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yave1964

2019-20 Montreal Canadiens review

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   Gonna continue with the series, end of season reviews. There is still a very real possibility that the league will resume with a 24 team postseason, if so the Habs will be the last team in. I am going to continue with this series, if a lower rung team wins the cup (if there is one) i will do an adjustment.

 

   PRESEASON OUTLOOK kind of a mixed bag. The Habs missed the playoffs by a point the year before, the hopes were that with a better backup goalie (Niemi almost certainly cost Montreal a playoff spot the year before with dreadful play when called on in the second half) another year under the belt for Kotkaniemi and a few kid blueliners that they would and should compete for a bottom rung playoff spot.

 

FINAL RECORD 31-31-8 5th place in the Division which doesnt sound bad unless you take time to realize the Atlantic Division had 4 of the worst 8 teams in the game. Easily the most bottom heavy division in the game.

 

HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR When Montreal defeated the Flames 4-3 on December 18th they had won five of their previous six including games against very good Flames/canucks/Penguins teams. They sat at 17-12-8 and looked as if they were going to be in competition for a playoff spot.

 

LOW POINT OF THE YEAR Then they went out and lost eight in a row, including losses to the Dreadful Wings, they fell a couple of games under .500 and from then on they stayed a few games above or below .500 from that point on, never a serious competitor and never a really bad team.

 

STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR They were the first team in the past three years to finish under .500 at home and over .500 on the road. They played a lot of tight games as testified to by their 21 games that went to overtime,  second most in the league behind Columbus.

 

WHAT WENT RIGHT Danault has turned into a hell of a player, great faceoff guy plays in all situations and had 47 points. At plus 18 on a mediocre team playing big minutes he is a very underrated two way player. Tatar who was partial payment for Pacioretty had a career year leading the team in most all offensive categories. Domi started slow but came on strong. Gallagher missed 13 games but led the team in goals. Nick Suzuki, also pmt for Pacioretty is the real deal, playing 2C minutes and leading the team in power play scoring. Petry and Weber continued to be a dynamic one/two punch on the back end. Chiarot was a solid contributor on the back end as well. Lehkonen, Armia and Cousins were all solid providing secondary scoring. Carey Price was unspectacular but still very solid.

 

WHAT WENT WRONG Former New Jersey netminder Kincaid was brought in to shore up the backup goalie position and bombed miserably. Drouin was awful then hurt and then awful again. Paul Byron clearly either lost a step or was playing most of the year with a leg injury. Kotkaniemi was dreadful and then sent to the AHL. 

 

FREE AGENTS None of note. Next year is their big year as Gallagher, Tatar, Petry and Danault all are UFAs after the 20-21 season and all are critical if the team is going to succeed.

 

OFFSEASON QUESTION MARKS Starts with the 20-21 free agent class of Danault, Gallagher, Tatar and Petry. The cupboards are not bare but they are certainly low, they can ill afford to lose any of them let alone all of them if they are going to remain in the mix. Price and Weber are aging, the Habs may gear up for one run next year and then blow it up if it doesnt work out. Time is not running out on Kotkaniemi but the clock is certainly ticking. 

 

A middling team with a chance to move up because of brilliant goaltending or to slip down as they age. I dont like their future, i dont like it at all but i think 20-21 might be slightly better before they fall apart.

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