Media Review – Three Balanced Offensive Lines

How will Michel Therrien line up his shiny new forward group?

Background Info

Marc Bergevin had a busy summer, with several potential roster impacts for the forward group. On May 8th the Habs signed Artturi Lehkonen to a three-year deal, and his Frolunda coach does not expect to see him again, believing he will start the season in Montreal. Ten days later, on the 18th, Martin Reway was signed for three years. Then at the draft, on June 24th Lars Eller was traded for picks, which was quickly followed by the acquisition of Andrew Shaw for picks. Finally, on July 1st, Bergevin made the best deal of free agency when he acquired Alexander Radulov.

Media Hit

As training camp approaches, fans and pundits are considering how the new forward group will line up. Many constructions have been proposed. Last week on the TSN690 morning show, Conor McKenna asked Martin Lemay how he would construct the Habs lines based on the new additions. Lemay’s proposal included the following features:

  • The 4th line will take the tough defensive minutes, while the Habs ice three balanced offensive lines.
  • The three best offensive players – Galchenyuk, Pacioretty and Radulov – should be split up and placed on three different lines to bring offensive balance. He referenced the line combos iced by the Pittsburgh Penguins to win the Stanley Cup, splitting Crosby, Malkin and Kessel over three lines.
  • While he denied the reality of first, second and third lines, in Lemay’s schematic, the centre group lines up as Galchenyuk-Plekanec-Desharnais. He acknowledged Galchenyuk is 1C, and clearly stated Desharnais should play the 3C role and enjoy the benefits of playing against the opposition’s third defensive pair. He suggested one of Pacioretty or Radulov should play on the 3rd line with Desharnais and reap the benefits of exploitation. He argued Pacioretty could fill the 3LW role since his minutes will be embellished on the penalty kill and power play.
  • The Habs should play consistent pairs and decide the third player in training camp.

Ultimately, Lemay proposed the following lines:
First line: TBD-Galchenyuk-Gallagher
Second line: TBD-Plekanec-Radulov
Third line: Pacioretty-Desharnais-TBD


Based strictly on Lemay’s line combos, how do we like…


Or, is it possible that Gallagher can fill one of those consistent offensive roles? Personally, I like a line-up that allows more offensive punch in that first line.


What do we think? Can three balanced lines be more effective than a top 6? How do you line up the new Habs?


The full interview is here should you wish to listen… 

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38 Responses to Media Review – Three Balanced Offensive Lines

  1. Oh, boy. I’m afraid that this is possible, to see Paccioretti with DD (again). It would be a bad thing, in my opinion. Max is our best scoring forward, he should have max minutes, while DD should have 3rd line minutes… But hey, there’s nothing more I wish than to see M. The-“rien” gone, as a result of making DD his pet, again.

    Cristian Moldovan September 1, 2016 at 11:24 am Reply
  2. I hear you Cristian. Honestly, my first reaction when I heard Lemay was something like… “How far will some people go to keep Patch and DD together?”

    But if you embrace Lemay’s three pairs logic, the best guy to pair with DD is probably Pacioretty. And, we have to acknowledge that Max himself once said DD is the best centre he’s ever played with. Of course, he also said Therrien is the best coach he’s ever had. I’m waiting for his ad for McDonald’s poutine.

    The only way I could like it is if they are truly played as a third line, while maximizing Max’s minutes, no pun intended, through the PK, PP and shortening the bench late in games.

    All of that said, I’m still hoping to see a line of Pacioretty-Galchenyuk-Radulov when the season starts.

    Lori Bennett September 1, 2016 at 12:25 pm Reply
  3. I suppose the only thing I can say about Lemay is “at least he tried.”

    Shaw and Radulov will be given every opportunity to shine. Bergevin needs some brownie points after a season of bad move after bad move. So both will be top six assignments.

    Next. I would keep L1 the same as last end season. Way too productive to move that around. L2 Shaw-Plekanec-Radulov. L3 is up for grabs. I really want to say Lehkonen-Desharnais-Andrighetto, but to be honest I’ve never seen Lehkonen play so that position is blank (Carr).

    Now factor in all the one way contracts on this team then someone would have to clear waivers (which they will, maybe not Carr).

    From what I remember of the Rat II (Shaw) he’s similar to Gallagher so maybe that will help Plekanec and Radulov produce.

    Radulov? Man oh man, not a fan of this signing. Would not surprise me in the end if the lines are all adjusted to fit him on line one. Scary!

    Well that was fun.

    Shane O

    Shane Oliver September 1, 2016 at 3:35 pm Reply
    • I’m not a fan of Lemay’s lines, or the concept, frankly. I would agree with you that it makes no sense to break up the line that worked at the end of last season. I also agree with you that Bergevin’s acquisitions will be given every opportunity to make him look good.

