R. Aaron Houde Aug 17th, 2019
Oh, Montreal; a franchise rich in success and history. After missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year since the turn of the century, you have seen your fair share of ups and downs. But, in spite of a rather unfortunate showing in the 2017 season, you showed your true colors as you did not go quietly into the night last season. 96 points is a very good showing for a failure to make the post-season. Today, we will take a look at the Montreal Canadiens, their off-season moves, and their predictions for the next season.
Montreal didn’t make any trades for players, only acquiring picks for the future. They did acquire defenseman Ben Chiarot via free agency, as well as goaltender Keith Kinkaid, in an effort to bolster their back end. They also managed to get Nick Cousins via free agency, signing him to a single year deal, which is a pretty good signing at a $1M.
Canadiens lost Andrew Shaw in a deal that sent him back to Chicago and netted them 3 picks (2020 2nd and 7th round pick, and a 3rd round pick in 2021), which is not bad for the aging Right Winger. While Shaw did have a record season last year, getting 3 picks in exchange for him and a 2021 7th round pick is a pretty great deal on Montreal’s side. Montreal also lost defensemen Jordie Benn to free agency, who also had a record season last year. But, Chiarot should be more than enough to make up for Benn, who should see time as a second line Defenseman, and possibly some special teams minutes.
Overview of Changes:
It would seem as though the Canadiens are trying to get ahead of the game concerning rebuilding their franchise. But, that doesn’t mean they will be putting more numbers on the loss column. Looking at the team last year, they were 236 goals against (12th in the league) and 249 goals for (13th in the league), and a solid team. With the minimal moves, they should be an obvious choice as playoff contenders, while planning for an even brighter future as Stanley Cup contenders.
With Shaw leaving, can the rookies and new players pick up the slack? Can Brendan Gallagher and Max Domi find sync with these new guys? Will Shea Weber and the defensive line be able to give the goaltenders the help they need? I think they can, with training camp and pre-season being as fruitful as the team wants for the city of Montreal.
Montreal is a team that does not quit. They have had a few bad seasons as they try to find their feet, but as long as Carey Price stays healthy and consistent, and with Kinkaid as a solid backup goaltender (and possible future starter), you can expect the Habs to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Early exit from the Playoffs.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images