NHL Betting: Canadiens Ready To Contend With Subban, Price Leading The Way



The Montreal Canadiens have had an entire summer to think about what could have been if Carey Price didn’t get hurt against the New York Rangers in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. They will have another chance to prove they are among the conference’s elite teams in 2014-15. The Canadiens got creative this offseason as they found a way to sign PK Subban to a long-term contract while bringing back Andrei Markov and adding PA Parenteau, Manny Malholtra, and Tom Gilbert. It’s been two decades since they celebrated a Stanley Cup in Montreal and the fans feel they could be close to contending again this season.

Stanley Cup Odds: +1800

Key Acquisitions: PA Parenteau, Tom Gilbert, Manny Malholtra

Key Losses: Thomas Vanek, Brian Gionta, Josh Gorges, Danny Briere

Why They’ll Be Better

A young core that has spent the past couple of seasons developing is ready to carry this team with Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, PK Subban, and Carey Price among the pillars of this franchise. Pacioretty scored a career-high 39 goals last season and could finally break through with a 40-goal season if he stays healthy and gets more consistent play from David Desharnais or whoever lines up next to him at center. He could also have a new linemate in Parenteau. Galchenyuk and Gallagher are both ready to play bigger roles as they look to provide the secondary scoring up front. The Canadiens were smart to bring back Tomas Plekanec and sign Manny Malholtra to provide depth down the middle as quality two-way players that are excellent in the faceoff circle and penalty kill. Montreal management decided they were better off signing Tom Gilbert and Mike Weaver for the same money they would have paid Josh Gorges while Dustin Tokarski has proven his worth as a quality No. 2 goalie behind Price.

Why They’ll Be Worse

Vanek helped the team down the stretch while Gionta and Gorges were two veteran leaders whose presence could be missed. The Canadiens elected to go with five assistant captains rather than name a new captain following Gionta’s exit and there are enough veterans in the room that they should be fine. Overall, Montreal is a better team on paper in nearly every department compared to at this time a year ago, so there isn’t any reason to expect them to be worse barring major injuries to top players.

Outlook

Last year’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals provided some valuable experience for the team’s young stars and that will really help moving forward. Subban and Price are the standout stars on this team, but a young core featuring Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, and Gallagher is ready for the spotlight. The Canadiens should be even deeper this season at both ends of the ice and the combination of veteran players that are still playing at a high level and young players entering their primes could result in Montreal being a major Stanley Cup contender again in 2014-15.

Prediction: 3rd in Eastern Conference