      We disagree about Radulov. In my view, this is a perfect scenario. One year is low risk. $5.75 means Therrien will have to play him. It will be interesting to see how the two of them get along.

      Lori Bennett September 2, 2016 at 8:44 am Reply
  4. How do you say we have 3 good lines when useless players like Plekanec and Desharnais are still with the team?
    You also dont mention if Plekanec and Radulov form a second line, who is the other winger?
    Shaw is an energy player, not a scorer. Though he can net a few.
    If you are including any rookies, that’s just it, They’re Rookies.
    Trust me, Montreal’s scoring woes will continue, probably for years too.

    zak September 1, 2016 at 4:07 pm Reply
    • Calling Plekanec useless is completely wrong.

      Michael Gomez September 1, 2016 at 9:15 pm Reply
    • Zak… no offense, my friend, but did you read the article?

      First of all, I don’t say we have 3 good lines… the idea was Lemay’s. The invitation was to tease out how it might work. In my opinion, the Habs are not strong enough in their forward group to go there. Secondly, the vacancies on each line are part of Lemay’s schematic… they are left open for training camp to decide.

      As for Plekanec… Plekanec is a fine 2C if he has genuine top 6 forwards with him. I imagine Radulov will start at 2RW, and ideally, whatever rookie wins the spot will play 2LW – I think Carr or Lehkonen could work. However, I’m not confident Therrien is capable of going there and I kind of expect a Shaw-Plekanec-Radulov line to start the season. One of my concerns about the Shaw deal was that Bergevin and Therrien see him as a top 6 forward.

      Desharnais… I’m with you on DD. For years I have been saying that the Habs lines are easier to work out if you don’t have to include DD. But Therrien loves him, and he will have a spot. For that reason, I believe the Habs start this year weaker at C than they were at the end of last… unless they have a surprise for us.

      Lori Bennett September 2, 2016 at 8:55 am Reply
  5. first line will be Pacioretty-Galchenyuk-Gallagher
    2nd line will be Carr-Plekanec-Radulov
    3rd line Shaw-Plekanec-Mitchell
    4th Lehknonen-Desharnais-Andrighetto/Byron

    actually DD should be traded as he has no real value..he is only playing
    because he is one of Therriens boys and will probably get more TOI then he deserves
    He does not bring enough to the plate and the young guns should replace him

    Philip Turnbull September 1, 2016 at 7:22 pm Reply
    • I guess you’re one of the Plecky’s fans! (me too, but still, I don’t see him playing that much, and 2nd C, AND 3rd C 😉
      Joke apart, will see. I hope Lehkonen will be the 2nd line left winger!

      Cristian Moldovan September 1, 2016 at 11:37 pm Reply
      • just an honest mistake..did not notice till i hit save and was too late then

        Philip Turnbull September 2, 2016 at 6:03 am Reply
    • You really believe in Plekanec!

      Let’s be honest. Therrien’s line combos last as long as ice cream in the sun. I have a couple of hopes… I hope Lehkonen is given a fair look. I hope we see Galchenyuk and Radulov at some point. I hope Carr is the real deal. And I hope Desharnais is playing in Switzerland by November.

      Lori Bennett September 2, 2016 at 9:01 am Reply
      • unfortunately with Therriens old fashion style we are doomed…
        as far as DD being in Switzerland by November,ain’t going to happen as he is one of Therriens boys and will once again get more TOI then he deserves and won’t be on the 4th line..actually 5th like he deserves..alot of the young players will not get a fair shake as they do not play therriens grinder style…that style is passe and it not the way of the future but he can not adjust to his players strengths…that is why we will keep losing young talented long as Therrien is the coach we will never win nothing…Bergevin is letting his vacation buddy fool him into thinking he is an NHL coach..just ask Pittsburgh..they booted him out when he could not coach there and also when he demeaned players and pulled a PK on several players there…he has to go

        Philip Turnbull September 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm Reply
  6. where are MacCarron and Hudon ? Guys

    Guy Gagne September 2, 2016 at 9:23 am Reply
    • Hudon deserves a fair shot at making the team, will he get one? He hasn’t been given a real chance yet regardless of deserving so. He has nothing left to prove at the AHL level.. we will see. As for McCarron, it wouldn’t hurt him to get more AHL time with some NHL call ups again this year.

      Michael Gomez September 2, 2016 at 10:32 am Reply
      • The relationship between the Habs and Hudon is a complete mystery.

        Lori Bennett September 2, 2016 at 12:25 pm Reply
    • There are a ton of young guys that I believe deserve a genuine look but won’t likely get one because of vet clog. I expect both to spend another year in the AHL.

