On the plus side, Montreal will get their league MVP back in their crease to start the season, they have a number of young forwards that are trending in the right direction and the player that they received in that blockbuster deal will be able to help shore up the team defensively, not to mention wear some holes in the opposing goalie.
It's not all bad in Montreal, but the combination of the good, the bad and the questionable, really doesn't leave anyone with the greatest amount of confidence, especially since this team was so horrible after the loss of Carey Price to his lower-body muscle injury and it's hard to see a great deal of improvement on paper otherwise.
Still, this is why they play the game... to solve all of those questions and concerns. The team will have Price back and that's a good place to start, but have they really evolved into a better hockey pool team?
Table last updated on August 5th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
The enigmatic Russian has captured the wonderment of the NHL, yet again, by signing in the off-season with the Montreal Canadiens, joining a team that wasn't short on drama to begin with. Alexander Radulov will bring his show to the Bell Centre and we'll all stack it up against the other good ideas that team management has had this Summer.
Radulov played a couple of full seasons with the Nashville Predators, way back in 2007 & 2008, then brought his side show back for nine games in 2012, before heading back home to Russia. Now, it's a new team, an open skating system and possibly a bit more compatible with is European style.
The 30-year old has the numbers in the KHL, but will they translate into the North American game? Last season in Moscow, he finished with 23 goals and 65 points in 53 games.
First Round Picks
You didn't forget about Carey Price, did you? The MVP from the 2015 had a lower-body nightmare in 2016 and ruined all kinds of fantasy seasons across the face of the planet last year, but now he's back and will get to show off his wares again in the World Cup for Canada, a nice preview to do some final adjustments to his projections, but as you can see here, he's already a 1st round pick on this list.
We're still waiting for one of his teammates to join him in these ranks, giving us real hope that the Habs could do something this year.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
The Canadiens are one of those teams that get picked from quite early and maybe fall a bit short of the mark some years. Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec are all quality players, but they certainly leave something to be desired and that's not being a 40 or 50-goal scorer. A pair of 30-goal scorers certainly help, but this team could use more and I don't think they're quite going to get it. Don't get me wrong, these guys are pool worthy and should be taken this year, just choose them wisely.
Other Pool Worthy Defense
Whoa, boy! The microscope will be heavily on the blueline and Shea Weber, more specifically. Weber is an offensive force, because it hurts if you get in front of his slap shot. Weber's game will be beneficial to the Habs, but may be more so in their own one than offensively. I would still go after Weber is a reasonable round, but I don't see him blowing away the competition.
Don't forget about Andrei Markov and/or Nathan Beaulieu, all of the attention directed elsewhere may have these two flying under the radar and available at some bargain rounds.
The Canadiens have competition on their hands for the number two job this season, as last year's stand-in, Mike Condon, will go up against newcomer, Al Montoya, for the job of back-up and this could prove to be an interesting fight. Condon played well behind a disheartened team last year, while Montoya did well with a Panthers team, finding their confidence. What kind of Habs team will they inherit, once they get the job?
Team To Pick From?
I think you're going to see a lot of Montreal players taken before the 10th round this year, as the poolies try and capture some of that returning confidence with Price returning to the net. The Canadiens could find themselves with a couple of sleeper picks late, a guy like Torrey Mitchell or Paul Byron always have the potential to surprise or come out of nowhere.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
Nothing major pressing on the Montreal books, as we wind down the Summer and start looking towards the Fall's activities. The restricted free agents are locked up and the team still has about $2.2 million left under the cap ceiling, according to their projected roster. This adds up quite well for Montreal, who are desperate to return to the playoffs and maybe, make something of that return as well.
It sounds like all systems are a go for the Canadiens. Carey Price has been given the green light and the recovery time for Jeff Petry and his sports hernia surgery has long since passed, so let's expect a healthy roster to the World Cup, at the very least.