Who is the odd man in position to start the season?

Montreal Canadiens have plenty of time to see what their opening night roster will look like. One thing is for sure, the attackers will be a veteran-laden group.

There is nothing wrong with that, but when you start trying to combine possible streak combinations for the 2022-23 Canadiens, there is one problem that will go away immediately. There are too many NHL positions on the team right now.

I mean, there are other problems that jump in, like defending them as a whole. Why do they have so many extra wings? With the same goalkeepers, will they have a team providing a 0.888 percentage again?

These are pretty big questions, and reasons why the team will likely never compete for more than one priority spot in the draft lottery again. Carrie Price was a potential magic elixir for a bad team from last season, but it looks like he will be out for a long time again and will be in injured reserve to start the season.

The fact that the LTIR price was set allowed the team to add a future first-round draft pick from Calgary Flames to take on the final year of Sean Monahan’s contract. Bringing Monahan in with his first all-rounder for absolutely nothing was a no-brainer but begs one question.

Who is the strange man in the center?

Nick Suzuki is the team’s number one and no one will be moving him from that role anytime soon. The Canadians also have Christian Dvorak, Kirby Deutch, Jake Evans and now Monahan in the middle. Not all five can play their normal position as center at the same time.

Now, it’s not impossible to move a center to the wing, but who would it be? Of the five, it looks like Evans will take on the closing role, so it doesn’t look like he’s going to move. Dvorak played well late in the season and led the team in scoring in the last quarter with 17 points in 20 games after returning from injury.

So will it be Dash or Monahan? Which newcomer will be moved from his normal position to start the season?

One interesting option would be to move Dach to the right wing on the first line with Suzuki and Cole Caufield. Big Dach, skilled, puck creator, and 3rd overall pick recently for some reason. Putting the 21-year-old in a position to succeed in the long-term makes sense and there are no better places for success in this squad than against Suzuki and Coffield.

Dach has a lot of great tools, but winning encounters is not among them. The 21-year-old won just 32.8% of the 545 matches he played last season. This is the worst percentage for anyone who played regularly in the National Hockey League last season.

The Canadians will likely see him as a long-range center, but the 6’4 wing isn’t a bad fit on a streak with Suzuki and Coffield either. With Monahan only signed for one season, and possibly being traded before the trade deadline, Dach could return to mid-season late in the season once he deals with Monahan.

With Monahan here for a short time, it doesn’t make sense to trade Dvorak or Evans to make room in the middle of the former flame.

Monahan himself is another option to move to the wardBut he will have the most turnover if he stays in the position and rediscovers his scoring touch. Starting him at the center and moving Dach to the wing would make more sense for now.

Dach could have a long career in the center in front of him, and could continue to work on standoffs all season in training without actually playing a center stage in matches.

After the trade deadline, Canadians can go with Suzuki, Dvorak, Dash and Evans in the center. It will be interesting to see what they do to start the season, but moving Dach to the winger and giving him every opportunity to start the season well and gain confidence on a streak with the Habs’ top offensive players is an interesting prospect.

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