Montreal Canadiens Season Preview

The Good

GM Marc Bergevin was able to add to his roster by bringing in forwards Manny Malhotra and P.A. Parenteau (though trade) along with defenseman Tom Gilbert.  Parenteau will be counted on to provide offense in their top six, whereas, Malhotra will be utilized as a faceoff specialist, thus taking pressure off of Plekanec and allowing him to focus more on his offensive game.  In my opinion, Tom Gilbert was the smartest signing that the Habs made this off-season (aside from extending Subban of course) because the Habs now have 3 right handed shooting defensemen and 3 left handed shooting defensemen thus giving their defense much more flexability.

The Question Mark?

With Brian Gionta (free agent) and Josh Gorges (trade) now in Buffalo, the question in Montreal is who will emerge as the leader(s) in the locker room.  Many people have pointed to the likes of Markov, Plekanec, Pacioretty, and Subban as possible choices.  The question still remains, with the loss of a lot of leadership, will the Habs have enough voices in the locker room to help them though the tough times that come with an 82 game schedule and the grind of the playoffs?

The X-Factor

CAREY PRICE.  We have seen it over the last two seasons in Montreal.  Two years back during the lockout shortened season, Price was having a fantastic year and after the Habs clinched a playoffs spot, it seamed like the team, and Price in particular, had taken their foot off the gas.  That trend continued into the post season as the Habs were tossed aside in 5 games by the Ottawa Senators.  This past season, Price had a Vezina worthy season, won Olympic gold and carried that momentum into the post season.  He led Montreal to the conference finals.  If Price can emulate his season from a year ago, the Habs have a great chance of duplicating or even making it further this coming season.

Prediction

3rd place in Atlantic Division; 2nd round loss in playoffs to Tampa Bay Lighting

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