NOTE: Over the next several weeks, BlueJackets.com will take an extensive, in-depth look at the Jackets' new opponents in the Eastern Conference. Be on the lookout for photo galleries, analysis, video highlights and more!
Head coach: Michel Therrien
Captain: Brian Gionta
LAST YEAR: 29-14-5 (63 points), won the Northeast Division, lost to Ottawa in the Conference Quarterfinals of the 2012-13 Stanley Cup Playoffs
VS. CBJ in '13-14: 10/17, 11/15, 3/20
OUTLOOK: After an active offseason that saw the signing of forward Daniel Briere, trading for tough man George Parros and re-signing its young talent, Montreal will look to maintain last season's consistency during the 2013-14 season. Parros will undoubtedly add grit to a team that lacked a hard punch in the shortened season. Briere's addition provides age and clutch playoff experience to one of the 2012-13 season's youngest teams in the league. The hiring of goaltending coach Stephane Waite, who helped develop the Chicago Blackhawks' Corey Crawford and the San Jose Sharks' Antti Niemi into two of the NHL's top goaltenders, was another big offseason move that could prove fruitful for the Canadiens. If Waite can do the same for an already talented (and young) Carey Price, there's no telling how well the Canadiens could do this coming season in the new-look Atlantic Division.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
At just 24 years old, Subban has already made a name for himself in the NHL as one of the league's top young defensemen. With 38 points in 42 games in 2012-13 (good enough for second place in points on the Canadiens), Subban's two-way game will improve as he continues to gain both age and experience. Expect Subban - last year's Norris Trophy winner - to dominate once again on both ends of the ice, shutting down top lines and scoring goals all around the league in 2013-14.
Another young talent for Montreal is their starting goaltender. Despite the knee injury he suffered in May that kept him out of the tail end of Montreal's playoff run, Price is expected to fully recover and return to form this season. Before his injury, Price stayed consistent with his career totals, posting a .905 save percentage and a 2.59 goals-against average. With the current assembly of a tough defensive group and firepower up front, Price will probably face fewer shots in the coming season. Added on to working with one of the top goaltending coaches in the league with Waite, Price is definitely a player teams should pay close attention to in the coming years.