It’s been a very tough stretch for the Montreal Canadiens since providing us all with high hopes when reaching the Stanley Cup finals. You can find the details of it in a recent article, but tiles have been falling one after another on this organisation and its fans for too long now. Joel Bouchard leaving, Shea Weber out for the season (possibly a career), Carey Price, Joel Edmundson and Paul Byron out long term… A brutal season on ice with countless injuries and just about the entire team on COVID protocol, the departure of Marc Bergevin, Scott Mellanby, Trevor Timmins and Paul Wilson… the Habs have reached new lows.
Wow, I’ve just painted a pretty sombre picture up there, even for someone who loves and thrives on positivity! But wait… it’s not all bad. Actually, some bad has come with some very good as well.
Take the controversy surrounding the selection of Logan Mailloux, for example. Had the Canadiens not dared selecting him, causing this controversy, they would have never created the Respect and Consent Action Plan. This plan enables Groupe CH to act both internally and externally to raise awareness and educate its employees and the public about respect and consent and the serious consequences of sexual cyberviolence. This plan will also benefit from a $1 million seed investment fund set up by the company. I strongly encourage you to read the details on the link provided above. It’s an amazing initiative.
More positive… We know the stress the need for having a bilingual General Manager can put on the organisation, narrowing the pool of experienced candidates for the position. Geoff Molson thought outside the box by getting the best man available in Jeff Gorton, by putting him in change of Hockey Operations as a Vice-President. They are now in the process of hiring a bilingual GM who will be facing the media, responding to that need. The Habs aren’t the only NHL team with different people for Hockey Ops and GM. More than half the teams do it, as we showed in a previous article.
The hiring of Chantal Machabée as the new Montreal Canadiens’ VP of Communications has received an overwhelming amont of support from both the members of the media and the Habs’ fan base. Rarely have we seen an announcement from the team being so unanimously supported and that’s a huge positive in itself.
With the Canadiens going through this awfully painful season, they are guaranteed of missing the playoffs. That’s not a positive, you’ll say, and you’re right. However, this allows for Gorton and the Habs for a reset on the fly, by getting a good draft pick at the upcoming NHL Draft. It also puts the team as sellers at the trade deadline, making decisions easier to trade away pending UFAs like Ben Chiarot, who is said to be worth at least a first round pick. More veterans are likely to change address from now until the start of next season and we’ve recently put together a list together for you.
The injuries and players missing out of the line-up has allowed (and will continue to allow) for evaluating the status of the depth in the organisation. We knew that Nick Suzuki was going to be good and he’ll keep on getting better as time goes by. Alexander Romanov is playing like a top-4 defenseman now. We thought that Cole Caufield was ready to have an impact based on his play in the playoffs, but we now realize that he’s not there yet. We see that Ryan Poehling has taken some positive steps in the right direction and we see that Jesse Ylönen will be a NHL player in a not too distant future. Those are just a few examples.
Then look at this prospect pool built by Bergevin and his right-hand man Trevor Timmins, particularly since the 2018 reset. No, I mean really LOOK AT IT! The link I’ve provided will show you the performances (up to date) of each and every Habs’ prospect. While it may not bring automatic success at the NHL level, many are dominant at their respective level. That’s a huge positive.
Now we’re talking! See, we’ve turned a very negative and frightening situation for the Habs into a positive experience. It wasn’t so bad now, was it? So while you’re at it, why not check out our short guide to what Habs’ fans New Years’ resolution should (or could) look like? I promise it won’t hurt.