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Canadiens review 2024

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PRESEASON OUTLOOK The division looked stacked and while Montreal had some nice pieces the overwhelming thought was they were not going to contend. The hope would be that the kids would start their developmental phase.


FINAL RECORD 30-36-16 76 points, last in the Atlantic.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR I always get a kick out of oddball home/road splits, you know, a goalie wins 20 at home but loses 20 on the road, stuff like that. One of the craziest splits of the year was Joel Armia, who shocked everyone with 13 road goals, 2nd among all Habs players. On the road, he was indistinguishable, managing a Meagley 4 goals and six points. 

OH!! They are the only team in history to lose each of their last four games in overtime. 


HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR After beating the Peg 4-3 in a shootout they sat 5-2-1. 3 games over was the high for the year 


LOW POINT OF THE YEAR Right after Christmas, they stumbled pretty badly, going 4-9-2 including losses to low life teams such as twice to Ottawa, once to the Sharks and a really bad loss to the Sabres. They never recovered, losing more often than they won until the end of the year. 


WHAT WENT RIGHT Nick Suzuki continues his development as a very solid number one center. Mike Matheson was possibly the most underrated player in the game with 11 goals and 62 points from the back end. Caulfield was very solid, albeit a bit streaky. Juraj Slafkovsky had a nice breakthrough season. Kaiden Guhle had a very nice season on defense. Lane Hutson scored in each of the last two games against Detroit in his first two NHL games and looked really good in both games. They traded Monahan and Allen away for futures. 

Mountembault and Primeau were not bad.


WHAT WENT WRONG Jake Evans and Alex Newhook had poor seasons down the middle when the team needed them to step up, both took a step back. Brendan Gallagher got hot late to run his goal total to 16 but he was slow and close to worthless most of the year. Kirby Dach was injured in the second game of the season and was lost for the year. Dvorak resembled the hamburgler, but instead of stealing burgers simply stole his salary with sub zero play. Arber Xhekaj fizzled badly. Josh Anderson-ugh. What the Hell happened to him.


FREE AGENTS no free agents of any significance. No real RFA to worry about either. They do have an extra first rounder in the Monahan trade to the Jets with an extra third as well. 


TOP PROSPECTS David Reinbacher will play at Laval with a chance at earning a permanent spot in the middle pair on defense if he impreses. He is absolutely the real deal with huge upside. I REALLY love Lane Hutson, puck moving gambler out of Boston College who brings something new to the team next year. A lot of folks are simply in love with Joshua Roy, i am not, i think he is an AHL tweener who will get games in the NHL but will struggle to stay there. Justin Barron could crack the defense and stay there, he is quality. They have half a dozen players, Mailliux, Mesar, Farrell, Heineman, Beck, Perrault and Struble who will be fighting for spots all year.

  Look i get it, some of these guys will flame out or return to Europe or whatever, but there are a top of B level prospects with upside. I especially like the defenseman here, Reinbacher reminds  me of all the world as being the next Heiskanen. The rest are not that level but man there are a lot of them. The Habs have done an amazing job with the draft in recent years,


OFFSEASON QUESTION MARKS Do you accept that this is going to be a down year as the kids are learning or add vets to create a false sense of improvement? I personally would run the kids, let them learn as they go. Martin St. Louis is likely not going anywhere now that Montreal finally has him, lol, he has a rep as a teaching coach already, I would allow Newhook, Evans,  Dach and a few other vets be the leaders, you are not getting rid of Anderson or Gallagher and their obscene bloated contracts but both have good reps with teammates (other than Gallagher and PK lol). With Suzuki and Caulfield that is 7, Slafkovsky and Armia make 9, that leaves 3 spots among the forwards for kids to rotate in and out untul someone forces the team to keep him.  Really good spot for a young team.

  Defense is a bit cloudy, Matheson is a lock, so is Harris, if Savard is not dealt for a 4th or something he sticks and Guhle is a no brainer. that leaves two spots for Xhekaj, Hutson, Barron, Mailloux, Struble and Reinbacher. Very stiff competition for the kids to fight for minutes.

 Goaltending is a mixed bag. Both were OK last year but that is as good as they ever will be. I have read rumors (twice, two different locations) that they are going to make a play for Askorov from the Predators and if so, they certainly have the pieces to offer and he would fix their numbedr one glaring need and give them an A chip goalie who will be young and learning right along with most of the kids.


 Lot to like here. They battled hard all year and IMHO were the 'best' of the last place teams in each division and the future looks bright.


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Re-signing St-Louis is a mistake IMO. I admit I'm not really objective when it comes to him but if Montréal want to finally take the next step and compete for a play-off spot or more, they need a real experienced technician behind the bench. It was ok to go with a local and good motivator when the Canadiens were dead last and had nothing to lose when they cleaned the FO but I don't think he's the guy capable of bringing these guys to another level. Having a french-speaking coach is a non-negotiable requirement in this organization, so they have to assume all the barriers and pitfalls they are putting in the middle of their own way. Personally, if this contributes to have them glued at the bottom of the standings for a while, I'm completely fine with it.

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3 hours ago, Math said:

Having a french-speaking coach is a non-negotiable requirement in this organization, so they have to assume all the barriers and pitfalls they are putting in the middle of their own way. Personally, if this contributes to have them glued at the bottom of the standings for a while, I'm completely fine with it.


It's sort of like how Ferrari always has a rule that, in order to work for them, you need to be able to speak Italian. You don't get the best people that way; you get the best people who speak Italian.


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