Regular Season: The Montreal Canadiens made on of the biggest jumps last season, from 15th in the Eastern Conference to 2nd in the span of one year. P.K. Subban went from being scorned for not singing a contract before the season started to celebrated because he won the Norris trophy as the league’s best defenseman.
Playoffs: The post-season was an entirely different story, as the Habs were demolished by the Ottawa Senators in 5 games in the first round.
Ready To Make The Jump: D Jarred Tinordi
BIG 3 FACTORS
1. Size Does Matter: Despite the regular season success, the Canadiens were manhandled by the Senators in the playoffs. Parros is a tough guy but will not play enough to be a factor physically, and in most cases will come in after the damage has already been done. Tinordi should play the full season and will help bulk up the blue line, and there are rumors that first round pick Michael McCarron (6’5″, 230 lbs) will get a look simply for his size. Douglas Murray was a late-summer signing, but his mobility might be more of a hindrance than this size helps.
2. What Does Markov Have Left?: Andrei Markov had a healthy season, which is the exception rather than the rule for the talented but fragile blueliner. With Subban’s emergence, he doesn’t need to be the go to guy, but if he starts missing game with onjury their depth cannot sustain it over a long term.
3. Super Sophomores: The Habs are not deep up front, and they cannot afford for either Alex Galchenyuk or Brendan Gallagher to have any type of sophomore jinx. The pair had great freshman seasons and were at certain times the Canadiens’ best players.
PROGNOSIS: I don’t believe over a full 82 games that the Canadiens are really an elite level team where they could win the division. Nor do I believe they will not be in playoff contention, because the goaltending of Carey Price is too god to let that happen. They will be in fight for the 3rd and 4th playoff spots in the Atlantic division and also battle with the 4th place Metropolitan Division teams for a possible cross-over. They added some size, and talent, but the talent isn’t big and the size isn’t overly talented. They also lack top end talent up the middle, with Galchenyuk still developing into that top-end talent. Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais don’t scare anyone they play against.
PREDICTION: 5th Atlantic Division
We will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th. As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings. Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):
|1||Sept 9||Sept 8||Sept 7||Sept 6|
|2||Sept 5||Sept 4||Sept 3||Sept 2|
|3||Sept 1||Aug 31||Aug 30||Aug 29|
|4||Aug 28||Aug 27||Aug 26||Aug 25|