2008/09: 41-30-11, 93 pts (2nd in Northeast, 8th in East)
Arrived: Scott Gomez (NYR), Mike Cammalleri (CAL), Brian Gionta (NJ), Travis Moen (SJ), Jaroslav Spacek (BUF), Hal Gill (PIT), Curtis Sandford (VAN), Paul Mara (NYR)
Departed: Alexei Kovalev (OTT), Saku Koivu (ANH), Chris Higgins (NYR), Mike Komisarek (TOR), Tom Kostopoulos (CAR), Robert Lang (UFA), Mathieu Dandenault (UFA), Francis Bouillon (UFA), Alex Tanguay (TB)
Following one of the worst second half landslides in NHL season history, which almost cost the Canadiens a playoff spot, GM Bob Gainey said au revoir to his coach, captian, top scorer, four top 6 forwards and his best shutdown defenceman. With newly appointed Jacques Martins behind the bench the Canadiens will be better defensively, and Carey Price’s numbers should reflect that. Free agent signings Gomez and Gionta will try to rekindle the scoring chemistry they once had in New Jersey, while Mike Cammalleri flourishes under the Montreal spotlight.
FANTASY WORTHY FORWARDS
Mike Cammalleri (LW) – Cammalleri should fit nicely into Montreal’s score on the rush style and will enjoy receiving exceptional passes from playmaker Scott Gomez. Don’t forget he scored 80 points in LA so leaving the Flames and Iginla shouldn’t impact his numbers greatly. You should see just under 40 goals, 80 points and 40 PIMS this season from Cammalleri.
Scott Gomez (C) – Gomez finishined last season with 58 points, tying him for first on the team with Nikolai Zherdev. 58 points was the second lowest team-leading point total in the NHL, behind only Mark Streits’ 56 points on Long Island. The Rangers averaged only 2.44 goals per game last season, placing them 28th in the league, so there is plenty of room for Gomez to improve this season in Montreal. He’s only ever broken 20 goals once in his career, but he should rack up the assists playing between Gionta and Cammalleri. 15-20 goals and 50-plus assists is a good bet. Gomez has never missed more than ten games in a season in his nine year NHL career and can eat up ice-time as he averaged over 21 minutes a game last season.
Brian Gionta (RW) – Most noted for his 48 goal campaign in 05/06 , Gionta has failed to break 25 goals or 60 points in a season since. 60-65 points playing with Gomez and Cammalleri will make Gionta a solid depth winger on your team.
Keep an eye on: Andrei Kostitsyn, Tomas Plekanec
DRAFT WORTHY DEFENCEMEN
Andrei Markov – Markov’s 64 points last season was second among NHL defencemen to Mike Green’s 73, but Markov actually had one more powerplay point than Mike Green to lead all d-men. Markov’s 39 powerplay points put him 6th among all players. He is one of the most underrated players in the league. Show him some respect and draft him high.
Jaroslav Spacek – Spacek had an impressive year on a struggling Sabres team last season recording 45 points. He will have a shot to fill the shoes of Souray and Streit alongside Markov on the Montreal powerplay. Expect 45 points minimum.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Carey Price – Its funny how quickly things can change. A season after taking the Canadiens into the post season as a Rookie, Price was absolutely brilliant and there were was a buzz around Montreal. Carey suffered a groin injury in late December, came back from it too early to play in the All-Star Game in Montreal and it all went downhill from there. He was nearly booed out of the city, recording just 7 wins in his 27 appearances after the injury as the Habs nearly missed the playoffs. If he has any confidence left after last season, Price should be back to form and will lead the Habs back to the post season. Price will go lower in this year’s draft than he should, make sure you time it right.