As part of NHL.com's 30 in 30 series, our fantasy hockey staff is breaking down each team's fantasy landscape. From most valuable assets to underrated options, impact prospects and more, this guide should help fantasy owners prioritize players for drafts.
Canadiens 30 in 30: Season outlook |Top prospects | Burning questions, reasons for optimism | Fantasy: Top 200
Starting at the top: Carey Price, G
Price appeared on track for another stellar season, but a lower-body injury derailed his chances of winning back-to-back Hart and Vezina trophies. He was 10-2-0 with a 2.06 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and two shutouts in 12 starts before his season ended prematurely, but his numbers were good enough to finish 22nd among goalies in Yahoo's performance-based rankings. Injuries are always a concern in fantasy, particularly when investing a high draft pick in a player, but there's no reason to think Price won't return to being the elite goaltender he was the prior two seasons. If anything, because of his injury and the Canadiens' poor season, you'll be able to get Price for a bargain in the late second or early third round; his average draft position was 6.7 last season.
Video: TBL@MTL: Galchenyuk nets two against Lightning
Undervalued: Alex Galchenyuk, C
It took a few seasons, but Galchenyuk finally proved he can be a legitimate top-line center in the NHL. The 22-year-old forward set career highs last season in goals (30) and points (56), averaging 16:16 of ice time in 82 games. Galchenyuk has earned more playing time from coach Michel Therrien, which could be all it takes for him to rise through the fantasy ranks. He finished 118th in Yahoo's rankings last season, 35 spots higher than his ADP (153.6). NHL.com's top 200 overall rankings have Galchenyuk at No. 131, and chances are he'll be available in the 10th or 11th round in a 10-team draft. Playing between Max Pacioretty and either Brendan Gallagher or Alexander Radulov for a full season would make it easy for Galchenyuk to set new career highs.
Overvalued: Shea Weber, D
There is nothing about Weber being traded to the Canadiens from the Nashville Predators that helps his fantasy value. He drops partner Roman Josi (ninth among defensemen in Yahoo last season) for Andrei Markov (36th). The Predators were only slightly better offensively (2.73 goals per game) than the Canadiens (2.63), but Nashville's power play (19.7 percent conversion rate) was significantly better than Montreal's (16.2 percent). The Canadiens play a more defensive style under Therrien and rely heavily on Price, which will make it difficult for Weber to match the 20 goals and 51 points he scored last season. Weber's Yahoo ADP was 47.7 last season, and he finished 97th overall. If he regresses at all, it won't bode well for his fantasy owners.
Sleeper: Alexander Radulov, RW
Drafting Radulov is a gamble. The result could be great, but it could also go wrong (as we've seen in the past). If Radulov, who played the past eight seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (with a brief NHL return in 2011-12 with Nashville), can show he's turned a new leaf, he could be among the top sleepers in fantasy hockey. The 6-foot-1 wing was second in the KHL with 65 points (23 goals, 42 assists) in 53 games and had 16 points in 20 playoff games to help CSKA Moscow reach the Gagarin Cup Final. It doesn't make sense for Radulov to play anywhere but among the Canadiens' top six forwards. He's too talented offensively, and if you buy he's grown up since his last stint in the NHL, then there's nothing to suggest he can't produce 20-25 goals with 50-60 points in a full season. You likely won't have to spend a high draft pick on Radulov (136th in NHL.com's top 200), and if he pans out it could be the difference between winning a championship and an early playoff exit.
Video: MTL@FLA: Gallagher slaps home game's first goal
Bounce-back: Brendan Gallagher, RW
Two injuries (hand, lower body) derailed what would have been a career-best season for Gallagher. The 24-year-old had 19 goals and 40 points in 53 games, a 62-point pace, which would have been an NHL career high. Gallagher's injury, along with Price's, were two big reasons the Canadiens collapsed after a hot start and had their worst season since 2011-12. Oddly enough, Gallagher finished 161st overall, right around his ADP of 159.9 despite missing 29 games. This makes it safe to say Gallagher would have been one of the more valuable fantasy forwards last season. If he comes back healthy, he should pick up where he left off.
Impact prospect: Michael McCarron, C
The 6-foot-6, 231-pound center had an up-and-down season. He started off strong for St. John's of the American Hockey League, scoring nine goals and 20 points in the first 21 games. After slowing down in December and January, McCarron was recalled by the Canadiens late in February and had a goal and an assist in 20 NHL games. McCarrron clearly struggled in his limited playing time but now knows what it takes to make it in the NHL, something he can use to his advantage. Though the lineup is crowded, the Canadiens don't have another center with McCarron's size and skill set.
We all know what Price is capable of and that he'll eat up 60-65 starts. The Canadiens signed veteran Al Montoya, 31, to a one-year contract to provide relief. Montoya has been one of the more reliable backups in the NHL throughout his career; he was 12-7-3 with a 2.18 GAA and .919 SV% with the Florida Panthers last season and 13-8-3 with a 2.30 GAA and .920 SV% in 2013-14 with the Winnipeg Jets. Montoya should get about 20 starts for Montreal and is an important handcuff for Price owners.