The Montreal Canadiens are turning up the heat on their youth movement, as they’re projected to have one of the youngest teams in the NHL this season.
According to CapFriendly, the Canadiens’ projected 23-man roster should have a median age of 25.9.
Based on their projections, the Montreal Canadiens would be tied for the third-youngest club in the NHL this season with division rival Buffalo Sabres.
They are narrowly edged out by the Arizona Coyotes (25.7) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (25.5); a quartet of teams that will be significantly younger than the league average.
It’s no secret that NHL betting odds don’t look kindly on young rosters from a historical perspective, with three of the four youngest teams expected to miss the playoffs.
But, there is hope for the Montreal Canadiens to utilize the energy and talent of their up-and-coming players to hit another stride
Youngest projected opening night lineups in the NHL (average age).
Columbus – 25.5
Arizona – 25.7
Buffalo – 25.9
Montreal – 25.9
New Jersey – 25.9
Ottawa – 26.3
Vancouver – 26.9
Florida – 27.2
Chicago – 27.4
Philadelphia – 27.5
Los Angeles – 27.7
Anaheim – 27.7
Calgary – 27.8
— CapFriendly Depth Charts (@CF_DepthCharts) September 15, 2023
The Next Step In Development
For the first time in decades, the Canadiens could start the season with a top-six comprised of only one player over the age of 24, with Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook likely pegged for top-six duty, and Juraj Slafkovsky looking to add size and skill to round it all up.
This kind of unprecedented roster formation has the potential to provide these talented youngsters with the platform they need to reach higher levels of offensive ability and reach their full potential.
However, there is a flip side to this, and it’s one of the major reasons the Montreal Canadiens have always been shy about getting too young too quickly: a lack of experience brings about a high frequency of mistakes.
Under head coach Martin St-Louis, mistakes aren’t necessarily welcomed, but they’re used as a teaching opportunity rather than an excuse to staple someone to the bench; which is why players like Suzuki and Caufield have been able to improve to a notable degree under the Hall of Famer.
This season, St-Louis’ teaching ability will be put to the test, as the club looks to hit another level of performance and accountability; so it won’t just be on the players to show some growth, but the coaching staff as well.
The Promise Of Youth
The Montreal Canadiens are looking to power the club to new offensive levels and hopefully develop their first point-per-game player in the last 15 years.
If the club is to have any success in their ongoing rebuild, they’ll need this group of young forwards to reach that kind of output on a regular basis; and that’s what management is looking to see.
That will be the challenge this season brings to the Canadiens’ young roster, keeping pace with the competitive Atlantic Division and asserting themselves as an up-and-coming team.
It may lead to another season in the basement of the NHL standings, but a strong push in the right direction will set the club up well for future success.
Now begins the next phase of the Canadiens’ rebuild.
*For more NHL betting lines and futures, head over to FanDuel