The Blue Line Rotisserie

Hello, I’m William and I’ll be one of your new writers this evening.


So the playoffs are done and gone. I won’t be talking about that (mostly because it still hurts a bit). I won’t be talking about the scoring inability of the Habs stars come post-season. I won’t even be talking about the injury bug that plagued Les Glorieux. I will, however, be writing about the nicest problem Montreal has this coming offseason; the plethora of capable defencemen in the system. Andrei Markov, PK Subban, and Josh Gorges all have their definite slots, but what about the rest of the young core?

Tomas Kaberle

An obvious choice for this aging defenceman is to buy him out using Les Canadiens’ second compliance buyout. His defensive lapses and inability to play effective five-on five hockey will leave him without a job come this summer. However, kudos to Tomas for showing up and working hard in practice, and trying to be a good teammate, but he has simply just played his way off the roster. Better luck next time.

Yannick Weber

Now. I like Yannick Weber. I like Weber a lot. I think on any other team he’d easily be a top 6 player with regular powerplay time. Unfortunately, there’s just no space for him here in Montreal. His occassional defensive lapses (it comes with playing on a lower pair against a better opposition) and the simple depth of ready-to-play prospect that Montreal has will leave him in the free agency pool come July 5th.

Alexei Emelin and Raphael Diaz

This little Russian/Swiss dichotomy is really interesting. They’re both clearly roster players, but exactly how much time do you give to each and who do they slot in with? Honestly, before Alexei Emelin went down with an injury Le Bleu, Blanc et Rouge were playing great hockey. After that…well not so much. I think the way that the defensive coverage failed after Emelin went down shows that the team plays better hockey with him playing more minutes, but Diaz is a very capable top 4 d-man should another injury arise.

Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu

Now for the call-ups. Jarred Tinordi has shown himself reliable enough to have a regular top 6 spot. The team as a whole played better hockey when he wasn’t sitting in the press box and he plays with a desperation to win that every team needs. Nathan Beaulieu, despite being named the most improved player on the Dogs this season, will most likely see more time in the press box or in Hamilton than in The Show. He will continue to grow in practice and in the games he does see, but seeing as how Therrien seems to like to run with 8 D-men up, depth leaves him one of the odd men out. If Montreal’s power-play unit seems to struggle early on next season, look for Nathan to get a nice, long look but as things stand he most likely won’t be a regular.

Greg Pateryn

A step behind Beaulieu and Tinordi, a step ahead of other prospects like Magnus Nygren, Pateryn is a bit of an enigma. He is NHL ready, from what we saw in his debut this season and from how he is expected to progress. However, depth leaves him playing in Hamilton unless management thinks to keep 9 d-men ready, with 3 in the press box (an unnecessary number). With extra time in Hamilton to learn and grow his skillset (and maybe his offensive numbers as well) he’ll be ready for significant minutes before you know it.

Dalton Thrower

Here’s an interesting character. Playing major minutes for his Saskatoon Blades, he should be ready to play with the Dogs next season, but what will his role be there, given Montreal stacked pool of defensive prospects. Given Thrower’s versatility, he could play huge minutes on each of the special teams on top of being top 4 5-on-5 minutes. I see him getting more PK time than PP given his toughness, but he certainly knows to get the puck in the net. Look for a big season from this kid next year.


With Montreal’s plethora of highly skilled defencemen, Michel Therrien has a good problem on his hands, in trying to sort out who goes where and who deserves what ice time. But what’s sure, is that all of these players will benefit le bleu, blanc, et rouge for years to come.

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9 Responses to The Blue Line Rotisserie

  1. I see Kaberle bought out. Weber needs his rights traded instead of just letting go by not being qualified so that the organization at least gets something for him. Emelin is a key part of this team going forward, especially with his physical presence. Diaz is capable of playing top 4 minutes but he should be slotted on the 3rd pairing unless anything occurs that would push him up in the line up. With Emelin likely out to start the year, Tinordi should be the guy getting a full work load with the Canadiens since he proved that he should be in the NHL. When everyone is healthy though, I hope it is Bouillon to be the 7th D and not Tinordi. Beaulieu is not ready for full time but he isnt far off. Nygren, since he played with men could push for a spot but likely to get top minutes in HAM before called up. Pateryn looked good when up with the team but some things he needs to work on to give the Habs an even tougher decision. As for Thrower, even though he is eligible for Hamilton this upcoming season, I see him playing another year with Saskatoon as he isn’t close to NHL time, even Dietz is ahead of him, who has already been inked to an ELC.

    Michael Gomez May 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm Reply
    • Well after Thrower was traded to Vancouver he said Montreal expected him to make the Bulldogs. He has a lot of upside for a physical defenceman, despite his smaller stature and I think Hamilton could really use him in every situation. This kid’s gonna be big.

      William Labine May 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm Reply
      • Yeah, expected to make Dogs but I would still prefer if he spent another season in WHL, especially under Don Hay. He is far off from NHL currently.

        Michael Gomez May 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm Reply
  2. Too many people just decide to say this guy is “NHL ready” when in actuality he is not. Sure we have guys who can play in the NHL when an injury or something occurs but apart from Tinordi, no other prospects are ready for full time NHL duties. And that is okay, give the guys time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying in HAM for a few years to dominate at that level. Beaulieu could spend all of this season there, lead the AHL in defensive scoring and be the top pairing Dman, wear a letter on his jersey, There’s no shame in developing another year down there, in fact it would do him much better to play top minutes in the AHL rather than just the 8th dman in MTL. I’m curious why you didn’t mention Dietz as he is such a sick talent and ready for professional hockey. Morgan Ellis & Frederic St. Denis are both important to the organization as well, Ellis will only get better & Freddy is great for leadership but who knows if he will get another contract here, I like him but he doesn’t have a spot in MTL, it might be in his best interest to sign somewhere else that could use him in a better role. Good piece though man!

    Colton May 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm Reply
  3. I think we will see Magnus Nygren take a spot in the top six next year , i also like weber but i also feel we will have to give him up for lack of space , will make good trade bait to hopefully bring in a big forward that we need so badly . I also think markov is starting to get caught by his age , and will start to take a smaller role , leaving a bigger spot open for some of the younger talent . maybe this will allow weber to stay and be a top six …. no matter how it happens there will be big roster changes for the team on the off season , but it will mostly be with the forwards top six I think ..

    Maurice May 26, 2013 at 8:31 pm Reply
    • Weber can’t fit here any way you slice it. Too many have moved above him on the depth chart.

      Michael Gomez May 26, 2013 at 9:27 pm Reply
      • I fully agree, but I liked him in his time with Montreal and I see him doing very well wherever he goes. Very surprised to see that he was snubbed from WC

        William Labine May 28, 2013 at 2:45 pm Reply
  4. I would like to see us move a couple of prospects for a 15 or 16 pick at the draft. Pateryn and Nygren should be enough.

    steve May 27, 2013 at 11:14 am Reply
    • Why would they move Pateryn AND Nygren

      Michael Gomez May 27, 2013 at 8:45 pm Reply

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