Montreal Canadiens Report Cards

Goaltending

Carey Price – A-

Price is still the backbone of this team. His ability to keep his team in the game despite a disheartening amount of scoring proves this. Murmurs around Montreal of trading him are idiotic at best. When Price is a Vezina nominee during a season where he doesn’t quite meet expectations, keep him as long as possible. If he wants out, the market will be just as incredible for him next summer.

Al Montoya – C

I’m still scratching my head why this player was signed and Condon was let go. If the organization is higher on Lindgren, that’s great, but Montoya’s presence serves little here. Even more puzzling is the extension with Lindgren playing fantastic hockey in St John’s. Pointless hire.

Charlie Lindgren – A

Lindgren was better than Montoya in starts down the stretch. He also played great in the AHL. He’s far ahead of the curve the organization had in mind for him, which makes the extension to Montoya even more questionable. I would be surprised if this management gave him the back-up position next season. He must play as many games as possible in case Price gets hurt, or is case Price decides he wants out.

Defencemen

Shea Weber – A-

After a stellar first quarter of the season, Weber settled in and was a nice piece on the backend. He’s certainly not as flashy as Subban, but he also doesn’t get caught very often out there. No denying his efficiency and the fact that he’s an intimidating force out there… ask New York’s Miller.

Andrei Markov – A

Everyone was expecting Markov to get moved down the depth chart and become a PP specialist. Wrong. Markov is aging like a fine wine and there is absolutely no reason not to re-sign him. The interesting part of this negotiation will be dollars and term. I’d say 8M over 2 years would be ideal, will it be enough?

Jeff Petry - B

Petry has been a polarizing player for a very simple reason: Consistency. When Petry is on, he skates like the wind and pushes the offensive pace for the team. When he’s off, his pinches are awful and he’s stick-checking all over the ice. The good Petry is a force that is needed on this team. The bad Petry is risky and frustrating to watch.

Alexei Emelin – C+

Emelin was having himself a fine season until the coaching change. When Julien arrived, we quickly understood that intelligence was not Emelin’s strong suit as it seemingly took him a long time to grasp the new way of playing. He was deservedly scratched, but his absence was noticeable in the very physical series against New York. Emelin as the team’s 4th defender is fine. The problem is Sergachev needs some playing time in the top 4 and Emelin’s 4.1M per is far too much for what he brings.

Nathan Beaulieu – F

The Subban trade was supposed to be Beaulieu’s coming out party. Beaulieu was yet again given new life with the coaching change. By the time it was all over, Beaulieu was a healthy scratch for the final game of the season. Hopefully Bergevin is intelligent enough to trade Beaulieu prior to the expansion draft. Habs have more expensive players that need to be Vegas bait. (See Emelin or Plekanec)

Jordie Benn – B

Solid acquisition that can really solidify the third pairing. Don’t expect the stellar play to last over 82 games, but at that salary, he’s allowed to have a few off games over the course of the season. Habs need to make sure they keep this guy… and acquire his brother if possible.

Brandon Davidson – C

This young player is intriguing. I’m interested in what he can bring with a full healthy season. For this season, he was used sparingly and played as such.

Nikita Nesterov - F

Give credit to Bergevin for trying when Beaulieu was struggling. This player is not an NHL regular on a team winning its division. Far too soft, far too risky with the puck.

Forwards

Alexander Radulov – A

The only thing worth complaining here is that Bergevin only signed him for one season. Now he’ll be more expensive. Let’s hope Bergevin gets it done and Radulov continues to work this hard next season. With a team this offensively deprived, the Habs can’t afford to let him go.

Max Pacioretty – B

Pacioretty is an elite scorer in the league that is defensively responsible and kills penalties. He completes his tasks for 4.5M per season. The hate needs to stop. He’s streaky, he’s also still valuable when not scoring. To me, he’s an elite scorer that needs to not be “the guy”. He also needs some proven secondary scoring on the team to get the coverage off him. See Kessel in Pittsburgh as a good comparable.

