by Chris G, Digital Radio Producer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

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LAVAL, QC. — It was an emotional week for the Montreal Canadiens organization and fans as the team inked P.K. Subban to a long term contract extension. Now, Marc Bergevin and his team continue to prepare for training camp that will begin in September. Until then, I have the pleasure to answer questions received in our mailbag.

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Do you have a question or a topic you would like us to discuss? Okay, here’s what you can do.

Let us know:

  1. who you are
  2. where you’re from
  3. if you wish, send us a photo of you in your favourite Habs gear
  4. who’s your favorite player, present or past
  5. and of course, your question

You can contact us via Twitter, our Facebook page or email at info (at) allhabs (dot) net

We’ll feature you, and your question, in the All Habs Mailbag!

Here’s what you wanted to know :

Q. How long until either David Desharnais or Tomas Plekanec is dealt ? – Roy, Bangkok

David Desharnais has two things that work in his favor when it comes to him remaining with the team: contract and Max Pacioretty. Desharnais has three years remaining earning an annual salary of $3.5 million. It is not an easy contract to trade as teams won’t be knocking on Bergevin’s door to acquire a 5-foot-7 centre who goes through long stretches of low point production and hasn’t had any success in the playoffs. Canadiens paying a portion of Desharnais’ salary would make it easier to conclude a trade, but with the Canadiens having only $2.6 million remaining on the salary cap, I don’t think that it’s a possibility. Max Pacioretty has always had chemistry with Desharnais playing at centre. They will play together in the upcoming season and they really need to struggle before they are separated.

Tomas Plekanec is the best player of the team on both sides of the ice. He excels in the defensive assignments that his coach assigns to him. He has two years remaining on his annual $5 million contract. Even though he is mostly known for his shutdown role, he collected 43 points while playing with different wingers almost on a daily basis.

For the reasons I mentioned above, I think that Plekanec is more attractive to other teams compared to Desharnais. For the record, I also believe that Plekanec will not finish his contract in a Canadiens uniform. They will use him part of a package to acquire a top six winger, and that will allow Alex Galchenuyk (finally!) the opportunity to play at centre. Bergevin signed Lars Eller to a contract extension in preparation for him to eventually play Plekanec’s role. The Plekanec trade will take place during the next offseason, unless the Canadiens are out of a playoff picture at the trade deadline. If that is the case, he will be traded by the deadline.

Thanks for the question Roy. Great to see that the Habs have support in Bangkok!

Q. Now that he has signed a long term contract, will P.K. Subban be the Canadiens next captain? –  Patrick, Hawkesbury

Patrick, it is hard to justify not giving the ‘C’ to Subban as the organization made a long term commitment to him. The other potential candidates for that role are Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Markov.  My personal choice is Plekanec, but considering that I think he will be traded within one year (see previous question), I do not see the organization naming him captain for one year. Markov has a reputation of not being interested in talking to the media on a daily basis. If that is accurate, he is not a fit as captain in this market.

An alternative solution would be not to name a captain for the 2014-15 season and have several players, including Subban, wear the A on their jerseys. This would allow for Subban to show Michel Therrien and his teammates that he is ready to be the team’s next captain.

Thank you for reading!

Who do you think will be the team’s next captain? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Q. Should the Canadiens resign Francis Bouillon? – Rob, Montreal

I wish that this wasn’t a topic of conversation. There is no room left for Francis Bouillon on the Canadiens roster.  He is a character player and a good teammate but the team has depth on defense.

Here is how I project the defensive pairings to begin the 2014-15 season

Markov – Subban

Emelin – Gilbert

Beaulieu/Tinordi – Weaver

In case of injury, Greg Pateryn is available to come support and Mike Weaver is the veteran that will be able to mentor Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu.

Thanks for the question Rob!

Q. How do you think the Habs European prospects De La Rose, Nygren, and Lehkonen will pan out to be? – Jordan, Newfoundland

Thanks for the question Jordan. I haven’t had the opportunity to watch these players to provide a fair analysis. I asked Rick Stephens, Editor-in-Chief, to provide his analysis.

Good question, Jordan! Let’s start with Artturi Lehkonen. He is an under-sized, speedy winger who is agile over his skates but too-easily knocked off the puck. Surprisingly though, he doesn’t shy away from physical play but needs to add some strength and size to win more battles. Lehkonen has good hands and loves to shoot the puck. The question marks on him revolve around strength and whether he can be as successful offensively on the small ice as he is in a bigger rink.
I like the potential of Jacob De La Rose. He has good size and knows how to use it. He’s a very smart prospect who plays very well with and without the puck in all three zones.  When I talked to him last, he said that his goal was to work on his shot and his offense. I’ll be seeing De La Rose again this week in Lake Placid, so look for updates. Given the open top-6 position in the Canadiens lineup, expect De La Rose to be given a long look in training camp.
Magnus Nygren is a solid 6’1″, 192 lb. defenseman who is smart, makes a good first pass and has improved his positional play. He is known for his shot from the point and I can attest to the fact that it is a bomb. Nygren left the Hamilton Bulldogs last season after being dissatisfied with the city and how he was being deployed. Nygren has plans to work out with his Färjestads BK club in Sweden this month and has been invited to the Canadiens fall training camp.  The Habs brass don’t seem terribly enamored with him and I expect the feeling is mutual.  There has been open speculation that he will be traded.

Thanks for your insight Rick! Always fun to answer your questions. Agree or disagree with anything you read? Leave your comments on the bottom of the page.

Follow me on Twitter @chrisg1980 and follow @Habs360 for information on the podcast.

  • Gino Milakyavachulmuk

    Good read as always Chris!

    • Thanks for the feedback Gino!

      I appreciate it !