Odds for Montreal Canadiens' 2013-14 MVP
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
The Montreal Canadiens' 2013-14 season has kicked off. And though the Habs have just two games in the record books, it's never too early to start talking about who might be the team MVP this year.
The lockout-shortened 2012-13 season saw defenseman P.K. Subban run away with the Canadiens' most valuable player honors. Winning the Norris Trophy will do that for a player.
Subban will have a list of players to contend with this season if he hopes to repeat, however.
Here are the odds for the Montreal Canadiens' 2013-14 team MVP.
Daniel Briere (25:1)
Daniel Briere was Montreal's biggest offseason signing.
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The Montreal Canadiens filled a hole in their roster with the signing of Daniel Briere this past offseason. And while the 36-year-old has begun the season on Montreal's first line, he has much better hopes of stealing the hearts of the locals than he does of becoming the team MVP.
The Bell Centre fans want to fall in love with the Gatineau, Quebec native. A few good games early this season will make him an instant fan favorite in Habs nation.
Realistically, though, he doesn't stand much of a chance of becoming the Canadiens' MVP this season.
Briere could very well have a good season. He might even have a great season. Briere himself thinks he still has what it takes to be a top player in the NHL. General manager Marc Bergevin apparently thinks so, too.
The aging veteran would have to put up some serious numbers, however, to beat out the likes of Max Pacioretty, Carey Price and P.K. Subban for team MVP honors.
Lars Eller (20:1)
Lars Eller is Montreal's hottest player to start the season.
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There is no hotter Montreal Canadien than Lars Eller right now.
The 24-year-old from Denmark has come flying out of the gate with three goals and two assists in the first two games of the season. The NHL even named him its second star for the week ending October 6.
But it is only two games into the season, so let's not name him team MVP quite yet.
While it has been fun to watch Montreal's EGG line (Eller, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher) find early-season success, there are still 80 games to be played in the regular season. The young center and his linemates are bound to have their struggles over the course of the season.
Eller has finally begun to prove why he was a first-round pick back in 2007. He could be the Canadiens' MVP at some point down the road, but it's highly unlikely to be this season.
Max Pacioretty (10:1)
Max Pacioretty and his linemates are off to a slow start this season.
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Max Pacioretty has led the Montreal Canadiens in scoring each of the last two seasons, as he has developed into the Habs' top option up front.
A gambler with little other knowledge of the Canadiens might think that 10:1 odds are a pretty good bet for the team's leading scorer to be named their MVP.
Yet there are two roadblocks standing in the way of Pacioretty becoming the Habs' most valuable player. First, he doesn't play defense, and secondly, there's a guy named P.K. Subban on defense.
If Pacioretty wants to be named team MVP without playing well inside of his own blue line, he'll need to score a lot more than he has to this point. Putting up Sidney Crosby- or Alex Ovechkin-type numbers makes coaches forget about defensive ineptitude. The 65-70 point range does not.
And when your team has last year's Norris Trophy winner playing 25 tough minutes a night on defense, 65-70 points certainly isn't going to do the trick.
Pacioretty will need to elevate his game to another level in 2013-14 if he hopes to eclipse Subban as team MVP.
Carey Price (7:1)
Carey Price makes a save against Philadelphia on October 5.
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In hockey, a conversation about a team's MVP for the next season is never complete without including the starting goalie.
NHL goalies all have the ability to break out and carry their team on their shoulders in any given year. Just look at what Sergei Bobrovski and Corey Crawford did last season.
The Montreal Canadiens have a goaltender who has already flashed that brilliance in his career. Carey Price is a three-time All-Star and has shown the ability to be among the best netminders in the world. He's also very inconsistent, however, and coming off a less-than-mediocre season.
Price has begun the new season with a win and a loss, allowing a combined five goals on 61 shots (although two were from tough-luck bounces). He was great against the Philadelphia Flyers and average against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Though it is far too early in the season to make judgments, a hot streak over the next couple of weeks would go a long way in telling which Carey Price the Canadiens will see in 2013-14.
If Price is able to turn his game around and play the way he is capable of playing, he has as good of a chance as anyone of being Montreal's MVP in 2013-14.
P.K. Subban (3:1)
P.K. Subban with his Norris Trophy last season.
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P.K. Subban was Montreal's MVP in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, and he's the odds-on favorite again this year.
Subban's incredible performance after his brief holdout last season earned him the Norris Trophy and put him on the map as one of the bright young superstars in the game today.
Coach Michel Therrien eased Subban back into the lineup last season after missing six games, but he still put up a league-leading 38 points for defensemen. Having fully earned Therrien's trust, he'll see even more power-play time this season and be leaned on heavily as the Canadiens' workhorse. He will certainly be given every opportunity to equal or better last year's numbers.
Subban was Montreal's best player in 2013 and likely will be again this season. Look for him to be named the Montreal Canadiens' MVP next June.