Montreal Canadiens

Quick: Pacioretty is ‘the most underrated player’

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Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick wrote the second part of his Elite Snipers 101 article and while it’s a great read from start to finish, his take on Montreal forward Max Pacioretty is perhaps what stands out the most.

Per The Players’ Tribune:

When I think of Max, I think of the most underrated player in the NHL. Only three players have scored more goals than him over the past three seasons — and these aren’t all pretty power play goals. Most of his goals come in 5-on-5 situations where space is tight, and I know he had 10 game-winners last season. Max is similar to Tavares in the way he works in dirty areas. It blows my mind that he’s not talked about more because he’s such a great scorer.

Fair enough, so let’s talk about him a bit.

First off, to Quick’s point: He is of course correct that there are just three players that have netted more goals than Pacioretty over the last three seasons: Alex Ovechkin (136), Steven Stamkos (97), and Joe Pavelski (94). Pacioretty is tied with Perry for fourth place with 91 markers over that span. Granted, Perry has played in five fewer games, but if that’s going to be brought up, then the fact that Pavelski has participated in 15 more contests than Pacioretty has to be raised as well.

Quick also brought up power-play goals and sure enough just 21 of Pacioretty’s 91 markers have been scored with the man advantage, which is significantly less than the players ahead of him. Still, if you want to just look at five-on-five markers over the last three seasons, then Pacioretty’s still tied for fourth place with 55, it’s just that now it’s Rick Nash (64), Perry (62), and Ovechkin (56) ahead of him.

Whatever method you’re using though, it’s clear that Pacioretty is one of the top snipers in the game today, but if he’s not as popular a subject as some of the other players that have been roughly as productive as him, then perhaps there’s a simple explanation. Unlike Ovechkin, Stamkos, Nash, or Perry, the Canadiens forward hasn’t had a monster campaign yet. He’s around their level in terms of overall production because he’s been consistently great in recent seasons, but he hasn’t finished in the top-three in goals yet or being a major contender for the Hart Trophy. Pacioretty also hasn’t made his mark in a playoff run yet.

That’s a theory at least, but it doesn’t take anything away from him. Meanwhile, Montreal has him at a $4.5 million annual cap hit through 2018-19 while Pavelski is at $6 million through 2018-19, Stamkos has one campaign left at $7.5 million, Perry is at roughly $8.6 million through 2020-21, and Ovechkin is at about $9.5 million through 2020-21.

Armed with new deal, Galchenyuk expects to have a ‘great year’

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With a two-year bridge deal worth $5.6 million in his back pocket, Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk is expecting big things from himself next season.

The 21-year-old scored a career-high 20 goals and 46 points in 80 games during the 2014-15 season, but found the back of the net just once in 12 playoff games.

“As long as I’ve played, I’ve never set goals for points,” he said during a conference call on Friday. “You have to prepare yourself to stay healthy and be in the right mindset. I expect to have a great year and I can’t wait to get started.”

Negotiations on a new deal for Galchenyuk were delayed this summer after he fired his agent Igor Larionov. The Hall of Famer suggested Galchenyuk was unhappy with his ice time and the way he was used by coach Michel Therrien.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” Galchenyuk said of Larionov’s comments. “I’m happy to be in Montreal for two more years and it’s up to the coaches and trainers to decide where to use me.”

Galchenyuk believes the club’s recent addition, free agent Alex Semin, will be a good fit in the Habs’ lineup.

“I met him right before he signed,” Galchenyuk said. “I was at the (Canadiens) kids’ camp and he was with his agent in the dressing room. When I came off the ice, I heard he had signed. I’m happy for him. He’s a skilled player and I think it will work out well.”

Galchenyuk’s new deal carries an annual average value of $2.8 million. He will be a restricted free agent once again following the 2016-17 season.

Subban working out with former Olympian Ben Johnson

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In an effort to improve his speed and agility, Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has enlisted the help of former Olympian Ben Johnson.

“We started working together three times a week, but we’ve gone down to two a week,” Johnson told TSN. “I don’t want to overload his muscles. He’s doing strength and acceleration and some agility. He’s going to be even better, even faster next year.”

Subban is coming off of a strong season where he recorded 60 points and averaged 26:12 minutes per contest. He finished third in Norris Trophy voting behind only Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson.

Subban declined to speak to TSN about his training and agent Don Meehan speculated that it was in an effort to protect Johnson from media scrutiny. Johnson won the gold medal for the men’s 100 meters in the 1988 Olympics, but lost the medal due to a positive steroids test. The International Amateur Athletics Federation banned him for life in 1993 following a positive test for excess testosterone. He was able to return in 1999 due to procedural errors only to once again fail a drug test.

Habs’ Galchenyuk inks two-year extension

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Alex Galchenyuk has a lot of potential and over the course of his next deal, he’ll have a chance to prove that he’s worth a much bigger contract.

The Montreal Canadiens announced tonight that they have signed Galchenyuk to a two-year bridge deal.

The team didn’t disclose the terms of the contract, but it’s worth $5.6 million, according to Pierre LeBrun. Galchenyuk was a restricted free agent after completing his entry-level contract.

The 21-year-old forward was taken with the third overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft after was able to make the leap to the NHL in 2013 following the lockout. Since then his responsibilities with Montreal have steadily grown to the point where he logged 16:35 minutes of ice time per game last season, including an average of 2:26 minutes with the man advantage. He finished the 2014-15 campaign with a career-high 20 goals and 46 points in 80 contests.

He also has four goals and 10 points in 22 career playoff games.

PHT Morning Skate: Quick details strengths of league’s top scorers

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Jonathan Quick wrote a great piece on the strengths of some of the league’s biggest offensive threats. (The Players’ Tribune)

Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno feels the Brandon Saad acquisition is “a big statement.” (Bluejackets.nhl.com)

Speaking of Saad, he used his day with the Stanley Cup to bring it to the 911th Airlift Wing. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

The upcoming 2016 Winter Classic will be particularly special for Mass. natives Brian Flynn and Jimmy Hayes. (NHL.com)

By signing Sean Couturier to a six-year, $26 million, the Philadelphia Flyers are betting that he’ll grow his game offensively. (CSN Philly)