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New Canadiens Standings Projections & Impact On 2023 Draft

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have been fun to watch, but new season projections are predicting the Canadiens could have a very interesting 2023 NHL Draft.

A recently updated NHL Standings projection from The Atheltic currently predicts the Montreal Canadiens will finish 28th in the NHL when all is said and done.

That kind of finish would give the Montreal Canadiens the 5th best odds at winning the NHL Draft Lottery, while also assuring them of, at worst, the 7th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

That would give the Canadiens a legitimate shot at the two lottery picks, but it would also assure them of one of the best players in a very deep draft class. They also have the Florida Panthers‘ 1st round pick, and are actively looking to acquire another one prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

Even though the Canadiens came out of the gate roaring, there is some merit to this kind of projection, based on the Canadiens’ recent play and what is on the horizon.

The Hard Part Begins

Since about mid-November, there’s been a dip in the Montreal Canadiens’ performances.

In their last seven games, the Canadiens sport a 3-4-0 record, with two of their wins coming from shootouts. In that time, the Canadiens faced only one club currently holding a playoff spot in the New Jersey Devils, while struggling against non-playoff teams.

But it’s about to get a lot harder from here on out.

The Canadiens are about to hit one of the most demanding sections of their schedule, after having had a pretty favourable run the last two months.

As of tomorrow, the Canadiens will only play four of their next 16 games at home. More than half of their opponents during that time are currently in a playoff spot, with a few just on the outside.

It’s usually the time of the year that determines where the Canadiens will end up this season, as General Manager Kent Hughes will have a much better idea of where his team is at come the beginning of January.

The Canadiens have not done historically well during these trips, especially when they’ve seemingly lost a little bit of momentum right before taking off.

That being said, don’t expect this team to go down without a fight.

An Eye To The Future

As is the case with most young teams, early success is usually met with growing pains during the December-January period.

It’s a time of the year when separation begins to occur between the top teams, the playoff bubble teams and the bottom dwellers.

Even if the Canadiens do continue to drop in the standings, which wouldn’t hurt the club or Hughes’ long-term plan, this doesn’t seem like the wasted season the Canadiens had last season.

This year, there’s tangible progress to observe, progress that will allow Hughes to make more precise decisions on the future of his club and continue the process of building a winner.

Ultimately, if the Canadiens do begin a slide down the standings, as The Athletic predicts, it will only help the Canadiens add even better talent to this team long-term while providing their youngsters with a no-stress environment to keep growing and preparing for when their time truly comes.

Early Look At 2023 NHL Draft Should Get Canadiens Fans Excited

 

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