Yesterday, I asked you to weigh in on who you believe will be the Montreal Canadiens first line center next season. 346 votes were cast, and David Desharnais came in as the overwhelming favorite, and I have to say I agree with the majority on this one.
The final results were as follows:
David Desharnais 209 votes (60%)
Alex Galchenyuk 66 votes (19%)
Tomas Plekanec 38 votes (11%)
Lars Eller 35 votes (10%)
David Desharnais had an awful start to last season, but came on so strong the rest of the year, he leaves no doubt he will be utilized as the first line center once again next season.
Desharnais had just one point, an assist, in his first 19 games of the season, and was twice relegated to the press box as a healthy scratch for his poor performance. However, over the next 60 games of the season, Desharnais was one of the Habs most dangerous offensive threats, scoring 51 points in those 60 games to close out the season.
He is a great playmaker, and has played alongside Max Pacioretty for most of his professional career, first with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League, and now with the Habs.
Desharnais is a good offensive player, but is one of the smallest skaters in the league at 5’7” and is not known for his defensive skills. These are certainly not strengths, but oddly, Desharnais’ weaknesses actually make him a more viable option to be on the first line.
David’s limited size and defensive game make him a risk to use on a defensive line, and the Canadiens are not a deep scoring team, which really only leaves one spot for Desharnais to play, and that is on the top offensive line.
Many fans would like to see young gun Alex Galchenyuk get the role as the top center on the team, as his size, skill and vision seem to make him an ideal candidate for the job. I am a bit surprised Galchenyuk only received 19% of the vote, but I did ask to vote based on what you think Michel Therrien would do, as I want this to be an endeavor in predicting the actual lineup, and not a Therrien bash-fest.
Therrien certainly seems to think that the optimal spot for Desharnais is on the top line, and I am certain we will see him there once again in October. Galchenyuk will get his turn as the front man on this team, and hopefully it will be for many years, but it is just not quite hit time yet.
Tomorrow we will take a look at your first line left winger, and believe me it is not going to come as a shock who is picked. We will also start the ballot for who is going to join Desharnais and his usual running mate on the top line.
With the new additions, I think the first line right wing vote may be pretty close, as a case can be made for at least a pair of right wingers.