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Montreal Canadiens

Timing of Monahan Trade To Impact Canadiens’ Draft Lottery Odds

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Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft

The Montreal Canadiens started their trade period off early this year by moving Monahan, but securing a 1st-rounder is not the only benefit to their early move.

Whether you agree with it or not, Sean Monahan is now a Winnipeg Jet, leaving the Canadiens with Nick Suzuki, Jake Evans, Lucas Condotta and Brandon Gignac down the middle until Alex Newhook returns from injury.

If this sounds like a pre-season lineup to you, you’re not that far off; as the Canadiens have five players out of 11 forwards with less than 100 games of NHL experience.

It’s one of the main reasons why NHL betting odds have the Canadiens set to not only maintain their status in the bottom 10 of the NHL standings, but potentially slide further down. With so many bookies and online gambling platforms for you to explore, every single one now favours the Canadiens to pick in the top 10 by the 2024 NHL Draft, providing aggregate likelihoods nearing the 85% certainty marker.

And it shouldn’t necessarily be surprising.

Here’s why:

 

History Playing Itself Out Again

Let’s circle back to the 2021-2022 NHL season, where the Montreal Canadiens were in the bottom five of the NHL standings by mid-February after having gone on a lengthy winning streak.

The Canadiens made the shocking move of moving Tyler Toffoli on February 14th to the Calgary Flames; signalling that the Canadiens were ready for a rebuild.

Although Montreal would win another game or two off the momentum of the hiring of new head coach Martin St-Louis, they would go on to lose their fair share of games from thereon out, as Toffoli was an influential and crucial piece in the Canadiens lineup.

By removing Toffoli early and netting the price they were looking for in the process, the Canadiens indirectly ensured that they would, at worst, maintain a bottom-three spot in the NHL standings. Fortunately for the club, they were able to finish last and ultimately chose Juraj Slafkovsky, who is now looking to be a solid piece for the club moving forward.

The parallels here with the Monahan trade are eerily similar. You can easily point to the potential risk of an eventual injury for Monahan as being the catalyst behind the Canadiens moving him very early, but there is significant value for them in getting their price now and indirectly leading to their eventual slide down the standings.

Monahan was an integral part of the club’s fabric this season, and was especially clutch for them in his final seven games; where he put up 11 points, including a game-winner in his final game at the Bell Centre last month.

Without Monahan, who was one of only three forwards on the Canadiens to register 30 points through 49 games this season, Montreal will be in a difficult spot for their final 33 games of the season.

 

But Wait, There’s More

On top of having their roster depleted by injuries and now trades, the Canadiens face another daunting reality: the hardest part of this season’s NHL schedule is coming.

According to Tankathon’s Strength of Schedule tool, the Montreal Canadiens had one of the easiest first 50 games in the NHL this season, ranking in the top-5 for the smoothest calendar to date.

That all changes from now until April, as the Canadiens are considered to have the 4th-most difficult schedule remaining; which includes four back-to-back situations and important Western road trip against three of the hottest teams in the NHL (Colorado, Edmonton and Vancouver).

The Canadiens faced a similar situation last season after the NHL All-Star break, where the club had the 7th-hardest schedule in the NHL, which, along with the long list of injuries, contributed to Montreal’s slide from 23rd to 28th overall between February and April.

With their depth decimated at centre, and more possible trades on the horizon, let’s just say that the odds are not in Montreal’s favour.

 

Bumpy Ride

With the 2024 NHL Draft shaping up to be one filled with stellar talent and depth throughout the top 12, the Montreal Canadiens firmly securing their place within that range was imperative to advance their rebuild.

The 1st-round pick acquired from the Winnipeg Jets will likely be used as trade fodder, but their own 2024 1st-round pick will help them select another cornerstone piece for the franchise moving forward.

Depending on where they land, likely anywhere between 28th and 23rd overall, the Canadiens would be able to select one of Berkly Catton, Ivan Demidov, Konsta Helenius, or possibly even Cole Eiserman or Cayden Lindstrom should they get lucky.

It’s thus understandable why the timing of trading Monahan as early as possible has a multi-benefit outcome for the club, as one more top-10 pick, coupled with another big summer trade could set them up for some long-term success moving forward.

It may be a bumpy ride, given the injuries, strength of schedule and depleted lineup; but the Canadiens seem firmly committed to rebuilding the right way at this junction, and that discipline could go a long way when it comes time to competing.

 

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Dave

But what if we make the playoffs??

Hard Habits

All bets are off.

habbycat

I hold out hope to see us draft Lindstrom, but if we combine a young defenseman with a draft pick, is it too much to hope that we could contrive to get Celebrini?

ViperCDN

Chicago is about as likely to give up Celebrini as they were Bedard.

Yes I know, it isn’t guaranteed Chicago gets Celebrini, as the lottery hasn’t happened yet. But they will pick first. NHL has to replenish Chicago now that Toews and Kane are gone.

Dave

When do the habs get replenished? They better not be rigging it for Chicago.

morrisk

I understand the rebuild and the “tank”, etc. Its just sad to see all this play out at the expense of Nikki and CC. If this “early” trade of Sean was in large part to increase the chances of The Tank, then how does that resonate with Nikki and CC? These two are entering their primes, yet all we seem to be talking about is a rebuild, tank, sell off players for picks, etc. How much longer can this go on before these two start grumbling?

I would say we have to challenge for or actually make the playoffs next season – to show that we are going up – and not staying muddled at the bottom. Something has to click by next season, which would be year #4 of this supposed rebuild. Otherwise, I’m concerned about Nikki and CC.

Dave

Cc and Suzuki know we are rebuilding. And this gives them time to work on and improve on their game. In their primes, hopefully we are cup contenders.

patrick

The bookies are so far off with their predictions.

Robin

Monahan is a great hockey player who will be greatly missed. On a more positive note, Newhook and Gignac are both very fast skaters, so I think they will be a more fast skating team now.

Kim

We finally have a center that can win face offs and we trade him. Habs never seem to improve