Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Montreal Canadiens
For the last 13 years (12 with The Hockey News) I have reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them. My 14th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Gone – Ben Scrivens, Victor Bartley, Tom Gilbert, Michael Bournival, P.K. Subban, Lars Eller, Bud Holloway, Mike Brown, Lucas Lessio, John Scott
Incoming – Bobby Farnham, Chris Terry, Zach Redmond, Alexander Radulov, Al Montoya, Shea Weber, Andrew Shaw, Carey Price (because, let’s be honest – he was mostly absent last year and is key to the team)
Impact of changes – The biggest change won’t appear on your transaction list so I took the liberty of adding it. Carey Price is back and healthy. Everything else can be exactly the same this year and you can add 10 wins just from that. And Al Montoya provides good insurance in net. For my money he’s one of the best backups in the league.
But this will be a grittier team that gets under the opposition’s skin a lot more. Say what you want about Weber versus Subban, you can’t argue the size and strength of it – Weber has four inches and 25 pounds on Subban. The Habs also added pain-in-the-ass Shaw and will have pain-in-the-ass Gallagher back to full health. Farnham had six fights last year, which was tied for 24th in the league despite just 53 games played.
Offense from the defense is what is being questioned the most by pundits, many of whom feel that Weber is fading quickly – especially offensively. I don’t think the sky is falling. Is there a decline? Sure. So instead of the 51 points that Weber got last year of the 59 points or so that Subban will get this year, maybe Weber only gets 47. Stop the press? Come on! Take a deep breath.
There is a lot riding on Radulov, who brings with him the potential to be a game breaker. Potentially he could be Montreal’s top scorer. Potentially, he could also sulk his way back to Russia before December by ‘mutual consent’ after too many benchings. But I don’t think things will be nearly so negative. I think as a new father who is now into his 30s, he’s settled down. The only serious worry that I have with Radulov are injuries – he’s had a few of them over the last three years in the KHL. But don’t worry about his NHL production. He was a talented scorer for Nashville in 2007-08 (57 points) and he was still a talented producer for Nashville in 2012 (13 points in 17 games including playoffs).
Ready for full-time – Sven Andrighetto Seemed to win himself an NHL job last year after he was called up from the AHL in late January and was never sent back down. While he had his ups and downs at the NHL level, overall the prognosis was good as he tallied 17 points in 44 games and showing decent chemistry with budding star Alex Galchenyuk. But the acquisitions of Radulov and Shaw, as well as the addition of a new prospect competitor (Reway below) means that Andrighetto’s roster spot is not assured. He must clear waivers to be sent down though, so his odds are still quite good. (Read more on Andrighetto here)
Michael McCarron also looked good last season and his transition from a successful junior career to the pro game was a smooth one. Actually it was terrific. He scored 17 goals in 58 games as an AHL rookie. He’s 6-6, 231 pounds so the Habs would love to get him into their lineup sooner rather than later. But his minus-10 rating in 20 games for Montreal indicates that he’s not quite ready and another full AHL season may be best. But if he makes the big club he’ll be good for more than a PIM per game. (Read more on McCarron here)
Martin Reway was a big scorer in the QMJHL before returning to the Czech Republic to play his hockey there. He posted nine points in seven games in the 2014-15 WJC and has posted more than a point-per game in both the Czech League and the Swiss League these last two years. (Read more on Reway here)
Daniel Carr was a prolific producer at the college level and took a big step forward in his second AHL season when he posted 10 goals and 21 points in 24 games. He saw time with the big club and did not look out of place (six goals in 23 games). Between him and Reway, one of the two should make the team. (Read more on Carr here)
Fantasy Outlook – As a team, Montreal was 16th in scoring last year. The thinking is that because they had more to worry about in their own end (without Price), that hampered the offense a little. With Galchenyuk steadily improving and with the arrival of Radulov, I’d expect an uptick in offense. The prospect pipeline is below average, especially from a fantasy standpoint.
Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was B-)
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