Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Montreal Canadiens.
The Montreal Canadiens enjoyed a deep playoff run after a solid regular season in 2013-14, even if they ended up facing a few “What if?” questions considering Carey Price’s injury during an entertaining Eastern Conference semifinal series against the New York Rangers.
To get there, the Canadiens swept division mates the Tampa Bay Lightning and managed to beat hated rivals the Boston Bruins in a seven-game series.
P.K. Subban was especially brilliant against the Bruins, collecting seven of his team playoff scoring-leading 14 points in that series alone. Price’s injury punctuated a season that was brilliant even if it was marred by ailments, including the issues he dealt with while helping Canada win gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The Canadiens got a little younger in the offseason as Brian Gionta left town while Daniel Briere was traded for P.A. Parenteau. Adding Tom Gilbert and Manny Malhotra could pay off as subtle tweaks for a team that showed some promise last season, particularly when Michel Therrien really let the team loose.
While the Habs entered last season as a team with tempered expectations, hockey-mad Montreal will probably expect quite a bit in 2014-15, especially from Subban on the heels of his massive raise. There are plenty of reasons to believe the player and team can deliver amid those high hopes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy.