With one of the greatest minor league affiliates in Hamilton, the Canadiens have a list of great young talent moving forward. There are three that played with the big boys last year that I expect to have breakout years.
Last year, his season was cut short due to a spinal injury but he showed flashes of a positive future with a season that saw him play in 37 games, notching 14 goals and 24 points. If healthy this year, he could easily reach the 25 goal plateau. Pacioretty has been raved about by hockey analysts saying he is playing the best hockey of his career. He is a big forward that the Habs will need to contend for a playoff spot.
This small, speedy center was a big surprise for the entire league. He went undrafted, but then coach Guy Carbonneau saw a greatness in him so he was immediatly signed to a contract. Last season, he lead the AHL in scoring before being called up to Montreal where he played 43 games, scored 8 goals and had 22 points. He was signed to a 2 year, one way contract this year, keeping him in Montreal. I can see Desharnais scoring similar numbers to Pacioretty this season, and will be a huge asset on the power play.
The Danish forward came over to Montreal in the most infamous deal in recent Canadiens history that sent Jaroslav Halak packing. GM Bob Gainey did see the youngsters potential and knew he wanted him for the playoff hero. Eller was selected 13th overall in the 2007 NHL entry draft amd was only the second European taken so far in the draft. In his first full NHL campaign, he appeared in 77 contests, scoring 7 times and notching 17 points. I Expect Lars Eller to be a consistant contributer this year and could possibly be a 2nd line center come April.
And don't think I forgot someone. I know P.K. Subban will have a great season, but I consider last season his breakout year because he really made his mark on the NHL by making a few rivals and lighting up the All-Star game in Carolina.