Contrary to popular belief, the goal of the NHL’s preseason is not to predict how successful a particular team will by showcasing them in multiple meaningless games. It is to give both veterans and rookies a chance to get some game action under their belt, it gives prospects the opportunity to show their team what they’re capable of. So if I were to sit here and worry about what Montreal’s 2-6 record means for the Habs’ 2011-2012 season, then I’d be absolutely useless.
Instead I’ll point out the individual players I thought excelled and the ones who faltered. I was really only looking out for some of the Canadiens’ question marks. Actually, to be honest I had a list: All prospects, goal tending, Weber,Yemelin, Pacioretty and Kostitsyn.
(Photo: Bernard Brault, La Presse)
First up, the prospects. While none of the prospects had horrible showings, some were very impressive. The first player that comes to mind when thinking of impressive showings, is Brendan Gallagher. Montreal picked Gallagher in the 5th round (147th) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Gallagher’s preseason was impressive to say the least. He showed that he was not intimidated by the more experienced NHL players, as he made great plays all over the ice. It was almost impossible to not notice his great speed and puck handling skills.
Gallagher stuck around with the big team for 7 of 8 preseason games. The 19 year old was sent back to his Junior team, the Vancouver Giants where hopefully he’ll put out yet another outstanding season, and find himself on the Canadiens regular season roster this time next year.
I also enjoyed watching Brock Trotter. He cleared waivers and will start the 2011-2012 season as a Hamilton Bulldog.
As for goaltending, I didn’t really have my eye on them. It was so blatantly obvious that Price would be number 1 and Budaj as his backup. Any speculation would be unnecessary, Lawson and Moyer really didn’t have any chance at cracking the NHL squad. The only reason I paid any attention to the goalies, was to see if the media would cause a another fuss after a less than stellar performance in net (there were enough). Fortunately, I haven’t heard any goalie bashing thus far, so I don’t have to listen to Price telling us all to “chill out, it’s the first game of the year”. Not that I’m extremely goalie biased, I just believe that in meaningless games, pointing fingers is, well, meaningless.
(Photo: André Pichette, La Presse)
Yannick Weber/ Alexi Yemelin.
I watched these two young defenceman very intently. With Sopel, Paul Mara, Wisnewski and Hamarlik all leaving, the 6th defense position is left vacant. Weber and Yemelin are the Canadiens’ top defensive prospects. Therefore one of these two will be the replacement this season. Or at least that’s what we thought. On the 26th, the Canadiens threw us a major curve ball in the signing of depth D-man, Chris Campoli. Now with Campoli on the roster, Yemelin will most likely go to Hamilton and I’m really not sure what Montreal will do with Weber. I’ve heard the Canadiens are going to use him on the 4th line in place of Ryan White. But keep in mind, that’s just a sourceless rumour. A trade would also be an effective solution to this dilemma. If anyone were to go it’d be Spacek. We’ll just have to wait for Oct. 6th to see how this issue is resolved.
Second to last, is Andrei Kostitsyn. I usually wouldn’t look out for a guaranteed NHLer, but there have been so many trade rumours swirling around this Belarusian sniper, that it was now important that he put up good numbers, so that we could get someone decent in exchange. Yet I was disappointed by AK46. Aside from one game against Dallas, Kostitsyn didn’t stand out.
(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Finally, we’ve reached the last peg on my hit-list; Max Pacioretty.
Out of all the players, I was most excited to see Pacioretty’s return to the NHL after the whole Chara incident (Which I am still super pissed about). I could rant about how stupid that whole situation was for hours upon hours, but I won’t. Ranting about it won’t change what happened. Instead I will be happy that Max Pacioretty is healthy and ready to go! And Boy, did he show it. Excluding last night’s win over Tampa, Pacioretty had 17 shots in his two previous games. (Last stat may be off as I heard it on RDS, and my French isn’t all that great.)
None the less, I am extremely excited to watch him play his year. I believe 2011-2012 will be his breakout year, where he will show everyone his star capabilities.
Only 4 more days until meaningful games! There will be tons of posts regarding our Montreal Canadiens, so be sure to check back daily.
You can also follow me on twitter @JScaresHabs
to get live(ish) tweets on most of the Habs games and really just anything in the hockey world I find important/interesting.