Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2019 Pool Projections: Montreal

The Montreal Canadiens could really use a stretch of some good luck these days, because they haven't had any in a couple of seasons now.

The team is still mired in doubt and despair, as the injury bug has already taken a big bite out of their roster, as Shea Weber won't be ready to go now until closer to the New Year and a couple of other players are not expected to be ready to start the season on time.  Their superstar goaltender, Carey Price, hasn't had a healthy season in a couple of years and his numbers have suffered because of it.  The market pretty well ushered out Alex Galchenyuk and is still likely to do the same with Max Pacioretty before the season starts, leaving this side with many more questions than answers, before the puck even drops on the preseason.

The team has a few new faces occupying some spots on the roster and one would begin to wonder how much pressure will be put on these guys, since this is a market that won't sit idly by and laugh off another season to a retooling year.  The pressure on this team to win every year is certainly there and one truly begins to wonder if they have the tools to do it... or at least we say we wonder, when we're pretty much sure that they don't.

2019 is figuring to be a long season for the Montreal Canadiens, but that isn't to say you won't be able to find some points for your hockey pool here.  You probably just won't find upper echelon players for the first few rounds of the draft here.

Player Pos 18/19 Proj Rookie
Carey Price G 55 N
Max Domi F 50 N
Jonathan Drouin F 50 N
Brendan Gallagher F 50 N
Max Pacioretty F 45 N
Phillip Danault F 35 N
Charles Hudon F 35 S
Jeff Petry D 35 N
Paul Byron F 35 N
Joel Armia F 25 N
Artturi Lehkonen F 25 N
Tomas Plekanec F 25 N
Andrew Shaw F 25 N
Nicolas Deslauriers F 20 N
Noah Juulsen D 20 Y
Mike Reilly D 20 N
Karl Alzner D 15 N
Jordie Benn D 15 N
Jacob de la Rose F 15 N
Victor Mete D 15 S
Antti Niemi G 15 N
Shea Weber D 15 N
Byron Froese F 10 N
Nikita Scherbak F 5 S
David Schlemko D 5 N
Michael Chaput F 5 N
Xavier Ouellet D 5 N
Matthew Peca F 5 N

Table last updated on August 10th

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

I think there's a real opportunity for one of Montreal's top defensive prospects to really step up and make a name for himself in the first half of this season and there are a couple of good candidates, so it will be difficult to pick one over the other.  I am going to opt for the older of the two, choosing 2015 1st round pick Noah Juulsen as my breakout player for the Canadiens this year.

The 21-year old has been working his way up the ranks in the Canadiens' system and played in 23 games last year, still not enough to take away his rookie status for the coming year.  He scored 1 goal and 3 points in those games last year and a good camp could get him into a solid spot on the team's top six.

First Round Picks

Once upon a time, the Canadiens had themselves a winning goalie that was good enough to be an opening round pick, but the Canadiens haven't been a winning team, so those goalie numbers have really fallen off.  This year, I don't see any 1st round picks coming out of Montreal, although I'm sure there are some hopeful Habs fans that try and sneak one in there.  I say, let them!

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

It's no secret that the Canadiens are expected to struggle still in the 2019 season, which has their overall projections down quite a bit.  There doesn't appear to be a forward that will be heads and tails above the rest, rather a committee that will have to score together to remain competitive.  Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Drouin, Max Domi, Max Pacioretty, Charles Hudon and Philip Danault are expected to carry the bulk of the load, which is going to be heavy.

Other Pool Worthy Defensemen

Jeff Petry appears to be the only defenseman that is expected to be worth considering, according to my list, but there are some other names that could possibly lift themselves up with some added minutes, but it was hard to guess who may or may not get a little bit more and do something with that added time.  Injuries are playing a big part of the lack of contributions from the back end, which are outlined below.

Goaltending Situation

The injury struggles that Carey Price has endured in the last few years have been well-documented and that has led to some tough seasons for the Canadiens.  This year, he will need to be amazing to get his numbers back to where they have been previously.  He'll need the team to be a cohesive unit in front of him, playing well at both ends of the ice and it still feels like a tall order today.  Price, if he's on, will steal some games and Montreal will win some games, but it might not be as many as you'd hope.

Team to Pick From Late?

The projections are pretty bleak and this post has been a bit of a downer, but there could be some silver linings, in the way of some dark horse sleepers, but they are gambles, undoubtedly.  Defensemen Mike Reilly and Victor Mete are definitely two candidates for more minutes in 2019 and they could be good mid-season additions, more so than big gambles at the draft.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

With the injury situation we see below, the Canadiens are going to start the season with a bloated roster, in the way of 26 players, but they are all very cost effective.  Even with the three injured bodies counting against the cap today, they still have $8.4 million in cap space to use, if they wished.  The Habs still have a few RFAs left to take care of, but they are not of the pool variety, so we won't worry about them too much.


Well, the starting point here is Shea Weber, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in July and won't be ready to go until mid-December, set to miss most of the first half of the season.  His numbers in the projection list are adjusted for that, assuming he comes back on time.  Andrew Shaw also had knee surgery in April and had a timetable of six months, which puts him back in October, but likely not until after the season starts.  A week or two more on the shelf or in rehab are likely for him, so you may want to side step him at the draft.  Six months was also the timetable for Paul Byron on his shoulder surgery in April, so if you're looking at him for your draft, make sure you catch up on his updates before making any picks there.

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