The summer of 2015 for the Montreal Canadiens has surely changed script from summers past, but will the moves pay off? Have they elevated their game? Or have they remained stagnant?
An awful way to start the summer was buying out forward Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau. Parenteau had one year remaining on his contract, but the Habs were too impatient in their decision to buy out the 32 year-old forward. Parenteau was a forward who thrived with each of his teams when given the proper opportunity, but consistency was never his forté. Several contributing factors play into the satisfactory performance, especially the issues with coach Therrien. Sadly, the Canadiens will watch Parenteau potentially thrive with the rival Toronto Maple Leafs as $1.33M of cap gets eaten up for the next two seasons.
Marc Bergevin highlighted his summer with three moves that will improve the Canadiens’ offence: acquiring Zach Kassian, signing Alex Semin, and re-signing Alex Galchenyuk.
Zach Kassian is a younger version of Brandon Prust who can score, providing that he stays healthy. In just 42 games, Kassian posted 10 goals and 6 assists for 16 points. Not great, but good for a second/third line forward who shows his gritty side when he needs to. If Kassian plays with the right linemates, he can be potent.
Signing Alexander Semin to a one-year contract worth only $1.1M could be the gift that Canadiens fans were happy about. He had just finished another dismal year in Carolina, and is now on a prove-me contract in the hopes of finding his own in Montreal. Semin might not be the offensive force that he used to be when he played with Ovi and Backstrom on the Washington Capitals, but if he plays with Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty (the right linemates), he could very well find the talent from just six seasons ago.
Alex Galchenyuk has constantly been under constant scrutiny of Michel Therrien, but has not been given the proper opportunity. Place him on the first line and not the third. Play him on the powerplay and not the bench. I hope that when Galchenyuk and Bergevin were negotiating the contract, Galchenyuk asked for a validation that he would be given a proper opportunity, because all arrows are pointing to “DON’T WASTE CHUCKY’S TALENT!”
What happens next…?
Will the Canadiens reach the postseason? Yes. Will Carey Price and P.K. Subban be dominant? Yes. Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, and Carey Price are the leaders of the team in each postion. Offensively, defensively, and in goal. Price can carry the Habs to numerous wins in which he posts 30+ saves, but he needs the offensive support, especially in the playoffs.
If the Canadiens want to achieve postseason success, the bench boss Therrien needs to ensure that he plays first line players on the first line. From there the players need to ensure that they are accountable for each game. For every win, loss, goal for and against.
The Canadiens need to show the league that they’re not only a team with a world-class goaltender and a Norris-winning defenceman, but a TEAM that can play the entire 200-foot game. This could be their year, if all the right moves are made.