Despite a somewhat lacklustre March, the Canadiens finished 1st in the Atlantic Division with 110 points which was good enough for second in the Eastern Conference and second in the NHL overall. Despite that result, there are many pundits who believe that the Canadiens are ripe for a playoff upset. Despite the doubters, this team was consistent all season and with their outstanding goaltending, excellent defence and overall depth the Canadiens are poised to go on a deep run in their quest for their 25th cup.
Players must have played in at least five games to receive a grade.
Max Pacioretty A: Pacioretty ended the season as the Canadiens leading scorer with 37 goals and 30 assists for 67 points. Unfortunately, Max was injured before the end of the year and once again just missed reaching the 40 goal mark. Pacioretty has improved his overall game and is outstanding defensively and a constant threat to score as a penalty killed. As discussed all season, Max built a strong case for the Captaincy next year.
4th Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 7 goals, 5 assists, 12 points, +2 rating, 10 PIMS, 64 shots
Tomas Plekanec A: Plekanec picked up his offensive game in the last quarter of the season and finished with his best point totals since 2009-2010 when he hit his career high of 70. One of the most under-rated performers on the team, Tomas consistently frustrates the opposition’s top lines, kills penalties and plays a complete 200 foot game.
4th Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points, even rating, 6 PIMS, 60 shots
Brendan Gallagher B: It is hard to write about Gallagher without repeating previous descriptions. His indomitable will to score, the irrepressible drive to the front of the net, the almost masochistic ability to absorb punishment from opposition forwards have been the subject of countless articles on Gallagher. The prototype of a player that teammates and fans love and opposing players and fans would love to have on their team, he continues to improve at both ends of the ice.
4th Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 7 goals, 2 assists, 9 points, -2 rating, 9 PIMS, 74 shots
Dale Weise B: Weise scored a career high for points this season with 29 and despite slight periodic dips in production, he was productive and effective on every line from the first to the fourth. Weise is an excellent forechecker and has some offensive skills, harries and pounds the opposition on the forechec,k and he can play from the top to the bottom of the line-up. The key to his success is his physical game – his 145 hits is second to only Alexei Emelin(not counting late addition Smith Pelly, of course).
4th Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, +3 rating, 14 PIMS, 13 shots
Jacob De La Rose B: De La Rose continued to impress through the end of the season. Despite his inexperience, Therrien has him on the ice in key situations and the rookie usually delivers. His hockey sense and physicality are outstanding for a 19 year old and management and fans are wondering if he can develop more offensive production to match the excellence of his overall game.
4th Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 2 goals, 1 assists, 3 points, -2 rating, 10 PIMS, 27 shots
Lars Eller B: While Eller is frustratingly inconsistent, he seemed to be picking up his offensive play for the playoffs with 10 points in his last 20 games. The hope/expectation is that Eller can once again overcome a disappointing regular season to excel in the playoffs.
4th Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points, +1 rating, 6 PIMS, 45 shots
Alex Galchenyuk B-: Galchenyuk has had a somewhat inconsistent season. He showed flashes of offensive brilliance but is not yet able to score on a consistent bases. Nevertheless he is still very young and his defensive game is much improved. While this review may be coloured by the high expectations placed on Galchenyuk (as he did finish only one point behind Gallagher in scoring) he ended the season in a funk with only 7pts in his last 20 games.
4th Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points, -3 rating, 14 PIMS, 38 shots
Brandon Prust B-: Prust continued his solid physical play and penalty killing. Although his offence was minimal, he has avoided turning over the puck and remains the only player to frequently fight for the team and his teammates. Fortunately, Prust remained healthy missing only two games all season and seems to be in fine shape for the playoffs.
4th Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points, +4 rating, 32 PIMS, 9 shots
David Desharnais B-: Desharnais is a frustrating player as he has the skills and hockey sense to create offensive chances but always seems to pass off instead of shooting. This is not opinion. His 90 shots are the lowest among regular forwards except for Prust. With his elite passing skills, his offence will only improve if he continues to shoot more rather than always looking for the pass.
4th Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 3 goals, 7 assists, 10 points, 0 rating, 8 PIMS, 19 shots
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau D+: Parenteau finally seemed to get healthy and played in 16 games in the final quarter, but he has still not produced much offensively. It remains to be seen in this is a permanent decline in Parenteau’s game or if he can come back strong in the playoffs and next season.
4th Quarter Stats: 16 GP, 2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points, +5 rating, 10 PIMS, 25 shots
Manny Malhotra D: Malhotra was brought in to improve the team in the faceoff circle. He did that and seemed to improve the proficiency of all the Canadiens faceoff men. Unfortunately, his complete lack of offensive potential or production led him to being benched and Torrey Mitchell seems to have taken his spot. Barring an injury in the playoffs, Malhotra has probably played his last game for Les Canadiens.
3rd Quarter Stats: 5 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, +2 rating, 2 PIMS, 5 shots
Devante Smith-Pelly D: Smith-Pelly seemed to struggle with the pace of the Eastern Conference when he first arrived in Montreal and while he tried to play a physical game he often seemed a step behind. To his credit he put in extra work on his skating and fitness and seems to be fitting in better although the expected offensive production has not yet materialized.
4th Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 1 goals, 2 assists, 3 points, -1 rating, 12 PIMS, 28 shots
Brian Flynn D: Another deadline addition, Flynn also seemed slow to adjust to Montreal and seemed to add little to the fourth line – although he too is an excellent skater.
4th Quarter Stats: 9 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -2 rating, 0 PIMS, 9 shots
Torrey Mitchell D: Like Smith-Pelly, but with much lower expectations, Mitchell seemed to struggle with the transition to Montreal. No doubt ecstatic to escape Buffalo for his home town team, Mitchell seemed a bit out of sorts when he first arrived. As a great skating role-player, Mitchell was expected to energize the fourth line and add some offence, but that did not happen.
4th Quarter Stats: 14 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -2 rating, 8 PIMS, 10 shots