Rabid Habs

The Forum: Who Is the Habs MVP this Season?

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Well here we are, just a couple of games to go and the Habs’ Atlantic Division title has been well secured. We’ll get to previewing the inevitable Rangers v Habs first-round match-up as that day draws nearer. In the meantime, now’s a great opportunity to reflect back on the rather interesting regular season that was for the Canadiens. We asked our contributors who they would you pick as the Canadiens’ MVP for the 2016-2017 regular season

Kyle Roussel (@kylroussel) – I’m going with Captain Max, no questions asked.

Following an underwhelming 2015-16 season, we were *ALL* questioning his ability to lead this team. Many wanted him out. There was even a “report” that claimed former coach Therrien labelled Pacioretty as the worst captain in Habs history. The target was on Max’s back to start, and though the team had a flying start, it wasn’t long before he cooled off significantly. Predictably, the arrows came out.

“He can’t hack it as captain in Montreal”

“Give the C to Weber”

“He’s too soft. Too sensitive. Too thin-skinned”

As it turns out, people were quick to judge. Pacioretty had played through a painful foot injury and it needed time to heal. Fast forward to March 2017, and all is right in the world. Max’s foot healed, and he’s been consistently filling the net ever since: 35 goals with 4 games left. He may not hit his career high of 39, but given his overall play, I don’t think anyone means more to the Habs this season than the man who has taken the mantle of Captain and run with it.

Robert Brown (@TheStandardBob) – I definitely agree with Kyle. In my view, Pacioretty is definitely one of the best wingers in the NHL. Since the 2011-12 season (excluding the lockout season), Patches accumulated 33,39,37,30 and 35 goals respectively. For a team starved with offense, he obviously exceeded our expectations. Think of where we’d be without Patches? I highly doubt that we’d clinch a playoff spot, let alone make the playoffs as a whole. He’s that important to this franchise. We can definitely argue that Carey Price or Shea Weber deserves to get the nod, but we can’t forget about what #67 has done to help our team.

Ian Boisvert (@Boisvertian) – I like Kyle’s pick, but I’m going to go with Pacioretty’s linemate and say that Alexander Radulov is this team’s MVP. I can’t recall exactly what the lineup looked like when Gallagher got hurt, but I’m nearly certain that Radulov was the only producer on that side of the ice. A roster without Radulov would have about the same offensive ability as a lineup without Pacioretty. One thing that Radulov does that the Canadiens could not live without is enter the offensive zone with possession of the puck. He’s so patient when coming across the blue line and has the creativity to find his teammates in scoring positions.

Like Pacioretty, Radulov came into the season with a ton to prove. Dubbed “the next Alex Semin” by certain Toronto media, Radulov needed to play his way out of the Russian stereotype. He also had a high price point for a one-year deal, meaning that he would need to prove to Marc Bergevin and the other GMs in the league that he could play an entire NHL season.

And under the weight of these expectations, he was the Canadiens best playmaker over the course of the season, and is deserving of the RabidHabs MVP trophy.

Ok, I made that award up. If it were real, he’d have my vote.

Claudio D’Andrea (@cdbytor) – Carey Price.Then we can debate everyone else.

Will Harte (@WillHarte) – I took a good look at the stats and seriously considered the contributions of guys like Pacioretty, Radulov, Markov, and Byron. But then I realized the answer was staring me in the face: Carey Price.

Ian Boisvert (@Boisvertian) – Now maybe I’m over thinking this, but I feel like Price might just be the generic answer. There was a period of time this year where he was not very good and the team struggled because of it. I’m not saying that he was a negative factor on this season, but to say he was the MVP might be a bit much.

It seems, at least to me, we’re awarding him the team MVP because the team would collapse without him. That might be the case, but that’s the case for just about every team in this league. If the Maple Leafs don’t have Andersen, they’re probably playing for a lottery pick and not a playoff spot. Does that mean he’s Toronto’s MVP instead of Auston Matthews? Goalies, I think, take too much credit for the performance of a team, and that goes both ways. When a team is winning, they’ve got a hot goalie. When they’re losing, their goalie is struggling.

Most seasons, I would totally agree that Price is the guy. It just seems like this year the team in front of him has been more complete, and we’ve had some seriously compelling cases for MVP on the offensive side of the game.

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