Isles Talk continues it’s 2014-15 season preview of a team that made big strides last year by coming up two games short of a Stanley Cup appearance, the Montreal Canadiens. After sweeping the Tampa bay Lightning and beating out their biggest rival, the Boston Bruins in a seven game series, the Canadiens fell to the New York Rangers without their star goalie Carey Price who was injured by the Rangers Chris Kreider. Nevertheless, the Canadiens gave the Rangers everything they had and their wasn’t disappointment when it was all said and done.
Record: 46-28-8 100 points; 3rd in the Atlantic Division; 4th in Eastern Conference
Additions: F P.A. Parenteau; F Manny Malhotra; D Tom Gilbert; F Jiri Sekac
Subtractions: F Danny Briere; F Thomas Vanek; F Brian Gionta; F Ryan White; F Louis Leblanc; D Josh Gorges
Players to watch: D Nathan Beaulieu; D Jarred Tinordi
My take: This will be a changing of the guard of sorts for the Canadiens. With former locker room leaders such as Gionta and Gorges now departed, that responsibility will turn to P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty. Will we see improvements from Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk? I think that would be a good bet. Having seen him on Long Island with the Islanders, I like the trade for Parenteau and getting Malhotra will certainly help in the faceoff department. Adding a player like Gilbert only strengthens the Montreal defense while adding a bit of a scoring touch as well. I really do like this team in terms of their makeup. They have a bunch of young players under contract for a while and they need to come into their own this year, so I would expect some growing pains as the season moves along. I think this team is a playoff team, but Carey Price will determine how far they can go. Do I see a 100 point season again? I don’t think so. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t make another deep run come April. For me, it’s how quickly the young players gel into their new found roles and responsibilities. For Canadiens fans, the earlier the better.