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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Strength Of Schedule Crucial For Draft Lottery



Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft

The Montreal Canadiens have won three games in a row

And while every season contains ebbs and flows, the recent winning streak has sounded the alarms among Draft lottery aficionados.

The chorus was particularly loud following the Canadiens’ 4-0 shutout win over the lowly Chicago Blackhawks, complete with accusations of failure directed toward Kent Hughes and the rest of the head office.

The team, which shed the majority of its talent last season and entered the season with four rookies on the blueline, a laundry list of underwhelming veteran wingers up front, not to mention questionable goaltending, did not do enough to ensure a poor finish.

It’s also easy to forget the team has endured the most injuries in the NHL this year, complicating matters when it comes to moving players.

But context is quickly forgotten when frustration mounts.

Of course, if the Canadiens had lost their last three games, which happened before the rare winning streak, accusations of deploying a questionable development plan would have come to the forefront.

Such is life at the helm of a rebuilding team followed by millions of passionate fans.

What’s Next

If you’re hoping the Canadiens will end up with a talented player at the 2023 Draft, fret not.

Even if the Canadiens finish with the seventh overall pick, there will be a bevy of talented players available outside of the top five

But those who point to the importance of drafting one of the top five players available (Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson, Matvei Michkov, Zach Benson) aren’t simply complaining for the sake of complaining.

The aforementioned forwards have game-changing potential, which is exactly what the Canadiens lack in their roster.

As it stands, the Canadiens are 26th in the league, and while it’s unrealistic to expect them to match the embarrassingly poor seasons put together by teams like Chicago, the Anaheim Ducks, and the Columbus Blue Jackets, Draft fans should not lose hope just yet.

That leaves three teams ahead of them the Canadiens can realistically catch in the race to the bottom of the standings: The Arizona Coyotes, the Vancouver Canucks, and the San Jose Sharks.

The Habs will face both the Coyotes and the Sharks later this season, games that carry significant importance for the Draft, but beyond those matchups, we can look to the remaining strength of schedule of every team to get a better idea of their potential results down the stretch of the season.

Strength Of Schedule

The Canadiens happen to have the most difficult strength of schedule in the NHL.

They’re set to face teams like the Carolina Hurricanes (x3), the Boston Bruins (x2), the New Jersey Devils (x2), the Toronto Maple Leafs (x2), and the New York Rangers.

Only nine of their remaining 28 games will take place against teams not currently in a playoff spot, two of which are scheduled against the Panthers, who are sniffing at a Wild Card spot.

To get a better idea of the murderer’s row that awaits the Canadiens, we can simply take a look at their March schedule.

Not only do they have 16 games in 31 days, nine of which take place on the road, but they’ll also be facing some of the best teams in the league.

Between March 5th and March 23rd, the Canadiens will play 10 games in 19 days, facing, in order, the Vegas Golden Knights, the Hurricanes, the Rangers, The Devils, The Colorado Avalanche, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning (x2), and the Bruins.

Despite the recent uptick in results, it’s not difficult to picture the Canadiens emerging from the difficult stretch of games without a single point.

What’s more, if we take a look at how they end the season, the Habs are set to face the Washington Capitals, Maple Leafs, Islanders, and Bruins, yet another stretch of games that promises very low odds Martin St-Louis’ team will pick up points.

The Competition

While the Canadiens have the most difficult schedule in the league, the same cannot be said about their tanking competition.

The Vancouver Canucks have one of the easiest schedules in the league, with only the Seattle Kraken and Dallas Stars facing an easier road to close out the schedule.

The Coyotes have the ninth easiest schedule, whereas the Sharks have the 11th most manageable schedule.

In other words, the overall strength of schedule of the competing tank crews looks as follows:

1st – Canadiens

22nd- Sharks

24th – Coyotes

30th – Canucks

The Canucks will face the Blackhawks (x2), the Ducks (x3), the Sharks (x1), and the Coyotes (x2), among others, as they cruise to the finish line with very little projected resistance.

Statistically speaking, the only real competition when it comes to projected results, arises when analyzing the Coyotes’ recent numbers, but the difference is rather negligible.

