Welcome to the final article in a series spanning 10 (almost 11) decades of the history of the Montreal Canadiens. Throughout this series, we’ve been looking at the history of the oldest hockey team in the NHL from their inception to where we are today. This week we’ll be taking a look at what happened between 2010 and 2018, but before we do that, be sure to check out parts one through ten below.
Part One: Birth and Early Years of the Canadiens
Part Two: 1920-1930, Morenz, Hainsworth, Two Cups
Part Three: 1930-1940, Trading Hainsworth, Return of Lalonde, Tragedy Strikes
Part Four: 1940-1950, The Rocket, Two Canadiens Cups, Shakeups
Part Five: 1950-1960, Welcome Beliveau, Six Stanley Cups, Goodbye Rocket
Part Six: 1960-1970, Plante to New York, Captain Beliveau, Reorganization
Part Seven: 1970-1980, Farewell Beliveau, Six More Cups, Four-Storey Goalie
Part Eight: 1980-1990, Carbonneau, Savard, South Shore ‘Alcatraz’
Part Nine: 1990-2000, Trading Roy, Farewell Rocket, Forum, 24th Cup
Part Ten: 2000-2010, Price, Pacioretty, Captain Koivu, New Beginnings
Without further adieu, let’s jump right into it!
At the beginning of the 2010-’11 season, the Canadiens management officially handed over goaltending duties to Carey Price. At the same time, Brian Gionta was named the team captain following Saku Koivu‘s departure in 2009. After being signed in 2009, and playing for the Hamilton Bulldogs for just one year, P.K. Subban officially joined the big team just in time for the start of the season.
Both Price and Subban proved to be extremely valuable to the team. Subban became the first rookie in franchise history to score a hat trick on March 20th, while Price played a record 72 games and maintained a goals-against average of 2.35. Despite Price’s strong performance, the Habs were eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Bruins.
Alexei Emelin left the KHL at the beginning of the 2011-’12 season to join the Canadiens. Along with a bevy of injuries, the Habs were shaken up when their head coach, Jacques Martin, was fired and replaced by assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth.
With the general manager and owner apologizing for the hire of Cunneyworth, the organization was in turmoil and the leadership of the head coach was undermined. As such, the Habs were unable to truly find their footing despite a top-line comprised of Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole, and David Desharnais and Carey Price’s four shutouts and goals-against average of 2.43.
They did not make the playoffs, but the season didn’t end there. General Manager Pierre Gauthier was replaced by Marc Bergevin, who went on to hire Michel Therrien as the new head coach. At the end of the year, Max Pacioretty was given the Bill Masterton trophy and at the NHL draft, the Canadiens selected Alex Galchenyuk.
The 2012-’13 season didn’t get underway until January of 2013 due to a work stoppage. The Canadiens, joined by Galchenyuk and rookie Brendan Gallagher, lost only one in 19 games played between February 12 and March 23. Many of the team’s younger players such as Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Subban and Greg Pateryn got a chance to shine this season due to injuries from older players.
Subban went on to win the Norris trophy in the shortened season, with 38 points earned in 42 games, becoming the sixth Canadiens player to do so. The team finished second in the Eastern Conference, but were ultimately outed from the playoffs by the Ottawa Senators.
Gallagher, Galchenyuk, and Lars Eller proved to be a formidable force during the 2013-’14 season. Eller himself scored four goals while the trio combined earned a total of 18 points. Pacioretty and Subban led the team in points, with Pacioretty scoring 39 goals and 21 assists for a total of 60 points and Subban scoring 10 goals and 43 assists for a total of 53 points.
Seven different Canadiens players represented their countries at the Olympics in Sochi, though only Price and Subban came home with gold medals. The Canadiens finished the regular season third overall in the NHL, with 46 wins and 28 losses and a total of 100 points. The team swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs and went on to defeat the Boston Bruins before ultimately being eliminated by the New York Rangers.
The Canadiens started their 2014-’15 season without a captain following Brian Gionta’s departure to the Buffalo Sabres. Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty, and Tomas Plekanec were all tapped as potential captains to replace Gionta.
Midway through the season, the Habs learned of the passing of former all star and captain Jean Beliveau at the age of 83. Fans joined the team in mourning as Beliveau’s body lay in state at the Bell Centre for two days before his official funeral at Mary Queen of the World in Montreal. They celebrated Beliveau with a video tribute at their game against the Vancouver Canucks, where they won 3-1.
The Canadiens went on to win the Atlantic Division title with a record of 55-22-10. Price’s efforts during the regular season earned him his first Vezina trophy, Hart trophy, and William M. Jennings trophy. The Habs were unfortunately defeated during the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Max Pacioretty was named the team’s 29th captain just before the start of the 2015-2016 season, with Plekanec, Markov, Gallagher and Subban named as alternates. The team struggled to find their footing early on without Brendan Gallagher and Carey Price, who had both been sidelined due to injuries.
In February, Marc Bergevin made the decision to trade Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann to Chicago in exchange for Phillip Danault. Many young players were given a chance to play, including Charles Hudon, Michael McCarron, Brett Lernout, and Charlie Lindgren, but even the fresh blood couldn’t save the team and they ultimately did not make the playoffs.
Bergevin went to work during the offseason. Lars Eller was traded to Washington in exchange for a second round pick in 2017 and 2018, the team acquired Chicago Blackhawks right winger Andrew Shaw in exchange for their second round selections in the 2016 NHL draft, and they acquired Victor Mete among others at the draft.
In what is perhaps one of the most controversial trades in recent memory, Bergevin made the decision to trade P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Shea Weber on June 29th.
The 2016-’17 season saw the arrival of not just Weber and Shaw, but former NHL and KHL player Alexander Radulov as well. Price became the first goalie in team history to win his first 10 home games, and Weber earned a total of 10 points in October alone.
The team received a shakeup part way through the season when Bergevin made the decision to relieve Michel Therrien of his duties, replaced him with former Habs coach Claude Julien.
In February, Jordie Benn joined the Canadiens in exchange for Greg Pateryn. The team finished the regular season with 103 points at the top of the Atlantic division, with 46 wins and 26 losses and 9 overtime losses. They went on to face the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs, but were ultimately defeated in game six.
It is no secret that the 2017-’18 season was a disappointing one for fans of the Canadiens. They finished sixth in the Atlantic division with 29 wins and 40 losses and a total of 71 points. However, a number of significant trades were made during the year and during the post-season.
- David Schlemko was traded to the Canadiens by the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a 2019 draft pick in June of 2017.
- Zach Redmond was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Nicholas Deslauriers in October of 2017.
- Kyle Baun and Tomas Plekanec were traded to Toronto in exchange for a second round pick in the 2018 draft, Kerby Rychel, and Rinat Valiev in February of 2018.
- Alex Galchenyuk was traded to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Max Domi in June 2018.
Tomas Plekanec was later re-signed to the Canadiens in June of this year.