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Team Reset

Canadiens add to offense with trades for Domi, Armia, return of Plekanec

Montreal still searching for No. 1 center; Pacioretty status uncertain

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the Montreal Canadiens:

The Montreal Canadiens made a significant trade for the third straight offseason when they acquired forward Max Domi from the Arizona Coyotes for forward Alex Galchenyuk on June 15.

The swap of first-round draft selections came exactly one year after the Canadiens obtained forward Jonathan Drouin in a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning for top defenseman prospect Mikhail Sergachev. Montreal acquired Shea Weber from the Nashville Predators for P.K. Subban in a trade of elite NHL defensemen on June 29, 2016.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

The Canadiens then added forward Joel Armia in a trade from the Winnipeg Jets on June 30 and defenseman Xavier Ouellet and forwards Tomas Plekanec, Matthew Peca, Michael Chaput and Kenny Agostino as unrestricted free agents July 1.

Montreal will need a better season from almost everyone to recover from going 29-40-13 and missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in three seasons. The Canadiens were 29th in the NHL in scoring (207 goals) and 25th in goals against (258).

Here is what the Canadiens look like today:

 

Key arrivals

Max Domi, F: The 23-year-old son of former NHL player Tie Domi agreed to a two-year, $6.3 million contract extension with the Canadiens after he was acquired from Arizona. He scored nine goals each of the past two seasons after scoring 18 as a rookie in 2015-16, when he had his most productive season (52 points). … Joel Armia, F: The 25-year-old agreed to a one-year, $1.85 million contract July 13, two weeks after he was acquired from Winnipeg along with goalie Steve Mason and two draft picks for minor league defenseman Simon Bourque. He had 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 79 games and two goals in 13 playoff games for the Jets last season. … Tomas Plekanec, F: The 35-year-old agreed to a one-year, $2.25 million contract to return to the Canadiens. He had 605 points (232 goals, 373 assists) in 981 games for Montreal before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 25. He had two assists in 17 regular-season games and four points (two goals, two assists) in seven playoff games for Toronto.

Video: Max Domi to bring speed and determination to Montreal

 

Key departures

Alex Galchenyuk, F: Playing exclusively on the wing, the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft finished second on the Canadiens with 51 points (19 goals, 32 assists) in 82 games last season, but his minus-31 rating was the worst on Montreal. A 30-goal scorer in 2015-16, Galchenyuk had 255 points (108 goals, 147 assists) in 418 games with the Canadiens but was unable to establish himself as a center. … Daniel Carr, F: Signed as an undrafted free agent April 24, 2014, after his senior season at Union College, Carr had 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 94 games with the Canadiens. He had 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 38 games last season but did not receive a qualifying offer and signed with the Vegas Golden Knights as an unrestricted free agent July 1.

 

On the cusp

Nikita Scherbak, F: Montreal's first-round pick (No. 26) in the 2014 NHL Draft has seven points (five goals, two assists) in 29 games with the Canadiens, including six points (four goals, two assists) in 26 games last season. The 22-year-old had 30 points (seven goals, 23 assists) in 26 games for Laval of the American Hockey League in 2017-18. … Noah Juulsen, D: The 21-year-old had three points (one goal, two assists) in 23 games with Montreal last season. The No. 26 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Juulsen had six points (one goal, five assists) in 31 games for Laval. … Matthew Peca, F: The 25-year-old is going to be given every opportunity to stick in the NHL after he agreed to a two-year, $2.6 million contract. Peca had seven points (three goals, four assists) in 20 games with the Lightning the past two seasons, including five points (two goals, three assists) in 10 games last season. … Brett Lernout, D: He will have to stand out to make his way through the Canadiens' depth on defense. A third-round pick (No. 73) in the 2014 NHL Draft, Lernout, who turns 23 on Sept. 24, had one assist in 18 games for Montreal last season.

 

What they still need

The Canadiens have been searching for a bonafide No. 1 center since before general manager Marc Bergevin was hired May 2, 2012. Drouin is playing center out of necessity despite Bergevin's stated belief that he is better suited for the wing. Montreal selected Jesperi Kotkaniemi with the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, and the 18-year-old could be the solution in the not-too-distant future.

 

Fantasy focus 

Fantasy owners won't be flocking to the Canadiens these days, but they also shouldn't underestimate right wing Brendan Gallagher's value. He finished 91st overall in Yahoo last season, taking advantage of Alexander Radulov's departure with NHL career highs in goals (31), points (54), power-play points (17) and shots on goal (278). It's also impressive that Gallagher had those totals without a clear No. 1 center on his line. With Galchenyuk being traded to the Coyotes, Weber (knee surgery) out long term, and forward Max Pacioretty (potential 2019 UFA) facing trade speculation, Gallagher is the most stable fantasy option on Montreal's roster. He's worth drafting for category coverage in the 13th round or later of a 12-team draft. -- Pete Jensen

 

Projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Jonathan Drouin -- Brendan Gallagher

Max Domi -- Phillip Danault -- Artturi Lehkonen

Paul Byron -- Tomas Plekanec -- Andrew Shaw

Charles Hudon -- Jacob de la Rose -- Joel Armia

Victor Mete -- Jeff Petry

David Schlemko -- Noah Juulsen

Karl Alzner -- Jordie Benn

Carey Price

Antti Niemi

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