The Montreal Canadiens report card (Defence and Goaltending) Part 2
Andrei Markov – (C+) There is no doubt Markov is a much-needed boost for the power play, considering he has 12 points on the man advantage so far this year, but he now has 0 points in 20 games played when playing 5 on 5 hockey, and that is concerning.
He doesn’t have the speed anymore to rush the puck up the ice like he once use to, and he finds himself getting caught out of position more then ever….still valuable on and off the ice, but showing signs of slowing down.
Alexei Emelin – (B+) One of the few physical defensemen the Habs have on their roster, he’s been very steady in his own end, playing against top players in the league in only his 2nd NHL season, he’s a leader in the hitting department and ranks in the top 10 in the overall league. Emelin is just overall a solid defender and is showing that he can be a top 4 defenceman in this league.
Raphael Diaz – (A-) I don’t think any Habs fan would have guessed that after 20 games Diaz would be 2nd in team scoring. A nice surprise to the start of the season, Diaz is finding himself as a top defender on this team. Playing a little over 20 minutes a game on average, top power play minutes, is a +5 and gaining more and more confidence within himself and among the coaching staff, Diaz will make it a little harder for the kids on the farm to make the jump.
Josh Gorges – (B+) Gorges has always been part of the glue that held this team together, he’s a solid defender, great shot blocker and is among the leaders in the NHL, a very good leader (he does have Gallagher living with him), and will throw the odd fight in their to stand up for his teammates. Overall he’s had a good season and i expect him to continue the path he is on with his leadership.
P.K Subban – (B-) After starting his season already 6 games into the shortened schedule, Subban didn’t waste anytime helping his team win. With 14 games played now, he has 9 points, is a + 3, and has played very well with his defensive partner, Francis Bouillon. There are many nights where Subban does everything right, and a few nights where he gets caught doing a little too much, but it’s just a matter of time before he puts it all together and plays solid consistently.
Francis Bouillon – (B-) Back in Montreal for another stint, he’s looking like he’s never left. Bouillon has had a very good season thus far matched up along side Subban, while together they look like the best pairing on the ice many of nights. He is showing good puck movement, steady defensive play in his own end, and is laying out guys much bigger then his frame. Overall he was a great signing until some of the youth on the farm are ready for the jump.
Carey Price – (A-) 11 Wins, a 1.90 GAA and a .924 save %. No doubt Carey Price has a huge impact on the 1st place Canadiens after 20 games played. He’s looked good, really good. Had a couple rough nights but what goaltender hasn’t? The thing about Price is he always finds a way to bounce back after a tough night between the pipes. He’s looked better in shootouts so far, and is playing the puck behind his net like a 3rd defenceman on the ice. There are many reasons why he is talked about for the goaltender of Canada next year at the Olympics in Russia.
Peter Budaj – (C+) After his first 2 starts every Habs fan wanted this guy shipped out-of-town, and fast. Sure he was far from “Stellar”, but given the fact he is a backup goaltender and hasn’t seen much game time with Price standing in his way, he bounced back with strong efforts in his last 2 games winning both and getting his numbers back to what they should be for a backup.
The Blueline Caper