|Are the Juniors comfortable entering|
the playoffs with Marcoux as their
backup goalie? What if starting goalie
J-F Berube falls to injury? Marcoux
is solid but he's only 17 years old.
There's just under 24 hours remaining before the Q's trade deadline. This is how I see Montreal's lineup turning out, assuming everybody remains healthy (an open space indicates where I believe Montreal can best improve their team via trade):
Forwards (LW, C, RW):
1st Line: __________ / Leblanc / Chouinard
Ideally, the Juniors should add a top 6 quality forward (left winger) with size and grit to play with Leblanc & Chouinard on the team's top line. This allows Pascal Vincent to keep pieces of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines together since they have demonstrated chemistry over the past couple of months.
2nd Line: Lefebvre / Gouchie / Parkes
This trio has arguably been the Juniors' best line since the start of December however Lefebvre enjoyed more success while playing with Leblanc and Chouinard earlier this season. So a "cheaper" trade option may be to move Lefebvre back up to the first line and trade for a second line left winger to play with Gouchie & Parkes.
3rd line: Aubry / Kindl / Rose
Fontaine is normally the left winger on this line however if the Juniors trade for a player on the top 2 lines Aubry would likely be the one to get knocked down to the 3rd line (although Aubry is more effective playing center vs. left wing).
4th line: Fontaine / Anderson / Laflamme
If this line is formed it'll be my favorite line on the team. All three players are workhorses and could easily act as a 3rd line on the majority of Q teams.
Extra forwards: Hari, Clarke, Sherbatov
It's unfortunate; these three forwards may end up being victims of the numbers game. Hari and Clarke are two of the team’s youngest forwards while Sherbatov has struggled both offensively and defensively this season.
Another trade option is moving the left wingers (Lefebvre, Aubry and Fontaine) up one line each and trading for a depth left winger who can add value on the 4th line. This may be the most realistic of scenarios.
1st paring: Roussel & Meilleur
2nd pairing: Landry & Ouellet
3rd pairing: Provost, Narbonne and Micallef - Any combination of these three make up a very strong 3rd pairing. Don’t expect to see any additions at the defense position, Montreal strength.
#2: Marcoux / _________ - Don’t be surprised if the Juniors trade for a more experience backup goalie. Imagine Berube goes down with an injury during the next 4 months. There’s no way Pascal Vincent will feel as confident entering the playoffs with Marcoux as his starter. He’s a solid goalie for a 17 year old, but not the guy you want starting between the pipes heading into the playoffs.
Looking forward to news over the next couple of days….
Photo Credit: Ron Lemish