The Montreal Canadiens did not do much in the off-season to improve their hopes of making the playoffs. The Montreal Canadiens big free agent acquisition in the off-season was defenseman Roman Hamrlik. The Montreal Canadiens also signed center Bryan Smolinski and winger Tom Kostopoulos. The team also signed defenseman Patrice Brisebois who spent the last two years in Colorado. The Montreal Canadiens lost All-Star defenseman Sheldon Souray in free agency and the team also sent winger Sergei Samsonov to Chicago in the off-season. Those moves may not be enough to help Montreal improve this NHL season.
The Montreal Canadiens almost made the NHL playoffs last season, but lost out on the eighth and final playoff spot with a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in their final game of the season. The starting goalie for the Montreal Canadiens is Cristobal Huet who had a solid year. The Habs regular season point’s totals haven’t changed much over the past five years, from a high of 93 to a low of 77. Montreal has to hope that Alexi Kovalev can regain his scoring touch and that Saku Koivu stays healthy. Kovalev has the potential to really help Koivu on the offensive end and his goals would be a welcome addition this year. A player to watch this season may be defenseman Andrei Markov who the Montreal Canadiens resigned instead of going with Souray.
The hope for the Montreal Canadiens is to continue to get great play out of Huet and get some timely goals from Saku Koivu. The Montreal Canadiens will have to hope that Huet outplays Jaroslav Halak or they may also have a goaltending battle on their hands. Last year the season came down to Huet and Koivu. That is really all the Montreal Canadiens have. Last season it was almost enough to make the playoffs, this year it probably won’t be. The Canadiens have a rich history in the NHL but recent seasons have seen them just be an average team that struggles to make the playoffs. Unfortunately Montreal does not have the scoring or the depth to be a serious playoff threat. Last year they came close but very little was done in the off-season to improve the team. Look for the Montreal Canadiens to disappoint their fans once again in the 2007-2008 NHL season.