The Montreal Canadiens finished with a woeful record of 29-40-13 and 71 points. This placed les habitants 28thout of 31 teams. The fall was fast for the Canadiens, who won the Atlantic Division two seasons ago.
Additions: At the 2018 draft, Montreal selected Jesperi Kotkaniemi with the third overall pick. In addition, the Canadiens brought back Tomas Plekanec as an unrestricted free agent and also signed Matthew Peca, Xavier Ouellet, Kenny Agostino, and Michael Chaput.
Trades: The Canadiens traded their captain, Max Pacioretty, to the Vegas Golden Knights for Tomas Tatar, prospect Nick Suzuki, and a 2019 second-round pick. They also sent Alex Galchenyuk to the Arizona Coyotes for Max Domi. Simon Bourque went to the Winnipeg Jets for Joel Armia, Steve Mason, a 2019 seventh-round pick, and a 2020 fourth-round pick. The Canadiens later bought out Mason and re-signed Armia as a restricted free agent. Lastly, the Habs acquired Hunter Shinkaruk from the Calgary Flames for Kerby Rychel.
Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher (cover photo) are return for Montreal. Price, 31, had his worst NHL season with a 3.11 goals against average, a .900 save percent, and a 16-26-7 record. Price enters the first year of his eight-year, $84 million contract extension, which he signed in 2017. Gallagher, 26, established a career year last season. He led the team in points with 54 in 82 games.
Noah Juulsen, 21, and Victor Mete, 20, are two prospects to watch. Both defensemen have big futures with Montreal. They also have a great opportunity to gain experience this season, especially with Shea Weber sidelined.
What to Expect
Trading Pacioretty sent a clear message that Montreal is rebuilding this season. Although their future is brighter with more prospects in their system than before, the quality of talent on their team has diminished. Expect the Canadiens to be prime candidates to finish last in the Atlantic Division this season.
Cover Photo: Lisa Gansky, New York, NY
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the NHL’s Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter @BillyMorrison01.
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