2014-15 Question Marks: Uncertainty Addressed

Photo Courtesy NHL Wallpapers

Photo Courtesy NHL Wallpapers

The usual expectation in the term of a general manager in the National Hockey League is that the first true glimpse of their vision is shown in year three of their tenure. For Marc Bergevin, this is that year and based on the moves made, a pivotal year it is going to be. The now former captain has departed for Buffalo along with fellow locker room leader Josh Gorges and have taken their under 6’0″ tall statures with them as well as their heart, desire and compete level.

 

Bergevin stated upon coming into his new position that he aspired to bring change in the form of getting younger, a bit bigger and more difficult to play against. The only players on this team now 5’11” and under are Mike Weaver, Brendan Gallagher and David Desharnais: a popular request defenceman, the biggest small player in the league and one of the team’s top point contributors. Are they difficult to play against? Any team that makes it to the final four in search of a Stanley Cup usually is. Younger is what leaves the door open to some major question marks but even greater hopes.

 

Now with fewer players over the age of 30, it shows not only that the younger players have taken steps forwards but that they will be required to continue to do so. There are many leaders in a locker room that is getting progressively more youthful and energetic. This team is a team that belongs to the likes of P.K. Subban, Carey Price, Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and others but what kind of locker room are they inheriting? Who is going to inhabit the room and in what role? To what capacity? A few pressing questions have been selected and now they will be answered.

 

Will Jiri Sekac make the team?

 

Photo courtesy of hockey30.com

Photo courtesy of hockey30.com

Starting out with maybe the toughest answer to this point as few have seen him or what he can do, it seems as though this is the guy that is going to take that spot vacated by Brian Gionta. The beauty with this team is that it seems as though anyone can play on any line to a justifiable standpoint. Parenteau, Gallagher and Weise look to be expected to take the 1st, 2nd and 4th line spots in large regard but in the event that Sekac makes this team’s main roster, he will have an opportunity to not only be a breakout third liner but also a staple winger for Tomas Plekanec, the man that played an instrumental part in recruiting Sekac. Will Plekanec on the second line bring Sekac up automatically to such a standpoint? Will Plekanec be brought down to the third line to play with him and leave Galchenyuk or Eller to take the spot he would vacate? The substitutions and possibilities are all ample.

 

The bottom line is that Sekac is an affordable player at less than a million dollars per year and is a much more affordable option than keeping Gionta would have been with a higher potential ceiling than the former player as well. No one knows if he will take the league by storm this season just yet but in the event that he does, it is a massive boost of epic proportions and yet another great contract under Bergevin. His upside and contributions are going to be far higher than any downside he could potentially bring. That much is for sure and is the best answer available.

 

Can Max Pacioretty score 40+ goals?

 

Considering how long it took him to get going last season and he finished with 39 as a result, yes. He simply has to avoid another slow start and if Desharnais can do the same, the question next season will be if Max Pacioretty can score 50+ goals.

 

…If he doesn’t already do that this season.

 

Will The Russian Wrecking Ball go back to his wrecking ways?

 

Glimpses of such a player were seen again this past season but just that: glimpses. The kind of destruction he brought to the table this past season was the total amount he used to bring in about a week’s worth of games. Now that he is on his comfortable side, it is expected that he will not only hit more frequently and harder again but that he will continue to expand his game in various dimensions. A more productive Emelin on the left side will hopefully make up for anything missing from his usual destructive ways should he not reach his old watermark with devastating hits.

 

How will Tom Gilbert play on a new team?

 

Photo courtesy of habsaddict.com

Photo courtesy of habsaddict.com

Gilbert has been reasonably good on bad teams for a considerable length of time now. His story, while carrying different upsides, was similar to that of Mike Weaver in large regard and when he came from Florida, he managed to capture plenty of hearts. Gilbert has the potential to do the same but carries the unfortunate burden of filling a top four void left by Josh Gorges involuntary departure. So what does Gilbert bring to the table to do such a thing? He’s more offensively productive with a more complete two-way game, he’s bigger and he brings at least as much mobility and a bit more physicality.

 

He may or may not be quite as defensively reliable as Gorges was but he should help to continue the offensive attack as he is a quick passer that likes to find the fastest and safest option available. While being guilty of the occasional turnover on lesser teams, Gilbert should now have the structure around him to lessen such mistakes and maximize point total contribution.

 

Does Plekanec have more years of good hockey left in the tank?

