With the Habs’ year now complete, it’s time to sit back and reflect on the
season (and playoffs) that was. Today is the first part of HabsWorld’s
2009-10 wrap-up with the player grades for Montreal’s goaltenders and
defencemen. The grades are broken down by regular season and playoff
In order to qualify to be graded, a player must have played in at least 25%
of the games during either the regular season and playoffs.
Jaroslav Halak – Season: B+, Playoffs: A
The battle to be the outright number one goalie continued deep into the
season but in the end, it was Halak’s solid play that earned him the job heading
into the postseason. He virtually stole the Washington series by himself
and played a large role in the victory over Pittsburgh. Although he
faltered a bit against the Flyers, it’s hard to be too upset with him as without
Halak, the Habs wouldn’t have been in that situation.
Season: 45 GP, 26-13-5 record, 2.40 GAA, .924 SV%, 5 shutouts
Playoffs: 18 GP, 9-9 record, 2.55 GAA, .923 SV%, 0 shutouts
Carey Price – Season: B-, Playoffs: C
He had an excellent first week of the season winning the first two in OT but
then went into a slump that saw him go over a month between wins. After
that, he was consistently inconsistent, losing his starting job in the process.
In the playoffs, he really only played in one notable game and although he was
decent, he was unable to get the job done. That sentence may very well sum
up his 2009-10 campaign.
Season: 41 GP, 13-20-5 record, 2.77 GAA, .912 SV%, 0 shutouts
Playoffs: 4 GP, 0-1 record, 3.56 GAA, .890 SV%, 0 shutouts
Marc-Andre Bergeron – Season: B, Playoffs: C+
In a hurry, Bergeron proved why he can be so valuable to a team and also why
he was unsigned when the season began. His PP shot proved to be a huge
weapon while his 5-on-5 play was also a huge weapon…for the other team.
In the end though, he led all Habs’ d-men in points (tied) during the season but
was all but neutralized in the playoffs aside from a key goal in Game 7 vs
Season: 60 GP, 13-21-34, -7 rating, 16 PIMS
Playoffs: 19 GP, 2-4-6, -12 rating, 10 PIMS
Josh Gorges – Season: B, Playoffs: B+
Though his offensive numbers took a big drop (from 23 points to 10), his
defensive game was vastly improved this year. With all of the injuries (he
was the only D not to miss time due to injury), he often found himself playing
top pairing minutes, a trend that continued throughout the postseason.
When the Habs first got him, he was considered by most to be a spare part at
best but now, he’s a core part of the team.
Season: 82 GP, 3-7-10, +2 rating, 39 PIMS
Playoffs: 19 GP, 0-2-2, -4 rating, 14 PIMS
Hal Gill – Season: C, Playoffs: A-
When he signed, a lot of concerns existed over whether he’d be able to keep
up with the pace. For most of the season, those concerns were well founded
as aside from the penalty kill, he was basically a liability on the ice.
When the playoffs hit though, that all changed as he turned into the shot
blocking machine we all saw the last two seasons with the Pens. It’s hard
not to be skeptical about him building on that performance for the start of
Season: 68 GP, 2-9-11, -10 rating, 68 PIMS
Playoffs: 18 GP, 0-1-1, -3 rating, 20 PIMS
Roman Hamrlik – Season: C+, Playoffs: B-
There were times where Hamrlik played like a top pairing player and then
there were times where he played like a top pairing player…on the Bulldogs.
He stepped up his play when Markov was out both during the season and playoffs
but when Markov was healthy, he seemed to struggle to find a role he was
comfortable with. Considering his contract is down to just one year left,
the Habs will be considering a buyout to free up some extra cap space this
Season: 75 GP, 6-20-26, -2 rating, 56 PIMS
Playoffs: 19 GP, 0-9-9, -1 rating, 15 PIMS
Paul Mara – Season: C-, Playoffs: N/A
He was brought in to provide some physical play and help the PP and though
he brought the former, he did nothing of the latter. He struggled to hit
the net with his shot and his defensive play made it difficult to keep him in
the lineup. That being said, I think he really could have helped had he
been healthy to play against the Flyers. A UFA this summer, it’s hard to
see him coming back unless he takes a significant pay cut (which I wouldn’t rule
out given the injury).
Season: 42 GP, 0-8-8, -16 rating, 48 PIMS
Andrei Markov – Season: B+, Playoffs: B
When healthy during the season, he was the All-Star defenceman we’ve all
come to expect. The problem was, he wasn’t healthy very often. In
his absence, he proved why many consider him to be the team’s best player.
He’ll miss the start of next season which will also likely damper any potential
contract extension talks this offseason.
Season: 45 GP, 6-28-34, +11 rating, 32 PIMS
Playoffs: 8 GP, 0-4-4, -3 rating, 0 PIMS
Ryan O’Byrne – Season: C+, Playoffs: C
O’Byrne looked poised to have a breakout year after a great training camp
before he got injured (the story of the Habs’ season). Once healthy, he
was in and out of the doghouse and in and out of the lineup, a trend that
surprisingly continued into the playoffs. He still brings elements to the
table that can be helpful, but he’ll need to get off to a strong start next
season or he may find himself in another uniform.
Season: 55 GP, 1-3-4, -3 rating, 74 PIMS
Playoffs: 13 GP, 0-0-0, +1 rating, 10 PIMS
Jaroslav Spacek – Season: C, Playoffs: B
Another player who was signed to bolster the powerplay and did little to
accomplish that. He showed up out of shape and spent most of the season
fighting to get into shape, a virus certainly didn’t help that happen sooner.
In the playoffs though, he really stepped up his game after his virus went away,
becoming that core defenceman he was signed to be. If he can carry that
into next season, that signing may not be so bad after all.
Season: 74 GP, 3-18-21, +9 rating, 50 PIMS
Playoffs: 10 GP, 1-3-4, -2 rating, 6 PIMS
P.K. Subban – Season: N/A, Playoffs: B+
After a slow start in Hamilton, Subban picked up his play, earning a brief
midseason call up that planted the seed that led to him joining the team in the
playoffs. He played very well early on in the postseason before struggling
a bit in the final series against the Flyers, but still played okay. He’s
surely done enough to merit a full time roster spot next season.
Season: 2 GP, 0-2-2, +1 rating, 2 PIMS
Playoffs: 14 GP, 1-7-8, +2 rating, 6 PIMS
Keep checking HW for Part 2 of the grades (the forwards) which will appear later