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Canadiens Analysis

Canadiens Head Coach Martin St-Louis Year-To-Year Results



Canadiens coach St-Louis

The Montreal Canadiens entered the season knowing they had very little odds of qualifying for the NHL playoffs.

But within the season there were many learning and growing opportunities, including Martin St-Louis’ work as the team’s head coach, which should probably be considered his first true season at the helm.

Unlike the previous year, St-Louis was present at training camp, giving him a better chance to put his mark on the team.

To get a better idea of his work, we can compare some of the 2022-23 team’s results to 2021-22.

By The Numbers

The Canadiens once again struggled to maintain control of the puck, finishing the season with a 45.5 percent share of the shots (CF%), which is down from the previous season when the team controlled close to 47 percent of the shots.

Analysts pay particular attention to shot control for various reasons, but the crux is that a strong share of the shots often correlates with earning a playoff berth. There are always exceptions, however, of the top-16 teams to make the playoffs this season, 12 were above 50 CF%.

The biggest change for the team took place on the defensive side of things, as the team allowed more shots, more goals, more expected goals, and more high-danger chances than in 2021-22.

Consequently, despite finishing higher in the standings this season, the Canadiens’ underlying numbers took a dive in almost every important metric, including high-danger scoring chance control (HDCF%).

Only the Chicago Blackhawks (41.25 HDCF%) and the Anaheim Ducks (38.7 HDCF%) finished their regular season by controlling fewer quality chances than the Canadiens (42 HDCF%).

External Factors

It would be rather easy to pin all the Canadiens’ woes on St-Louis.

After all, he’s the person calling the shots in Montreal.

Or rather, that was the plan.

But given the Canadiens were intent on giving veteran forwards ample ice time, as to inflate their trade-deadline value, you’d be hard-pressed to say St-Louis iced his preferred lineup on any given night.

There’s also the matter of injuries, which were, well, plague-like in quantity.

Not only did the Canadiens have a hard time maintaining a healthy lineup, but they also ended up finishing the season with the most man-games lost in the league, which was exactly the case for the team in 2021-22.

Brass Tacks

It’s always difficult to judge a coach’s work on a team that lacks talent, and even more so when the said team has begun their rebuild in earnest.

You could point to the team’s position in the standings as evidence that St-Louis made a positive impact this season, though that was likely a result of a crowded group of tanking teams who were attempting to improve their odds of drafting Connor Bedard.

On the flip side of the coin, the exodus of talent on the roster compared to the previous season, combined with the never-ending list of injured players, as well as marching orders from management when it came to the usage of certain players, also render the downtick in underlying numbers difficult to pin on St-Louis.

MUST READ: Canadiens head coach Martin St-Louis discusses the overwhelming list of injuries

And that sets up his third year as the team’s head coach as the most important in his young career.

As much as the last season and a half were a wash in terms of analyzing his impact, there does need to be growth in the year-to-year numbers now that St-Louis has a healthy amount of experience.

That growth must be sustainable, which, for very valid reasons, has not been the case so far in his tenure with the Canadiens.

All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick.

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With that many injuries – it’s impossible to evaluate – and throw out any stats.

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