At least two surprise cuts were made by Habs brass before the Montreal Canadiens introduced their roster for the 2016-2017 season. Former first round pick Stefan Matteau, who was acquired from New Jersey late last season in exchange for Devante Smith-Pelly, and former Tampa Bay Lightning defender Mark Barberio were placed on waivers on their way to the AHL. Meanwhile, the Canadiens first round pick at this year’s NHL entry draft, Mikhail Sergachev, remains with the squad.
A crowded Complex Desjardins witnessed the unveiling of the new Habs squad. Veterans such as Andrew Shaw and Al Montoya, Alexander Radulov and of course Shea Weber, who was sent to Montreal in return for fan favorite P.K Subban in a blockbuster trade that has sparked much debate throughout the summer offseason.
Despite the team’s incredible start last year, their rapid decline into obscurity will be what the squad will be most remembered for. With much to prove this coming season, and many pundits to silence, I imagine the boys are eager to get it underway. The arrival of superstar goaltender Carey Price to the stage was met with ear destroying screams and a raucous chanting of his name. Pacioretty, Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk also received rowdy welcomes. Many question marks still remain; however, as the Habs still need to cut three players from its roster before the season begins, but for now injuries to Paul Byron and Brian Flynn have given leeway and a chance for the youths to further show why they should remain with the big club.
Perhaps the biggest question mark of all is how Alexander Radulov fits in on his return to NHL action from the KHL. Radulov began his troubled NHL career with the Nashville Predators back in 2006. Two years later, he would bolt back to Russia while still under contract with Nashville, and signed with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL. He would return to the Predators in 2012, for the final few games of the regular season and playoffs, but he would once again find himself in hot water, as he and former Hab Andrei Kostitsyn were suspended from the team for breaking curfew. Radulov again left the NHL for the KHL. Now 30 years old, Radulov has arrived in Montreal to once again resume his NHL career. He was once touted as the next big star of the league, and considered the best player not playing in the NHL during his eight year stint in the KHL – but can he fit in and contribute to the goal-starved Montreal Canadiens?
Photos & article By: Kieron Yates – totimes.ca