TFR – Montreal Canadians

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Montreal Canadians – Team Fantasy Prospect Report – 2013-2014 – Projections, Player Bio & Rankings

Author:  Christopher Travis

A promising team on the depth chart, in both prospects and NHL ready forwards.  The Canadians often underrated (due to a disastrous 2011-2012), last year found themselves fourth in the league for Goals for, and third in the league for power play goals.  Being a young undersized fast team, they also were number 1 for power play opportunities, racking up 203 chances with an extra man.  Putting all that together and we start to see why the Canadians finished second in the east, and it’s not a leap to assume they could do it again.  They play a run-and gun style game, and use explosive speed to open up good scoring chances.  Take this with the fact they are not scared of shooting the puck it’s not insane (maybe a little) to assume numbers should not sway too much off course for the upcoming season.  A salary capped team with promising prospects being paid on the cheap, will also boost their production, and we should see another stellar year from this club.

Offensively this is a well-rounded team, that we should see at least 6 guys reach fantasy relevance.  Ontop of the above noted amazing PP.  One must also take into consideration they are ninth in the league for shots taken and eighth in the league for shooting percentage.  All in all, Montreal Coaching staff has done a hell of job in the one year turn around, and if chemistry and player development continues, fantasy managers need to take heed.

Defensively, the back end of this team is loaded with offensive gold.  Subban the recent Norris trophy winner, second to only Karlsson (arguably Letang) is the best offensive defenseman in the league.  Backed by Markov, who was the best offensive defenseman 4 years ago, Emelin who has a bomb, and Diaz who put up big numbers last year (14pts in 23 games).  To top this all off, offensively touted prospect Nathan Bouillon who got some trial ice time last year is expected to fight for a roll along with big man Jason Tinordi.  When looking at the core of puck quarter backs, it’s easy to understand why they have such an effective power play.  Fantasy wise, given last year’s numbers all the above guys are deserve at least a look in deep pools.  Markov and Emelin have had health issues, so one should be wary when selecting these two.  However, Markov is on a contract year, and will want to make an impression before hitting the free agent market.  It’s unfathomable that the Hab’s will be able to afford him once they sign PK long term, epically considering the trend to head back to mother Russia.

Goaltending is a lock for this team.  Carey Price being one of the elite goalies in the NHL who will play for team Canada this year (pending an explosion) and play upwards of 65-70 games.  He is easily a top 10 goalie in fantasy Rankings and should be considered in all formats.  Although Price had a bad season last year, and a horrible playoffs.  He should have a re-bound season with a new goalie coach staff, and a little motivation to succeed as the Habs drafted the number one Goalie prospect Fucalé, who is touted as the best goaltender prospect in years to come through the draft.

There is no forward who cracks the top 30 forwards in the league, however there are a few young guys who are expected to take that leap in the next few years.  The chances these guys get on the power play gives them the chance to excel to quality fantasy numbers. With the addition of Briére to help on the PP and with the emergence of offensively powerful Galchenyuk and Gallagher, they should be a fun team to watch next year.  They should also have more fantasy options open up, for all owners in the league.

Please visit our Top 240 Offensive Fantasy Players for projections and rankings.

PLAYERS IN THE TOP 240

To see:  Eller, Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Tinordi & Beaulieu , please go to our Fantasy Prospect Report.

Max Pacioretty – Often regarded the best power forward in the league, if this guy gets a chance with a big time center, like say I don’t know Galchenyuk.  He could put up James Neal like numbers or better.  Last year he almost hit point per game status playing with a few different line combo’s & if the team around him gets better, you can bet your boots this guy is going to climb the ranks.

Thomas Plekanec – Plekanec has been on the decline the last few years, and it looks like motivation & linemates may be the problem here.  He is talented enough to be a consistent producer, and we wouldn’t expect his numbers to drop below 50 points a season.  The youth, and off season acquisition of Briére may be the jolt of action to jumpstart his game and get the wheels turning again.   His strong two way play has always been his bread and butter, and this typically takes away from fantasy production.  Plekanec has had two 70 point seasons, and typically averages around 60 points, so don’t forget about this guy.

David Desharnais – David is prototypical Montreal Canadian forward, talented, smaller and quick.  Coming off a disastrous year and signing a large contract over the summer giving him some job security, he’s a gamble to say the least.  His production will largely be based on the emergence of the younger core of players and his part in the team’s structure moving forward.  His ice time may dwindle, and there are already trade rumors surrounding this guy.  It’s not hard to imagine a buyout in the near future if his production drops dramatically, so our recommendation is save this guy for a waiver wire pick up, or lower round pick in deeper pools.

Danny Briére – Considered washed up by many Danny is a bit of a risk on the offensively well balanced Canadians.  Having the capability to play wing or center Briére has a better chance than others to log serious PP time, and steal the necessary ice time to be an effective fantasy player. However if Briére doesn’t mesh with line mates and ends up getting stuck on a midget line, then his numbers won’t be fantastic.  Taking into consideration the media hype in Montreal for his arrival, he could be a flop & early fantasy drop in this upcoming season.  If the French hockey gods demand it, and finds chemistry, then he will return to his glory days in buffalo, and could reach upwards of 75 points (but that’s considered a long shot).  Our recommendation is a low pick, or a waiver wire pick if possible, injuries have plagued his career, and even if he does excel with the Hab’s, he may only play 60 games.

PLAYERS TO AVOID

Rene Bourque – Not worthy of drafting in almost any pool, however was a 30 goal scorer in his prime with Calgary and could return there if placed in the right situation.  He is a big bodied power forward with an offensive upside, and given the depth of the Hab’s, could find a nice mix on the third line.  Just don’t expect him to exceed 65 points, and if he does, watch out cause the Hab’s are going to be a force.

Brian Gionta – Playing a leadership role he is there to mentor the younger players, with his best hockey behind him.  Injuries have taken their toll, its hard to imagine him getting any power play time with the signing of Briére.   Gionta was a great player, and may have a 50 point season left in him, however the odds of that, are just as good as the odds of him retiring.  He should only be picked up on the waiver wire for a short term stint, no reason to draft Gionta.

See the prospect report for:  Eller, Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Tinordi & Beaulieu

For complete prospect report – click here

For complete fantasy ranking – click here

Defensive Players in the Top 100

PK Subban – As noted above, PK is the best defenseman on the team, and won the Norris last year.  He will be taken very high in any pool, and should be.  There is some debate that he will not be able to keep pace with last years numbers, however considering he is on a bridge contract, and is looking for an outrageous pay increase (8 million dollar range) than he will certainly be playing his best hockey.

Andre Markov – turning 35 this year, and having a long injury prone career, its easy to forget that Markov has scored 293 points in 448 games over his last 9 years (last lock out) in the NHL.  If not for injuries he would be the highest point producing defenseman in that stretch, and would be highly touted by fantasy owners.  However the rough truth is the opposite, and he is often forgot about in hockey pools.  We believe he may be worth the risk this year.  He played a full season (KHL, NHL combined) last year, with limited problems and seems to be over his knee injury that plagued his career for the last 3 seasons.  He will be called upon in the olympics however, and this might be physically draining on the older Markov.  All in all, Markov is going to be selected in your pool, but do you want to pay the price for high output production on a fantastic PP, when the risks assoicated are high.  Lets also consider his contract year, that should get a little extra spunk from the 35 year old.

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