All Habs Hockey Magazine is proud to provide a platform for young guest writers to express their views on important issues. Today, we present a fan piece on the roster decisions facing Canadiens management with the start of the 2015-16 season just around the corner. Your comments are welcome.
by Dean Matheos, Guest Contributor, All Habs Hockey Magazine
PIERREFONDS, QC. — We all have a good idea about the regulars for the Canadiens but the big question is what about the players who are still fighting for a position on the team? In this guest article, I will be look at players on the fringe and their chances of making the roster to the start of the season.
If you agree or disagree, I would like to hear from you. Please leave your comments below.
As we know Fleischmann is at camp on a professional try-out contract and awaits a decision. Now the question is does he deserve a contract? I say yes because he had a solid training camp and he’s looked good playing on a line with David Desharnais and Dale Weise. The only reason I see fit for Fleischmann not to make the team is to open up space for a younger player. Jacob de la Rose played the left side on the third line during the Red – White game but since then the spot has belonged to Fleischmann. That leaves me to believe that a roster slot is his.
Jacob De La Rose
De La Rose had a good stint with the team last year. With a crowded lineup and the fact that De La Rose does not need waivers to get sent down means that it is very likely that he starts in the minors. Be aware that if a permanent roster spot opens up, look for De La Rose to be a first callup. He has proven that he can play in the NHL and has the trust of the coach.
Since coming over from Anaheim, Smith-Pelly has not shown much. He is someone that can be physical hit but is only good enough to be the 13th forward. There is not much available for Smith-Pelly as Brian Flynn has apparently taken the last spot on the fourth line. Look for Smith-Pelly, Flynn and Kassian to rotate fourth line roles.
My inital opinion on Brian Flynn was that he should start the season in the minors. He hasn’t shown much since he joined the team. Flynn may get a chance to show what he can bring to the fourth line with Torrey Mitchell and Zack Kassian. Flynn has received a few shifts with the top-6 early in the pre-season so the Habs may be willing to experiment to see how he can contribute.
Originally I did not like the Kassian – Brandon Prust trade but as training camp progressed, I changed my mind. I am interested in seeing what Kassian can do. He is not doing badly right now and there appears to be an upside to his game once he becomes more comfortable in his role. Kassian is another player who will be spot started in the top-9 to see where is fits.
Hudon has been one of the better young players at camp and looks to be a player that the Habs could use in 2016-17. I would love for him to make the team but it seems thate there is no room for rookies. I would like to see him as a call-up but he is behind Sven Andrighetto and Jacob De La Rose.
Andighetto has shown some flashes of a good play during the pre season but there has been no consistency. If the Habs need offence Andrighetto could receive a call-up. Like Hudon, he is auditioning for a spot on the team next year. Andrighetto is one of the Canadiens top prospects so he will not be rushed to play in the NHL. He still needs to develop a little more before the Habs bring him in for a full year.
Bournival had a good season with the Habs a couple of seasons ago but has declined before being sent to the Bulldogs after the trade deadline last year. Bournival has been injured during training camp and has yet to prove that he can make a comeback with Montreal.
Emelin will likely s tart the season with the Habs but will he finish with them as well? I expect a trade to come soon for Emelin possibly around the trade deadline. The Habs would love to add a valuable asset in return. This move could open up a place for Nathan Beaulieu to take on a bigger role playing in the top-4.
The chances are high that the Canadiens will open the season with eight defensemen. The role of the eighth defensemen most likely belongs to Greg Pateryn. A solid defenseman with a pysical edge to his game, Pateryn was a call-up last season who stuck. He also requires waivers to go to the AHL so that improves his chances on making the team. Pateryn could possibly steal the sixth spot away from Tom Gilbert.
Jarred Tinordi was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft with the 22nd pick. In my opinion, he has failed to live up to expectations. Although a guaranteed spot with the team for him is unlikely, it is clear that the Canadiens management do not want to put him on waivers. Given his skillset, there is no question that he will be claimed. I personally think that Tinordi will be traded.
Originally, Mark Barberio seemed to be a longshot to make the team. He has looked pretty good in camp and could be the Habs seventh defenseman going in to the season. He was a decent player in Tampa and looks to rebound in Montreal. Barberio could legitimately get into a top-6 role if the Canadiens decide to trade Alexei Emelin.
Mike Condon has shown that he is ready to take next step in his development. But that next step might have to wait until next year. This year is the last year of Dustin Tokarski’s contract and he requires waivers to be sent to St. John’s. So for now, Condon for now may occupy the third-string goaltender role. Zach Fucale will be looking to rebound from a rough season last year and to establish himself in his first professional role. He may even spend some time in Brampton to get starts. But it seems that the battle for next year’s back-up goaltender has already begun and by the looks of it, Condon has the advantage.
My take on the Canadiens opening night roster
Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Eller – Galchenyuk – Semin
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Weise
Flynn – Mitchell – Kassian
Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Beaulieu – Gilbert
Barberio – Pateryn