All images are from NHL 19.
Welcome to part three of the Montreal Canadiens rebuild in NHL 19’s Franchise Mode. Click here to catch up on part one and part two. As mentioned last week, this week’s post will entail a lineup reveal, captaincy announcement, season simulation and more!
First Line: The first line features Forsberg and Domi who are being centered by Pettersson. While Forsberg has established himself as a first line player, I have decided to push Pettersson and Domi to play on the first line even though they are better suited for the second line. While splitting up this trio would create more balance within the lineup, we currently lack players who could fill the void on the first line.
Second Line: The second line includes Shaw, Cammalleri, and Jurco. Hopefully, Shaw will benefit from the increased ice-time which will make trading him away more viable. While Cammalleri is listed as a winger he has exceptional faceoff stats, so he will be the second line centre for the upcoming season. I believe that Jurco has some untapped potential and can still grow as a player. The opportunity on the second line may help in this regard.
Third Line: The third line features Lehkonen, Kotkaniemi, and Hudon. This line could have easily been our second line for the upcoming season, but I felt the need to shelter these players since they do not have as much experience. However, the door is not shut for them to move up. If they continually improve as the season progresses a promotion is likely.
Fourth Line: The fourth line includes Upshall, Vermette, and Jokinen. These three players are currently filling the holes in our roster.
First Pairing: The first pairing features Murray and Ouellet. While Murray is a top-four defenceman I am hoping that he will benefit from first pairing minutes so that he can become a bonafide top-four defender. Similar to Jurco, I am hoping to see some growth in Ouellet’s play as the season progresses.
Second Pairing: The second pairing includes Reilly and Bieksa. This pairing has been designed similar to the fourth line which has players who are filling holes in the roster.
Third Pairing: The third pairing features Fleury and Mete. Similar to the third line these two players are being sheltered and will move up in the lineup as they improve.
After playing behind Bobrovsky for a few seasons, Korpisalo now has the opportunity to assume the starting role. But Mason has been brought in to ensure some friendly competition between the two players.
As a rebuilding club that is headed in a new direction, the Montreal Canadiens would like to announce that we will not name a captain for the upcoming season. However, we will have a leadership group of three assistant captains which include Pettersson, Forsberg, and Murray.
I planned to simulate the game until the trade deadline and then take a look at how well our team is doing and potential trades. However, the simulation was interrupted at the end of January as Wotherspoon had been placed on waivers by the St. Louis Blues. I decided to place a claim as he would some defensive depth to the team. Now at the trade deadline, an offer came from the LA Kings for Stoner. They offered a 6th round pick in 2019. Since we had picked up Wotherspoon, Stoner had become expendable and the trade was accepted. Moreover, I attempted to locate a trade partner to take on Shaw’s contract, however, I did not find any takers. Furthermore, I also noted that Lehtonen was still a free agent and was being pursued by the Toronto Maple Leafs. It seemed that they were looking to add some goaltending depth for a playoff run. So, I viewed their trading block and traded Mason for Scott and two draft picks in the 2019 draft. This enabled us to acquire a legitimate goaltending prospect, but we were now left with a void behind Korpisalo. I offered Lehtonen a one-year $5-million-dollar contract to backup Korpisalo and he accepted.
The team finished the season with a record of 39-38-5 and 83 points. We were 7th in the division, 12th in the conference and 23rd in the league. Although the team performed poorly, Pettersson won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the most proficient first-year player in the NHL. Although we did not make the playoffs, the Stanley Cup returned to Canada as the Toronto Maple Leafs won it in five games against the Dallas Stars.
Tune in next week for the results of the draft lottery, the draft itself, the re-sign phase, and, of course, free agency. Also, if you have any comments and/or suggestions please share them below in the comments.