Following the P.K. Subban trade to Nashville for Shea Weber, there seemed to be paranoia in the city. Everyone was singularly focused on the potential loss for the team.
Personally, I am a huge P.K., fan so I am not about to tell you about how much better the team will be without him. Instead, let me shed some light on the things Habs’ fans can look forward to for the upcoming season.
First and foremost, it will be a new hockey season and you will get to watch your favourite team play again. What’s better than that? Perhaps winning, but certainly don’t count Montreal out.
The Canadiens goaltender, Carey Price, is the best in the world and he will be starting the season fully healthy. The team struggled greatly last season. Although there were a number of factors, not having their best player available for 70 games certainly hurt the team. Look for a highlight-reel bounce-back season from their superstar goaltender.
The Canadiens are going to be a tough team to play against. Having Andrew Shaw and Brendan Gallagher on the same team is going to be a nightmare for opposing goaltenders and that will certainly work in the Canadiens’ favour.
On the back end, the Habs also now have two defensemen known for their aggressive style of play. As teams come into Montreal’s zone, they will have to keep their heads up and feet moving to avoid heavy checks from Shea Weber and Alexei Emelin. Shea Weber also has another characteristic that makes him so difficult to play against: he possesses the hardest shot in the league.
Being difficult to play against is definitely a title Marc Bergevin seems to be going for with his off-season additions. The Canadiens’ man advantage play has been struggling of late as their power play percentage of 16.2 was the sixth worst in the league this past season. The fact that they needed to change something comes as no surprise and Weber might just be the right man for the job. He led all defensemen with 14 power play goals last season.
Alex Galchenyuk was drafted third overall in the 2012 entry draft as a centre. Up until this past season, when the team was riddled with injuries, he was never given much of an opportunity to continue to grow in that position. Once given the chance, he certainly proved himself to be capable of first line centre responsibilities.
Many would call the 2015-2016 stint, Galchenyuk’s breakout year and deservingly so. The youngster reached the 30 goal plateau, something no other Canadien besides Max Pacioretty has done since Galchenyuk entered the league. Alex Galchenyuk registered a personal best in goals (30), assists (26), and shooting percentage (14.9.) It is also interesting to note he registered a career low in penalty minutes with just 20. Assuming management allows him to continue at centre, he will be someone to watch.
Habs fans have known for a while that they are in desperate need of another high-scoring winger. Over the off-season, Marc Bergevin signed Alexander Radulov from the KHL to a one-year deal. Radulov has previously played in the NHL and had different issues, which Shea Weber said were purely maturity issues.
Radulov has spent the last four seasons in the KHL. When Bergevin reached out to Radulov’s general manager in the KHL, he was assured that Radulov has matured greatly, even earning his position as captain of the team. Bergevin’s gamble on signing Radulov was a risk but one with high potential for reward. During the last four seasons in the KHL, Radulov earned a total on 238 points in the span of 181 games. Only time will tell whether or not he can thrive in the NHL again but this could be the player Montreal really needed to generate offense.
Like me, even if you are a Montreal Canadiens’ fan missing Subban, you still have a ton to look forward to.