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It wasn’t that long ago that the left wing position was an area of extreme
weakness for the Habs.  Now with the emergence of Max Pacioretty and the
potential of Alex Galchenyuk who hasn’t been moved back to his natural centre
role yet, it’s an area of strength.  Can the same be said for Montreal’s
farm system and prospect core?  Not exactly.

As quite a few forwards in the organization can play in multiple spots, their
positions for the purpose of this series will be based on the position listed
on our depth


Signed: Michael Bournival, Rene Bourque, Alex Galchenyuk, Travis
Moen, Max Pacioretty, Brandon Prust
RFA: None
UFA: None

Pacioretty has quickly blossomed into one of the NHL’s better goal scoring
threats.  His goal total of 39 not only was a career high but also

all left wingers throughout the league.  With him under contract
for the next five years at a very reasonable rate, the top line LW spot should
be taken care of for a while.  Galchenyuk, who will be entering his third
year in the NHL, should be able to provide a strong contribution from the second
line wing, provided he isn’t moved back to centre.  Speculation is that he
will eventually but with the roster as currently constructed, that may not yet be

Bourque is a major question mark.  After a sub-par regular season, he
flourished in the playoffs for the second straight year.  When he’s on his
game, he’d be a very nice player on the third line.  When he’s not, and he
often wasn’t during the season, he’s a liability more often than not.  The
depth behind Bourque should push him though.  Bournival may be primed to
take on a bit more ice time in his second full season while Prust and Moen have
shown in the past that they can move up to the third line from time to time. 

Needs Assessment: Low – There are currently six legitimate options to
fill the four left wing spots.  Several of these players have positional
flexibility as well so there’s not a whole lot of work to be done here as things
stand.  If Galchenyuk moves back to centre, there will be a need for a
second line LW replacement and maybe something gets done to clear up the small
logjam of the depth wingers.  Beyond that though, I don’t think the Habs
will spend much time on fixing up this position.

Minor Pro

Signed: Daniel Carr, Connor Crisp, Stefan Fournier
RFA: None
UFA: Michael Blunden, Nick Tarnasky

Let me get the obvious out of the way, this is not a pretty sight.  Carr
was a late-season signing that has yet to even suit up in a professional game
while Crisp’s pro career has lasted all of a couple of weeks so far.  Both
of them should be regulars for the Bulldogs next year but certainly won’t be
prime contributors right away.  Fournier had a very quiet rookie year and
could fill a fourth line role again but nothing more.  They’ll get a bit of
help from a couple of junior prospects (covered shortly) but they too aren’t top

Needs Assessment: Medium – I can’t put any minor league priority as
high but Marc Bergevin needs to bring a legitimate front line option in at this
position.  Blunden and Tarnasky aren’t those players, despite the fact that
Sylvain Lefebvre bafflingly deployed them as such at times last year.  I
expect Blunden will be back as a checker; hopefully his re-signing doesn’t
prevent them from bringing in an actual offensive threat.

Unsigned/Junior Prospects

There’s some decent depth in this group, highlighted by Charles Hudon and Tim
Bozon.  Both players still have junior eligibility which is why they’re in
this category even though both could play professionally next year. 
Hudon’s smarts will earn him playing time early on while Bozon’s health
situation has turned him into more of a project prospect.  It’s encouraging
that his recovery has gone well but there’s a ways to go yet.

The other two unsigned left wing prospects are also projects.  Martin
Reway has gone overseas for the next two years and is a boom or bust top-six
prospect.  Mark MacMillan has one year left at North Dakota and could be
one to watch in the next year or two, provided he continues to bulk up to be
able withstand the AHL level down the road and that the Habs actually sign him. 

Needs Assessment: Low – While there’s no high end prospect on the left
side, perhaps not even a top-six option, there is a nice bunch of complementary
prospects with some intriguing upside.  There isn’t a pressing need to
replenish the depth at this position but someone who could play on the top two
lines down the road could really make this an area of strength for the