Summer Skate: Montreal Canadiens

Handcuffed by bad contracts, Habs have one bright spot

Updated: September 13, 2012, 1:11 PM ET
By Matthew Coller and Craig Custance |
Hockey Prospectus/ESPN Insider
Canadiens celebrateRichard Wolowicz/Getty ImagesMax Pacioretty, right, appears to be on the rise for the Canadiens.

Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider is taking the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with the Montreal Canadiens. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.

Summer Skate -- Montreal Canadiens

After a complete overhaul of the Habs' front office and the hiring of Marc Bergevin as new general manager, the hope is that there's nowhere else to go but up. But a series of bad choices by the past regime has left the cupboard bare outside of an excellent goaltender and a middle-of-the-pack top line.

Things aren't exactly looking good down the road, either. It will take years for the Habs to clear themselves of ugly contracts. Scott Gomez's $7.35 million cap hit until 2013-14, Brian Gionta's $5 million hit for the next two years, Tomas Kaberle's $4.25 million and Rene Bourque's $3.3 million until 2015-16 have the club pretty well handcuffed. But there's at least one young bright spot for the Habs.

Trending up: F Max Pacioretty
Last season: 10.5 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 12.2