Updated: Oct 4, 2022
Additions: Sean Monahan, Evgenii Dadonov, Kirby Dach, Juraj Slafkovsky, Mike Matheson, Mitchell Stephens, Madison Bowey
Subtractions: Jeff Petry, Alex Romanov, Ryan Poehling, Laurent Dauphin, Mathieu Perreault, Tyler Pitlick, Cedric Paquette, Sami Niku
Montreal did some shuffling this offseason, taking on salary for assets and dumping some of the previous defense core. The result is added quality to the middle-six forwards in Monahan, Dadonov, and Dach. Matheson now becomes the focal point on the blueline for the first time in his career. Also, first overall pick Slafkovsky brings some excitement to the Canadiens as he's expected to make the team in some capacity this season.
Probable For Opener: Jake Allen (Groin), Sam Montembeault (Wrist), Justin Barron (Ankle)
Questionable For Opener: Paul Byron (Lower Body)
Out To Begin Season: -None-
Out For Season: Carey Price (Knee/Undisclosed)
The situation around Carey Price is a bit of a head-scratcher, but as of now it seems like his career may be over. That leaves the net to Allen and Montembeault, who both expect to be ready for the start of the season. Byron is the only question mark to begin the season, but when healthy he figures to be in an uphill battle for playing time among a crowded forward group.
(league ranks in parentheses)
Cole Caufield - Nick Suzuki - Josh Anderson
Jonathan Drouin - Kirby Dach - Mike Hoffman
Juraj Slafkovsky - Sean Monahan - Brendan Gallagher
Evgenii Dadonov - Christian Dvorak - Joel Armia
Mike Matheson - David Savard
Joel Edmundson - Justin Barron
Jordan Harris - Chris Wideman
No doubt, the Canadiens forward group is a lot deeper this season. The problem is that top-end talent was not added, so the Caufield-Suzuki-Anderson line is still playing a bigger role than they should be. Dach and Monahan were given up on by their former teams, and leave a lot to be desired based on their respective draft positions. Slafkovsky could be the most talented player added to the club, but his likeliness to make an immediate quality impact is low.
The defense will turn to Matheson and Savard in big minutes, which likely spells trouble. The rest of the backend is relatively unknown, and they'll likely have to be bailed out by Allen all season if they want to have any success.
Snipers: Cole Caufield
Playmakers: Evgenii Dadonov
Volume Shooters: Cole Caufield | Brendan Gallagher
Shutdown Defenders: -None-
Shot Blockers: Joel Edmundson | David Savard | Jordan Harris | Corey Schueneman
Penalty Drawers: Brendan Gallagher
PP Specialists: -None-
PK Specialists: Nick Suzuki | Mike Matheson | Jonathan Drouin
Faceoff Specialists: Sean Monahan | Christian Dvorak
Duds: Sean Monahan, Kirby Dach
Sleepers: Mike Matheson
Other Roster Worthy: Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki, Brendan Gallagher, Jake Allen
Caufield and Suzuki are likely the only draftable forwards on the Canadiens, although Gallagher could have some value based on his shot quality and shot volume. Allen projects solidly in net despite likely not a lot of wins, and Matheson could be a deep sleeper if he takes over primary powerplay duties.
Center is a deep position in fantasy hockey, and if you're thinking of getting crafty and selecting Monahan or Dach based on potential opportunity...don't. Neither has produced in better situations over the past few seasons, so there's no reason to expect a bump now.
2022-2023 PuckLuck Projections
PuckLuck Projection: 75 points
Floor: 64 points Ceiling: 93 points
Projection Data Confidence: 60%
(League Average: 70%)
Stanley Cup: +30000
President's Trophy: +15000
DraftKings Sportsbook Lines:
Stanley Cup: +20000
President's Trophy: +50000
The Canadiens are certainly not a good bet to cash on any futures this season, but they could be sneaky daily plays if Jake Allen has a strong season. Betting on them as an underdog or the under would be the likely recommendation. If the backup is in, however, there was a huge drop-off last season. Expect that to continue, so the over becomes a strong play if you can get on it early.
Division Projection: 7th
Conference Projection: 13th
League Projection: 26th
Playoffs? No chance
The Canadiens are one of a handful of Eastern Conference teams who's projected ceiling is still outside of a playoff spot, meaning this season should be completely revolved around rebuilding. Expect Dadonov to be shipped off at some point this season as a pending unrestricted free agent, and potentially Allen too if a deal cannot be worked out.
This will put Montreal in the middle of the lottery race, with the top of the lauded 2023 NHL draft class in their sights.