5 Bold Predictions for Montreal Canadiens' 2013-14 Season
The Montreal Canadiens' 2013-14 season is just around the corner, and fans and media alike are starting to make their predictions for the upcoming campaign.
The defending Northeast Division champions added toughness to their lineup in hopes of helping their chances in the new Atlantic Division and making a deeper playoff run.
Here are five bold predictions for the Montreal Canadiens 2013-14 season.
Be sure to leave your bold predictions in the comment section below.
Alex Galchenyuk Leads the Canadiens in Scoring
Alex Galchenyuk could be primed for a big year.
The 19-year-old is coming off a rookie season which saw him net nine goals in 48 games in limited action. His time-on-ice increased toward the end of the year and he took advantage, scoring six goals in the Canadiens' final 12 games.
The third overall pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft is blessed with natural scoring talent and has the speed and size to play at the NHL level. He has all the tools necessary to become the next Canadiens’ superstar.
The motivation for the 2013-14 season is there as well. If Galchenyuk can indeed get off to a hot start, he could force his way onto Team USA in the Sochi 2014 Olympics.
Having earned coach Michel Therrien’s trust, Galchenyuk should get a considerable bump in ice time and even see some power-play opportunities.
Look for him to put up serious offensive numbers. Leading the Canadiens in scoring is not out of the question.
Carey Price Starts for Team Canada in Sochi
Montreal Canadiens fans want Carey Price to be Canada’s starting goalie at the Sochi Oympics. Not because he needs the extra playing time, but because he’ll need to be having a great NHL season in order to get the nod from Mike Babcock and his staff come February.
General manager Marc Bergevin has done his part to get the best out of Price with the hiring of Stephane Waite in the offseason. The former Chicago Blackhawks' goaltender coach worked magic with Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford, and now Price is his project.
There is no goalie controversy in Montreal, and there will not be one this season. Price will carry the weight. But he will need to be better than he was in last year’s abbreviated season, and he knows that.
Look for a big rebound season from Carey Price, one that sees him earn the starting job for Team Canada while putting up the best numbers of his young career.
Jarred Tinordi Earns a Top-Six Defenseman Spot
After the Canadiens signed Douglas Murray, it looked as if there would be no room for Jarred Tinordi on the Montreal Canadiens roster this season. There were simply too many veteran defensemen.
Injuries happen, however, and that’s exactly how Jarred Tinordi is going to earn a chance to show Michel Therrien he belongs at the NHL level.
The Habs blue line has been beat up so far this preseason. Habs Eyes On the Prize reports that Davis Drewiskie will miss at least a month with a shoulder injury. Francis Bouillon and Murray are both being called day-to-day with lower body injuries. That leaves Tinordi to battle with fellow prospect Nathan Beaulieu for first crack at a roster spot.
Tinordi should earn a top-six defender spot out of camp due to injuries. Look for Tinordi's play to force the Canadiens' coaches into keeping him on the roster for the entire season.
P.K. Subban Wins Back-to-Back Norris Trophies
P.K. Subban is the defending Norris Trophy winner for best defenseman, and don't be surprised to see him earn top honors again in 2013-14.
First, let's remember that Subban is only 24 years old and is entering just his fourth season in the NHL. He's now entering his prime and should continue to improve his game over the next few seasons.
Second, let's look back on the circumstances under which he won the Norris last season. He started the season without a contract and ended up missing all of training camp and the first six games of the season. Even when he did return to the lineup, he was used somewhat sparingly by coach Michel Therrien.
His time-on-ice to begin the 2013 season was limited. As Arpon Basu of NHL.com points out, he began the season on Montreal's third defensive pairing and saw minimal power-play time with the second unit. He had six points in his first 10 games, but would then add 30 points in his next 26 games as his role with the Habs grew.
Subban will begin the upcoming season as Therrien's workhorse and his numbers should increase accordingly.
He should also be highly motivated as well. He has the chance to play himself onto Team Canada's Sochi 2014 roster and earn a long-term contract that should make him one of the top-paid defenseman in the league.
Montreal Upsets Boston in the Playoffs
Montreal won the Northeast Division last season by just one point over the Boston Bruins. The Canadiens were bounced in the first round, while Boston went on to win the Eastern Conference championship.
Look for Boston to win the Atlantic Division and earn one of the top-two seeds in the playoffs.
Montreal will have their ups-and-downs throughout the regular season before sneaking in to the postseason as the seventh or eighth seed.
And that's where the fun begins.
Montreal will be matched up against their long-time playoff rivals, the Boston Bruins, and they'll pull off a six-game upset to advance to the second round.
The Canadiens added toughness and playoff experience this offseason. Those moves by Bergevin, coupled with Carey Price's hot play, will pay off at the expense of the Bruins.