 

At this point and with hopefully some regular wingers as opposed to a revolving door of linemates, he should absolutely have time and energy left. Plekanec is a prime aged, perennial two-way playmaker with enough energy and experience to keep up with the rest of this team and to help lead the young charge. A definite leader, Plekanec’s value is not about to disintegrate but the pressure will be on to maintain or further progress his level of play on a team that has made it clear that now, just like the dynasty days, will spare no remorse for someone that does not prove themselves to be of truly exceptional status and make themselves a pivotal part of this team en route to a 25th Stanley Cup.

 

Will Prust stay healthy?

 

His shoulder has proven to be a problem in particular instances and has shelved him a handful of times now. Prust is expected to continue to provide a productive level of sandpaper as one of the league’s elite fourth line players alongside faceoff specialist Manny Malhotra and a playoff hero that seems to be a fan-player liaison in Dale Weise. This has the makings of a legitimately special depth line with plenty of fight and production in them that should hold up for the extent of the season but it relies on everyone remaining healthy and playing their share of games, Prust and his shoulder included.

 

Will Rene Bourque carry his playoff momentum over to this season?

 

It is not the first time he has been a guy to watch in the playoffs but he hit an unprecedented level for himself. He is expected to obviously be better than last season but to think that he is going to be that same level of player this season is absurd. What has eliminated much cause for concern, though, is that not only does this squad look to be more oriented to one that he can best play with but also that what he does in the regular season is not what he has remained with this team for. Without that playoff run, he all but certainly would have been gone at draft day or would have been put into the deal with the Avalanche in place of or addition to Briere. What Rene Bourque does in the playoffs is what matters. Notice it was him that stayed on board and not Thomas Vanek after said run. Had their roles been reversed, so too would their results in the off season.

 

After all, this dynasty and its story is predicated on 24 Stanley Cups; not 100 winning seasons.

 

Will Travis Moen finish the year in Montreal?

 

Moen can still be a meaningful role player but for the contract he has and with his best friends in Buffalo, it is likely that he could find himself there as well in the event that he finds himself without a place on this team. He is far from being in place to play all 82 games this season, lighting it up all along the way but in the event that he finds himself in Buffalo by the end of this season, refrain from surprise. Gionta and Gorges would unquestionably make the push to land him.

 

And now finally…

 

Will P.K. Subban be a $9,000,000 player?

 

No.

 

He will be even better.

 

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6 Responses to 2014-15 Question Marks: Uncertainty Addressed

  1. Isn’t Georges 6’1?

    Nathan September 8, 2014 at 12:21 pm Reply
  2. Habs will suck this year, Pleks and Desharnais as top 2 centers blows, Beaulieu and Tinordi will be at best poor, and Galchenyuk and the other overrated Timmins draft picks recently will blow as well.. Top 6 sucks, got shutout in New York in our elimination game..

    Habfab September 8, 2014 at 9:57 pm Reply
    • Are you even a fan of the Canadiens? You sound like someone who is completely uneducated about the Habs and hockey in general. Plekanec is one of the best two-way players in the entire league. Beaulieu and Tinordi each have top 4 potential and Galchenyuk? GALCHENYUK? Has potential to be a top centre in the NHL. The fact that you constantly shit on Timmins is embarrassing. What do you even have against him? Whether we go back and see your dumb comments from awhile ago where you were embarrassed or look at these ones now, you have no idea what you are talking about. You think you could do a better job than Timmins? Please. You’re the biggest joke to ever comment on the Habs at this point.

      Cam Hunter September 10, 2014 at 12:48 pm Reply
  3. I need to know if Timmins is doing such a great job in his 12 years here, why does Montreal have to keep going outside the organization for Third and Fourth line players?? Cant he find them in the draft for gosh sakes?? Prust, Moen Weisse Malholtra, Bourque, that loser goon Parros..My gosh, why all th accolades to this scouting director.

    Nathan September 8, 2014 at 10:04 pm Reply
    • Really you came back for more after Mitch Brown destroyed you about Timmins awhile ago?

      Michael Gomez September 10, 2014 at 12:36 pm Reply
    • I don’t think you understand the draft at all. You don’t purposely say, hey we have a few holes on our fourth line, lets draft guys who would fit that particular role. You are hoping that those you draft become more than that. You don’t purposely set out to draft 4th liners. Unbelievable.

      Michael Gomez September 10, 2014 at 12:45 pm Reply

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