Montreal Canadiens: 8 Players Who Should Be Worrying About Their Spots on Team
The NHLs oldest and most storied franchise, the Montreal Canadiens (11-11-6), may be looking to shake up their roster if the team doesn’t turn things around.
They’re last in the Northeast Division and one point out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
A major reason for their struggles is their production—or lack thereof for that matter—on the power play.
Another possibility could be the loss of Scott Gomez, although he wasn't producing before his injury anyway.
Either way, if the Habs can’t turn this around, players will be replaced with others who can produce.
There are a handful of names on this list that might surprise you. Is Brian Gionta about to lose minutes? How about Andrei Kostitsyn?
Let’s dive in and find out.
Tomas Plekanec leads the Habs in points scored (23) and is one of their best offensive players.
For some reason, his production—and the special teams production as a whole—has been lacking.
The team is 13-for-127 so far through 27 games which ranks 26th in the NHL—far below the standard they set last year when they ranked seventh.
Things need to turn around on the power play units, or head coach Jacques Martin will be forced to switch things up and move him and others off the man advantage.
The 5’7” center is a little guy who plays big. Desharnais is third on the team with 16 points, but only has one goal and two assists on the power play this year.
The cohesiveness just isn’t happening for him and the rest of the guys on the power play, leaving Jacques Martin no choice but to continue changing things until he finds something that works.
The coach’s changes could mean decreased ice time for Desharnais during the man advantage.
The third-line winger has one goal on the season for one total point and a plus/minus rating of -4.
This is horrible production for a guy who doesn’t even rack up PIMs (6) by being an enforcer.
It's understandable that his main job is to be a defensive forward, but there still needs to be more production out of him to make his ice time relevant.
He only averages just over 10 minutes of ice time, but something needs to change here or he may see even less.
The 5’11” defenseman isn’t having the greatest year from a production standpoint.
He has six points and a plus/minus rating of -4—not real good numbers through 27 games for a second-line defenseman.
He is undersized for the position, so that may have something to do with it, but he still needs to pick it up for a guy who’s second on the team in shots on goal among defenseman.
Struggles on the power play continue with Mike Cammalleri, as well.
He has four points on the man advantage this year, but they have all come on helpers.
He has six goals and eight assists this year—not exactly top-line production for a guy who was pumping out an average of 27 goals over the previous six years.
Hal Gil has been a solid defenseman his entire career, but has struggled the last few years to keep his plus/minus rating above water.
He finished last season with a -9 and he’s sitting at a -8 so far this year.
A lot of what goes into that rating is team-oriented and can be skewed, but something has to be said for having a minus rating three years in a row.
The story is a bit different for Yannick Weber.
He gets a bit of a pass when it comes to the lack of power-play production, because he has three goals and six points on the PP and is a defenseman.
However, has only has nine points on the season and has a -5 plus/minus rating, which means he hasn’t played up to his potential at even strength.
If he can’t help out on even-strength situations, he could find himself playing the majority of the time on special teams and not much else.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment for the Habs this season is their best player, Brian Gionta.
A perennial 25-goal scorer, Gionta currently sits at eight goals and seven assists, with only two tallies and three points coming on the power play.
It has been noted that his struggles may have to do with the lack of chemistry he has with fellow line mate Tomas Plekanec.
Either way, something has to change—whether it’s switching lines or cutting ice time—because they need to get their captain back to being the team's leader, not just off the ice, but on it as well.
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Brian can also be found at Out of My League, where he compiles fantasy football rankings each week.