Recap and next steps for the 2023/24 Habs!

Bradon Kelliher-Lisson Avatar

Earlier this season, I wrote an article regarding the current situation the Habs have found themselves in. As of December, we were sitting at 6th in the Atlantic, 21st in the league, with a record of 13-13-4. Now, well into round 2 of the playoffs, it only seemed appropriate to draw attention to remainder of the season went, how my predictions panned out, and what I think should happen this offseason, to ensure a more competitive year, next year.

My end of season predictions was hit and miss, with some players surpassing them entirely. Firstly, the not so accurate. I predicted at the rate we were going, the Habs would end the season with a record of 38-32-12, good for 88 points, and, what I thought, would be 5th in the Atlantic, and 18th in the league. The record I thought we would have, would only be good for 6th in the Atlantic, and 19th in the league. I did predict that this record would ultimately result in a missed playoff berth, and it was confirmed following two losses to Detroit to end the season. Our actual record this season was 30-36-16, 76 pts, which was good for 28th in the league, and last in the Atlantic. This would secure the team the 5th overall pick in the upcoming draft; something that I will delve into later.

As for the predictions that hit, kind of. I thought Caufield would lead the team with 29 goals by the end of the season, and Suzuki would lead the team in points with 74. Boy oh boy, was I in for a surprise. Caufield finished the season with 28 goals, and 65 points, both career highs, while the captain lead the team with 33 goals, and 77 points. In fact, among players production rates post-all-star weekend, Suzuki was nearing Auston Matthews levels of production. These two are locked up to FANTASTIC, long-term contracts, and if this was any indication as to where the Habs future is heading, man I am excited, as should every Canadien fan. A few surprises also jumped out in terms of numbers to close this season, with Slaf reaching the 20 goal and 50-point plateau for the first time in his career, while it almost seemed that we had a slight resurgence of the Brendan Gallagher of old, as he got to 16 goals and 31 points this season.

As for some things that need to change this offseason, it is my firm belief that our Canadiens are just a few small parts away from being dangerous. In the upcoming draft on June 28th-29th, the Habs hold 12 picks, 5 in the first 3 rounds, and 2 in the first. We also currently hold the 5th overall pick as confirmed by the draft lottery. 2 players immediately jump out as potential picks for the Canadiens, in Demidov (a winger from the MHL) and Lindstrom (a centre from the WHL), but if I were a betting man, Id say that both players will be gone by the time it’s the habs pick. So, the first change I suggest is a trade between the Habs and Ducks: Anaheim receives the 5th overall pick and Logan Mailloux and the Habs receive Mason McTavish. I think the storyline matches up here well. McTavish has had two underwhelming seasons, amassing 85 points in 144 games, last year underperforming his rookie year. McTavish would fit in right into the 2nd line as a centre, in case Dach faces more injury troubles, or perhaps a winger on the same line if there are no injury issues. In the swap, they receive a young, very promising D man in Mailloux, as he put up 47 points in 72 games in his first season in the AHL, and then collecting an assist in his NHL debut. As of now, the Canadiens have a clog at D, with multiple young players coming up in the very near future, such as Reinbacher, Hutson, Guhle and Xhekaj (who are already solidified), and then mix ups with Barron, Struble, and Harris to name a few more. I think Mailloux may be enough to entice the ducks to make this trade. Furthermore, the Ducks would then draft at 3rd and 5th, thus guaranteeing 2 stud players. The next change I would implement for this team, as it stands, is likely one more young D swap, with Jordan Harris, in exchange for a player such as Kerfoot from the Utah HC, to add some extra danger to the bottom 6. In this potential deal, the Habs may add mid to late round draft pick in order to sweeten this deal, but the Utah HC would ultimately receive a young, developing D man, that isn’t forced to play under the stress of Montreal media.

Following these changes, my way too early line up predictions go as follows:

Caufield – Suzuki – Slafkovsky
McTavish – Dach – Anderson
Gallagher – Evans – Armia
HarveyPinard/Roy – Dvorak – Kerfoot

Matheson – Guhle
Hutson – Savard
Xhekaj – Struble/Barron


Tagged in :

Bradon Kelliher-Lisson Avatar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Articles & Posts