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The votes have been added up from our readers and writers.  Who earned the top grades for the Canadiens this season?  We begin with the goaltenders and defencemen.

Players must have played in 20 games to be eligible for voting.


Samuel Montembeault

Fan Vote Average: 6.76
Writer Vote Average: 8.00

Montembeault came into the season as the de facto backup to Jake Allen and instead ended up outplaying Allen for a good portion of the season. Playing behind the same lineup as Allen, Samuel had slightly better numbers. And despite playing more games than he has ever played in a season, he was slightly better than his career averages (0.896 SV%, 3.49 GAA). Samuel more than held his own this season in between the pipes and showed he can be counted on as a bona fide NHL goaltender. Montembeault has one more season at a $1M cap hit making him a near certainty to be back with the Habs in 2023-2024.

Stats: 40 GP, 16-19-3, 0.901 SV%, 3.42 GAA

Jake Allen

Fan Vote Average: 5.28
Writer Vote Average: 5.33

Allen had a tough time during this season putting up numbers well below his career average of 0.909 SV % and 2.70 GAA. For sure the largely rookie defence and the quality of shots against would have a major impact on his numbers, but there were still far too many goals he would like to have back. Allen will begin his two-year, $3.85M AAV contract starting in 2023-24 so let’s hope he performs closer to his career average next season.

Stats: 42 GP, 15-24-3, 1 SO, 0.891 SV%, 3.55 GAA


Michael Matheson

Fan Vote Average: 7.55
Writer Vote Average: 8.78

Matheson had a career year and set career highs in points despite only playing in only 48 games. He is a great skater and moves the puck well and certainly showed his potential value this past season. Being a plus player on a poor team is certainly something to take note of. As a 28-year-old he’s in the prime of his career, so if he can avoid a setback (as he’s had in the past) Habs fans will get to enjoy a few solid years with Matheson as he’s under contract for 3 more seasons.

Stats: 48 GP, 8 goals, 26 assists, 34 points, +7 rating, 33 PIMS, 126 shots, 24:27 ATOI

Kaiden Guhle

Fan Vote Average: 7.07
Writer Vote Average: 7.67

With limited defensive depth and with two veterans injured at the start of the season, Guhle was asked to play top-pairing minutes as a rookie. He did better than anyone could expect and while he had some momentary lapses, his overall play and positioning were very strong. Guhle demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has a bright future as an NHL defenceman. As he matures and grows stronger he’ll be even tougher to beat and should be a top-four blueliner for the Habs in the next few years.

Stats: 44 GP, 4 goals, 14 assists, 18 points, -19 rating, 27 PIMS, 48 shots, 20:31 ATOI

Arber Xhekaj

Fan Vote Average: 6.86
Writer Vote Average: 8.11

Xhekaj is a beast! As a 22-year-old rookie, he manhandled some of the toughest “tough guys” in the NHL. He made life miserable in the corners for opposing forwards and managed to regularly paste opposing forwards in the defensive zone while coming second in goals for defencemen after Matheson. He’s not as good a skater as Guhle and likely won’t be winning any awards, but Xhekaj is the type of player you want on the ice when you need to make something happen. With his background you just have to root for the guy – and he’ll likely be a fan favourite for years to come. He’s got one more year left on his rookie contract.

Stats: 51 GP, 5 goals, 8 assists, 13 points, -9 rating, 101 PIMS, 75 shots, 15:16 ATOI

Jordan Harris

Fan Vote Average: 6.60
Writer Vote Average: 6.76

Many of the comments for Guhle would also apply to Harris. He’s not as flashy or has as much skill as Guhle, but Harris plays a steady solid game. He’s not aggressive in either end but his positional play was solid for a rookie. Too often Harris was manhandled off the puck so he’ll definitely need to hit the gym in the offseason to improve his competitiveness but that should come naturally. Harris was the Habs nominee for the King Clancy (leadership and humanitarian contribution to the community) Trophy so this speaks volumes as to who he is as a person. If he continues to develop Harris could become a steady reliable third-pairing defenceman while providing great leadership to the team. He’s signed a two-year contract extension which kicks in next season.

Stats: 65 GP, 4 goals, 13 assists, 17 points, -3 rating, 26 PIMS, 70 shots, 18:39 ATOI

David Savard

Fan Vote Average: 6.38
Writer Vote Average: 6.56

Surprisingly, the fan and writer ratings were low for Savard. Proponents would point out that Savard was thrust into a top spot on the right side, often playing tough minutes against top competition. On a competitive team Savard would likely be on the third pairing but with no depth on defence Savard stepped up and filled the role as best he could. He’s under contract for one more season and given the lack of depth on the right side, Savard is a sure bet to be back next season.

Stats: 62 GP, 3 goals, 17 assists, 20 points, -14 rating, 40 PIMS, 63 shots, 22:23 ATOI

Johnathan Kovacevic

Fan Vote Average: 6.33
Writer Vote Average: 7.56

See the above comments on Harris and apply them as well to Kovacevic, except the 6’4” Kovacevic brings a lot more strength and muscle to the game. Claimed off waivers from Winnipeg in the preseason, the 25-year-old played well in his first NHL season. He’s not as good a skater as Harris or Guhle and was likely caught out of position a bit more frequently but in the corners and in front of the net he can be a physical force. Again, take notice of him being a plus player on a very bad team. He’s in the first year of his three-year second contract so I’d expect to see Kovacevic back for the foreseeable future with the Habs.

Stats: 77 GP, 3 goals, 12 assists, 15 points, +3 rating, 39 PIMS, 92 shots, 17:25 ATOI

Justin Barron

Fan Vote Average: 6.12
Writer Vote Average: 6.33

Barron had a tough start to the year as he didn’t make the team out of training camp. After playing 25 games and scoring 16 points in Laval, Barron was called up and didn’t look back. Like the rest of the rookies, Barron made his fair share of blunders but overall proved he is an NHL defenceman. He’s got one year left on his rookie contract so expect to see Barron on the blueline next season.

Stats: 39 GP, 4 goals, 11 assists, 15 points, -2 rating, 20 PIMS, 40 shots, 16:18 ATOI

Joel Edmundson

Fan Vote Average: 4.60
Writer Vote Average: 4.11

Edmundson arguably had his worst season as an NHL player. Usually being counted on to be a leader in plus/minus, Edmundson was a nasty -29. He had the fewest points since his rookie season in 2015-2016 and missed a ton of games over the last two seasons with back injuries. Starting his first game on November 3rd, Edmundson obviously felt the effects of the injury and just wasn’t himself. He started to come around in the last 20 games of the season and was only -7 in the last while collecting six of his 13 points in that span. He’s got one more year left on his contract. He is an obvious trade candidate but with his trade value being so low, I suspect the Habs will keep him around to start the season hoping his play and health will be back to normal and maximize his trade value at the deadline.

Stats: 61 GP, 2 goals, 11 assists, 13 points, -29 rating, 58 PIMS, 69 shots, 19:34 ATOI

Chris Wideman

Fan Vote Average: 3.52
Writer Vote Average: 3.22

Brought in as a potential offensive, power play quarterback the Wideman experiment failed miserably. The power play simply looked chaotic and ineffective with Wideman out there and he was quickly replaced by others. Wideman took an enormous quantity of penalties, was generally ineffective in his own zone, didn’t really provide much offensive spark, and was a healthy scratch most nights. With the rookies demonstrating their potential, Wideman will find himself on the outside looking in again in the final year of his contract, if he is even on the team next season.

Stats: 46 GP, 0 goals, 6 assists, 6 points, -6 rating, 81 PIMS, 31 shots, 13:31 ATOI