The offseason before the 2012-13 season was an eventful one for the Montreal Canadiens, but this summer has been decidedly quiet.
There is no new general manager or coach to get acclimated with the franchise. Only one key player exited (free agent Michael Ryder signed with the New Jersey Devils) and he had already been replaced by the signing of former Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere the day before.
2013-14 FANTASY PREVIEW: CANADIENS
Under-valued: Max Pacioretty -- After 33 goals and 65 points in a breakout season in 2011-12, Pacioretty quietly led the Canadiens in goals (15), points (39) and shots on goal (163) in 44 games last season. The forward is quickly turning into a superstar and should be drafted somewhere in the top three rounds.
Over-valued: David Desharnais -- Despite decent point production (88 points in his past 129 games), Desharnais' fantasy value is heavily diminished because of his lack of production in categories other than assists. The forward averaged 1.27 shots and 0.21 power-play points per game over the past two seasons and averaged 39 penalty minutes per season.
Sleeper: Alex Galchenyuk -- Galchenyuk delivered in big ways his rookie season (nine goals, 18 assists), and the sky is the limit for this talented 19-year-old forward. With an increase of playing time (12:19 per game last year), he should be able to put up 20-25 goals and 50-60 points with solid peripheral stats.
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The main item on the to-do list before the 2013-14 season starts is figuring out what went wrong at the end of 2012-13. After a blistering start (20-5-5), the Canadiens finished 9-9-0 before bowing out in five games to the Ottawa Senators in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Injuries played a part in the postseason, but the Canadiens yielded five goals or more in six of the final 18 regular-season games and six of the final 13 games with the series against the Senators included.
Montreal won the final incarnation of the Northeast Division and will be moving to the new-look Atlantic Division. The Canadiens will need to fix their late-season goal prevention issues if they hope to contend for another division crown with the Boston Bruins, improved Detroit Red Wings and those pesky Senators in the same neighborhood.
Here is the projected 2013-14 lineup for the Canadiens:
Francis Boullion - Davis Drewiske
NOTES: Galchenyuk could be a superstar, but he's going to have to earn a larger role first. The Canadiens are again likely to distribute the wealth among their top three lines up front.
Markov and Subban logged a ton of minutes and will likely do so again. Emelin will be back from a major knee injury, and Tinordi will have to keep his place in the top six during training camp; there are seven players on one-way contracts. He also could have to contend with Nathan Beaulieu, who has a year of seasoning in the American Hockey League and could force his way onto the big club.
Price had his lowest save percentage since 2008-09 last season. Budaj signed a new two-year contract to be his backup.