|P.A Parenteau – RW||Thomas Vanek – LW|
|Tom Gilbert – D||Brian Gointa – RW|
|Manny Malhotra – C||Josh Gorges – D|
|Joey MacDonald – G||Danny Briere – C|
|Ryan White – C|
|Mike Blunden – RW|
|Devan Dubnyk – G|
In 2013-14, the Canadiens won 46 games, which is the most they have won since 2007-08. In the postseason they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2009-10, but were knocked out by the New York Rangers in six games.
Things may have gone differently had Carey Price not been injured in game 1 vs. New York. Price is the Habs’ most important player and he did his part in 2013-14. He went 34-20-5 with a 2.32 GAA (14th in NHL), .927 SV% (t-3rd) and six shutouts (t-2nd). In 2014-15, he will likely be the second Montreal player off of the board, but he is a top-5 fantasy netminder.
The player who will go before Price is P.K Subban. The 25-year-old continues to grow into an elite NHL defenseman. The Habs made a significant investment in Subban this offseason, signing him to an eight-year contract worth $72 million dollars. (See NHL Numbers for MTL Cap Situation) The $9 million dollar cap-hit makes him the highest paid defenseman in the NHL ($1.2 M more than Shea Weber). Last year he set a career-high and finished fifth among D-men with 53 points in 82 games. He will likely be the second defenseman drafted in September and has a good shot at his first 60-point campaign.
At 35-years-old, Andrei Markov is not slowing down at all (fantasy-wise). He finished fourth among D in points in the lockout shortened year and finished tied for 17th with 43 points (7G / 36A) in 81 games last season. Markov’s skating and defensive abilities have slipped in recent years, but his offensive game is still there. It is only a matter of time before his offensive production starts to dwindle as well, but we think he has at least one more 40-point season in him. The Habs added offensive-minded Tom Gilbert this offseason. Gilbert had three goals and 28 assists in 73 games with the Panthers last year. He gives the Habs a reliable defenseman to play on their second power-play unit behind Subban and Markov.
Up front the Canadiens will look a lot different this season. They lost veterans Thomas Vanek and Brian Gionta to free agency and traded Danny Briere to the Avalanche for P.A Parenteau. Losing those guys will give the Canadiens a different look, but not necessarily in a bad way. Their top-5 remains intact and Parenteau is likely the top candidate to slide in and round-out the top-6. Max Pacioretty is the Habs’ top forward. He scored a career-high 39 goals with 21 assists (60 points) to lead the team for the third straight season. He is a streaky player, which can frustrate owners at times, but he is still worth having on your team because when he gets hot… he gets HOT. Alex Galchenyuk, 20, enjoyed a solid sophomore season and will take another step forward this year. He will eventually be the best forward on this roster, but he still might be one season away. A leap from 30 points to 50 points is not out of the question.
The rest of the Habs’ forward group are solid fantasy contributors. Tomas Plekanec has seen his point totals drop every year since posting 70 points in 2009-10. He will once again play a big role in the offence, but that has not translated into large point totals. He is capable of getting back to 50 points but that 70-point year seems like an anomaly. Undersized forwards David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher both have more upside than Plek. Desharnais will play with Pacioretty which makes him a strong candidate to lead the team in assists. As for Gallagher, he could also be on that top-line, but he is more useful to the Canadiens than your fantasy team. He goes full-tilt every shift and gets under the opponents skin. He couples that with offensive ability that could land him his first 50-point season. He is a nice compliment to Pacioretty, but his offensive upside is somewhat limited.
Look to the Draft (Ranking Habs’ Fantasy Players)
- P.K Subban – D
- Carey Price – G
- Max Pacioretty – LW
- Andrei Markov – D
- P.A Parenteau – RW
- Brendan Gallagher – RW
- Alex Galchenyuk – LW
- Tomas Plekanec – C
- David Desharnais – C
- Tom Gilbert – D
Click HERE for the Canadiens’ potential line combinations heading into the 2014-15 season.
Season prediction: Montreal finishes third in the Atlantic Division and qualifies for the playoffs for the third straight year and seven out of the last eight.
Other Season Previews: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames,Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars,Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild