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The Upper Canadien

Habs thoughts thus far

A few quick hits after two pre-season games:

- Nathan Beaulieu is the real deal. This guy is fast, crafty, and he did not look out of place against a roster made up largely of NHL players. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a long shot to stick, and it’s only one game, but I think the Habs got a diamond in the rough with their 2011 first round pick.

- Jeff Woywitka was a good signing. He provides steady depth with some offensive upside. Looked good in his first game as a Hab. Should be a solid number 7.

- Peter Budaj is better than Alex Auld. I like his positioning, his steadiness, and I think he’ll be a more solid bet in 15-20 games spelling Price over the year.

- Erik Cole is, as The Cars so aptly put it, “Just What I Needed” - or something like that.

- Brendan Gallagher is a smart, offensively gifted player who will make the NHL.

- Andrei Kostitsyn is going to have a strong year. It’s a win-win every way: if he wants to stick in Montreal, he needs to put up good numbers. If he wants another to deal for him, he needs to put up solid numbers. And if he becomes a UFA and wants to hit the jackpot - he needs to put up solid numbers. He’s motivated, perhaps for the wrong reasons, but he’s motivated. Look for AK46 to have his best year yet.

And a non-Habs related note: I love the transparency in the Brendan Shanahan video. I hope this is an ongoing policy change. The NHL needs to do more of this, i.e. explain itself and its decisions. It will go a long way in heaping to prevent head injuries. Well done Brendan Shanahan.

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Comments

Steve Strowbridge's avatar

- Jeff Woywitka was a good signing. He provides steady depth with some offensive upside.

Not sure you can count on him for twenty points, sir.

Posted by Steve Strowbridge from St. John's, NL, CA on 09/22/11 at 11:29 PM ET

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Steve: 20 points, unlikely. But a solid seventh defenceman who makes few mistakes, knows his role and is content sitting out regular games and subbing in? Absolutely.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 09/22/11 at 11:47 PM ET

Steve Strowbridge's avatar

Fair enough. I just don’t really see an offensive upside.

Posted by Steve Strowbridge from St. John's, NL, CA on 09/22/11 at 11:49 PM ET

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Steve, I think “the offensive upside” stems from the observing the one game. Woywitka was very aggressive in the O zone and scored a goal. However, I largely agree with you as I came away thinking that Woywitka was clearly taking chances against a pre-season calibre team that he would not dare to do in the regular season.

But maybe he’ll surprise me. Still, decent number 7.

Posted by Shaun on 09/23/11 at 08:59 AM ET

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Steve: my thoughts exactly. Woywitka is a former first rounder, and while it’s pre-season and I prefaced many of my recent blogs with the fact I’m not a big believer in pre-season performance (see Craig, Mike), Woywitka looked good, was taking chances offensively and wasn’t afraid to joint he rush. My comparable was Alex Picard last year, as Woywitka is, in effect, Picard’s replacement, and I see Woywitka as having much more upside than Picard. Don’t get me wrong though, Woywitka could be a great #7, filling in for injured regulars, a voice of reason and veteran presence in the dressing room, but he ain’t going to be scoring many power play goals or posting 30 points. Solid signing though, and so far, I like what I see.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 09/23/11 at 09:09 AM ET

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com