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Offseason Report: Montreal Canadiens

Jul 16, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

Montreal Canadiens

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

31-35-16, 78 points. Fifth place in the Northeast Division, 15th in the Eastern Conference.

Additions

Brandon Prust, Colby Armstrong

Departures

Brad Staubitz, Chris Campoli (pending — still unsigned)

2012 Draft

1st round, 3rd overall — Alex Galchenyuk, Sarnia (OHL)

Looking back

The biggest changes happened off the ice rather than on it. Montreal has a new GM (Marc Bergevin) to go along with a new head coach (Michel Therrien), new assistants (Gerard Gallant, JJ Daigneault, Clement Jodoin) and new faces in the front office (Rick Dudley, Scott Mellanby, Martin Lapointe and Patrice Brisebois.)

On the ice, the Habs will return almost all of last year’s team — with some added toughness. Prust and Armstrong should bring an edge to a team often accused of playing soft a season ago.

Montreal will also be buoyed by the return to health of captain Brian Gionta, who missed 51 games last year.

Looking ahead

The offseason plan suggests Montreal’s disastrous season wasn’t about the players as it was coaches and management, giving last year’s group another “bite at the apple,” so to speak. Even though that squad finished dead last in the East, there are some compelling pieces:

Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty scored 35 and 33 goals respectively (Montreal was one of just seven teams with two 30-goal scorers last year.)

– The defense could legitimately go eight deep with Andrei Markov, Tomas Kaberle, Josh Gorges, Alexei Emelin, Francis Bouillon, Raphael Diaz, Yannick Weber and the still-to-be-signed P.K. Subban.

Carey Price was the team’s lone All-Star from a year ago and recently signed a six-year, $39 million extension.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of Montreal’s 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

  1. rushledger - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Well I can’t see them being as bad as they were last year but I don’t think there gonna be a playoff team either two players helps with the toughness but they still have soft guys on that team and if Carey price goes down they don’t even have a decent back up there too dependent on 3 or 4 players you can say that about other teams sure but teams like Pittsburgh and even Boston can do well without key guys Montreal lacks depth in many areas I would be surprised I they made they playoffs big time.

    • mehetmet - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      punctuation please

  2. mclovinhockey - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    They also added bouillon who may not be great but puts some physical presence on the back end and he can also produce a bit.

    Watching this team last year all I could say was they needed depth and grit I they want to win some games. They added both of those in the offseason, they have lots of great looking prospects now… Their first 3 rounds will all prob be regulars in the NHL within 5 years. Plus Gallagher is a great prospect who honestly should have been on the team last year.

  3. govtminion - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Better than last year? Well, it wouldn’t take much… so yes, better. Good? Er… not really sure about that one. The pieces are in place to make for a good team. Pacioretty, Subban (let’s be honest, he’ll sign), Cole… I’ll eat crow and say that my assessment a few years ago that Carey Price was a disaster of a goalie was wrong.

    But until they get rid of some of the albatross contracts (Gomez, Kaberle)… they can’t bring in the kind of players that actually would help the cause if they’re tying up all of this money in bad investments. Consider also Andrei Markov- a great talent when he plays, but how often has that been over the past several years? A guy doesn’t help your team much when he plays a dozen games a year, it’s why teams finally started giving up on Peter Forsberg.

    There’s progress, and in a few years Montreal could be a genuinely good team again. But I don’t think it’s this year- I see them missing the playoffs, finishing fourth in the division (ahead of Toronto), and 13th in the conference.

    • habsman - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      Pretty good analysis minion. The Gomez and Kaberle contracts say a lot about the performance of Pierre Gauthier. Both are under contract for two more years, and are un-tradeable. Last year was a total sh!t storm from the top to bottom. But this is basically the same team that was one OT goal away from eliminating your B’s two years ago, without MacPac in the lineup, and Thomas standing on his head. I think they finish 7th or 8th next year while the prospects get a year of seasoning.

  4. capesouth - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    I think they’ll be an 8 seed. Last year, and bad years for any team in general, tend to snowball. So, I don’t think they are all that good but I don’t think they are as bad as we saw last year, either. They’ll push for a playoff spot. I agree that a lot of their players are soft. They need more people like Cole and less like Kaberle. Between Moen, Prust, White, and Armstrong, they are at least making a statement that they want to be tougher to play against. Sometimes that can produce good results for everyone. But they are better than we saw. Cole, Gionta, Subban, Price, Plekanec, Pacioretty, etc..those are all pretty high level guys that will produce, I think…especially after last year. Having new management doesn’t hurt either. It’s a new culture.

  5. istallion - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    I think govtminion may be right, but I too think Habs have enough talent to at least make the playoffs.
    I was hoping they would have signed Semin and then send Gomez to minors to free up cap space, but that doesn’t look like it will happen.
    Kaberle and Bourque have to produce in order for Habs to make some noise. These two cant be useless again as they were after they were traded.
    Is there any chance Habs could trade Pleks and others for Ryan? Here’s dreaming.

  6. rushledger - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Sorry, Montreal still will have a hard time beating Boston when they play even though Boston doesn’t had thomas anymore. Scott Gomez is still in the roster that’s got to be demoralizing to at least some of the players. Prust is what they need but they did overpay but hey I’ve already mentioned Gomez. Colby can be useful but he is injury prone so if he plays at least 50 games I’d be happy for him. Markov is gonna have to be the Powerplay quarter back that he use to be again.

    All in all too many variables almost everything would have to go right and while the management was bad last year the players where very bad also but the management was the scapegoat they won’t have that this year so I look forward to another fun year of hab hijinx of failure.

  7. sjtorpitt - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Cole-deharnais-pacioretty
    Gionta-plekanek-bourque
    Prust-eller-**
    They be good

  8. jacketsfan7 - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    I agree with you @ rushledger , they won’t be a bad team I think they can make it to maybe 35 – 41 wins this season and be a team looking to maybe “just miss” the playoffs by a little or be a 7th or 8th seed team

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