Despite the 2-3-2 record the Montreal Canadiens sported in the 2015-2016 pre-season, there were a plethora of positives to take away. Their puck possession has been much better than in recent years and their specialty teams are starting to look much more effective.
But now comes the difficult part. Decisions have to be made prior to 5 PM on October 7th, and there are plenty of them the Habs have to make before the puck drops versus the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Has the former Ducks’ and Capitals’ forward done anything to discourage the Canadiens from offering him a contract?
Fleischman has not only played very well on David Desharnais‘ left wing, he has been a solid team player throughout the pre-season. Granted when a player in on a professional try-out with any team, you know to expect an A+ effort from him, since he’s playing to show his career isn’t done.
He’s scored, killed penalties, thrown the body….
If there were any questions about Fleischman’s ability to remain an effective NHL player, he’s answered all of them. Montreal GM Marc Bergevin should get a contract ready and get that bit of business done sooner rather than later.
The 6’6″, 218 lbs defenceman has endeared himself with the Canadiens’ front office. He’s played nervous throughout training camp, and looks like his development curve has pulled a U-turn.
Tinordi’s size and occasional mean streak has been a source of hope for the Habs, but he has been able to put it together.
He continues to make the same mistakes by either pinching into the offensive zone at inopportune times, or making ill-advised passes in his own zone. The latter is due to his shortcoming in being able to play the game at the NHL’s pace, and reading the play accordingly.
His inability to use his long reach for better gap control and non-physical play have everyone wondering where his fate lies. Instead of playing to his strengths, he has tried to do too much and therein lie the problem.
As a native Montrealer, you know the former Tampa Bay Lightning prospect wear the ‘CH’ with pride, and given his 102 games of NHL experience, Barberio should remain with the big club.
His strengths lie in his position play and puck distribution skills, which would compliment the Canadiens’ offence nicely.
Barberio has been solid in his own zone, shows great play recognition, and rarely makes a mistake that puts his team in a precarious position.
GM Bergevin has often said he wants players to force him to make difficult decisions. Barberio has done just that.
As this picture from Bruce Bennett depicts, Dustin Tokarski has had a less-than-stellar pre-season and has put himself at risk of being sent to the AHL.
After his masterful performance in the 2013-2014 Eastern Conference final, Carey Price’s backup has looked more like a beer-league goalie than a professional one.
Diminutive for his craft, Tokarski’s passive approach to goaltending has become his Achilles’ heel. Instead of playing at the top of his crease, he remains deep in the blue paint, giving opponents way to much twine to shoot at.
Beyond that, his technique has suffered recently. His poor puck tracking often leads to him being out of position, unprepared for an incoming shot or, worst of all, with his back completely turned to oncoming opponents.
With the stellar and technically sound play of Mike Condon, who has been perfect in his 90 minutes of pre-season action, Tokarski may very well have played his way into the backup role…with the Ice Caps.