Tag: Shea Weber

Why Is NO ONE Talking About The Montreal Canadiens?

The biggest WAGON in the NHL right now the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens are one point behind the Maple Leafs for the second spot in the Atlantic division. They are on a three-game winning streak, 8-1-1 in their last ten games and have pushed the Bruins into the Wild Card race now with their latest win on home ice vs the Central division leading Jets. That was a dominating 5-2 Canadiens win. A win that should perhaps make you re-think this Canadiens team right now.

The Canadiens came into the season projected by many reporters to be a middle of the pack, borderline at best wild card team this season. They came out the season shocking many, putting themselves on the radar and the talk early in the season was these Canadiens are not that bad perhaps. Then they fell off everyone’s radar and it seems like no one is talking about them even though they have been extremely consistent all season.

Kevin Allen of USA Today projected the Canadiens to be 28-41-13 with 69 points, the Hockey Writers website projected the Canadiens to finish 7th in the Atlantic division. But after all is said and done and we are now 60 percent of the season played and 55 games in (for Montreal) they are 31-18-6 with 68 points. They have a 17-10-3 home record, 14-8-3 road record and a +11 goal differential. They rank 13th in goals for (167) and 20th in goals against (158), 14th in goals per game (3.04) and 22nd in goals against per game (2.87). Even despite the 30th ranked power play (13.0) and 21st penalty kill (79.0) the Canadiens have been one of the most consistent and surprising teams this season.

A lot of this success rides on a healthy Carey Price, 40 games played a 23-13-4 record a 2.52 goals against, .916 save percentage and 3 shutouts is helping the Canadiens play consistent. Along with Max Domi’s team leading 47 points in 55 games, Jonathan Drouin’s 46 points in 55 games (not to mention a four point night vs Winnipeg Thursday), Philip Danault 40 points, Tomas Tartar 39 points, Jeff Petry 37 points, Brendan Gallagher 35 points, Shea Weber return and 20 points in 31 games. Overall the Canadiens are getting much needed and consistent production from their top two players, support from the surrounding cast like Tartar, Gallagher, Danault, the rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s 27 points (current 4-game goal streak).

The Canadiens are getting the production they need from the right guys. They have finally seen Drouin do what they brought him here to do, Domi’s confidence and obvious liking of the switch to Montreal is paying off. Kotkaniemi playing well his first year is big, Gallagher playing consistent, the addition of Tartar, Danault having a big year. Two defenseman that are playing like top defenseman in the league and a healthy Price is the recipe for the Canadiens success.

If the season were to end right now they would be playing Toronto first round. Not an easy match up but it is not like they cannot upset the Leafs first round. The Canadiens are going to make the playoffs and they will be a very tough first round opponent. Either way first round exit or not the Canadiens are and have exceeded expectations this season and NO ONE is talking about it. Where are the WAGON shirts for the Canadiens @SpittinChiclets ?

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What went wrong: Montreal Canadiens 2017-2018

The Canadiens certainly were one of the most surprising disappoints this season after making the playoffs in 2106-17 but losing in six games in the first round, sights were set on a different horizon then what came to be for Montreal this season.

Montreal finished 28th in the NHL with a 29-40-13 record, 70 points and a 5th place division finish. They ranked 29th in goals for(207) 7th in goals against(258), 12th among power play percentage(21.2), 30th in penalty kill percentage(74.1). It is fair to say the Canadiens had a complete 180 season and have a lot of questions to answer for the long-time and historic Montreal fans.

What went wrong for the Canadiens, well there is a few things, the obvious ones. Lack of goal scoring, inconsistent goal tending, injuries, head coach and no depth on either side of the puck.

What went wrong…

(1) Lack of goal scoring/depth. The most obvious and well-known one. To start Max Pacioretty tallied 17 goals this season in 64 games. Their leading scorer was Brendan Gallagher with 54 points in 82 games, a career high. They had 2 forwards with 20 plus goals and 2 players with 50 plus points. They had 20 players produce 42 or fewer points, and after Gallagher, Paul Bryon, Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty there was no one to supplement their top six. They lacked depth scoring substantially and it was easily one of their biggest reason(s) for their poor season.

(2) Inconsistent/hurt goal tending. Carey Price missed some significant time due to fatigue related problems, only playing in 48 games posting a 3.11 goals against and a 16-26-7 record, one of the worst of his careers. Without a healthy Price this team cannot due much and it showed this season.

