2015-2016 Montreal Canadiens Predictions

Before you say it, and we all know you are, I do in fact realize it’s July 12th. “It’s too early to be making predictions Ben, free agency isn’t even over”.  That might be true, but the way this off-season is going, I don’t like the sound of next season. “Stop being negative Ben, we finished second in the east last year!” Yup, the Canadiens did finish second in the east, but that is a different discussion. The Canadiens, so far have not addressed their most pressing need, scoring, particularly scoring wingers. In order to come even close to the same results of last season, Carey Price will have to stand on his head once again, but I digress. I have come up with predictions and possible line combos that I believe would be successful  for the upcoming season. These predictions have two sides, one with a repeat performance from Price, and another that has Price at around a .920-.925 save percentage, which is still fantastic, but it may not be enough.

Lines:

These stay the same no matter the condition of Price.

Forwards

Pacioretty-Galchenyuk-Gallagher

Thomas-Plekanec-Scherbak

Desharnais-Eller-Kassian

Smith-Pelly-Mitchell-Flynn/Weise

 

Photo: Getty Images

Notice something in these lines? Because I sure do, the Canadiens will have a serious problem scoring. It is not guaranteed that Scherbak will make the team, and yet he has a better chance of producing points than the other wingers on the team. The same goes for Thomas, his speed and scoring ability with his heavy shot can trump the majority of NHLers on the roster at this moment. If Marc Bergevin wants to really contend within the next one-two years, which he absolutely should, he needs to acquire a scoring threat on the wing. If that means giving up a A-B level prospect and/or a pick, the time has come to do so. If nothing changes? Montreal got lucky with no major injuries to the forwards, and still finished 18th in goals. What happens if injuries strike (like they already have)? My prediction is Montreal will continue to struggle scoring goals, and finish around 17th-21st league wide in goals.

Defense:

Beaulieu-subban

Gilbert-Petry

Markov-Pateryn

Without Emelin in the lineup, the team becomes better defensively almost instantly. It’s about time that Beaulieu receives top pairing minutes with Subban. Over the last two seasons, he has proved he deserves it and is more than capable. As for Markov, I have been a huge fan of him since I started watching the team, but it is time that his ice time is reduced. It is not due to his talent as he has shown he still has it with 50 points last year. Rather, it is due to his age and past injuries catching up to him, combined with the need for further development for guys like Pateryn and perhaps Tinordi. As for my prediction? If Price continues to be amazing, and Therrien figures out how to coach, the defense will be better, and the team as a whole will drive possession. However, if Price slips (even a little bit), and Therrien’s coaching methods stay the same? The defense will fall into mediocrity and be exposed for what it really is.

Photo: Jason Kopinski/Icon Sportswire

Photo: Jason Kopinski/Icon Sportswire

Goaltending:

Price

Tokarski

There really isn’t much to say here. Price is the backbone of the Canadiens, if he regresses at all, the team will fall back in the standings. As for Tokarski, he has the ability to steal games but more than likely be an average back up netminder.

 

Overall Predictions

If Price can put up similar numbers to last season, and the scoring numbers increase, Montreal may be able to get lucky again. Though, if the team takes a step forward, looking at you coaching staff, the Canadiens have the potential to compete for a cup. My prediction for the Habs record in the 2015-2016 season, if Price can repeat said numbers, is 50-22-9.

If Price cannot post similar numbers? The Canadiens will be in a struggle to make the playoffs. Their record could be around the 42-30-10 mark. If the Canadiens miss the playoffs, it could, but most likely won’t result in the firing of the entire coaching staff.

My pessimism aside, I don’t like how the Canadiens brass has an obsession with 3rd-4th line grinders, and are somewhat ignoring their desperate need for scorers (reportedly went after Williams, Beleskey and so on). Maybe, it is too early, but when does it become too late? The slim pickings for free agents has been thinned out even more with each passing day and trade values are sure to go back up. There is a serious need to make a move. I just hope it happens sooner rather than later.

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2 Responses to 2015-2016 Montreal Canadiens Predictions

  1. Great article! Couple things: you forgot about de la Rose, he’ll be a fixture on that third line for sure. Also, I believe Hudon has a better chance of making the team than Thomas or Scherbak (just my opinion). On defence, I completely agree that Markov’s minutes should be limited, but I don’t think there’s a chance he drops from the first pairing to the third. Thoughts?

    Joe July 13, 2015 at 8:09 pm Reply
    • Things definitely have changed since adding Semin to the mix. de la Rose may be sent down because he is waiver exempt, that would be the only reason that I could see fit. As for Markov, I’d personally only move him to second pairing.

      Michael Gomez July 31, 2015 at 11:21 pm Reply

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