The Montreal Canadiens have to like what they’re seeing unfold in Florida, as their rival currently sits outside a playoff spot as of American Thanksgiving.
Why is that important?
The Florida Panthers are currently out of a playoff spot as of American Thanksgiving, a telling cut-off at the quarter-mark of the season which allows us to compare the trajectories of clubs in past seasons to project where things could play out this season.
The projection for the Panthers is not ideal.
As it turns out, 77% of clubs that are in a playoff position as of American Thanksgiving have qualified for the playoffs over the last 30 years. This means that there’s a much bigger chance than originally thought that the Florida Panthers could indeed miss the playoffs, and that has begun to worry some in South Beach.
The Panthers may have recently beat the Boston Bruins, but dropping games to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Arizona Coyotes early this season is not a good look for them.
Should the Florida Panthers do the unthinkable and miss the playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens would be laughing all the way to the 2023 NHL Draft podium.
How does this impact the Montreal Canadiens?
Five days before the March 21 NHL Trade Deadline, the Montreal Canadiens traded defenceman Ben Chiarot to the Panthers in exchange for forward Tyler Smilanic, a first-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-round pick in 2022 previously acquired from the New York Rangers. Not only did the Canadiens acquire a first-round pick in what NHL draft experts have predicted to be a very deep draft, but that 2023 pick is unprotected.
With the odds rising against them, the Panthers repeating as President’s Trophy and Atlantic Division winners is not as much a shoo-in as it was perceived to be a few months ago; that is music to the ears of Montreal Canadiens fans.
It now remains to be seen if they’ll be able to rebound after a poor start to the season, as the competition in the Atlantic Division is already looking incredibly tight this season.