We are 12 days away from the start of the NHL season. The scheduling of your Fantasy Hockey drafts have begun. The DraftKit is on sale and it is time to start previewing the 2016-17 NHL season.
I will be previewing two teams every day and each preview will consist of: Projected Line Combinations, a breakdown of each team’s top Fantasy assets, a look at their goaltending situation and 2016-17 NHL Standings projection.
If you don’t want to wait for the previews, buy our 2016-17 DraftKit—which has previews for every team as well as projections for over 300 players and goalies. You will get rankings and projections on here over the next few weeks, but why wait, when you can get it all right now for just $4.95?
Let’s take a look at the Montreal Canadiens.
|Shea Weber – D – (from NSH)||P.K. Subban – D – (to NSH)|
|Alexander Radulov – RW – (from KHL)||Lars Eller – C – (to WSH)|
|Andrew Shaw – C – (from CHI)||Tom Gilbert – D – (to LAK)|
|Al Montoya – G – (from FLA)||Victor Bartley – D – (to MIN)|
|Zach Redmond – D – (from COL)||Michael Bournival – LW – (to TBL)|
Entering the 2015-16 season, the Canadiens were riding a three-year playoff streak and had high hopes after finishing first in the Atlantic Division in 2014-15. After getting off to an 11-2-0 start to the season, Montreal looked like they were well on their way to another division title. And then…Carey Price got hurt and would only play in three more games in 2015-16. After that the Canadiens would go 27-36-6 in the next five months and miss the playoffs.
Coming into 2016-17, Price is healthy and the Canadiens will look very different than they have in years past. Everything begins and ends with Price. Two years ago he won the Vezina Trophy by winning 44 games with an impressive 1.96 goals against average (GAA), .933 save percentage (SV%) and nine shutouts. He picks up where he left off to start 2015-16, going 10-2-0 with a 2.06 GAA, .934 SV% and two shutouts through his first 12 starts, before the knee injury sidelined him. The 29-year-old is arguably the best goalie in the NHL and he comes in off of the heels of a great World Cup of Hockey performance and should get off to another hot start this season. Price will have a new backup in 2016-17, with Al Montoya coming over from Florida this summer. Mike Condon also remains in the picture as the Habs’ No.3 option.
The Canadiens will have a lot of new faces after a busy summer, but no move was bigger than trading P.K. Subban to the Predators for Shea Weber. The 31-year-old defenseman comes over after spending the first 11 years of his career with Nashville. Weber has one of the biggest shots in the NHL and comes to Montreal having scored 58 goals over the last three years—which ranks third among all blueliners. Weber is the only new defenseman in Montreal with the rest of last year’s group returning. Nathan Beaulieu appears to be the favourite to play with Weber thanks to his skating ability. If it isn’t Beaulieu, look for Andrei Markov to skate with Weber, but that pair would seriously lack foot speed. Markov remains a great fantasy defenseman with Subban out of the picture. The 37-year-old has only missed two games over the last four seasons and ranks 10th among defensemen in points (167) over that span. His age will likely scare some people away on draft day, but don’t let it fool you. He is a quality point-producer who picks up a tonne of points on a Canadiens’ power-play that should be much better than last year (16.2%).
The biggest change to the Canadiens’ forward group is the addition of Alexander Radulov. The mercurial character has had some behavioural issues during his tumultuous NHL career with Nashville before he returned to Russia. During his time in the KHL, Radulov collected 238 points (78G / 160A) in 181 games. There is no denying his offensive ability, but the Canadiens are hoping he has matured since his last NHL stint. Radulov joins a top-6 that is led by sniper Max Pacioretty, who has scored 30-plus goals in four consecutive 82-game seasons and 2015-16 breakout Alex Galchenyuk. The 22-year-old posted solid numbers in his first three seasons, but exploded for 30 goals and 26 assists last season and should build on that with an improved Habs’ offence this season. Brendan Gallagher is the other key member of the top-6 and he is coming off of an injury riddled season that saw him post his best point-per-game numbers of his career. The 24-year-old winger was limited to 53 games, but scored at a 29-goal, 33-assist (62 points) per 82-game pace. Veteran centres Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais remain in town and have been relatively consistent point-producers over the years. Plekanec could find himself on a line with Radulov, which should him post big numbers this season. Desharnais on the other hand has been bumped out of the top-6 and should skate along newcomers Andrew Shaw, who was acquired from Chicago this summer and Artturi Lehkonen, who was a 2013 second-round pick and is coming over after two years in Sweden with Frolunda HC.
Overall, the Canadiens have the look of a team who will get back into playoffs in 2016-17. Price is an elite netminder who plays behind a steady blueline and a powerful offence—that’s a recipe for success.
Canadiens in the DFO Top 275:
- 16. Carey Price – G
- 28. Max Pacioretty – LW
- 46. Alexander Radulov – RW
- 49. Shea Weber – D
- 67. Alex Galchenyuk – C
- 127. Brendan Gallagher – RW
- 158. Andrei Markov – D
- 171. Tomas Plekanec – C
2016-17 Season Projection:
Montreal will get back into the playoffs and should battle with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers for Atlantic Division supremacy.