Inside look at the Montreal Canadiens

NHL.com provides in-depth roster, prospect and fantasy analysis for each of its 32 teams from August 8 through September 8. 8. Today, the Montreal Canadiens.

The Montreal Canadiens are rebuilding with new blood throughout the organization, including Juraj Slafkovskythe first pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, with hopes of building an annual Stanley Cup contender.

“I’ve always wanted to play in a place where they love hockey and I think I’m probably the best place in the world for that,” Slafkovsky said at the July 11 development camp.

Slafkovsky will look to join the forwards Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield at the forefront of the Canadiens’ youth movement, a more marked roster change with the 35-year-old goaltender Carey Award is not expected to be able to play due to complications from fully recovering from right knee surgery in July 2021.

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Montreal missed the Stanley Cup playoffs last season after a stunning run to the Cup final in 2021. The Canadiens (22-49-11) finished eighth in the Atlantic Division, ranking bottom or near the bottom of the NHL in every major category — goals (218, 27th), goals against (317, 32nd), power play (13.7%, 31st) and shorthanded (75.6%, 27th).

Aside from Price, the defenders of the team that came within three wins of the first Montreal championship since 1993 Weber Shea and Jeff Petrygeneral manager Marc Bergevin and coach Dominique Ducharme, who was fired Feb. 9 after the Canadiens went 8-30-7 in their first 45 games last season.

Jeff Gorton was hired as executive vice president of hockey operations after Bergevin’s departure, and he hired Kent Hughes as general manager.

Despite a lack of experience as a professional coach, Hall of Fame forward Martin St. Louis was hired to replace Ducharme. The Canadiens went 14-19-4 under St. Louis, who signed a three-year contract to remain in charge on June 1.

“You just know him as the player he was and how competitive he was,” said the defender Mike Matheson said. “He overcame so much adversity. There were people who told him he would never make it, and he kept persevering. Once he was hired by the Canadiens, you could tell there was so much respect from his players that he ordered instantly because of his reputation, and he was obviously able to follow that through to his coaching style.

“I obviously haven’t been in the locker room with him, but he just seems like he’s the kind of guy his players want to play for, and he’ll make you want to walk through a brick wall for him. And that That sounds very cliched, but those are important aspects for a manager, to have the respect of a dressing room.”

Video: Assessing Monahan’s Trade and Price’s Future

The Canadiens rocked the Bell Center in the draft by selecting Slafkovsky (6-foot-3, 218 pounds) as their first pick before designing a series of trades to acquire the 21-year-old center Kirby Dash of the Chicago Blackhawks.

“I think it will be good for me to have a fresh start and be the player that I know I can be,” Dach said. “I feel like I’m pretty offensive and smart with the puck and can make plays, but also a reliable two-way center who’s big and strong in the middle of the ice who skates well and can make plays. And I feel like Montreal is a place where I can thrive with that.

“I’ve spoken to a few of the guys and they like Marty as a coach, and I feel like he and I are going to get along great and he’s really going to help me bring out my best features and to become a dominant player.”

Promising young defender Alexander Romanov was traded to the New York Islanders for Dach, and Petry and forward Ryan Pohling were traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Matheson.

“Somehow we felt we needed an experienced defender who could help us now,” Hughes said. “Our guys worked pretty hard last year once Marty came on to try and salvage the season and we felt it was important to give them the opportunity to step up as a group this year. I don’t think we believe we’re going to compete for a Stanley Cup, we know that, but we want to have the ability to compete every night.”

Forward Sean Monahan was acquired in a trade to the Calgary Flames on August 18, a move that became financially possible when it became clear that Price would have to be placed on the long-term injured reserve.


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