      But yesterday someone reminded me of the line we saw in the shortened lockout season. Prust-Galchenyuk-Gallagher was a decent line. I like the concept. Play a strong veteran with two rookies on the third line.

      Maybe something like Carr-Mac-Mitchell/Shaw

      But of course, we’ll never see it because DD will be in that 3C role, and the thought of DD with two rookies gives me a cramp in my eyeball.

      Lori Bennett September 2, 2016 at 12:23 pm Reply
  7. lINE 1 = Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, Radulov
    Line 2 = Carr or Andrighetto, Plekanec, Gallagher
    Line 3 = Danault, Desharnais, Shaw
    Line 4 = Byron, Mitchell, Flynn
    13th Forward = Andrighetto (if Carr starts season in Newfoundland; or Mattieu)
    1st Defence Pair = Markov (to start the year) & Weber
    2nd Defence Pair = Emelin & Petry
    3rd Defence Pair = Beaulieu & Redmond
    4th Defence Pair = Barberio & Pateryn
    2 Goaltenders = Price & Montoya (with Condon next in line)
    Patches and Galchenyuk did well in 2nd half of last season.
    Gallagher plays well with Pleky.
    Danault & Shaw = Chicago connection, & are big players supporting small D.D.
    Mitchell & Flynn = Buffalo mates, having speedy Byron on left wing.

    Harry D. Corey September 3, 2016 at 5:04 pm Reply
    • I would place Gallagher on Line 1 and Radulov on Line 2
      Desharnais should be on line Switzerland or somewhere else but since he is one of Therriens boys he will get more TOI than he deserves and a higher line than he should be..he got a longer and more money contract that someone with his skill set should but that also falls under being MT boy.
      Markov should not start with Weber because who will get the puck out of the Canadiens end zone..PK covered all Markov mistakes and Markov is too slow..Weber has lost a step and neither is a puck carrier.Barberio is almost the only option for Weber as we do not have a Josi or PK to carry the neither of these 2 would fit in Therriens type of defenseman..he only wants non-offensive Dmen.
      The bad thing is (God help us it does not) if Price gets hurt we still do not have a number one goalie to carry the slack…I do not blame anything from last year on Condon, as he was stuck in a situation he was not prepared for or qualified to handle what he was thrown into and MB did nothing to alleviate the problem.

      Philip Turnbull September 3, 2016 at 5:39 pm Reply
  8. I would not break up the one line we had working at the end of the season last year. It has two potential 40 goal scorers on it along with Gallagher who will pot 25-30 goals. That line remains untouched.

    DD should be trade ASAP, even if we only get say a third round pick for him, we need to rid outselves of that cap hit and also we need to take away Therriens chance to put him back with Pacioretty. Some say that DD and Patches play really well together but that was the first year that DD was signed by the habs. The problem with playing these two together is that DD will not shoot the puck, therefore other teams began to realize that and keyed on Patches so he was never open for a good pass. Secondly, Patches has to play first line minutes and DD is not capable of playing at that level. Shaw can play center as well as either wing. I think this line would be an energy line with Carr and the speedy getto. Finally we also have a pretty speedly fourth that can utilize there speed and defensive abilities to cause the opposition all kinds of problem. That is how I see it anyway.

    B Seney September 3, 2016 at 7:48 pm Reply
    • I can live with those lines and I agree DD has to go because as long as he is there Therrien will play him away more then he deserves and take valuable time away from more deserving players thus limiting their stats….

      Philip Turnbull September 4, 2016 at 7:07 pm Reply
    • I wouldn’t hate the idea to see DD gone (just because we have cheaper options). Although, I believe that we should give something to be tempting… I just don’t see who would take him with his 3,5 mil. $…
      But… if he stays, he should be used on the third line and that’s it. Let’s pray for this!
      Will be interesting to see where (what lines) Byron, Shaw, Ghetto, Danault, Matteau, Carr, etc. will end up!
      Decisions, decisions…

      Cristian Moldovan September 5, 2016 at 5:06 pm Reply
      • well unfortunately with the deal they gave DD he is going nowhere as no one will take him with that contract as he is totally overpaid…he is at most a 4th line centre but since the 4th line is usually a checking line he has to be on the 3rd line…or maybe as the year goes on and the young ones get better he may be the highest paid in the press box..the problem is MB was stupid to sign too many 1 way contracts and this may cost us some of our future players. they may not resign when their contracts run out as they deserve a shot at the NHL now but are buried in the AHL

        Philip Turnbull September 5, 2016 at 6:44 pm Reply
  9. On second thought, I like my lines 1-3, but a Fourth line should have a couple of Bigger players that like to check, kill penalties and score once in awhile..McCarron, Mitchell and Scherbak would be a great 4th line , especially if the two younger guys are ready.

