Sunday, August 14, 2011

Off Season Review: Montreal Canadiens

In Review
After a strong post season in 09/10 highlighted by the arrival of P.K. Subban the 10/11 season began with a lot of hope for a return to the post season and more success. Those hopes were slightly derailed after game seven when star defender Andrei Markov went down with a season ending knee injury for the second straight year!

Montreal lost another key defender for the year when Josh Gorges a knee injury as well. The injuries forced GM Pierre Gauthier to get some help and he added James Wisniewski. Wisniewski filled the gap well but left via free agency this summer. Last season was the coming out party for starting goalie Carey price as he helped carry the team through injuries by posting impressive 38 wins, 2.35 GAA, and .923 save % in 72 games. The Montreal and Boston age old rivalry was a significant focus last season after a game in February that featured 14 goals and tons of fights. Then a few weeks later in the rematch max Paciorety was driven head first into the boards in a violent collision with Boston’s Zdeno Chara. The incident sparked much controversy and even came under legal scrutiny.  Then the Habs and Bruins meet in the conference quarter finals and Boston won in game seven. In the summer the Habs said good bye to Wisniewski, and Hamrlik and signed Erik Cole to help bolster the offence.

Depth Chart
Left Wing                               Center                         Right Wing
Mike Cammalleri                                   Tomas Plekanec                   Brian Gionta
Max Pacioretty                                     Scott Gomez                          Erik Cole
Travis Moen                                         David Desharnais                                Andrei Kostitsyn
Mathieu Darche                                   Lars Eller                                Ryan White

Left Defense                          Goal                            Right Defense
P.K. Subban                                          Carey Price                            Andrei Markov
Josh Gorges                                          Peter Budaj                            Hal Gill
Jaroslav Spacek                                                                                    Alexi Yemelin
Yannick Weber                                                                                     Raphael Diaz

Top Breakout
David Desharnais-Scored 22 points in 43 games. May leap frog Gomez on depth chart and play second line
Top Rookie
Alexi Yemelin-Little fantasy value, but the big Russian will make his presence felt!
Hidden Gem
Max Pacioretty-The Chara hit ended what was starting to look like a breakout
Don’t Draft
Scott Gomez-A pitiful 38 point season wont be good enough to keep a top six role. He may drop further!
Andrei Markov-2 seasons lost to knee injuries. Even if he plays a full season he will never be the same.
Best fantasy value
Carey Price and P.K. Subban are money in the bank

Fantasy outlook
Montreal is a good regular season team. Very good special teams and elite goaltending and excellent team speed make them a strong team. Montreal sorely lacks any physical presence however and in the spring when the stakes are higher and the penalties are few and far between can the Habs stand up to the physical abuse.  Unless Gauthier makes some moves and adds some grit and sand paper the key to beating Montreal will continue to be to beat on them!

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