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A peek inside the crystal ball

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL – After five seasons, it’s become an annual tradition. It’s time to take a look at what the experts are predicting for the Canadiens’ 2013-14 season.

Publications such as Pool Pro (TVA Publications), The Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide (The Hockey News) and the Guide des Poolers 2013-2014 (Hockey Le Magazine) are relatively non-committal when it comes to ranking the Habs for the upcoming NHL season. The division realignment and shake-up in the league’s playoff format make predicting the future more challenging than in past years. In this vein, it is not completely surprising to see The Hockey News abstain from publishing a regular season ranking projection. Pool Pro, for its part, believes that the Canadiens will make the playoffs for a second year in a row, at an unspecified seeding.

One can finally find a more detailed outlook on the upcoming season in Hockey Le Magazine’s guide. The experts there suggest the Canadiens will indeed make the postseason – barely – with a fourth-place finish in the new Atlantic Division just ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Of course, for hardcore poolers across the world, the biggest subject of debate will be the projected offensive outputs of key Canadiens players during the 2013-14 campaign.

Drafting Max Pacioretty or P.K. Subban both appear to be safe bets. According to all three guides we consulted, the two players are expected to pace the Habs’ offense with a total point tally ranging from 59 to 68 apiece. Hockey Le Magazine even places Subban at the top of the Canadiens’ leaderboard with 65 points, an audacious move considering one would have to turn back the clock to 1921-22 to see a Montreal defenseman lead the team in scoring (Sprague Cleghorn).

When it comes to young guns Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, the experts predict 50 to 55 points for the slick American and 46 to 52 points for the feisty BC native. As for Daniel Briere, a newcomer to the team despite his 36 years, the predictions are relatively conservative, though he’s still expected to chip in up to 58 points, his second highest scoring total in the past six seasons.

Between the pipes, the Habs’ undisputed number one could be a good pick if shutouts are counted in your fantasy league. The experts expect Carey Price will rack up 34 or 35 wins and up to five shutouts.

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Translated by Jack Han.

Who would be the top pick in your pool?

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