Look for the Canadiens to draft and/or acquire some bigger players this off-season.
The belief amongst Montreal management is that the team is fast enough to be competitive but lacks the size to defeat the bigger and more aggressive teams in the NHL. We expect the Habs will focus their attention on a number of the more physical free agents in the market and perhaps make a deal or two to bring in a power forward who can play on one of the team's top three lines and a rugged top six defenseman
Raphael Diaz will close out the year in the World Hockey Championship with Switzerland.
The Swiss will play the Czech Republic in Thursday's quarter-final round. "I learned a lot of things again this year," said Diaz prior to leaving for the tournament. "I want to go and show my best hockey and support my teammates from Switzerland." He played in Switzerland's top league during the lockout, where he starred for EV Zug. Diaz had 14 points in 23 games during the regular season for Montreal.
Montreal GM Marc Bergevin still believes that Louis Leblanc can be part of the team's future.
"He knows he has to be better and he knows it's a big summer for him," Bergevin said. "It's going to be up to him. But he's a good young player that we hope one day will play here." Leblanc regressed in 2012-13 while playing in the AHL with 10 goals and eight assists, with a minus-18 rating, in 62 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Alexei Emelin (knee) is projected to miss the start of the 2013-14 season.
He suffered a torn ligament on April 6, which ended his season, and he still hasn't had surgery to repair the damage. The Canadiens missed his physical presence on the back end during the latter part of the year and in the playoffs.
The Canadiens' Marc Bergevin was one of the finalists for NHL's general manager of the year.
The Canadiens were the NHL's most-improved team, going from 28th to the second seed in the East. "I'm flattered to be a finalist because I have a lot of respect for Bob Murray (Ducks) and Ray Shero (Penguins)," Bergevin said. "They're both great hockey men."
Tomas Plekanec doesn't think the Canadiens need to become a bigger team.
"I think our team identity is quickness and speed," Plekanec said. "When we play that game, we are successful. I don't think it has anything to do with size. We have guys with size, who play like it. Plekanec thinks it was timing -- everyone playing their best together -- more than talent. "You don't need to score a lot of goals, but you need to score at the right time, Plekanec said. "It seems like we didn't have that. ' We've had injuries the last couple years (so) it's easy to kind of pinpoint that we need size and toughness. But I think we have that. Maybe we actually need more scoring."
Montreal's front office expects a bounce-back season from David Desharnais.
General manager Marc Bergevin locked the forward up to a four-year, $14 million deal prior to the season only to see him slip to 28 points after putting up 60 the year before. "He's still a young player and I expect him to rebound," the GM said.