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Canadiens Analysis

Montreal Canadiens Projected Standings For The 2023-24 Season



Montreal Canadiens

The last time we checked up on the projected standings for the Montreal Canadiens in 2023-24, the results were somewhat encouraging.

At least relatively speaking.

Both ESPN and Sportsnet projected the Canadiens to finish eighth in the Atlantic Division, with the team finishing 27th and 26th in the league, respectively.

Updated Divisional Projections

Now that the season is upon us, we have access to several more projections, and just like last time, the vast majority of the outlets expect the Canadiens to finish in last place in the Atlantic Division.

Sporting News: 8th

The Hockey Writers: 8th

ESPN: 8th

NHL Trades: 8th

Daily Faceoff: 8th

Inside The Rink: 8th

Of course, projections aren’t written in stone, but it should not be surprising that most expect the Habs to finish behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, and Detroit Red Wings.

All the aforementioned teams have stronger lineups, and though some, like the Bruins, lost talent, you’d be hard-pressed to argue the Habs are in a position to leapfrog any of the teams that may have taken a step back.

Updated Overall Projections

Sportsnet (Power Rankings): 28th

The Athletic 31st:

Daily Hive: Tied, 31st

Money Puck: 30th

As was the case with the divisional rankings, most outlets expect the Montreal Canadiens to struggle, though their predictions vary a little more than what we saw when evaluating the division projections.

Sportsnet and Money Puck have the Canadiens finishing among the bottom five, whereas The Athletic and the Daily Hive expect the Canadiens to finish in the second-to-last position in the overall NHL standings.

Montreal Canadiens Fan Perspective

Habs fans will be quick to point out the team broke a record for the most man-games lost in their last two seasons, and it’s certainly going to be the most significant factor moving forward.

Losing talented players such as Kirby Dach, Kaiden Guhle, and Cole Caufield for extended periods led to a clear downtick in results.

If the Canadiens can maintain a high standard of health, they’ll surely collect more points in the upcoming season, however, it would be unrealistic to expect the team to suddenly avoid any type of long-term ailments.

Much like running into spam bots on Twitter, injuries are inevitable.

We also have to keep in mind the Canadiens are heading into the season as one of the youngest teams in the league.

This means two things: there are decent odds that some of the young players will take a step forward, but there are also fairly good odds that a portion of their players will suffer through the sophomore slump.

It’s also important to remind ourselves that other teams have very good young players as well, which mitigates some of the potential impact of Montreal’s young core.

And then there’s the goaltending issue.

Yes, Samuel Montembeault ended up saving enough goals above expected to win exactly two wins above replacement last season, but he’s yet to put together solid back-to-back seasons, which means goaltending is still a point of contention when discussing the team’s overall growth.

Brass Tacks

When it comes to the Montreal Canadiens in 2023-24, expect to see growth from an individual standpoint, especially from players like Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, and Juraj Slafkovsky. But that growth won’t necessarily be reflected in the team’s position in the standings.

There are simply too many red flags and question marks remaining when discussing their roster, and we haven’t even delved into the ever-lasting sadness that takes hold whenever the special teams jump on the ice.

It’s also worth pointing out that the underlying numbers have consistently worsened since head coach Martin St-Louis took over. Of course, that’s not surprising given the exodus of talent that took place to make way for the rebuild, but we’re yet to see any tangible improvements from a team standpoint.

I believe the Montreal Canadiens will improve upon the 68 points they collected last season, but I don’t expect the team to avoid yet another bottom-five finish in the overall standings, which, in turn, should lead to yet another talented player joining the team’s prospect pool at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.