The only spot that could open at forward barring a trade, is if captain Brian Gionta begins the season on the injury reserve recovering from a torn biceps. Including Gionta, the Habs currently have 13 forwards slated to begin with the season in the NHL following the acquisition of enforcer Georges Parros last week. Should Gionta's become available, look for the Canadiens to call up Gabriel Dumont or Christian Thomas to fill the 13th forward role.
On defense, the team seriously lacks grit and physicality with Alexei Emelin due to begin the campaign on the injury reserve and miss at least two months recovering from a serious knee injury. Unless the Canadiens decide to sign a veteran free agent to compensate Emelin's loss, rookie Jarred Tinordi is the likeliest candidate to begin the season in the top-6, relegating Davis Drewiske to a reserve role.
Finally, the rumors are swirling that UFA Brenden Morrow is currently talking to the Canadiens about the possibility of signing with the team. In 44 games last season, Morrow, 34, notched 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points with a -3 plus/minus ratio. Morrow recorded 4 points in 14 playoffs games with the Penguins after he was acquired from the Stars at the trade deadline. Morrow, who is married to Guy Carbonneau's daughter, Anne-Marie, has a personal interest in signing with the Habs, but the gritty forward has more than one offer on the table at the moment.
Habs Depth chart:
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Max Pacioretty David Desharnais Daniel Brière
Rene Bourque Tomas Plekanec Brian Gionta
Alex Galchenyuk Lars Eller Brendan Gallagher
Travis Moen Ryan White (RFA) Brandon Prust
Extra: George Parros
Andrei Markov Francis Bouillon
Josh Gorges P.K. Subban
Jarred Tinordi Raphael Diaz
Extra: Davis Drewiske
Injury Reserve: Alexi Emelin (knee)
The Canadiens really improved their AHL depth during the off-season, signing career AHLers Nick Tarnasky and Martin St. Pierre, and adding a few more players from the QMJHL, namely Stefan Fournier, Stephen MacAuley and Ben Duffy.
With the arrival of new prospects, transitioning from Europe and the CHL, Hamilton will be much more competitive than last season. The team still needs to add depth on defense, especially a left-handed defenseman able to mentor the younger defensemen, something that was lacking last season. With the departure of Frederic St. Denis and Jason DeSantis, Bergevin really needs to address that weakness now.
Bulldogs Depth chart:
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Nick Tarnasky Martin St. Pierre Christian Thomas
Patrick Holland Gabriel Dumont Louis Leblanc
Mike Blunden Michael Bournival Sven Andrighetto
Steve Quailer Joonas Nattinen Stefan Fournier
Extra: Stephen MacAuley, Ben Duffy
Nathan Beaulieu Morgan Ellis
Greg Pateryn Magnus Nygren
Darren Dietz ?
Dustin Tokarski (RFA)
I hope the above gives you a bigger picture of the organization's depth chart and shows you that the team is making every effort to rebuild its pool of quality prospects through the draft and the free agency.
Follow me on Twitter @FredPoulin98 if you want to talk puck and Habs.