Vancouver Canucks v Montreal Canadiens(3) Injuries, this is usually a poor excuse but the Canadiens dealt with injuries to Pacioretty, Shea Weber and Price. When your three best players are out it is tough to play to your full capability. Weber missed entirely the whole season only playing in 26 games, Pax missed 18 games and Price missed out on 34 games. These three missed a majority of the season and with that came failure as we saw. Anytime a key player goes missing and or under performs it is quite obvious why the team did poorly.

(4) Head coach Claude Julien, has been a storied NHL head coach bringing Boston to the Stanley Cup twice and winning once, as well as going to the playoffs in 9/13 seasons he has been a head coach. He brought Montreal to the playoffs last year with a first place finish in the Atlantic, but he has been on the edge this whole season. Due to his controversial line up moves, the development of younger players and his style of play. In Boston Julien coached a simple, psychical and under your skin style of game, as he tried to do that with Montreal expect Montreal did not have those type of players. Therefore it has been a bit of a rocky start for Julien despite his first year in Montreal.

Will things get better? 

I would hope. The Canadiens will get back Weber and Price healthy. Hopefully resign Pacioretty, they also have the #3 pick in the NHL draft this season along with 4 in the 2nd round and three in the 3rd round. The problem the Canadiens have 13 restricted/unrestricted free agent contracts to ponder over the next year and a half. The big names coming up that will need to be resigned are Pacioretty, Paul Bryon, Philip Danult, Jacob De La Rose, Jordie Benn and Mike Reilly. The problem is Pacioretty though as he finishing up his 4.5 mil contract he is expecting and or deserving of anywhere from 6.5 to 8 mil a year, especially after that Evander Kane signing of 7 years 7 mil. The Canadiens have a few questions to answer but overall, with the a solid draft coming up things are on the way up. Next year will be another develop and a re-tool year would not expect this team to finish in a playoff spot but definitely around 18-20 in the league next season. The positive the Canadiens have about 12.3 million left in cap space right now with 35/50 contracts signed, also with a projected cap raise for the 2018-19 season. They will have some money to work with which can benefit them greatly.

Drafting Sleepers Q&A; Tyler Johnson, Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber injury

I will be adding a video/audio part to this as well, but as the week winds down, I’ll answer the questions proposed by the followers at Drafting Sleepers. For those that have not checked out the site, it is a great site for all fantasy sports followers. They have a Q&A board for all fantasy sports, and it is actively followed by the users. Basically any question you have just post it here and it will get answered within minutes.

Question 1: Chelsea Briggs asked “DYT Tyler Johnson is a “sell high” candidate or a “hold” if you think he can maintain this type of play?” 

Answer: To be honest, I’m not sure why Johnson was even slotted on the third/fourth line to start the season. I guess it was a way to allow Yonni Gourde show what he was made of but, Johnson is there to stay on the second line and I think he provides great fantasy value. Playing alongside Point and Palat has been great for Johnson, that line is not the most physical but they are a gritty line that produces. Johnson is a “hold” player for me right now but if you think you can stretch this guy and get more for him than do it, he will be on the second line and power play unit rest of the season. Depends on your roster and everything but Johnson definitely could be a “hold” player.

Question 2: Ryan Shumber asked “Overall opinion on Danton Heinen?” 

Answer: Ride him until he starts to fall off, the Bruins are hot right now and Heinen has been seeing anywhere from 15 minutes to 19 minutes a game, so the TOI is there, and over the last two weeks he has 3 goals, 5 assists. He reminds me a bit of Adrian Kempe, a player that broke out for a week or two then slowed down. Hold him until his production declines, really no risk to holding him either.

Question 3: Tanner asked, “Buy low on Karlsson??”

Answer: I don’t know if you’ll be able to buy low on Karlsson, I mean it is his name that holds the value. I can assume many owners are going to ask for a good chunk in return for Karlsson. Unless you see this guy and the Senators breaking out, just stay away from him as a whole. Yes, he is amazing, but the Senators look terrible and it is affecting Karlsson’s game. If you can buy low on Karlsson than go for it, but I doubt many owners are just going to let this guy walk for nothing.

Question 4: Kyle Griffin asked, “How concerned are we about the Weber injury?”

Answer: Honestly, I’d be a little considered, as he has now missed 9 games and was sent home back to Montreal because the rehab on his ankle did not go as expected. Anytime a players rehab assignment does not go as expected it definitely raises some signs of concern. Plus he is a top defenseman in the league and playing with a hurt ankle is not something he probably wants to do. An ankle is not something to be messed with as most players rely a lot on their ankle mobility to play. I’d be concerned about this injury if we do not hear anything after this short 3-day break.