The Montreal Canadiens finished 3rd in the Atlantic Division last season. They swept Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs and defeated Boston in a 7 game series in the second round, but lost to the New York Rangers in round 3.
Their offense wasn’t the best last year, scoring 215 goals, but their defense was great, only allowing 204 goals against, good enough for 6th in the league. They had a up and down offseason.
They lost their captain, Brian Gionta, this offseason and the production he brings with it. They also lost Briere. That’s a total of 31 goals gone. Who they acquired may be able to fill in the lack of production, though. For the empty captain role, I believe it will either be given to Subban or Pacioretty.
The Canadiens picked up PA Parenteau after losing Briere and Gionta to maintain some offense. The move is questionable, though. After great seasons with the Islanders, notching 53 points in 2011 and 67 points in 2012, his production has not been the same with Colorado. While this could be a fresh start for him, there will be more pressure to play well in Montreal. If he does do well, he can bring about 20 goals and, when on top of his game, set up many more.
Montreal picked up some depth defensively after losing Josh Georges by acquiring Tom Gilbert. He doesn’t fill Georges’s role, but he isn’t bad to have. Still, I’m not worried about them defensively, especially with Carey Price as the last line of defense.
Even after saying he would retire if Carolina didn’t re-sign him, Manny Malholtra decided to take a contract with Montreal. This was a smart move by the Canadiens. He will fill the loss of Ryan White nicely. He led in face-off percentage last season, mainly because he will take it on the back hand on either side of the ice. He is a very solid all-around bottom six forward; he logged a good amount of playing time as a fourth-liner, averaging over 11 minutes TOI per game. Scoring 7 goals and 13 points during the season, he held a shot percentage of 13.9%.
I expect the Canadiens to be just as strong as last season and have a chance at winning the Stanley Cup. I believe Parenteau will end up playing well for them, as well as Manny Malholtra. I think they have good leadership with Malholtra and Pacioretty, who seems to be ready for the “C”.