Last season – 13th in the Eastern Conference
GM – Marc Bergevin
Bergevin raised more than one eyebrow when he decided to trade away PK Subban for Shea Weber right before Subban’s new contract and NMC kicked in. That’s one of those trades that can define your job-security, especially considering how the team basicially collapsed when Carey Price wasn’t there to save it last year. However, he also made deals for Radulov and Shaw, both of which are strong players and will improve the group of forwards. It is safe to say both he and Therrien are on the hot-seat for this year.
Head Coach – Michel Therrien
As long as Bergevin stays, so do Michel Therrien. At least for the time being. He was not able to turn around the team after the season went up in flames, but he is still on a long-term contract with the team. His relationship with Shea Weber should be a lot more stable than the one he had with Subban, so it should be a less contentious year than last season. Therrien has been a solid coach, but patience from the fans will be running thin if they don’t get off to a good start.
Shea Weber (D), Alexander Radulov (RW), Andrew Shaw (C), Al Montoya (G), Mikhail Sergachev (D), Zach Redmond (D),
2nd round pick 2017, 2nd round pick 2018, 7th round pick 2016 (Arvid Henrikson, D)
P.K. Subban (D), Lars Eller (C),
39th overall pick 2016 (Alex DeBrincat, F), 45th overall pick 2016 (Chad Krys, D), 7th round pick 2017
The most insane move of the offseason happened when the Canadiens (Bergevin) decided to trade away franchise defenseman Subban for another franchise defenseman in Weber from Nashville. Other deals included signing Alexander Radulov from the KHL, and giving up two second-rounders for Chicago’s RFA Andrew Shaw before the draft. He was then given a long-term deal by the Canadiens.
Goaltending – 10/10
An injury-free Carey Price in regular form is the top one goaltender in the NHL, and the strongest player on the Canadiens’ roster. Montoya will be a serviceable back-up, but like last year showed, an injury to Price will severely set the team back.
Defense – 8/10
Make no mistake about it, Shea Weber is still a very good defenseman, and will be a great leader for Montreal. At the same time, his play has declined the last few years, and it’s a challenge seeing who the real puck-moving defenseman for Montreal will be. However, it is a solid group of defensive players. Not spectacular, but solid. The conservative coaching from Therrien is a plus for this group, but they will hope Beaulieu fullfils his potential.
Beaulieu – S. Weber
Markov – Petry
Emelin – Pateryn
Redmond – Sergachev
Forwards – 8/10
This has improved from last year, and the first two lines are solid. Gallagher has slowly done the same as Brad Marchand has done in Boston, going from just being thought of as a pest to being a great player. There is no reason Galchenyuk shouldn’t keep producing, and Pacioretty is high class. Shaw brings grit, whereas Radulov has undoubted skills. The question-mark regarding Radulov is of course his attitude, and if he will get distracted by the nightlife in Montreal.
Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Plekanec – Radulov
D. Carr – Desharnais – A. Shaw
Danault – J. Mitchell – Byron
Andrighetto – McCarron
Team Composition – 8/10
A decent group on defense, and a solid group on offense. They have the best goaltender in the league. There is a nice mix of skill and grit, which will work well for Canadiens in the Atlantic Division.
Leadership presence – 8/10
Shea Weber and Max Pacioretty are both true leaders. Someone like Plekanec can also be looked to for guidance and veteran leadership. With Carey Price between the pipes you have someone who leads by pure example. With Shaw you have also added someone who has experience winning Stanley Cups, but his temperament has let both himself and his team down before. Still, as much as I think Subban is the better player, the addition of Weber adds immensely to the leadership-core of the team.
Skill Value – 8/10
Pacioretty, Gallagher and Radulov are all players with high skill. On defense Shea Weber will not exactly be a puck-moving defenseman, but he will be a dominating force on the team. Galchenyuk is no slouch either on the forward-side. Montreal has a good group of players capable of advancing beyond the first round of the play-offs.