For the second time in club history, the Montreal Canadiens will play through an NHL season without a team captain.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin stated that the team will have four assistant captains, instead of the regular format of a captain and two assistants. Veteran defenseman Andrei Markov and forward Tomas Plekanec will keep their ‘A’s and P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty will become new assistant captains.
The only other time the Montreal Canadiens went without a captain for an entire season was when long time Captain Saku Koivu was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks in 2009. I certainly didn’t see this coming at all.
I fully expected that since Andrei Markov has spent his entire NHL career with the Canadiens, that he would be named captain. My other selection for captain was Max Pacioretty due to his extremely successful, 60 point season last year. However, that’s all in the past now. I’m glad that Max Pacioretty was chosen as one of the team’s assistant captains.
Both GM Marc Bergevin and Head Coach Michel Therrien are confident that this move will allow these four players to take on more responsibility slowly. It allows them to evaluate which players show their leadership skills consistently, on and off the ice this season. It also serves as a motivational tactic for these four guys and gives them something to work towards. Regardless, the Montreal Canadiens certainly have plenty of options to choose from to assume the role as captain in the future.
I’m not a big fan of this strategy. However, regardless of who has a letter on their jersey, I believe the Canadiens have a very strong roster of players heading into the season. I believe this team has the perfect mix of young and experienced players.
The team will be leaning heavily on goalie Carey Price to steal wins this season. Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, Brendan Gallagher and Thomas Plekanec will be expected to lead the charge and accumulate points on a consistent basis. I believe both Pacioretty and Subban will easily get to 50 points or more again this season.
The organization has done a decent job bringing in some new players as well. Veteran forward Manny Malhotra will serve as Daniel Brier’s replacement and the team’s new number one penalty kill specialist. Defenseman Tom Gilbert will provide Coach Michel Therrien with some much needed depth in the defensive end. Forward Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau will provide the team with a solid force on the third line and a secondary powerplay option as well.
With these key additions and the core group of players, the Montreal Canadiens I believe will easily make the playoffs again this year. If goalie Carey Price and forward Alex Galchenyuk can avoid injuries, I believe this team could even challenge for top spot in the Eastern Conference.