The year is over and I'm sure management in Montreal have a lot of questions. What a circus this year was, more than it usually is! Strange accusations, players under-performing, criticism, trade rumours.
I'm sure fans and players are happy the year is over and the team is making the payoffs. So here is my Montreal Canadiens Annual Review, just quick notes about the players.
Alex Kovalev: 78 GP, 26 goals, 39 assists, 65 points
He hasn't been the player he was last year. But then again, Kovalev has been inconsistent all his career; everyone knows that.
The only problem is that Montreal management and fans expected a similar year and were disappointed.
He started the year with struggling linemates, but still he managed to get 65 points which is what Kovy usually produces on average. So overall, it's an okay year for Kovy.
Saku Koivu: 65 GP, 16 goals, 34 assists, 50 points
Without the injury problems, Koivu might've reached about 60 to 70 points this year, which is usually what he does. And if the Koivu, Tanguay, and Kovalev trio had been united earlier this year, his season might've looked better.
The team's problems have been carried by Koivu for long enough now, and I'm sure he would welcome someone who could take away his No. 1 center status.
Alex Tanguay: 50GP, 16 goals, 25 assists, 41 points
Tanguay has been admirable considering the problems the team has faced this year. When healthy, he was one of the most dangerous player on the roster.
I feel Tanguay could have reached 80 points this year if not for his injury and all the problems and distractions around the team. Gainey would be wise to resign the crafty left winger. We need more guys like him on the team.
Andrei Kostitsyn: 74GP, 23 goals, 18 assists, 41 points
I'm disappointed. I feel he's regressing. He hasn't been as confident and looks like he wants to be elsewhere.
I'm starting to feel he could pull a "Radulov" and split for the KHL...considering all that happened surrounding him and his brother, would you be surprised?
Look at the way he's been playing. Or maybe I'm just imagining things. He should be an impact player by now, just look at the guys drafted after him. But he's not...
Robert Lang: 50 GP, 18 goals, 21 assists, 39 points
I'm happy Gainey brought him in. He's been smiling all year and scoring on a steady pace. Until his injury, he was our best player! Who would've thought that. He's done more than what was expected of him.
Tomas Plekanec: 80 GP, 20 goals, 19 assists, 39 points
He tried. He did! Maybe expectations were too high, maybe he couldn't take the pressure or maybe last year was an aberration? I don't know.
But this is a year to forget for Plekanec. He was on a steady progression until now, let's just hope this was just a very late "sophomore jinx."
Maxim Lapierre: 79 GP, 15 goals, 13 assists, 28 points
I don't think anyone could've asked for more from Maxim. He's surpassed all expectation. To get that kind of consistency and offense from a third/fourth line "energy" player is something a lot of general managers envy.
And for added bonus, Lapierre is a hometown boy who care a LOT about what happens to the team. Every team should have their own Lapierre.
Guillaume Latendresse: 56 GP, 14 goals, 12 assists, 26 points
I've been impressed with the way he's been improving and behaving himself. Considering he plays on a third line with barely any powerplay time, his offensive production has been improving quite nicely.
His skating got a lot better and still improving. He's a big right winger that can bring offence and physical presence which is seriously lacking on the roster. He's still very young and will only get bigger and stronger.
Sergei Kostitsyn: 56 GP, 8 goals, 15 assists, 23 points
Was it too early to give him a regular role? I think so. He has loads of talent and has proved it on many occasion. But like his brother, consistency and focus are a problem.
The Montreal media circus probably didn't help, but as professionals they can't let that affect their play.
Sergei has let his emotions get the best of him many times this year causing stupid penalties. I like the kid a lot, he'll be great but he needs to mature.
Chris Higgins: 57 GP, 12 goals, 11 assists, 23 points
Where has he been? What a horrible year it's been for him. He's been lost all year and got dumped to the fourth line.
I feel Higgy is better fitted as a third/fourth line winger who can pitch in on the first two lines if needed. He can add depth to an already deep roster but is not an impact player on his own and I think he proved that this year.
Tom Kostopoulos: 78 GP, 8 goals, 14 assists, 22 points
You can't expect more from Tom that what he can give you...which is 150% every single game.
Gosh, I wish he'd have better puck dexterity or some kind of scoring touch because he would be dangerous! How many chances did he miss this year? But I can't blame him, he tries so hard!
Matt D'Agostini: 53 GP, 12 goals, 9 assists, 21 points
When he first arrived, he played so well that he made fans and critics go wild. But then he vanished without a trace.
Still, it's only his first year and we'll have to wait and see if that sniper wrist shot of his translates into 30 goals in the NHL. He reminds me of Richard Zednik somehow...
Mathieu Dandenault: 41 GP, 4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points
He's been very helpful, playing both as a winger and a defensemen, and also very patient.
As a veteran looking to sign a new deal it can't be easy being a healthy scratch half the year. Not once has he complained. I hope his patience and versatility will benefit him down the road.
