The Montreal Canadiens have plummeted in the standings while dealing with injuries. If healthy, their lineup actually looks very dangerous.
The Montreal Canadiens are falling further and further down the standings every week. The playoffs have become a scenario that would require them to win three out of four games for the rest of the year and then get some help from teams that are currently in front of them.
A team dropping to 13th in its conference is usually a pretty big red flag that changes are necessary. The Canadiens haven’t escaped finger pointing at blame being thrown at their general manager for building a poor roster that has them far from the playoff race with just under half of their calendar left to be played.
That’s fair. Marc Bergevin definitely deserves some blame for the Habs current situation. He has been calling the shots for the organization since 2012 and eight years later they are about to miss the postseason for the third straight year.
However, there are other reasons the Habs are in such a conundrum. Injuries have taken a toll on a roster that was expected to be a bubble team. Montreal missed the playoffs by two points in 2019 and it was expected they would battle once again for a wild card spot, but have a hard time keeping up with the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division.
Well, a quick glance at the standings will show you they are nowhere near those three aforementioned teams, and are well behind the Florida Panthers as well. Part of that can be attributed to Jonathan Drouin, Paul Byron and Joel Armia missing significant time. Not only have they all missed games, but they have all been out of the lineup at the same time.
Brendan Gallagher, Victor Mete and Jesperi Kotkaniemi also missed time while the other three Habs forwards were injured. Losing four players off your top three lines (Gallagher, Drouin, Armia and Byron) would test the depth of any team. The Canadiens weren’t advertised as an extraordinarily deep team and didn’t have anyone waiting in the wings to step into a big role.
Thus, the team plummets in the standings. A quick glance at those standings would lead you to believe that the Canadiens are an extremely flawed team. They certainly aren’t perfect, but they would be a lot better if they were healthy. It was November 15th, last time we saw them healthy and they have made a few additions since then.
What will this team even look like when everyone is healthy?