Marc Bergevin is the mad scientist who concocted this version of the Habs. Like all mad scientists, he’s part genius, part mad man. Often, he comes up with fool’s gold, but let’s be honest here: This edition of the Habs is the real thing and while we don’t know what’s next, it’s been a fun ride so far. Mad Scientists concoct formulas that might include bat wings, spider bellies, goat hooves, and Dr. Pepper. Bergevin’s formula includes Gestationals (prospects), Babies (under 23), Prime Timers (23 to 31) and Grizzlies (32 and over). Let’s look closer at each group and assess them according to the playoffs and the upcoming offseason. I will limit my choices to the top four or five in each category.
The Habs have five Grizzlies and their success, so far, has been a sight to behold. Each of these guys had pimples all over them during the regular season and each of them applied some magic cream and now have rosy cheeks and second winds. Jeff Petry is the youngster of the group and after starting the season as a Norris candidate, his play fell apart as the season went on and not another Norris comment was heard. Petry has been a mainstay of these playoffs, a defensive anchor and now he’s injured but should be back in a few games; he will be making the trip to Vegas with the team. He has gotten better every year he’s been with the team and looks like he’ll be top tier for a few more years at least.
Carey Price has been Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, awesome and weirdly bad. Price raises his game come playoff time and will be Montreal’s #1 goalie for three or four more years. Price has been dominating, we’ve all seen it. His play proves not only how great he is, but also that the ghosts of Habs’ goalies are on his side. You can experience this every time the goalposts reach out and stop a puck that’s beaten the Magic Meister. Petry and Price are not going anywhere and definitely have a number of great performances in them still.
The last three players are slow, past their prime, and open to ridicule based on their regular season play (Corey Perry not so much). Yet, we would not be on the cusp of a Stanley Cup run without these three. Weber is a Hall of Famer on the back third of his career. His play, during the season, was not top two grade, but his leadership and playoff rejuvenation have been a sight to behold. The captain is a huge part of these playoff successes and well deserved.
Eric Staal is quite the story of these playoffs. All of us prayed the team would bench him for the playoffs, but they did not and we were all wrong. The man is a Silver Back but he is so strong with the puck. Staal will not be with the team next year, but man, what a run he’s on.
What do we say about Perry, he’d lose a race to a turtle, against really any animal he might lose a race, but he’d still have the puck! We all hope he comes back next year; he is truly a phenomenon, and we admire him over and over again, play after play. There are rumours about Perry actually passing away a few years ago and that he is now a zombie. This is based on a face that looks exactly like that, but Zombies are people too and after eating the brains of the ‘Laffs’ and the ‘Jeets’, let’s hope he parties some more on some Vegas Ghoul-don Brain matter. Gotta love those Grizzlies.
The Habs have a plethora of Prime Timers. Picking five was difficult; no superstars here, but there is a super pest (Brendan Gallagher), a super sniper (Tyler Toffoli), a super checker (Phillip Danault) and two very relevant Man-Mountains (Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson). Yeah, the pest is not 100% but he is a gamer and we all love him and want him to thrive. Toffoli, what a signing, what a shot! Danault has had a strange roller-coaster season, but both Toffoli and Danault are huge reasons for the team’s success and many are hoping Danault comes back. Along with Danault – Chiarot and Edmundson have been speculated to possibly be gone after the season as one of them will likely be left unprotected from Seattle. Unless they collapse into futility in the next series, the team will want all three to return. No Cup Final is in the offing unless the Prime Timers thrive.
Along with the Grizzlies, the Babies have been the most fun to watch. As many of you don’t know, Cole Caufield’s birth certificate has been found in Kenya and it turns out he’s 11 years old. He is probably the best eleven-year-old since Wayne Gretzky, being already in the NHL and all. At 4 feet eleven inches, he has lifts in his skates, but the child oozes talent and is so fun to watch. Jesperi Kotkaniemi was breastfed until he was nine. The proof is in his muscular baby cheeks, and watching him develop has been quite a revelation. I believe the breakthrough for him was the fight he had last year. The young man is turning into a Power Centre and the best is yet to come.
If Kotkaniemi is a Kawasaki Ninja 1000, then Nick Suzuki is a Suzuki SV650 and let’s make Alexander Romanov a Honda Rebel. Suzuki might turn out to be an all-star, he certainly looks like a 25-goal, 40-assist man of the next ten years. Can you imagine him with 10 more pounds of muscle? The Habs need Suzuki to have another really solid series to have a chance to win. Romanov is now wearing Big Boy diapers and while he’s just getting going, his potential, along with the others, is very promising for now and the future. All are huge fan favourites. Love these guys.
The Gestationals are defencemen heavy, goal scorers light and will be more needed after the expansion draft and all the offseason stuff that Bergevin will have to deal with. One can argue that Mattias Norlinder, Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris and Jayden Struble will be the team’s top four defenders in four years but none are ready for next year. Cayden Primeau and Ryan Poehling are promising but not sure-fire hits. All this is making Bergevin’s offseason work quite a task. It should be noted that some of these Gestationals might be sent to the Kraken to influence whom they select from the Habs.
Yes, there are other talents not mentioned, but now it’s time to enjoy the next round and I suspect no one will both enjoy and suffer through it more than the GM, the Mad Proff, the long-haired Loon; Marc Bergevin.