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31 in 31

Montreal Canadiens fantasy preview for 2017-18

Concerns on defense, at center could limit Price's wins, Drouin's point ceiling

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, our fantasy hockey staff is breaking down each team's landscape. Fantasy-relevant players are listed in order of rank in NHL.com's top 250. Today, we look at the Montreal Canadiens.

 

[CANADIENS 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Behind the numbers | More team fantasy previews]

 

FORWARDS

Max Pacioretty, LW -- The Montreal Canadiens captain is one of seven players with at least 100 goals (102) the past three seasons combined, and has the third-most shots on goal (873) in that span behind Alex Ovechkin (1,106) and Brent Burns (918). Pacioretty's never been an elite power-play producer and has lacked a No. 1 center, but has at least 60 points in each of the past five full seasons. He's a safe pick in the third or fourth round of a 12-team draft.

Jonathan Drouin, LW/RW -- The 22-year-old had an NHL career-high 53 points (21 goals, 32 assists) last season, scoring 26 power-play points on the Tampa Bay Lightning's first unit. He could improve at even strength with a heavier workload after being traded to the Canadiens on June 15, but likely will see a dip on the man-advantage. Drouin is a fringe top 75 asset with a ceiling of 60-65 points.

Alex Galchenyuk, C/LW -- Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in April that the best place for Galchenyuk is on the wing, but the 23-year-old could also be a great fit at center with Drouin. Montreal signed Galchenyuk to a three-year contract on July 5 amidst trade rumors, and he remains a breakout candidate after a promising glimpse last season before injuring his knee (23 points, plus-9, eight PPP in first 25 games). Take a chance on Galchenyuk in the 10th round or later in a 12-team draft.

Brendan Gallagher, RW -- One beneficiary of the Canadiens losing right wing Alexander Radulov is Gallagher, who should see more first-unit power-play action. Gallagher had NHL career highs in goals (24), points (47), plus/minus (plus-18) and SOG (254) in 2014-15, but has been limited to 117 of a possible 164 games in the past two seasons. Gallagher should improve on the lowest PPP (three) and shooting percentage (5.3) of his NHL career, making him an appealing late-round pick.

Phillip Danault, C/LW -- A first-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, Danault finished just outside Yahoo's top 250 last season (265th), scoring 37 of his 40 points at even strength playing mostly with Pacioretty and Radulov. If the Canadiens play Galchenyuk at wing, Danault would likely play with Pacioretty and/or Drouin. If he earns a greater power-play role, he has an outside shot at 50 points.

Video: Max Pacioretty lands at No. 13 on Top 20 Wings list

 

DEFENSEMEN

Shea Weber -- The 32-year-old is another safe fantasy option on Montreal's roster. Weber covered five of the six standard categories well last season and finished tied for second in goals (17) among defensemen. He's likely to benefit from the addition of a young, skilled power-play forward in Drouin and finish among the top 10 fantasy defensemen again. He's also one of the most consistent producers of hits and blocked shots League-wide.

Jeff Petry -- The veteran defenseman is coming off an NHL career high in points (28), with his best stretch coming while defenseman Andrei Markov was out because of a groin injury. Petry had 15 points (five goals, 10 assists), three PPP, 72 SOG and was plus-8 in 22 games from Dec. 10 to Jan. 24. With Markov, Alexei Emelin and Nathan Beaulieu no longer with the Canadiens, Petry is in line for bigger minutes and could emerge as a deep sleeper with more consistent power-play time in a full season.

Video: MTL@NYR: Weber unleashes big blast for PPG

 

GOALTENDING

Carey Price -- Of the 22 goaltenders who have played at least 300 games since 2010-11, Price is tied for the best save percentage (.923) and ranks fourth in wins (210). That's impressive considering the Canadiens rank 20th in goals per game (2.64) in that span. Montreal's lack of depth at center and on defense could limit Price's wins ceiling, but his peripherals should remain strong. He went 13-6-0 with a .937 SV% in 19 games after the Canadiens replaced Michel Therrien with Claude Julien last season.

Video: Carey Price is named No. 1 Goalie

Others to consider: Artturi Lehkonen (LW), Andrew Shaw (C/RW), Paul Byron (LW/RW), Mark Streit (D), Tomas Plekanec (C) 

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