Could They Compete for a Stanley Cup?
Before the NHL implemented an amateur draft in 1963, you’d be surprised to know that most teams at the time (original six era) housed players from their surrounding areas. In many instances, it wasn’t the case (as a lot of Canadian players found themselves playing for American teams) but teams were mostly building their teams through their farm systems.
The Montreal Canadiens housed a team made of mostly players from Quebec during the original six era. Famed players such as Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Jean Beliveau, Georges Vezina, Jacques Plante, and Doug Harvey were all examples of players from Quebec who came up through the ranks of the Canadiens farm system and made it big with the club.
In today’s NHL, you rarely see players playing for their hometown teams. It’s a shame because maybe it would awaken some newfound passion in the game, which has become kind of robotic over the last couple of years. In saying that, I wondered what a Canadiens team full of All-Quebec players would look like. What I found was a pleasant surprise.
This team is honestly one of the best I have ever seen, considering there are only 51 players in the NHL who hail from Quebec, this lineup is scary good and in y opinion, can compete for a Stanley Cup. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in and found out what a lineup of all Quebec players would look like.
Right off the bat, you know you have a stacked first line when there are two Jonathan’s occupying the wing spots. Jokes aside, this is a nasty first line that could compete with the best of them. Think about it; you have Jonathan Huberdeau, the playmaking wizard who can set up anybody and everybody. Then you have Patrice Bergeron, the finest two-way player of the past twenty years. He instantly makes any lineup better with his defensive prowess. He’s also not too shabby on the offensive side either.
Let’s not forget about Jonathan Marchessault, the fiery, gritty, and speedy winger who hails from Cap-Rouge, Quebec City. Marchessault is the goal-scorer on this line, using his speed to get open and blistering shot to wire it past opposing goalies. This line is a perfect balance, the yin-yang of this team. It just doesn’t get any better than this.
Maxime Comtois – Phillip Danault – David Perron
You may see a familiar name on this list; one that was the Canadiens’ best centerman during our most recent playoff run. Danault occupies the second-line center spot on this team, and I wouldn’t want anybody else to be quite honest. The 28-year-old is an exact carbon copy of Bergeron, which is a blessing to this all-Quebec team.
Danault brings a perfect defensive game to this second line, shutting down the opposing team’s star players, and allowing Comtois and Perron to do their thing offensively. Perron is the main goal-scorer on this line, as he has a knack around the net, as well as sweet hands that would allow him to stick handle in and out of a phone booth.
Comtois, on the other hand, is the energizer bunny of this line. His grit, speed, and tenacity are a perfect complement to this line. Look for him to be lethal in the assist column as well.
Alexis Lafreniere – Pierre Luc Dubois – Anthony Mantha
This line is the team’s secret weapon. This is the line that can do the most damage on the ice. The amount of offensive talent on this line is absolutely incredible. Why are they slated as the third line? Because the third line is the most unassuming of them all, which allows these boys to do their damage.
Both the center and the wingers on this line are offensive threats, with Lafreniere having the highest ceiling. Could you imagine this line as your favorite team’s third line? It would be absolutely insane! Dubois is the playmaker, but his speed lends a huge aid to this line as well. Mantha can park himself in front of the net and use that burly shot of his to rip it past goaltenders. Lafreniere is the Swiss-army knife of this line, able to do any and everything in order to put the puck in the back of the net.
Once again, we find ourselves with another stacked line that could do just as much damage as the first line of this all-Quebec team. I don’t have much to say about this line, because I really believe it speaks for itself. Stastny brings the experience and veteran leadership that this line needs, while Blais and Beauvillier inject this line with the youth intensity that all four lines need in today’s NHL. It also doesn’t hurt that Blais is a Stanley Cup champion 😉
I just have one word for this pairing – wow! Could you imagine fielding a player like Letang, a three-time Stanley Cup champion who is an absolute anchor on the back-end, as well as having next to him arguably one of the best young defensemen in the game today. Chabot thrives off of his on-ice vision, as well as his ability to jump into the offense.
Both players for that matter are amazing, as both have been solid offensive contributors since coming into the NHL. I don’t think you can ask for a better offensive-defensive pairing than this. It’s just too good to be true.
This second line is another example of the blending of veteran leadership and youth. Savard has just come off winning a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning and is actually currently a Montreal Canadien. The Sainte-Hyacinthe, Quebec native, is a true shut-down defenseman, who employs a gritty game and can throw his body around with the best of them.
His complementary factor on this line is Girard, a Roberval, Quebec product who has thrived in his time with the Colorado Avalanche. At just 23 years old, Girard is slowly becoming a marquee defenseman on Colorado’s back-end. His speed, as well as defensive calm with the puck, allow him to slow the game down and create opportunities for his team. This would be the perfect second-line pairing for any team looking to make a statement in the playoffs.
Joseph has shown a lot of promise as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and I do believe he will one day occupy the same role as Kris Letang for the club. Scandella offers defensive stability to this line, as well as gritty hitting in the defensive zone. In all honesty, this third line is not too shabby at all.
In Fleury, you are getting a Vezina Trophy winner, who has enjoyed one of the most illustrious careers amongst all Quebec-born goalies. Although he is getting up there in age (37) I wouldn’t put it past him to churn out another high-octane performance this season. Fleury thrives under pressure and controversy, which is exactly what the hockey mecca of Montreal would bring.
In Bernier, you are getting a proven backup who can easily steal some games for your team; just don’t play him too many nights in a row. Nonetheless, I would love to have Bernier as a backup for his team.
And there we have it, the breakdown of the all-Quebec team. What do you think? Does this team have what it takes to compete for a Stanley Cup? Let me know in the comments below!