Mid-Season Report Card – Part 1

carey-price-shea-weber

Michel Therrien – What more can you say. I’m far from a Therrien supporter but he just finds ways to win (as long as his number 1 goalie is healthy). His system and style of play isn’t pretty and most of the time it’s a bore. But results speaks volume and the Habs currently sit 1st in the Atlantic with a record of 25-10-6. B+

Carey Price – Taking my rose coloured glasses off, Carey Price has been good this year. He’s far from his dominance of two years ago but maybe us Habs fans were spoiled of his MVP year. His numbers are astonishing (.928 SV%, 2.12 GAA) considering that he has let in a couple of soft goals in the month of December. Nonetheless, with Carey Price in net, the Habs have a chance to win any game on any given night. B+

Al Montoya – It’s a tough job to have, being Carey Price’s backup. You don’t get to play much, and when you do it is expected of you to perform. Taking out the 10-0 debacle in Columbus (in which Montoya should’ve been pulled), Montoya has been steady between the nets in the spot games he plays, posting a record of 5-4-2 with a .911 SV% and 2.76GAA. B-

Mid-Season Report Card – Part 2

Shea Weber – He has come as advertised, the mountain of a man known as Shea Weber has been a big presence on the Habs’ blueline. Even though his offensive stats have slowed down mightily from the start of the season, Weber’s defensive game has remained steady throughout. Age will eventually be a factor in his later years, but at the moment there’s no denying the Habs got exactly the player they were hoping for. Weber leads all Habs defenseman in goals (10) and points (26). A-

Alexei Emelin – One of the biggest surprises this season to date, Emelin has been a rock on defense ever since he was paired up with Shea Weber. Penciled in as the number 4 or 5 defenseman coming into training camp, Emelin has exceeded expectations. We are seeing the return of the pre-knee injury version of Alexei Emelin, along with his bone crushing hits (Marchand, Pastrnak, Evander Kane, just to name a few). B

Andrei Markov – Many fans were calling in prior years for Markov to have his minutes monitored. What do you know, with Markov no longer relied upon on the Habs’ top defensive pair, there has been a resurgence in Markov’s game. Markov was leading the Habs’ defense in points (2G, 19A, 21PTS) before his groin injury. With his minutes down this year, look for Markov to be heavily relied upon (along with Weber) if the Habs are to go far this spring. B+

Jeff Petry – At the halfway point of the season, Jeff Petry has been solid on most nights. Second to Shea Weber in goals (8G) as a defenseman, Petry has also provided the Canadiens will a constant presence on their 2nd pair. There are nights when you don’t notice him that much, but as a defenseman those are the nights where he is so reliable on the defensive end. B+

Projecting Next Year’s Lineup: Part 1 – Forwards
Projecting Next Year’s Lineup: Part 2 – Defense & Price

Nathan Beaulieu – It has been the tail of two halves for Beaulieu. Maybe he was placed in a tough position to start the season, being paired up with Shea Weber on the top pair and facing other team’s top lines. But ever since Michel Therrien “demoted” him to the 2nd and 3rd pair, Beaulieu’s play has consistently improved. He’s becoming more of a dependable defenseman, with a few games in December as the Habs’ top minute defenseman (yes, more than Shea Weber). If Beaulieu can maintain his solid play into the playoffs, the Habs will have strong depth on the backend with Beaulieu placed in the 3rd pair. B-

Greg Pateryn – It was unfortunate for Pateryn to suffer that broken ankle injury as it seemed that he was finally turning his season around. He had a rough start to the season, being a healthy scratched every other game. But Pateryn looked to have gained some confidence before breaking his ankle in St. Louis. I don’t see Pateryn as a top 2 pair defenseman, but as a reliable bottom pair defenseman, Pateryn will succeed. C

Zach Redmond – Redmond has actually been quite solid coming back from his injury, posting 4 assists in 8 games. Unfortunately, Michel Therrien doesn’t see it the same way I do, as Redmond has been benched for the last five games. He won’t be an everyday defenseman that can be relied upon during the playoffs, but Redmond has shown the ability to play effectively in spot duty. C

Mark Barberio – Barberio has been a disappointment so far this year. With some predicting that Barberio could have stolen the number 5th spot in training camp, he has been nothing but a defensive liability ever since his call up (he was over matched by JVR in front of the net last Saturday). Barbeiro will thrive more in a press box sitting number 7th or 8th defenseman role. C-

Ryan Johnston – Yeah… he’s not an NHL caliber defenseman. I’m not sure what Therrien sees in Johnston but his lack of size and strength are clear indicators that he will struggle in the NHL, let alone the NHL playoffs. You noticed it in plays like when Phil Kessel just out skated and over muscled him or when Mitch Marner skated circles around him, both leading to goals. He does have a good first pass that Therrien likes from his defenseman but other than that, there’s not much there. D+

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