Canadiens' 2023-2024 Outlook: A Rebuild in Progress
It was a tough ride for the Montreal Canadiens last season. With a mere 68 points, they found themselves at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. Yet, expectations were not high to begin with for this youthful squad, further plagued by a rash of injuries throughout the year. As the team gears up for the 2023-2024 NHL season, there's cautious optimism, albeit within a framework of realistic expectations.
Last Season's Recap: Young Talent Amid Adversity
Last season was a struggle for the Canadiens, but it was also not surprising given the composition of the team. With injuries affecting the roster, only Nick Suzuki and Johnny Kovacevic played more than 70 games. It was a season of growing pains and learning experiences for a group not expected to contend.
Offseason Maneuvers: Quiet but Significant
Despite a lackluster season, Montreal has been relatively quiet in the offseason. Their most notable additions are Alex Newhook, Gustav Lindström, and Lias Andersson. These players may not be blockbuster names, but they're young talents who could contribute to the rebuild. The significant departures include Jonathan Drouin, Joel Edmondson, and Mike Hoffman.
Coaching Continuity: St. Louis at the Helm
Martin St. Louis will continue his tenure as the Canadiens' head coach. His value as a mentor for the young players on the team is unquestionable, though there's room for improvement on the tactical aspects of the game.
Next Season Projections: Room for Improvement
The Canadiens are expected to improve on their 68-point performance from last season. A couple of factors support this outlook. First, the team should be healthier than last year, which was a particularly injury-riddled campaign. Second, the continued development of young players like Nick Suzuki can only add to the team's competitive edge. Suzuki might not be the Prince that was promised, but is on a track becoming a solid first line center.
Cole Caufield has thrived under Martin St. Louis' guidance and even a 40-goal season is within his reach.
While not expected to be a playoff team, a 70+ point season seems realistic, barring unexpected developments.
Concluding Thoughts: A Cautious Optimism
If nothing extraordinary happens—like sudden, simultaneous leaps in performance from their young talents—the Canadiens are likely to remain in the 70+ point range for the upcoming season. However, this would still represent progress and serve as a stepping stone for the years ahead. Montreal fans should be prepared for another year of rebuilding, but one that could offer flashes of a brighter future.
(Please read our Disclaimer for NHL Team Points Distribution Histograms.)
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