For example, the Canadiens have an expected goals for percentage of 44 percent, the fourth-worst result in the league, whereas the Coyotes are slightly lower, at 43 xGF%.

The Sharks and the Canucks are in a much healthier position, with 52.6 xGF% and 47 xGF%, respectively.

Brass Tacks

There are no guarantees in sports.

But given the underlying numbers, the remaining strength of schedule, and the projected wins for the aforementioned teams competing with the Canadiens, don’t be surprised if the Habs are once again finding themselves picking among the top 5 choices at the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick

All strength of schedule information via Tankathon.

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I’m sick and tired of so many complaining about wins and wanting to tank. We are a proud franchise that will once again return to glory without having to constantly lose in the hopes of getting a good/decent draft pick. And who knows Bedard may not be all that in the NHL. We don’t know for sure how he will play against top level talented MEN.


I hear what you’re saying however, he’s accomplishing things that even McDavid wasn’t doing when he was his age. I’d say he’s a safe bet to be the next superstar coming in the NHL. He’ll make everyone he plays with better, and he’ll be playing with great players that will be able to finish even better than the kids he’s playing with now. He crushed the all-time record for Canadian players at the WJC. He’s doing things against his peers that we haven’t seen since maybe Lemieux. I used to feel similar to you in that being a fan of the Habs meant we had higher standards than fans of other teams. I think we still do, but what have we done the past 30 years? Nuthin’. So adding the best prospect to come along since McDavid would be a welcome change. All those teams that we love from the past had a common thread. We had the best players on our team. Richard, Beliveau, Lafleur, and even Roy in “recent” history. Without them, we don’t have the history to expect the standards of excellence we do. Bedard would set us back on the path to greatness. Suffering some short term pain in the standings (however unpalatable it may be) will be worth it if we become a dominant franchise once again. No one will be harbouring on about last year or this year when we’re celebrating on “the usual route” in our next parade.


I’m completely disgusted with this team of rookies continuing to win! Why can’t we lose like the best of the losers, continue to get all our players hurt. We need to bench every player that finishes first star in a game.

The Habs should immediately fire Martin St. Louis and re-hire Dominique Ducharme or better yet, exhume Newsy Lalonde’s bones and reassemble the behind the bench

Let’s get ‘er done and lose, lose, lose. Stop trying, stop practicing, and stop showing up for warmups before the games.

Tired of this incompetence from les glorieux.


How about wearing the powder blue “tank tops” for the rest of the season too? That should help. 😁


This is an incorrect assumption.
Facing teams who are going to make the post season will ice the B squad and rest there stars.
use you’re brain dude.


Classic. 👌


All those games where teams who are below the habs in the standings play each other , ensures that those bottom dwellers attain points and creep up in the standings whether they want to or not ..Every time Vancouver plays Aneheim or columbus or whomever, there is a guaranteed winner each time and so if Montreal loses the vast majority of their games , they are going to sink in the standings because the worst six play each other often enough to make a material difference and so some of them could potentially surpass Montreal in the standings.. The best scenario is if each win is in overtime as even the losing team picks up a point on the habs….Habs need to get rid of some veterans at the trade deadline to ensure they lose most of their final 20 games or so…


The vets were helping the tank and now they are not. They really need to move up the trade deadline 2-4 weeks. Got to get these guys out of here. I don’t want drouin helping us win. Especially if he isn’t resigning with a pay cut/home town discount. If we are winning , I would have at least enjoyed it more If Cole was healthy and hit 40 goals.


I sure hope so, but don’t forget, all those teams will be dumping pretty much every good player they have by the deadline, so their relatively easy schedule may be moot. They could basically be icing an AHL level team which means it won’t matter how easy their schedules are, they’re going to lose. We won’t be unloading any key players at the deadline that are major contributors to our success.

PS I would have liked to seen Florida included in this article too in order to assess our odds of getting a good player with their pick. I believe they have the 2nd toughest schedule, do they not?


Who’s up next for the tankathoners ? Last year it was we need to get it Wright. This year it’s Bedard or bust. Who will it be that we MUST get in 2024 ?