**Rating system for “Plus/Minus” Series**
+3 = Major Upgrade
+2 = Upgrade
+1 = Slight Upgrade
0 = Same as prior year
-1 = Slight Dowgrade
-2 = Downgrade
-3 = Major Downgrade
Team: Montreal Canadiens
2010-11: 96 points, #6 in Eastern Conference
Returning: Carey Price
Arrivals: Peter Budaj
Departures: Alex Auld
No change for the Montreal Candiens in goal. People can argue until they are in blue in the face whether Auld is better than Budaj, but the fact remains that Carey Price will likely start 70 games anyway.
Returning: PK Subban, Hal Gill, Josh Gorges, Jaroslav Spacek, Yannick Weber
Arrivals: Andrei Markov (return from injury), Alexei Yemelin
Departures: James Wisniewski, Roman Hamrlik, Brent Sopel, Paul Mara
Despite a -1 rating, I expect the Habs defense to be just as good next year, but that’s certainly no guarantee. The team is essentially replacing Wiz with an injury prone Markov and are going with youth in Yemelin over veteran Roman Hamrlik. On paper, that’s a slight downgrade, but in the long run it may even be an upgrade depending on how Yemelin develops and Markov’s health.
Returning: Brian Gionta, Andrei Kostitsyn, Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Travis Moen, Lars Eller, David Desharnais, Ryan White, Mathieu Darche
Arrivals: Erik Cole
Departures: Benoit Pouliot, Jeff Halpern, Tom Pyatt
A Cole for Pouliot swap is a significant upgrade to Montreal’s top 2 lines. Cole will definitely bring more stability and more scoring to the lineup than Pouliot did. The Canadiens will also add another depth forward to replace Halpern/Pyatt on the fourth line and PK.
OVERALL RATING: +1
2011-12 prediction: #5-#7 in Eastern Conference
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.