While not every player on the Habs is worth a full-time roster spot in fantasy leagues, there are quite a few that could still be useful in certain situations.
Note that rookies and prospects will be covered in a separate article. Players that are all but certain to be farmed out to Laval (Karl Alzner and Dale Weise) won’t be covered.
Keith Kinkaid: Let’s get the obvious out of the way – he’s a reasonable handcuff behind Carey Price. Rostering both goalies should get you 82 games assuming both stay healthy. Beyond that though, the Habs appear to be willing to lighten Price’s workload which could push Kinkaid into the 25-game range or so. In deeper leagues, that should make him a reasonable third-string option as a late-round pick.
Ben Chiarot: Despite having a strong slapshot, it hasn’t resulted in much offence yet. Even if he winds up with one of Shea Weber or Jeff Petry, that’s not likely to change much. However, he blocked more than two shots per game last season while Montreal’s generous interpretation of a hit could have him around two per night this year as well. That makes him a possible late-week plug-and-play option in head-to-head leagues with those categories.
Christian Folin: It’s the same idea as Chiarot although he’ll provide more blocks than hits. Over the last two seasons, he has averaged 2.65 blocks per game which can be useful in head-to-head leagues. However, will he have enough of a role to justify picking him up? Will he even have a regular role?
Victor Mete: Yes, this will probably be the season that he scores a goal. Even when that happens, he still won’t be a relevant fantasy option even if he’s back with Weber. He just doesn’t pick up enough assists or blocks to make him stand out among other waiver wire options.
Mike Reilly: Considering the Habs gave him a two-year deal, it’s clear they still see something in him. He has the offensive skills to be a contributor at that end of the rink too but he hasn’t done enough consistently to warrant a full-time spot. If he gets hot, he’s worth a flyer for a week or two but beyond that, stay away.
Riley Barber: You may not recognize the name but he was one of Montreal’s day one signings in free agency. He has shown a scoring touch in the minors as well as some grit. Barber also indicated before hitting the open market that finding a team that would give him a chance in the NHL would influence his selection. I could see him getting a look at that open right wing spot in camp which makes him worth monitoring although he’d only be rosterable in deep leagues.
Alex Belzile: He was one of the few players that could score on a Laval team that couldn’t score last season and in doing so, earned his first entry-level deal. He’s already 28 so he isn’t a prospect either which gets him covered here. He also has to be considered among the outside options to fill Andrew Shaw’s spot. If not, he could be intriguing if he’s recalled during the season as his style of play requires him to be on an offensive line.
Nick Cousins: He put up a career-high 27 points with the Coyotes last season while playing exclusively in a bottom-six role. He’s going to have a similar role with the Habs which isn’t particularly appealing in itself but he contributes a lot of hits for someone his size. If injuries move him onto the third line with some better offensive weapons (he held his own alongside Alex Galchenyuk a year ago), he might be an interesting waiver wire speculative addition.
Charles Hudon: What a difference a year makes. Hudon went from being a quality secondary scorer to someone that is on the fringes to the point where it’s a surprise he’s still with the team. Two seasons ago, his production alone made him a reasonable option in deeper pools so he can’t be discounted outright if he makes the team. He’s not draftable but keep an eye on him if he gets a chance on a line with a bit of offensive upside.
Michael McCarron: With Shaw and Nicolas Deslauriers gone, the Habs have lost a good chunk of their grit up front which could give McCarron a bit of a chance of securing a spot. He won’t give you anything offensively but someone in need of hits late in a week in a head-to-head league may want to look his way if he’s going to be in the lineup; he averaged more than three hits per game in his last NHL action back in 2017-18.
Matthew Peca: I think he’s going to be a very important player in Laval this season. That’s all well and good for them but it won’t do anything for your fantasy team. His speed is high-end but he doesn’t score enough to make it a true weapon like Paul Byron does.
Nate Thompson: He filled a useful role after being acquired by helping kill penalties and winning some faceoffs (something that could take a bit of pressure off Phillip Danault this season) but those aren’t elements that make him worth keeping in fantasy.
Jordan Weal: I flip-flopped on whether or not to give him his own profile as his situation is certainly intriguing. He has a chance to slide into Shaw’s role and the offensive ability to play alongside someone like Max Domi and/or Jonathan Drouin. That would be a huge boost for his fantasy value. However, he has ultimately struggled when given that role in the past and he may be better on a lower line. He did pretty well all things considered in that spot with the Habs last year but that’s a small sample size to base projections off of. I think he could get into the 25-30 point range which means he’s worth keeping an eye and if he’s going to see time in the middle six, he’s worth a late-round flier.