While everybody is waiting for Mats Sundin to say something meaningful, the Habs have little to worry about.
Bob Gainey did some great work in the offseason when he signed Alex Tanguay and big Georges Larque. Guy Carbonneau will have the opportunity to mix and match his lines using what I call a “top of the crop” roster.
Let’s speculate and see the combination Carbonneau could use:
Line 1: Kostitsyn – Plekanec – Kovalev
Line 2: Higgins – Koivu – Tanguay
Line 3: Latendresse – Lapierre – S. Kostitsyn
Line 4: Chipchura – Bégin – Laraque
Defense 1: Markov - Hamrlik
Defense 2: Komisarek - Bouillon
Defense 3: Gorges – O’Byrne (or Dandenault or Brisebois)
Goalie 1: Price
Goalie 2: Halak
Aside from the first two lines, Carbo can mix and match his lines any way he wants. What I like most is that if the Habs play a team with players like Avery or O’Neil who intimidate the top two lines, Carbonneau can insert Laraque along side Kovy or Koivu if things should get out of hand.
Last year, Price did a great job between the pipes and was a key factor to the team’s success. After being eliminated by Philadelphia, Price was shaken up.
I think it was a natural reaction for him. After winning everything in the minors, a gold medal in a world tournament, and the Calder Cup, this kid is not used to losing. He will bounce back in the upcoming season and, once again, lead this team to the playoffs.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jaroslav Halak leave the franchise. Halak is an excellent goaltender—too good to be a backup. So during the season, fans will see Halak transferred to another team and Denis will come in as Price's back-up.
Now just imagine Mats Sundin in the mix—that would probably complicate things for Guy Carbonneau in setting up his lines. The only spot he could take is Lapierre’s on the third line, but would Sundin accept that? Not sure.