Lars Eller (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
By Matthew Macaskill (@MTLMacaskill)
The Montreal Canadiens started the 2013-14 season with what’s been described as three second lines. Without the star power of a Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, or Alexander Ovechkin among the Habs forwards, the team has fallen back on a system perfected by the Bruins on route to a Stanley Cup in 2011. The Canadiens are hoping a balanced attack from their top nine forwards can carry them through the season and deep in the playoffs.
Triumphant performances will be marked by games during the season where the top three lines each contribute to the scoreboard. However, it’s natural that production will cycle with one line outperforming the others on a game to game basis.
With Montreal’s system in mind, how does one determine the team’s first line and number one center? Is it based on ice time? On salary? On production? Maybe it doesn’t even matter as long as the team is winning, but you bet it will b...