Canadiens Biggest Need Exposed After Past Season
The Montreal Canadiens have a few needs they need to fill, but, if last season taught us anything, there should be a particular focus in one area.
Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki led the team in scoring by hitting new career-highs in goals (26) and points (66) this past season, while Cole Caufield also hit a career-high 26 goals in just 46 games this season.
The injuries to Kirby Dach (38 points) and Cole Caufield (36 points) contributed to the large gap in offence between the club’s top centre and the rest of the team, but it’s especially worrying that there was one only forward on the club that passed the 40-point plateau.
This season confirmed the Canadiens have a solid, young offensive trio to build around in Suzuki, Dach and Caufield; but it also showed that, from an organizational perspective, pure offensive talent is lacking in a big way.
Not only was Suzuki the only player to hit 40 points on the team, but only three forwards (Suzuki, Caufield and Josh Anderson) were able to hit the 20-goal plateau, while only another four players were able to hit double digits in goals scored.
The lack of goal-scoring ability outside of the club’s young core and some improved play from Josh Anderson exposes the need for more scoring punch up front as the Canadiens take the next step in their rebuild.
With the Canadiens owning the 5th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, and potentially dangling the Florida Panthers‘ 1st-round pick, Montreal has a prime opportunity to breathe some life into their forward core.
General manager Kent Hughes began that trend last summer at the 2022 NHL Draft, when they selected Juraj Slafkovsky, Filip Mesar and Owen Beck with their first three selections, but there is still more that needs to be done.
After years of spending top draft capital on defencemen, which has resulted in the organization’s overabundance of rearguard this season, looking at top-end skill up front has been the desire of the fanbase for over a decade.
The Montreal Canadiens will need more game-breaking talent up front if they’re ever going to be able to weather the injury bug down the line and keep up with other emerging teams in the Atlantic Division like the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators.
There have been discussions about adding more punch up front all year in the form of Pierre-Luc Dubois, but that remains an option and not a certainty at this point.
With another important summer ahead of them, the Montreal Canadiens will need to address the need for more scoring punch through trade and draft, because, although the Habs have a ton of solid depth, they’re still missing some star power up front.
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Health was a big factor, RHP has emerged, Dach emerged, Anderson played better than ever and we have a pile of good prospects coming to Laval. If they get PLD now we can build around him as these prospects develop. Established guys help, but if Teasdale, Condotta etc type players can fill gaps, we get a return as we replace them with others like Tuch and Beck.
SIZE SCORING SIZE SCORING SIZE SCORING and Centermen that can win faceoffs.
linking this conversation to the upcoming draft. It is imperative for the Canadiens to pick a player who can fill the need for offense and more specifically goal scoring. I have a friend who played in the KHL for several years(did not go back this year because of political situation). He says he would not pick Michov because there is a good possibility that he never comes to NHL. His father apparently was pushing for his son to be released from his contract and died shortly after. Putin wants to punish the West any way he can but has limited ways to do it. One way would be to not allow future prospects to play outside Russia. Can you imagine having a top 5 prospect not coming to the team during a rebuild. There are too many other no risk good options available to take that risk.