The 2023/24 Montreal Canadiens: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Bradon Kelliher-Lisson Avatar

This year has been particularly chaotic for our Montreal Canadiens. Currently, we are sitting 6th in the Atlantic and 21st in the league with a record of 13-13-4 (30pts in 30 gp). From goal scoring and injuries to defensive production and goaltending, this is my season to date.

The Good:

Overtime and Shootout: A saving grace for our team this year is the ability to still win games, in extra time. Unlike other years, where forcing extra time, only got us the 1 point, this year, when we force extra time, it becomes exciting, and even borderline dangerous for other teams. In extra time this season, a place we have visited 11 times, we hold a record of 7-4, with 3 of our wins coming by way of a shootout, in which we are currently 3-3, with a shooting percentage of 31.2 (10/32 attempts).

Goaltending, Kind of, surprisingly: Now this is something I didn’t expect to write as a positive when the season began, but as we have been running 3 goalies this season, there have been some notable stat lines popping up. All 3 goalies boast a save percentage over .900, with the newly extended Montembeault leading the pack with .911. These guys haven’t been “brick walls” by any stretch of the imagination, but Monty especially, has been giving us chances to win every night that he starts, as he leads the goalies with a 7-4-2 record over 14 GP this season.

Defensive production: In a year that has been average in some cases, and awful in others, the goal production from our blue line has been a very drastic standout in comparison. Currently, we have 9 Defence players on our NHL roster, and only one, Jordan Harris, has yet to score this season. Furthermore, out of our 84 goals this season, 23 have come from the D core, which is good for 27.4% of our goals, and most in the league as of December 15.

The Bad:

Goal scoring: Currently sitting at 27th in GF with 84 (averaging 2.8 per game).  Sean Monahan leads the team in Goals with 9 (9-10-19) Suzuki and Caufield with 8 (8-17-25 and 8-13-21) and Alex Newhook (7-6-13) close behind with 7. The team itself is active and doing the right things, however, it hasn’t produced the expected outcomes. Furthermore, the clear LACK of production has been an absolute momentum killer for many of our favorite players, like with Juraj Slafkovsky only scoring 2 goals in 30(2-6-8), Christian Dvorak only scoring 2 in 20 (2-4-6), or Josh Anderson scoring 3 in 30 (3-4-7). These were the notables, but very few players on our roster, have more than 3 goals on the season (10 of 25 total skaters) This being said, we are a self-proclaimed young, rebuilding team, and have time to grow, this just isn’t what I expected of a young hungry roster.

Penalties and Special Teams: The penalties and special teams have been brutal to watch this season, to say the least. In terms of penalties in minutes, we currently have 315 PIM in 30 gp (averaging about 10.5 penalty minutes per game, or 5.25 penalties.) Which is good for 10th most penalty minutes in the league. 7 of our players have over 20 PIM, in at least 15 games played, with the clear leader being “the sheriff”, Arber Xhekaj (1-2-3). Further, our penalty kill has been atrocious. Successfully, we have killed 72.6% of our penalties this season, which is good for 30th in the league. Overall, this is where a lot of our problems lie, as we just can’t keep the puck out of our net. (which lends to our 104 GA, or 3.46 per game, good for 9th most in the league) However, the other half of our special teams have not been much better. The powerplay, scoring a whopping 18 goals in 30 games (good for 16.7% of our just over 100 powerplays). The PPG leaders for our Habs are the captain, Nick Suzuki, (5-7-12 PPpts), and Sean Monahan (5-4-9) with Mike Matheson (5-15-20) with 3 (3-9-12). Only 7 total players have scored a goal on the powerplay with another 2 on top of that with powerplay points.

Point production Overall: Overall, the point production of our players has been atrocious. Nick Suzuki leads the team with 25 in 30 gp, Caufield is in second with 21 in 30, and Matheson is in third with 20 in 30. Now, the top 3 here, fantastic job, this is exactly what I would expect from a young core and veteran D combo. One more notable to mention is Sean Monahan with 19 points in 30, but that is it. Aside from the top 4, only 3 other players on our roster have doubt-digit points (Newhook, Gallagher, and Barron). The major issue here is production throughout the lineup. The top line can’t play 60 minutes every night, and when you look at successful teams around the league; Colorado, Vegas, and even Vancouver this year, players averaging between 12 and 13 minutes per game are already in the double digits for points this season.

The Ugly:

Injuries: Much like last season, and the season before that, injuries have plagued our roster up and down again. For currently injured reserve players, the list includes Price, Dach, RHP, Newhook, Harris, Wideman, and Pearson. Price will never play again, Dach is done for the season, and nearly everyone else likely won’t be back until the new year. In the last 2 years we have lost over 700 man-games to injuries, and now, less than half of the season in, we are already in the 300-400 man-games lost range. Now, this isn’t so much a problem with the players, but it is truly an ugly aspect of our game the last few years, and we just can’t seem to shake it.

Regulation Record: Our record is good, compared to last year, but an ugly part of our season has been regulation performances. Through 30 games this season we sit last in the league with only 6 regulation wins out of 13 total. In the standings, like I said before, we’re sitting at 21st in the league, yet teams like the Sharks, Ducks, and Blackhawks, all have more complete performances per 60. Now, unlike these bottom feeders, our Montreal Canadiens are hovering at .500, and our poor performances in periods 1-3, have allowed Cole Caufield to become the fastest player to record 8 OT goals in their career.


Many of our stat lines would have us assume that the Montreal Canadiens are once again, a bottom-of-the-barrel team, yet, our ability to force and win in extra time, and our goalies giving us a fighting chance each night, I strongly believe that these negatives will balance out, and we will improve to a more balanced overall team by the end of the season.

Current record: 30 GP, 13-13-4, 30 points

Current Standings: 6th in Atlantic, 21st in League

Current Goal + point Leader(s): Sean Monahan (9 goals) and Nick Suzuki (25 points)

End of season Record Prediction: 82 GP, 38-32-12, 88 points

End of season Standings Prediction: 5th in Atlantic, 18th in league, miss playoffs.

End of season Goal + point Leader(s): Cole Caufield (29 goals) and Nick Suzuki (74 points)

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