Montreal had the biggest collapse I’ve seen from a team in a season. They started the season winning their first 9 games, and they looked like a team to beat. Around November, Carey Price went down, but they were still able to tread water and stay well ahead of everybody else in the atlantic. After being back one game, Carey Price re-injured his knee and was out the remaining of the season. The Canadiens also saw Brendan Gallagher go down for awhile, and when the first week of December came, everything spiraled. They saw themselves only win only 3 games, including a 1-10-0 stretch. It coincidentally commenced when Alex Semin’s contract was terminated. Of course, that had no effect, but as someone who’s been a Semin apologist since his strong first two seasons with Carolina, I couldn’t help but chuckle a bit. Still, it was hard to watch since I do have a liking for the Habs.
Overall, I think they had an above average offseason. First came the trade for Andrew Shaw, capitalizing on the Blackhawks’ cap issue. He is an upgrade from Lars Eller, but it doesn’t help their scoring issue. Still, I think it was a solid move for the top 9. They then went on to trade Subban for Shea Weber. I don’t see this as an awful trade, but I don’t get the point of it. I guess Weber may have a better shot and more grit, but he is getting past his prime while Subban is just entering his. Personally, I would take Subban over Weber; I think he is the better defenseman overall.
Montreal acquired another goaltender, signing Al Montoya. While they’ve went after an abundance of goaltenders over the last year, I like this move. He’s had some bad seasons, but also some great ones. Last season for Florida, he averaged a .919 save percentage and a 2.18 goals against average. Last season, Mike Condon posted a .903 save percentage and 2.71 goals against average, which isn’t much better than Montoya’s worst years, so I believe it is an upgrade in the backup position. It also gives them a bit more security if Price goes down again.
The biggest question for me will be how Alex Radulov performs. I’m assuming Montreal’s hope with him is that he’ll help with scoring. He has been a top scorer in the KHL, last season tallying 23 goals and 42 assists in 53 games, but it is uncertain how much that will translate to the NHL. His last full season in the in NHL back in 2007-2008, he did post 26 goals and 32 assists, but that was 8 seasons ago.
I believe they will rebound this season and make the playoffs, especially if Price stays healthy. I don’t see them contending for the Cup, however.