We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects.
Today, we take a look at the Montreal Canadiens.
By: Ken Will (@PensNation_Ken)
2013 Season: 29-14-5, 63 pts (1st Northeast Division, 2nd Eastern Conference)
Defensemen Douglas Murray is among the new faces in Montreal this season (CBC.com)
D Douglas Murray (PIT)
C Martin St. Pierre (FA)
RW Stefan Fournier (FA)
LW Nick Tarnasky (BUF)
W Daniel Briere (PHI)
W George Parros (FLA)
RW Christian Thomas (NYR)
G Mike Condon (FA)
D Joe Stejskal
RW Alexander Avstin
W Colby Armstrong (Växjö Lakers SHL)
F Blake Geoffrion (Retired)
D Frederic St. Denis (CBJ)
LW Philippe Lefebvre (FLA)
W Michael Ryder (NJ)
D Yannick Weber (VAN)
RW Danny Kristo (NYR)
D Jason DeSantis
RW Sebastian Colberg
D Nathan Beaulieu
D Jarred Tinordi
G Zachary Fucale
Biggest Signing: Daniel Briere 2 Years at $4 Million
Who shows up in 2013-14: The Montreal Canadiens who stormed out of the gate and surprised the National Hockey League early last season or the Habs who fizzled down the stretch and were nearly overtaken by the Boston Bruins for the division title? That is the question that everyone surrounding this team is asking, and second-year head coach Michel Therrien will be out to prove that last year was no fluke.
Unlike last January, the Canadiens enter this season with P.K. Subban’s status set in stone. After missing the opening of the abbreviated ’13 campaign, Subban managed 38 points in 42 games–including seven power play goals–good enough for second in team scoring. Of the top ten scorers on last year’s team, all but Michael Ryder (21 points) are returning. In his place will be newly acquired Danny Briere, who will be looking to bounce back following a disappointing season in which he only managed six goals and ten assists in 34 games.
At the front of the Canadiens resurgence last season was the performance of rookies Brendan Gallagher and Alax Galchenyuk. Both players are hoping to avoid the sophomore slump, and Montreal will be relying on them to continue their scoring ways if they wish to be successful.
But the concerns with the Canadiens have less to do with offense, and more to do with the blue line. P.K. Subban headlines a defensive corps along with Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov. After that, there are a lot of question marks. Montreal added Douglas Murray during the offseason, but as Penguins’ fans know, Murray isn’t exactly a fleet footed defensemen who can log substantial minutes through an 82-game season. Murray, along with Francis Bouillon, Raphael Diaz, Davis Drewiske and Alexei Emelin will battle it out for the other three regular spots in the Canadiens lineup.
Between the pipes, the Canadiens enjoy a stable tandem of Carey Price and Peter Budaj. Price is an odds on favorite to get the call for Team Canada in February, so Budaj’s role will be crucial to Price staying fresh down the stretch run.
Expect the Canadiens to make a run at the Atlantic Division title this season. The critique on this club is whether or not they can stay consistent, and that’s fair. Are the young Habs here to stay? Montreal has a lot to prove in the 2013-14 Season.
Ken Will (@PensNation_Ken)