Offseason Recap: Montreal Canadiens

After finishing first overall in the Eastern Conference, Montreal had to be disappointed with the second round exit at the hands of the physically superior Philadelphia Flyers. Montreal went right out and acquired big Georges Laraque to beef up their physical presence. The timid play of Carey Price in that second round series with Philly must have caused some concern as well. The signing of Marc Denis will provide a solid veteran option for the Canadiens, giving them a goalie with some experience to stabilize young netminders Price and Jaroslav Halak. mats sundin

Montreal managed to re-sign talented young winger Andrei Kostitsyn after his 53 point performance last season, but lost high-scoring defenseman Mark Streit to the Islanders. The loss of Michael Ryder to the Boston Bruins may not be as keenly felt, due to the acquisition of Alex Tanguay. Tanguay has not been as explosively productive as he was with Colorado, but a change of scenery and Montreal’s high-paced offense may be what he needs to rejuvenate his career.

Montreal also acquired the rights to talk to superstar Mats Sundin before he became an unrestricted free agent, but no deal was worked out in time, and Sundin’s future in the NHL remains uncertain. If Montreal were to acquire the talented Swede, he would give them serious depth down the middle, as well as providing a great locker room presence and leadership ability. With most of the pieces from last season still in place, look for Montreal to be near the top of the Conference standings at the end of next season.

Len robinson
Sports Pundit member

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