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

Lars Eller (Photo by Getty Images)
Lars Eller (Photo by Getty Images)

LAVAL, QC– It is mid-July, but as we all know that there is no off-season in the NHL. Over the last couple of days, Montreal Canadiens GM,  Marc Bergevin, announced that Ryan Johnston, Michael Bournival, and Jarred Tinordi have all signed new contracts.

This week, I have the pleasure of answering questions received in our mailbag.

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allhabsmailbag

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Since joining the team, Marc Bergevin has always stocked up his roster with defencemen. When asked about it, the Canadiens GM says that you can never have enough defencemen. One thing in particular about this situation is that it’s the first time that the GM doesn’t have any defencemen that he can send to the American Hockey League (AHL) without clearing waivers heading into the training camp.

Here is how the defensive pairings would look if I were coaching the Canadiens with the current roster:

Beaulieu Subban
Markov Petry
Emelin Pateryn

extra: Gilbert, Tinordi, Barberio

Tom Gilbert and Jarred Tinordi would be the reserves with the team. Mark Barberio will begin the season with the St. John’s IceCaps in the AHL after clearing waivers. That being said, I don’t expect Barbeiro to remain in the AHL all season long.

In order for the Canadiens to solve their offensive needs, they will need to give up some assets with values. I expect Bergevin to move at least one of Alexei Emelin, Tom Gilbert, and Jarred Tinordi sometime during the season. Greg Pateryn was rewarded with a 2 year contract extension on July 1st and showed that he could be a tough stay-at-home defenceman. His skills may tempt the Canadiens to trade Alexei Emelin. Tom Gilbert was acquired last year hoping he helps the powerplay and to become a top-4 defenceman on the team. With Jeff Petry signing a 6 year contract with the Habs, Gilbert can be an asset that the Canadiens can offer to other teams.  Jarred Tinordi will be a regular NHL defenceman one day, but based on what we saw last season, it seems to me that Tinordi and the Canadiens have a rocky relationship, and that they might willing to trade him to another team. Thanks for the question J.D.!

The rights to Martin Reway belong to the Montreal Canadiens, and has said that he will honor the final season of his contract with Sparta before reevaluating if he will return to North America to continue his hockey career. The Canadiens have his rights until June 1st 2017. Reway didn’t attend the Canadiens development camp earlier this month, because according to his agent, Reway didn’t want to attend. Reway tweeted a pic from his vacation in Turkey during the development camp. I don’t expect anything changes in his status until next year. Thanks for your submission and a great twitter name!

As former WWE entertainer Ted Dibiase used to say “Everybody’s got a price”. The job of a GM is to always improve the team that he’s managing. I think that a GM should always listen to trade offers that he receives. You never know if you will get an offer that you can’t refuse. The players that I would have trouble trading are: Carey PriceP.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty, and Sara Diamond.

If Wayne Gretzky got traded, anyone can.

Who are your untouchables? Leave them in the comments section.

Great question Matt! Lars Eller has for the most part been the Canadiens number three center since he was acquired from the Blues. Habs fans feelings on the Dane are split. Half of the fans love him and the other half hate him. I think that Lars Eller has been setup to fail. The biggest knock from his detractors is his lack of offensive production. Throughout the 2014-15 season, Eller didn’t have stable linemates and had very limited time on the powerplay.

With the current roster, I would keep Eller as the number three center behind Alex Galchenyuk and Tomas Plekanec. I expect Jacob De La Rose and Devante Smith-Pelly to be his linemates to start the season.

As we know, the Canadiens powerplay struggled last season. Since it looks like there will be no change in the coaching staff and there hasn’t been any players acquired so far to address the offence, I agree with Corey Desormeaux’s recent conclusion that Eller should be used on the powerplay instead of David Desharnais. I can’t guarantee that this move will solve their powerplay issues, but we won’t know unless he is given the chance to do so. Can it be any worse than it was last season?

What role do you think Eller will have next season?

 

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.