32 in 32: Three issues to watch for Canadians


NHL.com offers in-depth analysis of each of the 32 teams between August 8 and September 8. Today, three issues to watch for the Montreal Canadiens.

32 IN 32 CANADIANS : Season preview | The best hopes | Analysis for poolers

1. How will Martin St-Louis fare in his first full season as coach?

Credit must be given to the Hall of Fame forward for bringing a breath of fresh air to one of the worst seasons in Canadiens history.

Hiring St. Louis was really off the beaten path, but his lack of coaching experience in the professional ranks didn’t seem to be an obstacle, as he saw positive results after taking over from Dominique. Ducharme last season.

St-Louis will be behind the team’s bench from the start after agreeing to a three-year contract, and he will have to continue to rely on the experience of his assistants to help him establish his vision. its players.

Vincent Lecavalier, named special adviser to hockey operations and who won the Stanley Cup with St. Louis while both players played with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, believes his former teammate brings an innovative and exciting approach to the helm of the team.

« Marty designs the game a little differently than everyone else, » Lecavalier said. I know he doesn’t have the same experience as a coach who has spent 20 years in the league, but his knowledge of the game is probably the best I’ve ever seen. »

2. Will the Canadiens name a captain?

Whoever succeeds Shea Weber as captain of the Canadiens will have big shoes to fill. Montreal is, however, betting on several good candidates if a successor is indeed appointed.

Brendan Gallagher was seen for years as the captain-in-the-making, and the veteran forward’s style of play and level of competition certainly make him a player who leads by example.

Video: FLA@MTL: Gallagher joins the parade, in AN

The defender Joel Edmundson has a Stanley Cup ring (St. Louis Blues, 2018-19) and his presence is highly respected in the locker room. For his part, the striker Nick Suzuki is one of the young leaders of the team.

3. How will the team deal with another season without Carey Price?

Price is not expected to play this season as his knee rehabilitation is not progressing as expected, having undergone right knee surgery in July 2021. The Canadiens’ all-time leader in wins (361) and games played by a goaltender (712) returned to action late last season, but the swelling persisted in his knee as he suffered four losses in five starts.

Therefore, Jake Allen will begin a second straight season as number one goaltender for Montreal. He was 9-20-4 with a 3.30 goals-against average, .905 save percentage and two shutouts in 35 games last season.

Allen will likely be backed by Samuel Montembeault, who signed a two-year contract after going 8-18-6 with a 3.77 GAA, .891 save percentage and one shutout in 38 games (30 starts), while prospect Cayden Primeau will continue his progression in Laval in the American Hockey League.

« I’m just looking to prepare and come to training camp with a break through mentality, » Montembeault said. Nothing changes in terms of my preparation. I just want to work hard this summer and make sure I’m ready for camp. »

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