Mar 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais (51) skates with the puck as Detroit Red Wings left wing Drew Miller (20) defends in the second period at Joe Louis Arena. Montreal won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Look At The Detroit Red Wings Division Rivals: Montreal Canadiens

Detroit Red Wings are heading into their second season as a part of the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division – even though most of the teams are not even near the Atlantic Ocean – and the editors from our Atlantic Division rivals will be answering a few questions regarding their team, the Detroit Red Wings, and the upcoming season.

Kenneth MacMillan (KM) the editor of A Winning Habit, where they cover the Montreal Canadiens, joins us today.

What were the Montreal Canadiens biggest additions or subtractions during the off-season?

KM: The Montreal Canadiens biggest additions were the signing of European free agent Jiri Sekac, and NHL free agents Manny Malhotra and Tom Gilbert, as well as trading Danny Briere to the Colorado Avalanche for P.A. Parenteau. In my opinion Parenteau is the biggest addition as he is a proven point producer who will fill in on the top six, and may even play with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty on the first line.
Malhotra and Gilbert will fill depth roles, but Malhotra’s face-off and defensive abilities will be a nice addition, while Gilbert’s offence will be a boost to the second wave of the power play.
Sekac is the wildcard of the new additions as no one has really seen him play, and expectations from some range from second line winger to AHL bound winger.

Me: Not sure Parenteau is a step up from Briere, but he is younger and it is at least an even trade-off. Gilbert and Malhotra are not big additions, but if they can step up, they could push Montreal over the hill.

Which player the Canadiens will strike fear in the hearts of Detroit Red Wings when on the ice?

KM: P.K. Subban seems to be the obvious choice as his skating ability and booming slap shot should strike fear into most opponents, but I think Carey Price should be feared the most of any Hab. Price is an outstanding goaltender who almost never has a bad game, and can frustrate opponents with great saves. The Detroit Red Wings may out shoot the Habs, but they will have a hard time outscoring them thanks to Carey Price.

Me: Subban is a force when on the ice and the Detroit Red Wings will have to be aware of him.

Which player on Detroit are you most afraid of when he is on the ice?

KM: Without question it is Pavel Datsyuk. He is the best stick-handler in the game, and probably the best two-way player. His offensive game is tough to match, but his defensive abilities outweigh his great offence. Datsyuk is one of my favourite players in the league to watch, just not when he is playing against the Canadiens.

Me: Datsyuk is still undefeated in this category.

The Canadiens signed P.K. Subban to a massive contract, was he worth it or will he never live up to the deal?

KM: Without getting too deep into the economics of the NHL and its salary cap, I think Subban will live up to his deal based on salaries rising in the future. Not just rising, but I think salaries are set to go sky-high in about five years.
Subban currently has the highest cap hit in the league, but is paid less than several defencemen right now because players such as Shea Weber and Ryan Suter signed 13 year contracts with salaries of 1 million at the end of the deal.
Since these lengthy contracts are no longer legal in the NHL, you will see plenty more of these huge cap hits in the future, and Subban will fit right in.
Also, he is an incredible player with Norris Trophy potential and is the future of the franchise alongside Price and Max Pacioretty. He will have no problem living up to his contract, no matter how astronomical it is.

Me: I am not sure any player would be able to live up to this cap hit, but in a couple of seasons it could be the norm in the NHL.

Who do you predict will win the season series?

KM: The Original Six teams will battle four times next season in the Atlantic Division, and I honestly think they could split the season series. I think the Wings will have a bit of a bounce back season if they are more fortunate with injuries and will be in a battle with the Canadiens all season for positioning in the division. They split the series at two games apiece last season, and I think the same will happen again this year.

Me: I think a split would be the most likely, but if the Red Wings can stay healthy and the young player avoid a sophomore slump, then the Wings could win the series.

A big thank you to Kenneth over at A Winning Habit for answering these questions and it will be a great season!

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