Max Pacioretty: 34 GP, 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points
I can't say I've been disappointed but not impressed either. He made a similar impression as D'Agostini when he arrived.
But Pacioretty is very young and still has lots of time to grow. He likes to play as a power-forward and those usually take longer to develop.
Glen Metropolit: 21 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points
He's doing a good job killing penalties and seems to mesh well with Higgins. He's doing what he's here to do, which is stabilize the fourth line. As long as he's invisible, it means he's doing his job.
Georges Laraque: 33 GP, 61 PIM
He's been plagued with injury all year and hasn't helped much. But then again, he came to Montreal unprepared and out of shape and suffered the consequences.
I hope he's healthy now because he'll be important during the playoffs. A healthy Laraque can be very scary and tough to move. I hope Bob's investment in Laraque pays off down the line.
Greg Stewart: 20 GP, 32 PIM
Interesting guy. He can fight, he's obviously faster than Laraque and seems to have better offensive potential as well. He could be a useful alternative to Laraque down the road.
He came in this year with five fights in five strait games to prove his point but thankfully quiet down since!
Kyle Chipchura: 13 GP
Forgettable presence for a forgettable player who's time is running out in Montreal. He's just not growing into a consistent player.
Ben Maxwell: 7 GP
Seemed a bit lost but who can blame him? Should be pretty good eventually.
Andrei Markov: 78 GP, 12 goals, 52 assists, 64 points
A perfect 10. And he earned it. Markov is an elite defensemen and his absence makes a huge difference. He does everything, power play, penalty kill, passing, scoring. Markov is the kind of defensemen general managers dream about.
He's quiet and extremely effective. If not for his injury, he might have become the first defensemen ever to lead the Canadiens in scoring!
Roman Hamrlik: 81 GP, 6 goals, 27 assists, 33 points
Hammer does his job. He's not as flashy as he use to be but is very efficient. He's tough and reliable and fits in well as a third or fourth defensemen. Good job!
Josh Gorges: 81 GP, 4 goals, 19 assists, 23 points
I think this is the year Josh really proved he could be a solid defensemen. He's been the most consistent defensively thru the year. He even reached career highs in goals, assists, points and plus\minus. He's starting to draw well deserved attention to himself.
Patrice Brisebois: 62 GP, 5 goals, 13 assists, 18 points
This veteran is eyeing retirement. He's been resigned as a backup in case something failed and was helpful. He still does blind passes but in a diminished role they're not as damaging!
I hope we can find someone younger to be the backup next year. Still, 1000 career games is something to be very proud of.
Mathieu Schneider: 23 GP, 5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points
He was brought in to save a struggling powerplay and did just that. Just goes to show how important offensive defensemen are.
If he had played all year in Montreal, things would surely be a lot better for the Habs and his offensive statistics would likely be around 55 to 60 points.
Mike Komisarek: 66 GP: 2 goals, 9 assists, 11 points
Where is the scary Komisarek that gave nightmares to his opponents? Since his humiliating loss to Milan Lucic, Komi has transformed into an inconsistent shaky un-confident player.
My guess is he's playing injured or something has bothered him all year. I hope he'll come back next year as the monster defender he once was.
Francis Bouillon: 54 GP, 5 goals, 4 assists, 9 points
When healthy, Bouillon can be a tough opponent. He's small but feisty and hits hard. He's usually reliable defensively and can pitch in on the offense if really needed. As a fifth or sixth defensemen he fits perfectly.
Ryan O'Byrne: 37 GP, 0 goals, 5 assists, 5 points
Nobody that have seen him play can give him a passing grade. Scoring in his own goals was just the cherry on the sundae, even before then O'Byrne was struggling badly.
This is a year to forget for him. I think management expect him to be a bit like Komisarek but he looks so uncomfortable in the NHL it's sad to look at.
Yannick Weber: 3 GP
He looked nervous, but that's to be expected. I can't wait to see if we actually got, as I'm told, a Mark Streit replica waiting in Hamilton.
Alex Henry: 2GP
Just came in to help and couldn't stop dropping the gloves so they sent him back!
Doug Janik: 2GP
Again, just came in to help and he did.
Carey Price: 52GP, 23 wins, 16 loss, 10 OT loss, 1SO, 2.83GAA, .905SV%
Not great stats for someone who stole the starting goaltender job from Cristobal Huet last year. Price has looked unstable, lost, confused and even sometimes drunk in from of the net! I hope it's just sophomore jinx and that he'll be that goaltender Montreal fans are waiting for since Patrick Roy left town.
Jaroslav Halak: 34GP, 18 wins, 10 loss, 1 OT loss, 1SO, 2.86GAA, .915SV%
Halak has been admirable. How many backups play 34 games and get you 18 wins? He has carried the team when Price was down and did a great job. He helped the team out of a major slump near the end of the year. He has done a great job considering the condition he played in.
So there it is. This is, of course, just my own opinion. Feel free to disagree! Comments are always appreciated.