The Montreal Canadiens enjoyed a surprising start to the season, but with 34 games in the books, we’re starting to get a realistic view of their potential.
Simply put, the Canadiens have outperformed most projections for a variety of reasons, including Nick Suzuki’s evolution into one of the best players in the NHL, the solid work from a quatuor of rookies on the blueline, and some inspired play from their goaltenders.
Statistically speaking, they’re in for a rude awakening, and not only because their increasingly difficult schedule will not allow for any margin of error.
The Canadiens have only managed to control a little over 42 percent of the high-danger chances this season, which is a significant drop from the 45 percent they controlled last season as they made their way to the NHL’s basement.
Fortunately, the 2023 NHL Draft is projecting to be one of the best drafts in recent memory, which means the Canadiens are trending in the wrong direction at the best possible time.
You can't even successfully deflect a Connor Bedard wrist shot.
He just blasts right through.
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) December 27, 2022
The Canadiens currently have a 6 percent chance of drafting first overall and a 6.4 percent chance of being the second team at the podium.
Realistically, they have much better odds of drafting eight overall (54.4%), but thanks to the curious decision that led to the Florida Panthers sending the Habs an unprotected first-round pick in exchange for Ben Chiarot, the outlook for the 2023 Draft is quite encouraging.
Florida’s draft odds are slightly worse than the Canadiens’, with a 5 percent chance of drafting first and a 5.4 percent chance of drafting second.
The Panthers’ underlying numbers do suggest they’re due for better results, but with just 15 wins in 35 games this season, it’s also fair to suggest their results may not end up matching the projections.
Seeing as elite talent is not restricted to the top 3 players in the upcoming Draft, the Canadiens couldn’t have asked for a better scenario.
NHL Lottery Odds Via Tankathon.com