5. Mikhail Grabovski (Toronto Maple Leafs)- Grabovski is arguably one of the best current Toronto Maple Leaf forwards on the team. (That’s not saying much, he was more of a AHLer with Montreal). He has loads of talent and can make highlight reel plays that leave you scratching your head, wondering how he was not stopped. He has amassed 138 points since joining Toronto via trade for Greg Pateryn and a 2nd round selection in 2010, which was later traded to Phoenix. While Grabovski does play on the first line in Toronto, he does have some consistency issues that need to be addressed if he will ever be a star in the NHL. But he for sure has the talent.
4. Mark Streit (New York Islanders)- A year ago, I would have put him first on this list. Streit is the best defenceman on the Islanders, and arguably the best player they have had in many years. He was a good replacement for Sheldon Souray in 2007-2008 with his booming slapshot and offensive ability. He played offense and defense in his time with the Canadiens, but is strictly D on the weak Islanders squad. He can easily get 50+ points a year, even in his early 30’s. Streit missed all of last year with an injury, but expect him to make a big impact this coming season.
3. Jaroslav Halak (St.Louis Blues)- Everyone remembers Montreal’s outstanding playoff run in 2010, and that’s all thanks to Jaroslav Halak. He had a .923 SP during that playoffs, the best of any goalie during that time. He LIVES for big games, and there is not many better in do or die moments. Carey Price had an outstanding season in 2010-2011, but Halak had the better of the 2 during Halak’s last year in Montreal. One of the 2 needed to be traded, and Halak was the one. St. Louis is in good hands with this keeper.
2. Saku Koivu (Anaheim Ducks) Saks is one of the most ionic figures in Montreal Canadiens history. He battled through cancer in 2001-2002, and came back better then ever. After playing 3 gmes in 2002, he had 71 in his comeback year, and the fans supported him the entire time. A talented play maker, Saku was one of the best forwards Montreal has had in the last 15 years, getting 50+ points 7 out of 11 seasons with Montreal. He could make any player better and never backs down from a challenge. He was an inspiration to all hockey fans, no matter what team you cheered for.
1. Mike Riberio (Dallas Stars)- Riberio has always critizied for being too lazy and having a lack of scoring ability. He was traded to Dallas for Janne Niinimaa, and that has clearly been one of the worst trades in Montreal’s history. Riberio has exceptional vision and creativity on the ice, and his offensive instincts are off the charts. He has had seasons with 71, 78, 83, 53, 59 and 65 points during his career. He is one of the more talented forwards the NHL has seen in recent years, but doesn’t score often (his career best is 27.)