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Canadiens 2024-25 Outlook: A Realistic Approach To The Rebuild



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The latest Montreal Canadiens fan poll revealed several interesting prevailing opinions when it comes to the future of the franchise, as well as the state of the team’s rebuild.

For many years, the mere concept of a rebuild was out of the question, as it was assumed fans would never stand for a series of seasons that resulted in very few wins, even if it was a small price to pay for a greater good. In French, we call it ‘un mal pour un bien‘, a direct translation would be ‘a bad for a good’, but the true spirit of the saying would be ‘a little pain for a lot of gain’. More on that later.

There was some logic to the concept that Habs fans would flat-out refuse to support a rebuild. After all, the Canadiens have lost as many games in the last three seasons as they did from 1971-72 to 1979-80, an era that produced an impressive six Stanley Cups for Les Glorieux.  But here’s the harsh reality of the current situation: the glory years are over, and they have been for several decades.

MUST READ: Montreal Canadiens Fan Poll Results – State Of The Rebuild

A new approach was needed, especially when you consider there’s a significant portion of fans that consider most of the 24 Stanley Cups won by the franchise a thing of legend.  Fans who are 30 years or younger were not yet born the last time the Canadiens took their ‘usual parade route’ to celebrate yet another Stanley Cup conquest. Only two players from the current roster were even alive in 1993: David Savard and Brendan Gallagher.

montreal canadiens parade route

All this to say, the fact that the vast majority of Montreal Canadiens fans endorsed the rebuild, including the team’s draft record, the many trades, and the work done by a head coach that had no previous experience before taking charge in Montreal, should come as no surprise. They’re thirsty for success. They want to see their own heroes join the many legends in the pantheon of Canadiens history. But they know they can’t simply will their way to success.

Moving Forward

You could argue the first two and a half seasons of the rebuild have actually led to very little pain, and a lot of gain.

Finishing among the bottom five teams in the league for three consecutive seasons has led to the addition of top prospects and players such as Juraj Slafkovsky, Lane Hutson, Ivan Demidov, David Reinbacher, and Jacob Fowler, among others. It has also led to a bevy of opportunities for young players, as the Canadiens, a team that usually kept young defencemen not named Petr Svoboda in the minors for at least a few years, iced a defensive group populated with half a dozen rookies in 2022-23.

But there was one result from the poll that did point to a smidgen of impatience. Or rather, you could say it was a positive outlook. Either way, more than half of the respondents thought the Canadiens were in a relatively good position to qualify for the playoffs next season, suggesting they have 50/50 odds, or better.

It’s an understandable position. The Habs have one of the youngest lineups in the NHL. Many of their young players are expected to take a significant step forward in their careers next season. And for the first time in a long time, the Canadiens were able to ice a legitimate first line when head coach Martin St-Louis intervened to prevent Slafkovsky’s demotion to the minors and slotted him alongside captain Nick Suzuki and sniper Cole Caufield.

However, despite all the improvements, there are a few factors that must be kept in mind when projecting their 2024-25 campaign. Every other team in the Atlantic Division has their sights set firmly on qualifying for the playoffs. The Ottawa Senators, who have been stuck in what seems like an eternal rebuild, addressed one of their most pressing needs by adding a top goaltender to the mix when they traded for Linus Ullmark. The Buffalo Sabres have made some questionable decisions, especially when they traded one of their top prospects to the Edmonton Oilers for an established player in Ryan McLeod, but it’s clearly a sign they want to take the next step as soon as possible. As for the Detroit Red Wings, they arguably committed the greatest rebuild sin last season when they decided it was time to press fast-forward and acquire a wealth of veteran talent in free agency and in the NHL’s trade market.

It should be noted that all three teams failed to make the playoffs last season, and they’re far from guaranteed to qualify in 2023-24, though they have been given much better odds to qualify next season than the Canadiens.

This should serve as a warning to Montreal Canadiens management, as well as the fans, that there’s still a long way to go if the team is to emerge from this rebuild with the talent and personnel necessary to become Stanley Cup contenders.

Montreal Canadiens Brass Tacks

Two years rebuilding in earnest is a good start. Now the real hard work comes into play, work that may take another few years to complete. This may come as a shock to some. It could even seem unacceptable to those who are starting to lose patience, albeit they’re a minority in the grand scheme of Habs fans.

But while the rest of the Eastern Conference enters into yet another season that includes an arms race that has already led to a mile-long casualty list filled with top prospects and an exodus of draft picks, we have the blueprint of mistakes made by other teams who were in a similar situation roughly a decade ago.

This is not meant to be negative, but rather, realistic. The best is yet to come for the Habs. Of that, I have no doubt.

The lack of activity once free agency opened points to a management team that is not dealing with illusions of grandeur, perhaps the greatest asset for any rebuild.

The Montreal Canadiens have one of the best prospect pools in the league. They may very well start the 2024–25 seasons with the youngest roster in the NHL. They also have a healthy amount of financial manoeuvrability when it comes to the salary cap. These are all important factors that will come into play down the road.

But until the Habs can prove their incredibly young blue line is ready to match some of the best forwards in the league in a seven-game series, or that they can actually control more shots and scoring chances than their opponents on most nights, or that a crucial player like Kirby Dach can maintain his health throughout the year, or that they’re no longer statistically likely to finish dead last in their division, the discussion surrounding the importance of qualifying for the playoffs should be pushed to the back burner, as there’s still a lot of work to do before we can honestly suggest the Canadiens are ready to compete with the top teams in the NHL.

