NHL Analysts Have Interesting Standings Prediction For Canadiens

Some NHL analysts gave their views on where teams will finish in the Atlantic Division this upcoming season, and their predictions should be of interest to Montreal Canadiens fans.

In their most recent segment for the NHL Network, NHL Analysts Mike Johnson and Mike Rupp unanimously ranked the Montreal Canadiens 8th in the very competitive Atlantic Division. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Canadiens will be the worst team in the NHL like last season. They believe that Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is in the overhaul phase, while the rest of the division is either in their prime window of competition or on the rise.

The Ottawa Senators are perhaps the most improved team in the NHL at this junction, having added Alex Debrincat, Claude Giroux and Cam Talbot to a growing, young core. The Detroit Red Wings also added a plethora of veterans like Andrew Copp, Ben Chiarot and Dominik Kubalik and look primed to take the next step in their rebuild too. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers, who might have lost a few players, will be, at worst, a playoff bubble team. Even the Boston Bruins, who have brought back Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, could weather the storm until December when key players like Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy are set to return before making a strong playoff push themselves. It simply doesn’t look good for the Canadiens, who have some serious question marks on defense and at the goaltending position.

Another Top Pick For The Montreal Canadiens

With no major changes to the lineup and the recent news on Carey Price, Hughes decided to use his cap space to take on the contract of Sean Monahan, rather than going for a top-flight free agent like Nazem Kadri. That kind of move shows that the Canadiens aren’t exactly in a rush to be competitive this season, and that’s completely fine, as the 2023 NHL Draft is shaping up to be rather stacked at the top. This upcoming class boasts a top-10 that could arguably rival that of any draft in the last 15 years at this rate, with Connor Bedard, Matvei Michkov, Adam Fantilli, Dalibor Dvorsky, Zachary Benson, Leo Carlsson, Brayden Yager and more to choose from. The Canadiens might not finish last again next season, as the Chicago Blackhawks seem to be doing everything in their power to achieve this with their current offseason moves, but they may have a real shot at one of the prospects above, and that would be a game changer.

This next season is also one where the Canadiens have stated multiple times that they would like to approach with a focus on player development. If the Canadiens maintain course and are unable to improve the team, expectations will not be extremely high for the club, and that may be a perfect time to help youngsters like Kaiden Guhle or Juraj Slafkovsky get their feet wet in the NHL. It also offers youngsters who have already played in the NHL like Cole Caufield, Jordan Harris and Justin Barron to gain experience and develop further in a much less stressful environment; a luxury prospects haven’t had in Montreal in quite some time.

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