Times are tough in the entourage of the Montreal Canadiens. They are on pace to have one, if not their worst season in franchise history. Embarrassing, to say the least. The only silver lining is it finally pushed team owner, Geoff Molson, to make significant changes to the team's brass.
But I'm sure you've had more than enough of reading so many depressing articles on the state of the Habs' over the past few weeks. So I thought I'd change it up a little.
Let's play a game. Let's hop into a time machine. Going all the way back to the 1980's, I wanted to find a player on the current roster of the Canadiens that reminds me of a player of old. Not in terms of a physical resemblance, but more so with regards to their style of play.
So here goes:
The first one is an obvious one. Several friends and people in media have noted how similar their style and attributes are: I'm referring to Tyler Toffoli and Michael Ryder. Both, no doubt, are elite snipers, but neither would be considered a smooth-skater. The way they handle the puck, shoot, heck even the body language and demeanor makes them in my opinion the most obvious doppelgangers.
Another pair I also see quite a bit of resemblance with is Alex Romanov and...wait for it...Igor Ulanov (check his stats he had an understated career). Big frame, physical, solid defender in his own zone, but lacking offensive ability (though that might change in Romanov's case though he hasn't shown many flashes thus far in his young career that he will be a point producer).
Josh Anderson is a freight train. Great forechecker, with exceptional wheels for a big man. But no one would confuse him with Cam Neely or Alex Ovechkin. 20 goals seem like a ceiling for the Canadiens power winger. He also doesn't have much in the way of playmaking ability and hockey IQ would likely be considered average. In many ways, he reminds me of Mike McPhee, a very serviceable 3rd line player on the Canadiens of the 80s.
Jeff Petry has all the tools to be an elite defenseman in the NHL, year after year: incredible skating ability, good range, and active stick, relatively solid hockey IQ, a solid shot, size, etc etc. But his career has unfortunately been plagued by inconsistency. Some moments he looks like an all-star D-man, and others, he seems completely lost on the ice. A career underachiever, much like a player who donned the Canadiens jersey in the 1990s: Vladimir Malakhov.
Here are a few more ones (perhaps less obvious) I came up with. By all means, feel free to chime in with other (better) suggestions:
Ben Chiarot: Craig Rivet
Jake Allen: Brian Hayward
Nick Suzuki: Doug Gilmour (albeit only a Hab for 2 seasons)
Mike Hoffman: Brian Savage
Brendan Gallagher: Claude Lemieux
Joel Edmundson: how bout a Mike Lalor/Craig Ludwig hybrid?
Artturi Lehkonen: Mike Keane
Joel Armia: Guillaume Latendresse
Paul Byron: Oleg Petrov
Christian Dvorak: Sergei Zholtok