Montreal Canadiens must change the nature of their roster construction

MONTREAL, QC - OCTOBER 10: Jesperi Kotkaniemi Montreal Canadiens Nick Suzuki (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - OCTOBER 10: Jesperi Kotkaniemi Montreal Canadiens Nick Suzuki (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Montreal Canadiens
MONTREAL, QC – NOVEMBER 26: Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Let’s go back to the “tiers” description. There are tiers of individual teams each year, but there are also groupings of clubs based on the state of their organization. To put it simply, some teams are competitive, some are rebuilding, while others are in denial.

There has been a new grouping that’s been popularized by teams such as the Boston Bruins: rebuilding on the fly. The team has its core players in Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask but managed to hit on picks in the draft and add the likes of David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Jake Debrusk, Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen along the way.

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Boston has only made missed the playoffs twice in the last 12 seasons, and it easily would’ve been another round this year as they were on their way to a President’s Trophy by leading the league in points.

The Montreal Canadiens have been trying to follow this model. The team has their all-star goaltender in Carey Price and has attempted at adding talent around a core of Brendan Gallagher, Shea Weber, Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin, Phillip Danault, Jeff Petry and Artturi Lehkonen*. Along the way, they’ve added the likes of Max Domi, Joel Armia, and Ben Chiarot, as well as draft picks Nick Suzuki, Victor Mete, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, with a glimpse of Ryan Poehling here and there.

I don’t need to tell you what you already know: it hasn’t worked. Suzuki has excelled in his debut while Mete, Kotkaniemi, and Poehling had setbacks this season. Weber, Petry and Armia had stellar seasons while injuries took the rest of the team by storm. But that’s not the issue.

With no disrespect to the Habs core, but it isn’t Boston’s. Who knows, the building on the fly model may work in the next year or two; however, it looks as if it’ll be the extended playoff qualification that will get Montreal in this season as opposed to deserving it as a result of their play.

Come to think of it, the Montreal Canadiens haven’t had a true rebuilding year in some time. It’s always been a veteran core with few young players while the rest of the roster is filled with depth players. Perhaps it’s time to change that.