The Habs took the 2nd pre season match with Leafs on Saturday night 3-2. The Canadiens looked impressive all around, Jose Theodore was sharp and several rookies are starting to make their presence felt. Cut time is approaching soon, who has earned their spot? Nothing is for sure but a couple kids might have earned their chance to play.
If we take a look at the Habs offense, the uncertainties seem to lie with Pierre Dagenais and Niklas Sundstrom. Sundstrom is limited in his role and might be occupying a spot on the bench that someone else could fill. Dagenais is fairly one dimensional and his skating ability hurts his game.
The rookie forwards I expect to see start the season are Marcel Hossa, Tomas Plekanec and perhaps Chris Higgins in and out depending on who’s perfoming. This is Hossa’s last chance to make the team, and he has shown much improvement since his first camp with the Canadiens. Considering he will be waived if returned to Hamilton, he is a lock to play. The tough guy role will go to Vandermeer. This means that Guillaume Latendresse will not make the team as an 18 year old, which despite the French media’s desrire is the smart decision to make.
The top line is untouchable, Bulis and Ryder are developing and can expect to see a lot of ice as well. Who else can fit in to the mix? There is a limited space and what seems to be a surplus of options, the starting roster might look something like this:
Kovalev – Koivu – Zednik
Ryder – Ribeiro – Hossa
Bulis – Bonk – Sundstrom
Vandermeer – Begin – Dagenais
** Plekanec, Higgins
On defence, Komisarek or Streit and to a lesser degree Hainsey have a shot at a regular spot. Something tells me Komisarek will get the chance and the Habs defense may look something like:
Souray – Dandenault
Markov – Rivet
Bouillon – Komisarek
** Streit, Hainsey
Claude Julien has some tough decisions to make. On the brighter note, the Canadiens are looking deeper than they have been in a long time.
What are your predictions for the starting roster?