- Matthew Coller, ESPN Insider
Although the weather outside doesn't necessarily make us think of winter pursuits, it's a good time to take the temperature of every NHL team. Hockey Prospectus will guide us through the leaguewide tour, spotlighting one player trending up and one player trending down for each club, as well as a key statistic as we look ahead to the 2014-15 season. References will be made to goals versus threshold (GVT), a Hockey Prospectus proprietary statistic; for more on GVT, click here. All other advanced stats are courtesy of Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com.
The Montreal Canadiens surprised many in the hockey world by defeating the Boston Bruins to earn a spot in the Eastern Conference finals, then some bad luck ended their run: The Habs lost their star goalie Carey Price to injury, and could not beat the best netminder in the world, New York Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist.
Montreal is driven by its own superstar, blueliner P.K. Subban, who signed a mega contract this offseason, but he is far from their only top-level player. Forward Max Pacioretty was the NHL's No. 4 goal scorer in 2013-14 (39), and Price ranked third in GVT in the league.
Montreal let captain Brian Gionta, scorer Thomas Vanek and Josh Gorges go, and traded Daniel Briere this offseason, but did not lose any of their key future pieces. They also made several under-the-radar additions, landing goal-scoring winger P.A. Parenteau and puck-moving defender Tom Gilbert. While the Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning appear stronger, it would not be a huge surprise to see the Canadiens compete for the Eastern crown again.
Trending up: Alex Galchenyuk, F
14dScott Burnside and Craig Custance