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31 in 31

Montreal Canadiens key statistics

Price's play in goal makes him worthy of long-term extension

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Montreal Canadiens.

 

[CANADIENS 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Top prospects]

 

1. Price earning his money

Goalie Carey Price signed an eight-year, $84 million contract extension with the Montreal Canadiens on July 2, an average annual value of $10.5 million. It's the highest value per season for any goalie in the NHL, and Price's performance certainly warrants it. Looking at his past three seasons combined, it's hard to find any metric where Price is not No. 1.

His .929 save percentage and 2.09 goals-against average lead goalies who have played at least 50 NHL games during that span. That includes when it is adjusted for manpower, shot location, and/or other factors related to shot quality. Perhaps most compelling is Montreal has averaged 1.38 points per game when Price has been in goal, and 0.96 when he hasn't.

Video: OTT@MTL: Price sprawls across for a fantastic save

 

2. Trending up

The Canadiens' shot attempt differential at 5-on-5 has been increasing steadily the past four seasons, from minus-455 in 2013-14 (26th in NHL), minus-214 in 2014-15 (23rd), plus-233 in 2015-16 (10th), to plus-363 last season, which was third.

The overhauled defense is the key factor in whether this trend will continue. Of the 15 defensemen to play at least one game with the Canadiens in 2015-16, only Jeff Petry remains on the NHL roster. Two key additions have been Shea Weber, who was acquired in a trade with the Nashville Predators on June 29, 2016 for P.K. Subban, and Karl Alzner, who was signed as a free agent July 1.

Weber and Alzner bring many positive qualities but are not known for their shot-based metrics. During the past three seasons, Nashville and Montreal have been responsible for 51.15 percent of 5-on-5 shot attempts when Weber has been on the ice, and 53.95 percent when he hasn't, for a relative SAT of minus-2.8 percent that ranks 236th of the 316 defensemen to play at least 20 games during that span. Alzner ranks 253rd at minus-3.1 percent.

Video: 31 in 31: Montreal Canadiens 2017-18 season preview

 

3. Power play

The Canadiens were 30th in the NHL last season with an average of 81.11 shot attempts on the power play per 60 minutes, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Will adding forward Jonathan Drouin to replace Alexander Radulov help? Drouin was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 15, and Radulov signed with the Dallas Stars as a free agent July 3.

Swapping Drouin for Radulov probably won't address this issue. The Lightning averaged 98.56 shot attempts per 60 minutes of power-play time with Drouin on the ice last season, and 89.81 when he wasn't, for an increase of 8.75. Radulov increased the Canadiens' shot attempts by 11.39 per 60 minutes of power-play time.

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