Season Preview: Canadiens under pressure after whirlwind offseason
theScore is previewing each team leading up to the 2016-17 season.
Other than manufacturing arguably the biggest one-for-one trade in NHL history - tied in with the critical fallout that ensued - and their coach allegedly lambasting the team's own captain, the Montreal Canadiens were pretty quiet in the offseason.
Facetious remarks aside, the Habs are under enormous pressure to return to the playoffs this season, and while the success of Marc Bergevin's summer moves remains to be seen, here are three things to watch out for in La Belle Province in 2016-17.
The new guys in town
In case you were trapped in the wilderness, or something of a similar manner over the summer, Montreal dealt fan-favorite P.K. Subban to Nashville for Shea Weber in a trade that prompted a circus of criticism in the hockey world.
Are the Canadiens better with Weber anchoring the blue line? Not necessarily. Are they worse? Not necessarily.
Weber brings an element of physicality and leadership Montreal's management didn't see in Subban. Bergevin had to pull the trigger when he did, but whether he fired the correct bullet is to be determined.
Elsewhere, Montreal welcomed agitator Andrew Shaw, and took a flyer on Alex Radulov, who returns from the KHL claiming to have shed the baggage that previously hindered his career.
Suffice to say, the Canadiens will look a tad different this season.
He's back. And not a second too soon.
Carey Price's knee injury unraveled the Canadiens Presidents' Trophy pace to mere shambles last season, but he's healed and ready to deliver once again as the world's best netminder, coming off another sterling performance for Canada at the World Cup of Hockey.
Price's presence alone should be enough to re-align the Canadiens' focus, and his abilities between the pipes can easily deliver a playoff berth.
While advocates of Subban's departure are few and far between, Price - interestingly enough - declared he likes the move, saying Weber better fits the Canadiens system.
On the hot seat
Michel Therrien's previous accomplishments as Montreal's coach simply don't matter anymore, at least in the eyes of the Canadiens' faithful.
Therrien is unquestionably on the hot seat this season, the fifth of his second tenure with the club.
He's taken the brunt of the blame for the disconnect between Subban and the organization, and had to defuse rumors over the offseason that he called Max Pacioretty the "worst captain" in team history.
Winning, of course, can silence the most venomous of his critics, but Therrien will have his hands full if things go wrong again in Montreal.
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