Alex Galchenyuk – C

I’m so torn about this player. Prior to his knee injuries, he had scored roughly 70 points in his last 82 games. If he can get in camp in that shape and do that, why do we want a 200 player for? Is Seguin amazing defensively or at face-offs? However, a failure to find that pace will diminish his trade value. If Montreal gets a without a doubt win in a trade for him, I’ll accept the many trade propositions that are out there. But flat-out giving up on the kid would be a mistake.

Philip Danault – B

Better served as a third-line center, Danault works hard and played his way into a more prominent role on the team. His ability to do so highlights the teams flagrant need of help down the middle, but that’s not really his fault. Serviceable player that can fill any of the 4 spots down the middle.

Brendan Gallagher – C

It was a down year for Brendan with a nice stretch run capped off by some solid play in the post-season. My worry with Gallagher is that with his size, his body is starting to break down. And with a series of hand injuries, one has to wonder about his ability to cash in the dirty stuff in front of the net. As much as it pains me to said this, it might be time to look at trading the small warrior before it’s too late.

Artturi Lehkonen – A

I can’t remember the last time I saw rookie get better as the season progressed. Lehkonen’s impressive progress highlights the organizations sad inability to develop their own draft picks. Lehkonen is impressive though and if he can continue to produce like he did down the stretch, the Habs have themselves a very intelligent and skillful second line winger behind Pacioretty for years to come.

Tomas Plekanec – F

There’s no argument from me that Plekanec is solid away from the puck. At a 6M cap hit, that is not sufficient in the cap era. Production needs to accompany such a lofty salary, and he’s my number one candidate that needs to be moved out of town. There are way too many smart ways to spend that amount of cap space.

Andrew Shaw – D

Allow me to groan at the acquisition of Shaw. He played much better once Therrien was shown the door, but the skill simply isn’t there. Much like Emelin and Plekanec, the main problem with Shaw is the accompanying salary, and in this case, term. Here’s hoping we can see a full season of April Shaw to shut me up because I’m well aware that he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Paul Byron – A

One of the better value contracts in the entire league, I’m not sold ti-Paul can repeat what happened in 2017-2018. Then again, with his speed, his ability to kill penalties and his small cap-hit, he doesn’t really have to.

Steve Ott – C

I enjoyed this player way more than anticipated. I would be okay with bringing him back to split playing time with Mitchell.

Dwight King – D

Don’t want him back but he was treated rather unfairly by the fan base in my eyes. He came as advertised. Everyone always wants him to find another gear that doesn’t appear to be in him. Too bad considering he seems to have the smarts and the skills.

Andreas Martinsen – D

Intense player that crashes hard but often gets caught out of position. I’ll give more ice-time to McCarron instead of this guy if given the chance.

Brian Flynn – F

Never understood his presence in any game, nevermind Game 6 vs. New York. Happy trails.

Mike McCarron – C

Nothing left for him to learn in the A. Doesn’t have the skill to be higher than a 4th liner. Let’s let him play there, get some comfort and allow his mean streak to come out to play in the playoffs.

Torrey Mitchell - C

Speed and some skill, but can’t really play any higher than the fourth line. Useful against more skilled opponents. Could split time with Ott who would draw in against the most physical teams.

Management

Marc Bergevin – C

I wanted to give him a D, but the coaching change was a solid move. His inability to bring in scoring was frustrating, though it appears clear with the lack of movement that the prices were completely stupid. Hard to judge.

Claude Julien – C

I was happy with the hire and with the majority to personnel movement done under Julien. What gets me is the complete change of the team strategies in the post-season. If the Habs are permanently changing to play this style all year long in 2017-2018, fine. Otherwise, it made absolutely no sense. Time will tell.

Thanks for reading,

Kevin

Follow me on Twitter: @kev1586