Nah. Can’t be. Right? I mean… they traded away their best goals’ scorer over the past decade in Max Pacioretty. Oh and they also traded away a former 30 goals’ scorer, their second best goals’ scorer last year in Alex Galchenyuk. I mean come on! They replaced them with Tomas Tatar, a healthy scratch in the playoffs for Vegas, and Max Domi, who scored nine goals per season in the past two seasons! Perhaps Carey Price could start scoring too?
I know, I know, I’m being sarcastic (again) and making fun of a group of fans (again) who blame everything, including the weather, on Canadiens’ General Manager Marc Bergevin. I should stop but… it’s too much fun, really. Straying away from this nonsense however, let’s look deeper into the topic of goals’ scoring on a team that was already in life support in that department. Yeah, the Habs only scored 209 goals all season last year, good for… 29th out of 31 teams, with only Arizona and Buffalo putting fewer pucks behind their opponents’ goaltenders.
Better than last season?
Yes, yes, it’s possible. No, I’m not kidding. Why you may ask? Perhaps answering a single question would help: How many Habs’ players had a subpar season last year? Fair to say that several of them, maybe even most of them not named Brendan Gallagher and Paul Byron fall into that category?
Allow me. Let’s play ‘what if’… I know, as Hergé, the great author of Tintin once said: “If! If! You can get ’round anything with ‘if’.” But humour me for a bit. Yes, you faithful reader, hardcore Habs’ fan, stick around and look at this.
- Jonathan Drouin has 20 goals instead of 13?
- Charles Hudon has 15 goals instead of 10?
- Phillip Danault plays more than 52 games (8 goals), so around 15 goals (his average per game)?
- Artturi Lehkonen has 20 goals (had 18 in season 1, 12 last year)?
- Andrew Shaw plays more than 51 games (10 goals), so around 15 goals?
- Shea Weber plays more than 26 games (6 goals), so 13 based on his average, assuming that he’ll be missing October and November completely?
- Tomas Tatar scores 23 goals, his average the last 5 years?
- Joel Armia scores 15 goals (had 12 last year in a limited role)?
- Max Domi scores 15 goals (had 9 last year, which is his average per 82 GP the last two years)?
Those number folks, are quite realistic as I tried not to inflate anyone’s numbers. That said, it would represent around 90 more goals than last year. Okay, let’s take away the 36 goals scored by the duo Pacioretty/Galchenyuk, it’s still an improvement of about 54 goals folks. Even if the support cast scores about the same (which isn’t much to be honest), it’s a substantial increase in offense and truthfully, if Carey Price returns to form, it should results in a few more wins. Of course, I’m counting on the duo of Gallagher and Byron to put in 50 between the two of them, the same total as last year.
My prediction is that this team will score more goals than last season. Although not top-heavy with star-power in the “natural goals’ scoring” department, it should be a more balanced offense. All four lines can contribute offensively and that folks, is hard to defend against. But let’s be careful here. It will be a young team. A very young team and with that, will come the necessary growing pains, the learning on the fly, the inconsistency. Wait, weren’t they pretty inconsistent last season? Nah, they were just bad. I, for one, expect this team to be an improved group over last year… and that includes their overall offensive numbers. Go Habs Go!