The Canadiens are again from the vacation break and having every kind of points with COVID-19. With 13 gamers on the COVID protocol listing, the staff performs with one line of NHL gamers and the remaining are callups from the Laval Rocket. The season is already taking place the drain, in order quickly as Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations (VPHO) Geoff Gorton hires a common supervisor (GM), they will determine if the staff is healthier with a rebuild or reset. If it’s a rebuild they determine on, then there are 5 gamers they need to construct round.
Nick Suzuki is at the moment the Canadiens’ first-line middle, and at solely 22 years of age, he has steadily elevated his scoring and confirmed he’s a top-six ahead that may solely enhance as he matures. He was acquired when the Canadiens traded star scorer and staff captain Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights for Tomas Tatar and Suzuki. It will most likely be certainly one of former Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin’s greatest ever offers. Tatar was fairly profitable throughout the three seasons he was with the membership, and Suzuki is barely climbing as a No. 1 middle.
Suzuki started as a fourth-line winger however rapidly earned the belief of former head coach Claude Julien and moved rapidly up the lineup; by the top of his rookie season 2019-20, he was the first-line middle and recorded 41 factors. He then had an incredible postseason for the Habs that very same yr, scoring seven factors in 10 video games. Suzuki adopted his rookie marketing campaign with a good higher sophomore season as he as soon as once more scored 41 factors in a season of 56 video games, as a result of COVID-shortened season. He had one other stellar playoffs, scoring 16 factors in 22 video games to assist the Canadiens attain the Stanley Cup Last. This season, he has already earned an “A” on his sweater and leads the Canadiens’ forwards in ice time.
Alexander Romanov was a shock second-round draft decide in 2018, going thirty eighth general. He’s an enormous, rugged, left-handed defenceman who hits onerous and performs stable defence. He performed two seasons in Russia with CSKA Moskva profitable the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) Gregorian Cup (league championship) in 2018-19. Romanov joined the Canadiens in 2020-21, enjoying 54 video games, scoring six factors, and averaging 17:15 of ice time.
This season, he has elevated his ice time to simply under 19 minutes a sport and has six factors in 32 video games, matching his profession complete from final season. Romanov not solely makes use of his velocity and dimension to create havoc in his personal finish, however has additionally emerged as a reasonably good puck mover and an incredible skater. Romanov received’t be an offensive dynamo, however will show to be a very good top-four defenceman for years to come back. He is a brilliant and heavy hitter, is aware of when to time the hit proper, and offers oppositional forwards second ideas earlier than skating down his aspect with the puck.
Cole Caufield was drafted fifteenth general in 2019. He was a pure aim scorer in america Nationwide Workforce Improvement Program (USNTDP) in 2018-19, the place he scored 72 objectives and 100 factors. The 72 objectives broke Auston Matthew’s aim file of 55 in a season and Caufield additionally broke Phil Kessel‘s program aim file of 104 with 126. Caufield moved on to play for Wisconsin Badgers of the Nationwide Collegiate Athletic Affiliation (NCAA) and rapidly turned a scoring dynamo. He scored 49 objectives in 67 video games over two seasons with the Badgers, and received the Hobey Baker Award because the NCAA prime participant in 2020-21.
Associated: The Subsequent Nice Scorer for Les Glorieux
Caufield made his debut with the Canadiens in 2020-21, enjoying 10 video games, scoring 5 factors with 4 objectives. Nonetheless, it was within the playoffs that he actually began opening up. He had 4 objectives and 12 factors in 20 video games, serving to lead the Habs to the Stanley Cup Last. Up to now this season, the Canadiens are struggling and so is Caufield; he has just one aim and 7 factors in 25 video games and has frolicked with the Laval Rocket within the American Hockey League (AHL). Though Caufield is struggling, he nonetheless could be a prime scorer for the Canadiens, and the staff shouldn’t be too fast to surrender on him. Surrounded by the proper gamers, Caufield can discover the open ice and use his wonderful capturing expertise to fill the web.
Kaiden Guhle is just like Romanov, a heavy-hitting defenseman who can skate nicely and has some offensive aptitude. He at the moment performs for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL) to whom he was lately traded from the Prince Albert Raiders. Between the 2 golf equipment, he has 18 factors in 20 video games. Guhle was additionally named Workforce Canada’s Captain for the World Junior Championships (WJC); he had one level in two video games earlier than the match was cancelled as a result of COVID.
Final season, when the WHL began late as a result of COVID-19, Guhle obtained to play three video games with Laval within the AHL. He didn’t rating any factors however didn’t look misplaced both, which is nice information for the Canadiens as a result of they may very well be shedding Ben Chiarot after this season, and they’ll want one other huge defenceman. The advantage of Guhle is that he’s extra cell than Chiarot and, a minimum of on the WHL stage, has a better IQ within the defensive finish. Guhle, together with Romanov, may give the Habs two stable defencemen within the prime 4 for years to come back.
Whoever the Candiens Draft in 2022/2023
The Canadiens are on their technique to having the worst season in franchise historical past, and in the event that they end close to the underside of the league (which they need to), they’ll get a promising younger prospect. With the best way the season has been going, they need to be capable of draft in a minimum of the highest three spots; in the event that they do, they’ve an opportunity to draft a stable first-line participant who can present the staff with a wonderful offence for years to come back. In keeping with The Hockey Writers, the highest three gamers for this yr’s draft are Shane Wright, middle for the Kingston Frontinacs within the Ontario Hockey League (OHL); Matthew Savoie middle for the Winnipeg Ice within the WHL; and Logan Cooley, middle within the USNTPD.
If the Canadiens can draft any of those facilities then, with Suzuki, they will have two stable facilities main the primary two strains. If the staff decides they’ll rebuild, followers can anticipate them to be close to the league’s backside for a minimum of yet another season after this. Ought to this be the case, the Canadiens can have one other probability to draft a stable participant. The 2023 Draft has two gamers that may very well be team-changing sort gamers: Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats within the WHL and Matvei Michkov of SKA-Varyagi Im. Morozova of the Junior Hockey League (MHL). If the Canadiens can seize two of those 5 gamers within the upcoming drafts, their rebuild may very well be profitable a lot sooner than anticipated.
If the Canadiens rebuild with these 4 gamers already drafted and add two of the highest 5 gamers from the following two drafts, they are going to be in wonderful form to rapidly rebuild and switch round. It will work even higher in the event that they encompass these gamers with the fitting group of veterans and depth. Gorton has his work minimize out for him, and whoever he hires as a GM has some huge choices to make going ahead.
Trege Wilson has been a contract content material author for the previous 4 years and with the THW for the previous yr. He’s the co-host of the favored Montreal Canadiens podcast Habs Unfiltered on IHeartRadio.com.Trege could be very obsessed with all issues Canadiens and loves to offer his readers with nice high quality information, rumours and opinions on the Montreal Canadiens. Trege has additionally been featured on JblamSports and JDFSports Podcasts; for interviews and visitor appearances, you may contact him at any of his social media accounts listed underneath his picture in such articles as this one.