Ten Things to Expect from the Montreal Canadiens 2010-2011 Season
1. Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta will score 30 goals: Last season Cammalleri and Gionta scored 26 and 28 goals respectively in injury shortened seasons. If they can both stay healthy and continue to build on the chemistry they showed in the playoffs Cammalleri and Gionta showed both crack the 30 goal mark.
2. P.K. Subban will make a run at the Calder Trophy: Subban played in only two regular season games last season tallying two assists. In the playoffs Subban took the NHL by storm with his incredible ability to create offence from the back end as well as help shutdown the likes of Ovechkin and Crosby. Though Subban is turnover prone expect him to get that in check and become an even more dynamic player.
3. Scott Gomez will continue to not be worth the money: Gomez has one of the worst contracts in the NHL. Gomez scored 59 points last season good for the 2nd line center he is but not for the over $7 million he is due to be paid next season. If Gomez can stay healthy he should benefit from giving the puck to Cammalleri and Gionta but he’ll need to drastically elevate his numbers to be worthy of his contract.
4. Thomas Plekanec will suffer a drop-off in his production: Last season Plekanec lead the Canadiens in scoring with 25 goals and 70 points which earned him a nice raise. Plekanec’s numbers dropped after the first few games in the playoffs when he was targeted as the guy to shutdown. With Plekanec seeing the other teams’ top defenseman and checking forwards every night expect his numbers to take a slight hit.
5. The Habs will miss Andrei Markov: Markov is the backbone of the Canadiens defense. He moves the puck from the backend as well as anyone in the NHL as well as running the power play at a very high level. P.K. Subban can fill in for Markov but he’ll need help carrying the load. Statistics show that the Habs’ record suffers without Markov in the lineup.
6. Alex Auld will prove the perfect backup to Carey Price: Auld is a journeyman goaltender who knows what it takes to succeed in the NHL. Auld has played for 8 teams in the NHL and is a true backup who won’t mind sitting behind Price. Auld can also teach Price some tricks of the trade and mentor him on what it takes to be an NHL goalie. Auld can also carry the load for a decent period of time if Price goes down to injury or falters.
7. Carey Price will establish himself as a true #1 Goalie in the NHL: Price no longer has to look over his shoulder now that Jaroslav Halak is gone. Price knows this is his team now and he can run with it. With a veteran goalie in Alex Auld behind him Price will have a voice to listen to in rough times that may occur. Price has all the tools to be a #1 now it’s time to realize his potential as the Habs will go as far as he takes them.
8. Andrei Kostitsyn will score 25 goals: Kostitsyn had his season shortened to 59 games last season due to injury in which he scored 15 times. If Kostitsyn can enjoy a full year of health he can help take the load off of Thomas Plekanec on their line and score 25 goals with ease.
9. Lars Eller will crack the lineup and be on the PP: Eller is the main piece the Canadiens got in return for Jaroslav Halak. He is a promising young Danish prospect. Eller should crack the Habs lineup if not right away at some points during the season. Eller is an extremely gifted playmaker who could find his way on the PP in order to give the puck to the Habs gifted scorers. Eller scored 2 goals in a brief 7 game tryout at the end of the season for the Blues. Hopefully he can take that form to Montreal this year.
10. Josh Gorges will establish himself as the next Captain of the Montreal Canadiens: Gorges played great hockey in the postseason last year while paired with Hal Gill. The two consistently shutdown the oppositions top players and sacrificed their bodies to block shots. Other players on the Canadiens have said Gorges is one of the leaders in the room and at only 26 Gorges is ready to wear the C for a long time in Montreal.
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