The Montreal Canadiens 2016 NHL season preview!

The Montreal Canadiens 2016 NHL season preview!

Although the results from the Montreal Canadiens since the beginning of the new season indicate that they are one of the main favorites to win the pole position in the Eastern Conference, it is too early to make such statements as there are still plenty of games to be played. Just remember the last season and how they performed a year ago, recording 12 consecutive wins, making everyone believe that they will be at the very top of their conference. However, the second part of the season was absolutely disastrous for the Canadiens, who in the end were even left out from the Play-offs. Honestly, no one really expected such a decline in form and drastic turnaround.

But let’s put our focus on this season only and the things the Montreal Canadiens should do to avoid the repeat of bad form from last season. The Canadiens, as earlier stated, have been absolutely great so far, suffering only 1 defeat, which came in the second round when they visited the Ottawa Senators in an Atlantic Division matchup. Ever since, the Canadiens have been phenomenal, starting an 8-game winning streak and still going strong!!! Despite the fact that 6 of these 8 games came at the home soil, while recording 2 away wins (against Boston and NY Islanders), the Habs certainly have what it takes to extend their winning streak and be among the top teams from the Eastern Conference.

The management has certainly done everything to improve the roster by adding several big names, including the veterans Shea Webber and the KHL MVP Alexander Radulov, who despite their age should be huge reinforcement for the Habs!!! In addition, the two-time Stanley Cup winner Andrew Shaw, Al Montoya and the rookie Mikhail Sergachev were added to the team. Furthermore, the Habs management has reinforced the coaching crew with the acquisition of Kirk Muller, who will act as the assistant coach to Michel Therrien!!!

The New Players on the Block!!!

Webber, an All-Star defensemen, was acquired in a trade that included the departure of the charismatic Norris Trophy-winning defensemen P.K. Subban. Many fans have questioned this deal since Webber is exiting his prime and is considered only as a short term solution for the Habs, while Subban was the face of the franchise and the fans favorite destined to lead the Habs to glory in years to come. This situation has put a heavy burden on Webber, as he will have the most to prove to the Habs fans, trying to convince them that he can be the difference maker!!! So far he has been doing a great job with 4 goals scored and 6 assists into the season, collecting a total of 10 points.

The addition of Alexander Radulov was probably just the same or even a bigger surprise to the Habs fans, considering his past in the NHL, especially with the Nashville Predators when he was benched for missing curfew during the Playoffs!!! However, the last season the NHL MVP seems to have matured and is ready to wash away his past sins. He has been doing a great job so far this season, recording 8 total points (3 goals and 5 assists) in 10 games!!!

Another key to success for the Habs will be staying healthy!!! We have already stated that the Habs went off to a phenomenal start last season, looking like a Stanley Cup contender in October, but ending up missing the playoffs due to the horrible 2nd half of the season performance. The form decline actually started when Carey Price went down with a lower body injury in November last year, which negatively affected his team’s performance.  It is safe to say that the Prices injury was the most devastating one for the Habs overall season record. However, not only Price was out to injuries. In total 23 Canadiens missed games due to injuries during the 82 regular season game stretch. Brendan Gallagher, Brian Flynn, Tom Gilbert, Jeff Petry and Daniel Carr all missed a big chunk of the season to injuries, and most of the missed games were towards the end of the season, which was probably why the Habs have not made the playoffs last year!!!

If the manage to keep Carey Price and the rest healthy this season, with the unit they have, I don’t see a reason why they should not make the playoffs and go deep!!!

Additionally, Max Pacioretty (second year captain) and Alex Galchenyuk (moved to top line center) should go over the 30 goals plateau once again and help the Habs get back on the winning ways. So far they have done a great job as Pacioretty has scored 2 goals with 5 assists (7 points total), while Galchenyuk collected 3 goals and 7 assists (10 points).

Season Prediction:

So far, the Canadiens have collected a total of 19 points (9 wins and 1 loss), topping both the Eastern and Western conference, while scoring 34 goals and allowing only 14. Although their offense has not been the most productive one in the league, their defense has most definitely been the best as they are 1 out of only 2 teams in the entire league to allow under 20 goals (the other team is Columbus Blue Jackets who allowed 19 goals). This is mostly because of the fact that Carey Price is back on ice once again, and if the Habs can keep him healthy for the season, I just don’t see the reason why they should not continue with this pace and record at least 50 wins and be one of the main Stanley Cup contenders!!!

For those who like to put some money on the table and make a bet on the Canadiens matches, the best place the make a return on those bets is to visit the leading Handicapping website in the nation, the Sports Information Traders, and let one of the best handicappers in the business, Jon Price, be the one to help you out win some serious cash!!!

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