By Bob Trask – With the season at the one-third mark for the Canadiens we can take a look at projected performances for the various players and you can see how they match up against your pre-season expectations. Games played are my own “guesstimates” and production estimates are extrapolated from that
One of the strengths of the Montreal Canadiens was supposed to be the balance in its lineup from top to bottom. They were supposed to have a 4th line, for instance, that other teams would ignore at the peril. Unfortunately, it hasn’t turned out that way and based on production to date. The bottom 5 scoring forwards are projected to score a combined 7 goals goals this year or an average of about 1.4 goals per player.
As the Canadiens look to improve next season, the obvious lack of a scoring threat from the 4th line and spare players will be one shortcoming that Kent Hughes and company will be looking to address. There are other disappointments on offense as well with Brendan Gallagher and Evgenii Dadonov falling far short of expectations but not all of the problems can be addressed at one time, mainly due to contracts that may prove to be unmovable.
Strengthening the bottom of the lineup is absolutely critical if the Canadiens hope to challenge for a playoff spot next year. In the meantime, we can watch and wait over the next couple of months or so to see which names remain on the list and which disappear.