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I believe we are 2 years way from being able to qualify for the playoffs. We are still a couple of good scoring forwards short


I’d be happy if they play meaningful games ( haven’t been eliminated from the playoffs ) at the end of first week of April. Expose them to the excitement of the chase so they can see how much closer they are. Playoff bubble team on the outside.

There are more variables with our team than most others due to the number of players that have yet to reach their prime or are in the early learning phase. I think we could possibly see 120+ aggregate games between Hutson Mailloux and Reinbacher. Even high caliber rookies have struggles, they are rookies. Roy and perhaps Beck similarly up front ( and a very slim chance of Demidov – roll the line from Dumb and Dumber😜) These kids replace more experienced players so it’s good for the team long term but maybe not always in the short term, however it’s necessary and I expect it’s a minor net gain for the season.

The big improvements that drive better results in the standings will come from the young core of Caufield, Slafkovsky, Guhle, Dach and maybe Newhook who should all move closer or into their primes ( Nick I think is there already ) and an improved Anderson and Armia all season. I also think the settled crease will help, as will improved team health. The other young D are also more experienced and hopefully better.

I hope we see marked improvements in goals for and against and points. If we see the rookies looking like future core pieces, and the young core move into their early primes, then the season will be very successful as it will show the rebuild is on track and gaining momentum. Plus I expect we move players out which has consequences. Lot of variables, but plenty of reasons for optimism.


I’m okay if they play meaningful games in December!

This won’t be a cup year. If they struggle and get to draft another Demidov, I’m 100% fine with that!


Are gonna win more than last year and with a little injury luck we can do better than ott, buff and det, pitt, cbj… Maybe was… But bottom 10 team with 8-10 more points will be a good season… Yes.. Bottom 10….good season…. Patience…


if all goes well habs could move ahead of the only team in canada,
love to see mcclean and his bunch in tears


I was one of the people that voted we have almost no chance to make the playoffs next year. It’s not because I’m negative about the team at all. I’m just being realistic. When we started the rebuild I said it’ll probably be 5yrs before we can realistically start to think about the playoffs, and I stick with that assessment. It’s a huge undertaking. Also, it can’t be ignored that the other teams in our division are making every improvement possible to either make the playoffs themselves or stay in them. We all look at the standings and see the year over year improvements and assume we’ll continue on a linear ascent up them. But that’s not the case. Each climb up the standings becomes more difficult than the last. Plus, factor in intangibles like injuries, and it becomes even harder to predict success. I have faith in HuGo and St. Louis, but we’re still quite a long way from actually being a playoff contender. The upcoming season for me is still all about the kids growing organically and the team improving as a result. I won’t be counting on wins (other than any over the Leafs) for my enjoyment this season. It’s still going to come from watching our kids getting better and hopefully either a big trade or another great draft. I don’t think we’re going to stink or anything close to that mind you. I just understand that the road ahead is full of potholes (especially in Montreal!) so it’s slow and steady wins the race for me.


agree with all of it…the word realistic is nebulous. I would say “will you bet your house that the habs will make the playoffs”. I think the overwhelming answer would be NO!. (there are sematic-ites that will say well I dont bet…). Point is making WC/playoffs would be the icing on the cake for a good season of improvement. I agree each step in the journey gets steeper and this is exacerbated by the drooling habfan that expects us to challenge for the cup NOW!!!. 5 Yrs is a reasonable number and it could be 4 … it could be 7!!
My fearless prediction (cause I AINT betting my house!!)

2024/2025 – Fight for a WC spot… probably come up Short
2025/2026 – Fight for playoff spot… probably get a WC.
2026/2027 – 3rd or second in atlantic win 1 playoff round
2027/2028 – KABOOM…sky is the limit…


Tried writing a very lengthy response twice today with predictions but both times this friggin’ website refreshed and wiped everything away. 😡


We tend only to focus on the teams in our division when measuring our rebuild. Why? Why focus on the rebuilds that haven’t worked?
Why not New Jersey or Vancouver or tge Rangers? Or Florida , edmonton or Tampa?

No two rebuilds are the same. Ours is the most unique of any team I consider – we played for the Cup one year and start a rebuild less than a year later. Nowhere in sports does that happen but it has for us. So when assessing the blend of talents we have versus other teams that have rebuilt successfully before us, i think we measure up well at this stage. The rebuild is progressing well as we have about 90% of the core including perhaps 8/9 forwards comprising the first 3 lines and maybe all our top 6 defenseman. And we have the means to fill the roster out. .

The best fans can reasonably expect is that management assembles a team that consistently makes the playoffs over the long term, built with clutch and character guys that rise to the moment to give us a chance of winning it all. Doing all that guarantees nothing, but it improves the odds. Hughes continues to do just that

Prestige Worldwide

Slow and steady wins the race. One or two solid drafts combined with savvy Dach/Newhook trades would make the Habs a decade long juggernaut. It’s funny how when we get to this point, the memories of bottom dwelling will be instantly forgotten. The Tandem of HuGo are fortunate that our rivals continue to arm themselves as this is forcing us to draft low and stock up on talent. The more that we acquire, the less “bad injury luck” impacts us.


A bit off topic… Am I the ONLY fan in the world that thinks the McGroaty rumour (Mesar, Barron,fla 1st rnd pick) is a HUGE overpay?

We are often accused of over-valuing our prospects and that is accurate. BUT a trade like this seems to evaluate McG as though he is a Marty Necas…no?

Mesar , Fla first and ….Trudeau?

Adding Barron or Harris to that package seems overkill – like we are giving away assets.

Harris and Barron are “NHL” players. Scouting looks good on McG …. but he is NOT an NHL player … might never be…
MAYBE…. yes MAYBE, Mesar turns out to be better???

Just seems like a helluvalot to me.