Montreal Canadiens: Looking Back at Michel Therrien’s Second Stint With Habs

MONTREAL, QC - MAY 6: Michel Therrien of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - MAY 6: Michel Therrien of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, CANADA – APRIL 27: Michel Therrien of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA – APRIL 27: Michel Therrien of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Tough season without Price puts Therrien on thin ice

He went into the 2016-17 season with high expectations and had a solid team on the ice. Big changes were occurring to the lineup for the first time since he arrived as Alex Radulov came to town as a free agent. Subban was traded for Shea Weber in the offseason and Eller left while Andrew Shaw was acquired. Paul Byron and Phillip Danault were acquired during the previous season but would be playing their first full years in Montreal.

The Habs record stood at 31-19-8 in February and they were leading their division. Therrien was then fired as the team hit its first skid of the season. Claude Julien came in to replace him.

All told, in his four and a half season stint, the Canadiens had a record of 194 – 121 – 37. To put it into context, that is 99 points in the standings for every 82 games played. So, on average, even with Price missing a full season while he was there the Habs were a 99 point team with Therrien behind the bench.

Not sure if you noticed, but they have not been a 99 point team since he left. Their best season since saw them secure 96 points.

Under the guidance of Therrien, Pacioretty, Gallagher, Byron, Subban, and Eller developed into terrific two-way players. We expected more from Tinordi, Beaulieu and Galchenyuk, but is that the coaches fault, or the fault of those who had a more direct impact on development? Or, were those players just not as good as their draft slot would have suggested?

It is hard to say. What isn’t difficult to see is the results on the ice were far better under Therrien than they were under the coaches who came directly before him or directly after. Michel Therrien’s second stint with the Habs isn’t remembered fondly by many Habs fans, but looking back, it seems we were spoiled into thinking we had a Stanley Cup contender that failed to materialize.

Next. Why Muller had nothing to apologize for after win. dark

The more likely scenario here is, we had a mediocre team that routinely overachieved when Therrien was behind the bench, but didn’t reach the same heights when Jacques Martin or Claude Julien were calling the shots.