Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens - Game FiveBy sending rookie forward Jacob de la Rose to the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Canadiens reduced their roster to the mandatory twenty-three players for their season opener Wednesday in Toronto.

There were three so-called “bubble” players at the end of training camp, de la Rose, Michael Bournival and Travis Moen.  In the end, with nothing attractive in the trade market, it was a fairly easy call.   Of the three, de la Rose was the only one that did not require waiver clearance.

In the span of one year, the changes Marc Bergevin has made in the Canadiens have been remarkable.  More than forty percent, a total of ten players who opened last season are no longer in the organization including forwards Brian Gionta, Daniel Briere, George Parros and Ryan White; defensemen Josh Gorges, Raphael Diaz, Francis Bouillon and Douglas Murray plus goaltender Peter Budaj.

Are the Canadiens better this season?   Will P.A. Parenteau be a major upgrade on Gionta?  Sekac seems to be a better alternative than Briere.  I think Malhotra gives Michel Therien more options than did Ryan White.  Wiese for George Parros is clear win.  Tom Gilbert gives the defense some puck-moving ability that Josh Gorges couldn’t and Weaver replaces some of Gorges shot blocking.  Summing it up, most of those changes are upgrades but not they kind that will take the team over the top.

IT’S ABOUT THE KIDS

Where the Canadiens are making major strides are in the continued development of the young players on their main roster and the depth of talent being built up on their Hamilton farm club.  Alex Galchenyuk is now showing signs he’s ready to become a high impact player.  Gallagher, Eller, Bournival, Beaulieu, Tinordi and Tokarski all still in various stages of development and will improve as the season progresses.  And knocking on the door at the likes of de la Rose, Christian Thomas, Sven Andrighetto Darren Dietz and Greg Pateryn all of whom made an impression during training camp.

The Canadiens aren’t there yet, but they continue to march in the right direction.

This should be the Canadiens opening night lineup Wednesday night in Toronto

 Pacioretty – Desharnais – Parenteau

Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher

Bourque – Eller – Sekac

Prust – Malhotra – Weise

Moen –  Bournival

Subban – Emelin

Gilbert – Markov

Weaver – Beaulieu

Price

Tokarski

Extras – LW-Moen, C-Bournival, D-Tinordi