bit since originally being called up in December. A factor could be that the big man is not used to the game speed of the NHL and the long season. That said, I feel that it will be beneficial for McCarron to gain the experience if it’s the team’s vision that he will be the number 2 or 3 center of the future (behind Galchenyuk). As well, with the playoffs being played at a more physical pace, I think having a bigger player like McCarron will be more valuable than having a smaller player like Desharnais in the lineup. C

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