|Therrien will have to find the right lines after the arrival of Thomas Vanek|
Thomas Vanek has never scored less than 20 goals in all of his nine seasons (including this season). That's a pretty impressive feat. He is able to be a play maker occasionally, and is certainly not afraid to get in front of the net. If Thomas Vanek is used correctly with Montreal, it would not surprise me to see a solid offensive explosion throughout the lineup. I have an offensive lineup in mind that could help spark more than the line Vanek is on, but that would have a nice trickle-down effect to struggling players.
Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Brendan Gallagher
Thomas Vanek - Lars Eller - Alex Galchenyuk
Daniel Briere - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta
Travis Moen - Ryan White - Dale Weise
The top line has been together for a while now, and there is no real sense to break it up. They have been producing extremely well together, and area a big part of Montreals offense. They all have pretty apparent chemistry, and are willing to fight for every inch alongside one another. Therrien would be mad to break them up.
The second line would be considered a secondary offensive threat. All three of these players have shown at one point or another their ability to put up points. A struggling Lars Eller has been buried on a line with players who do not suit his playing style, and those who have not been producing either. Flashback to the beginning of the year, where Montreal had the "EGG" line. This was the most dominant line on the team, no questions about it. It was unfortunately broken up to help a struggling David Desharnais. Where was that help for the now stagnant Lars Eller? This is it my friends. Galchenyuk is a good sized body that will battle along the boards, and has a great shot to mix in with a nice pair of mitts. Vanek has clear upside on this line with his career-proven ability to net pucks. All three will go to the net hard, forecheck hard, and make the opposition pay.
This third line would be the shutdown line. Lines two and three would be interchangeable in TOI depending on who their up against or what the need is at that moment. Think of having the ability to have two lines worthy of being the second, for different circumstances. Kind of nice, eh? As an added bonus, this third line has the ability to show some offensive flare, and Plekanec and Gionta have the speed and chemistry for great breakouts, and a speedy playmaker like Briere would only add to the secret lethal abilities this line carries.
Finally, this fourth line is just full of grinders who do not give up an inch to the opposition. You have two great penalty killers in Ryan White and Travis Moen, and another big body willing to hit everything, and not let a team get chances. All three are proven battlers. Willing to stick up for teammates, and take a bruise (or stitch) or two to help win every night. Do they have any true offensive fire power? no. But they are capable of burying a team in behind their net, get them frustrated, and force mistakes.
Brandon Prust is currently injured, however he could easily slot into that fourth line. Once healthy I would see him slotted in for Weise, and all four of these players would be able to interchange every few games. It's a hard position and having all four of these guys to play that tough, gritty, fourth line role is essential in this last stretch, and playoffs. Parros would obviously still be available, but with teams getting quicker in these final few games, I would not recommend it.
Jarred Tinordi - PK Subban
Andrei Markov - Alexei Emelin
Douglas Murray - Josh Gorges
Our defence has been merely okay for the majority of the season. Subban has played great, however seems to be getting snubbed by Michel Therrien while players like Douglas Murray and Alexei Emelin are eating up the Norris Trophy Winner's ice time. Therrien needs to get his defence lineup straight now more than ever. I liked what I saw when Subban and Tinordi were playing together even strength. Murray NEEDS someone mobile to play alongside him because far too many times he is caught flat footed, and gets his proverbial "doors blown off". Josh Gorges is the most defensively sound Canadien, so I would like to see those two slotted in together, and then have the Russian duo suit up alongside each other. These lines are balanced enough to create some offense at the blue line, while being able to defend their own zone.
With these lines I can certainly see Montreal being a force to reckon with in the eastern conference. Whether or not Therrien decides to change up his lines, is an entirely different story. Over the course of the season we have seen Therrien hold grudges against certain players, even though they are some of, if not the best on the team. If Therrien can get over his little grudges, it will certainly help benefit the team.
The Habs are heading into the home stretch. Marc Bergevin traded for Vanek for a reason, and that is because he truly believes in this Canadiens team. They have the skill in the lineup. What they need is two things. First, they need the opportunity to be the best that they can be. This can only be achieved by maximizing every individuals strengths on the ice, and that involves moving players around. Get this team ready for playoff hockey. Second, they need the desire to win, at all costs. Habs fans have seen too many times this squad come into a game looking lazy, and disengaged. When they come in fired up, and battling for every puck and every chance, they are a dominant team.
Your move, Michel Therrien
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