Should he stay or should he go?
Anyone who saw the past two Habs games has to agree he played very well and looks to be ready for the NHL. He was one of the best players on the ice last night. Huet, Lapierre, Streit and Koivu pretty much carried the team and won a game they probably should have lost.
Lapierre playing well presents an interesting dilemma. If he stays in the lineup then who sits? And where do they all fit?
Guy Carbonneau was trying different line combinations late in the 3rd again. We briefly saw Kovalev join Koivu and Ryder again, is this the future #1 line? Removing Latendresse from the first line might be a mistake since it’s the only position he’s flourished in.
Chris Higgins was arguably the Habs best player before going down with a lengthy injury. He is back on Saturday against the Penguins. Where will he play?
Perhaps Carbonneau will use Higgins on the second line. Higgins can play wing or center and try to light a fire under Sergei Samsonov. Assuming Samsonov still warrants 2nd line ice time. Kovalev could also use a change of scenery.
If Begin is healthy, Higgins is healthy and Lapierre is playing well. That leaves out Aaron Downey and potentially Garth Murray.
Unfortunate since they are great locker room guys and extremely hard working.
The positive thing is the Habs have some depth they have not had in many years. Having too many options is better than no options and having every player working hard to crack the line up can only be a good thing.
Projected future roster:
Kovalev – Koivu – Latendresse
Higgins – Plekanec – Ryder
Perezhogin – Bonk – Johnson
Samsonov – Lapierre/Begin – Murray
With Higgins back and Lapierre knocking on the door, Samsonov’s floating time is running out.