These are the real Montreal Canadiens; here's what they could learn from the Leafs

Published January 19, 2022 at 11:58
BY BEN HODGSON
The Montreal Canadiens hit rock bottom in the NHL standings last week, and tonight managed to dig even deeper, losing 5-2 to the tanking Arizona Coyotes. That's right.. the same Coyotes that they handed their 2022 first and third round draft picks to in exchange for Christian Dvorak.

The difference between the last place Habs and the second last place Coyotes is that the Yotes are actually trying to be bad, while he Habs were gearing up for another playoff run. The only positive thing for the Habs this season is that the pick they sent to AZ is top 10 protected, and by the looks of it, the Coyotes will receive the 1st rounder the Habs received as offer sheet compensation for Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

The Habs are well on their way to the worst season to ever follow a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Worse yet, they're locked into this roster for the foreseeable future. Neither Carey Price or Shea Weber have played this year due to injury, and it doesn't look like they will. Price and Weber are both under contract for 4 more years at $10.5M and $7.8M, respectively. It will be interesting to see which route the Habs take in the off season to mitigate the damage there.

Nick Suzuki starts an 8-year deal next season, Gallagher and Anderson are each locked up for 5 more seasons. Dvorak, Armia, Evans, Petry and Savard will take up a whopping 19.3 million dollars for the next 3 seasons as well. That's a boatload of cap space dedicated to, well, nothing special.


In short, the Habs are poorly structured, and thanks to Marc Bergevin signing mediocre talent to long term deals, and shipping out draft picks they should have kept, they're likely going to stay bad for several years.

The Habs should serve as a lesson to Leafs fans who are upset by Kyle Dubas' salary cap structure. Building an entire team out of depth players doesn't work. You need game breaking talent, and you can afford it by making smart bargain bin deals as they've done the last couple of years.

Don't bother bringing up last year's playoffs either. They benefitted from key injuries and suspensions to opponents and top flight goaltending from Carey Price. Every dog has its day, and the Montreal Canadiens' day is long past.
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