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Montreal Canadiens Outlook: Improving NHL Draft Lottery Odds

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Montreal Canadiens draft odds

Only 25 games remain for the Montreal Canadiens to conclude their 2023-24 campaign.

By now, fans have come to terms with the fact that the Habs will miss the playoffs. The dominant goaltending that floated the Canadiens through the first half of the season has normalized, part of the reason the team is currently in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

To be perfectly accurate, the Canadiens do have a non-zero chance of making the playoffs (0.1%), but for all intents and purposes, the dream of participating in the playoffs is dead.

In the long run, adding a top-10 pick at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft to the mix is exactly what a team like the Canadiens needs.

MUST READ: Canadiens Have Interesting Options For Forwards At 2024 NHL Entry Draft

If the Draft Lottery were to take place today, Montreal would have a 7.5 percent chance to draft first overall, a 7.7 percent chance to get the second-overall pick, and a 0.2 percent chance to draft third overall. It’s not ideal by any means, but it does present a slight chance the Canadiens may get lucky enough to put their hands on an offensive dynamo such as Macklin Celebrini.

The more likely scenario would see them pick sixth (34.1 percent), seventh (41.4 percent), or eighth overall (9.1 percent).

In other words, the Canadiens will end up picking a very good player, though not necessarily someone who can immediately make an impact in the NHL.

But there is very decent the team can improve its Draft Lottery odds.

Strength Of Schedule

It’s official, the Canadiens own the most difficult strength of schedule in the entire NHL, just as they did down the stretch last season.

What’s more, of the six teams below the Habs in the standings, only the Columbus Blue Jackets have one of the more difficult strengths of schedule in the final third of the season.

montreal canadiens strength of schedule

 

As for the other teams in question, they will face much more favourable match-ups.

The Ottawa Senators have the 16th most difficult schedule.

The Arizona Coyotes have the 18th most difficult schedule.

The Anaheim Ducks have the 23rd most difficult schedule.

The San Jose Sharks have the 29th most difficult schedule.

And finally, the Chicago Blackhawks have the 27th most difficult schedule.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean the Canadiens are guaranteed to finish below these teams in the standings. Just as it’s difficult to work your way up the standing during a playoff push, it’s also hard to match some of the impressive levels of horridness produced by teams like the Blackhawks and Ducks.

But there’s a very good chance both the Senators and Coyotes will accumulate enough points to leapfrog the Canadiens, even though the Coytes’ current six-game losing streak certainly does not work in the Canadiens’ favour.

Other Montreal Canadiens Factors

The Canadiens have enjoyed some of the best goaltending in the NHL this year. It has masked several of their issues and has led to more points in the standings than anticipated.

But that’s no longer the case.

Since the All-Star break, the results in the crease have been far from encouraging.

We won’t blame the goaltenders in question due to the situation involving three different players vying for starts. Being an NHL goaltender is incredibly difficult to begin with.

Consistency in usage is key.

But the only consistency they’ve enjoyed this season is guaranteed inconsistency. This explains why the Canadiens rank 26th in team save percentage since the break.

Interestingly, the Habs have done a much better job controlling the play while the goaltending numbers normalized.

You could even argue that from a purely statistical standpoint, February was one of their best stretches since head coach Martin St-Louis took over. They have the eighth-best expected goals percentage (53.3%) in that stretch, marking a complete reversal in results between the skaters and the goaltenders.

But when we weigh the importance of good goaltending, the upcoming NHL Trade Deadlinewhich is likely to lead to more players departing the lineup, and the most difficult strength of schedule in the league, things are lining up nicely for the Canadiens and their Draft Lottery odds.


All Montreal Canadiens and NHL strength of schedule information via Tankathon.