Dec 28, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Montreal Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk (27) passes the puck to center David Desharnais (51) as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas (7) defends during the first period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Poll: Who Will Be The Montreal Canadiens First Line Center?

The Montreal Canadiens made several changes to their lineup in the offseason, watching leaders Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges switch to a Buffalo Sabres sweater, allowing trade deadline acquisition Thomas Vanek to walk away, and also waving goodbye to aging veteran defenders Douglas Murray and Francis Bouillon.

To replace the departed Habs, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin signed Manny Malhotra, Tom Gilbert and European free agent Jiri Sekac, and also dealt Daniel Briere for P.A. Parenteau.

May 17, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Lars Eller (81) misses a chance to score a goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the second period in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

All this movement in the past few weeks has me thinking, what is the lineup going to look like on opening night. There are few easy decisions to make aside from Carey Price starting in goal and P.K. Subban playing right defense on the top pairing.

Beyond those two, I can’t seem to decide what is the optimal lineup for this team. Is Parenteau going to be a first liner or a third line player? Is Tomas Plekanec the second line center, or does he drop down to the third line? Can Lars Eller finally be a top six forward? Is Alex Galchenyuk going to remain on left wing? Who plays with Subban? Who is the backup goaltender?

Anyway, you get my point. So I am going to leave it up to you folks to decide what the Canadiens lineup will be on opening night. I debated about asking what you would do, and what you think Michel Therrien will do, because let’s face it, we often disagree with the coaches decisions. Unfortunately, we don’t run the team, so I want to know what you think the man calling the shots will do when the puck finally drops in 79 days.

First, we will start at the top with a position that has caused much debate in the past, the first line center. Just scroll below to the poll and click who you think will be the Montreal Canadiens first line center when the Habs take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 8th.

David Desharnais filled this role in the past,as his chemistry with Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher made for a great trio. He is an offensively skilled playmaker, who fits great on a line with Pacioretty who is the Canadiens best goal scorer.

However, an argument can be made for a few other Habs to take over the number one role. If Lars Eller shows up at training camp and dominates the way he did during the postseason, the Canadiens could have a big first line center they have been trying to locate for years.

Alex Galchenyuk was drafted third overall, and it was not with the intention of him being a depth winger. He will eventually make the shift to center, and is talented enough to climb to the top of the depth chart. Is he ready to do that in October?

Plekanec has been the Habs most consistent two way forward for years, and can consistently score points, while being relied on as a defensive center. With Manny Malhotra and Eller capable of playing defensive roles, could Plekanec find himself in a first line role this season?

Tomorrow we will take a look at the results, I will weigh in on who I would choose, and we will vote on the Habs top left winger.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for voting, keep coming back each day for the next few weeks as we take a vote on every position on the Habs roster. (Except starting goaltender, because really, what’s the point?)

Who Will Be The Montreal Canadiens First Line Center On Opening Night?

  • David Desharnais (60%, 209 Votes)
  • Alex Galchenyuk (19%, 66 Votes)
  • Tomas Plekanec (11%, 38 Votes)
  • Lars Eller (10%, 35 Votes)

Total Voters: 346

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Tags: Alex Galchenyuk David Desharnais Lars Eller Montreal Canadiens

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