Monday, September 24, 2007

Habs cut possible NHLers

So, today Bob Gainey promoted 29 players to our championship club. There players can develop in a winning environment without 65 reporters in their faces after their morning skate and all us bloggers watching them tie their skates with baited breath.

Unfortunately, the cuts in this case also expose some of our impressive harvest of prospects to other teams with less skill at the draft. Columbus have been relying on our waiver cast-offs for years to build their defense, maybe this year they'll grab a goalie and take aim at the playoffs for the first time (in 2013).

The players cut include (from Habs Inside/Out):

Yann Danis (must clear waivers)
Loïc Lacasse
Cédrick Desjardins

Andrew Archer (must clear waivers)
Mathieu Biron (must clear waivers)

Mathieu Carle
Marvin Degon
Jon Gleed
Jamie Rivers (must clear waivers)
Pavel Valentenko

Mathieu Aubin
Ajay Baines
Thomas Beauregard
Jimmy Bonneau
Matt D'Agostini
David Desharnais
Jonathan Ferland (must clear waivers)
Sergei Kostitsyn
Janne Lahti
Francis Lemieux
Corey Locke (must clear waivers)
Eric Manlow
Ben Maxwell (to junior)
Duncan Milroy (must clear waivers)
Ryan Russell
Gregory Stewart
Cory Urquhart (must clear waivers)
Ryan White (to junior)

The players in bold must clear waivers, and based on what other teams have made available, I would expect someone to go here. The most likely candidates for me seem like Yann Danis and Corey Locke.

It's a shame, because the luxury of carrying these players would have been nice, but waivers would have been a worry with every call-up and demotion throughout the season. So a tough decision, but one we probably had to take. If we didn't have Grabovski, the loss of Locke would hurt more. Obviously, we can't cry about Danis, with the other three able goalies we have.

Don't expect Danis to end up in LA though. LaBarbera is superior and Bernier is a hot prospect. They aren't as goalie poor as we think. The likely thieves are Tampa, Islanders and Blue Jackets (again).

As for Locke, any team without a small lead center would be open to 2nd-line scoring potential. I think Phoenix could use him.

Milroy was a hope for me, but showing he's not up to it this year says a lot about his stats from last season (professional AHLer). He has been surpassed by his last batch of prospects in the organisation, I think. And, we shouldn't see him in camp again next year. Ditto Ferland.

So what does it mean for our team - the one in Mtl. Price stays (for a week), and Grabovski, O'Byrne and Chipchura have an extended chance to make it.

Given the choice of the players left, this is who I'd want for opening night:

Higgins Koivu Ryder
Kostitsyn Plekanec Kovalev
Latendresse Smolinski Kostopoulos
Begin Chipchura Lapierre

Markov Komisarek
Hamrlik Streit
Bouillon O'Byrne


Sitting out: Murray (he's still here???), Grabovski (would love to see him in), Brisebois (hopefully a last-minute cut?), Dandenault, Gorges and Price (in Hamilton by next week).

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