    Philip Turnbull September 4, 2016 at 10:25 pm Reply
    • there are some great combinations that can be done but I have no doubt Therrien will screw this up big time…He does not know how to coach and gives his favourites more toi then they deserve..and if He thought PK was hard to control…well he now has Radulov….they say he is changed since he went to the KHL yet he took a swing at his coach over there with his if that is got me…

      Philip Turnbull September 4, 2016 at 10:36 pm Reply
    • I’m Not convinced that Sherbak would be a good choice for the fourth line. I prefer AHL’s first or second line for his development…

      Cristian Moldovan September 5, 2016 at 6:33 am Reply
      • Would be a mistake to play the kid 10 or less minutes on 4th line. Benefits more from top minutes in AHL this year if he isn’t going to at least get 3rd line in NHL.

        Michael Gomez September 5, 2016 at 10:18 am Reply
        • but remember alot will be decided with the overabundant 1 way contracts the MG handed out…it will affect who will and can be called up…limits flexibility and choices…may even end up costing us some young talent as being under utilized in thew AHL,they may not re up with Montreal and test waters elsewhere

          Philip Turnbull September 5, 2016 at 6:54 pm Reply
          • One-way contracts can still be sent down, there seems to be some sort of confusion on this with people. The difference is just salary that they are being paid when they are in AHL.

            Michael Gomez September 6, 2016 at 9:17 am
          • one way means they can be claimed off waivers so we could lose a lot like that and get nothing in return

            Philip Turnbull September 6, 2016 at 10:11 am
          • Actually, you’re incorrect and should brush up on the meaning of one-way. Daniel Carr signed a one-way contract this summer, however, he is waiver exempt this season. Waiver eligibility deals with age, seasons or NHL games played.

            If you have a two-way contract, what you are paid in the NHL differs from what you are paid in the AHL.


            Michael Gomez September 6, 2016 at 1:38 pm
          • ok..i stand corrected..i did not delve into it enough but i still think so many of these contracts is not healthy.

            Philip Turnbull September 6, 2016 at 2:16 pm
          • No worries! I wouldn’t be surprised if Bergevin flips someone for a draft pick or something. Perhaps a guy like Matteau who really doesn’t fit.

            Michael Gomez September 6, 2016 at 4:03 pm
  10. Cristian M, I agree the Habs stink, and what are you wearing right now.??

    Philip turnbull September 5, 2016 at 6:52 pm Reply
  11. Must be just a weird day….
    A former colleague told me to F myself (because I posted a photo protesting the Nationalism).
    Now this…
    To be clear : I didn’t say the Habs stink! (Contrary, I think they are better then they were for years. But, I also believe that Michel Therrien is a stubborn stupid human being, I believe he will be out coached again and again… I wish he would go. That’s it…)
    I don’t know what you meant by “wearring”. My CH T-shirts are with Richard, Cammalleri and… No number. 😉

    Cristian Moldovan September 5, 2016 at 9:44 pm Reply
    • To be honest, until Therrien is gone, the team still goes as far as Price takes them.

      Michael Gomez September 6, 2016 at 9:18 am Reply
      • I agree 100% Price is the key and Therrien needs to go…I do not care what players they bring in,there will be no success as long as they follow Therriens is outdated,antiquated and not in tune with todays NHL….he is a loser and isolator of players and unless you are one of his do not and will not get a fair shot..Galenchuk only got a chance when Therriens boy DD got hurt…and I feel sorry for those in the AHL who deserve to be in the NHL…with the aweful amount of 1 way contracts MB signed it will hurt their progress and they may play out their current contracts and we could lose alot of really good players…Until MT and MB are gone we are doomed…

        Philip Turnbull September 6, 2016 at 10:09 am Reply
  12. There should be an article forth coming her on todays big story. Hab’s goalie Carey Price blames coach Michel Therrin for the PK Subban trade.

    Jenn September 6, 2016 at 2:27 pm Reply
  13. I really like the idea of three or four lines that can score while playing as a five man unit with D (D activated when have chance in offensive zone, Forward support D in Defencsive zone,) plus good puck possession, hard forecheck and quick transition game.

    my first choice would be to trade for Yakupov from Edmonton sending Emelin over to bolster the Edmonton D since Chucky and Yak had great chemistry in Junior(and free up some cap space)
    without Yakapov
    i think having four lines that can score is the way to go in todays NHL. Get away from 2 scoring lines, a checking 3rd line and a fourth line with all lines playing well on defense.

    nick September 15, 2016 at 7:34 pm Reply

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