Daniel Briere wasn’t expected to be a top scorer when he signed a two-year contract but after a slow start to the season, Briere used his experience to settle into his new role and had a good playoff performance.
STATS: 69 Games | 13 G-12 A = 25 P | 30 PIM | +1 | 47.1% Corsi | 3.0 Point Shares
PLAYOFFS: 16 games | 3 G-4 A = 7 P | 4 PIM | -1 | 44.1% Corsi
STORY: Daniel Briere started off the season moving around between lines and positions trying to get him going. After playing on the wing for most of the start, Michel Therrien made him into a healthy scratch and Briere almost immediately started playing better. He was among the better possession players for the Canadiens, mostly due to being sheltered with offensive zone starts but was also one of the better even strength scorers for the team, especially on a per minute basis.
Briere was never expected to be a top six player on this team, but his defensive play was not able to put him in a defensive role. He was stuck in a fourth line role in order to exploit other team’s less talented fourth lines.
It was that role where he excelled in the playoffs. With Michael Bournival and Dale Weise, Briere used the matchups to dominate the fourth lines of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins. Against the more evenly matched New York Rangers, they didn’t have as much possibilities to score.
Briere scored possibly the biggest goal of the Canadiens season when he put in a power play goal off of Zdeno Chara in the third period of Game 7. He was also big on some of Dale Weise’s goals.
Briere was disappointing for most of the season, but really settled into his exploitative role on the fourth line where the Canadiens could expect him to start next year. He finished the season right around where the Canadiens thought he would be, especially on a per minute basis.
His grade would have been higher based on his playoff performance and now that they made the adjustment and he’s used to his role it may improve in year two.
FUTURE: Briere has one year remaining at $4 million which is high for what his role is on this team. The team would love to be able to move him and use that money elsewhere, but if he gets more of a role on this team and maybe a few more minutes he could put up more from a production standpoint.
With Briere, it was always the aura surrounding his playoff performance. It turned out, he gets up for those moments. His playoff performance – and the big goals he was on the ice for – was a nice boost for this team.
2015-2016: Unrestricted Free Agent