Why the Montreal Canadiens Won’t Make the Playoffs Next Year

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 05: The Montreal Canadiens celebrate their 3-2 win during the first overtime period against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Four of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bell Centre on July 05, 2021 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 05: The Montreal Canadiens celebrate their 3-2 win during the first overtime period against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Four of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bell Centre on July 05, 2021 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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After the Montreal Canadiens finished last season in a bubble and played this one in an all-Canadian division due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL will resume to a bit of normality next season with a full 82-game schedule and regular divisions.

I firmly believe the Canadiens will have a tougher time and potentially miss the playoffs next season.

Let’s take a second to look at what happened last year, Marc Bergevin had an amazing offseason signing players like Joel Edmundson, trading for players like Jake Allen and Josh Anderson, and bringing in Tyler Toffoli.

Analysts had said Montreal had done the best job out of any team and that they were the favourite to win the all-Canadian division, and for the first 10-15 games of the season that feeling showed on the ice and the Habs looked like this was going to be their year.

Then, as usual, the rails fell off and the Canadiens limped into the playoffs finishing fourth in the division, and if you look at the numbers, they were very close to not making it. the Ottawa Senators, who finished dead last, had a better second half of the season than Montreal.

Everyone said the Canadiens were a team built for the playoffs, and that rang true once they got in. Even if they got off to a very slow start against the Toronto Maple Leafs, they managed to overcome it and made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

In the end, the Tampa Bay Lightning were just too good, and when you are $18 million over the cap, it usually means your team is stacked. It wasn’t even close and most people (including yours truly) said that had the Vegas Golden Knights beaten the Canadiens in Round 3, it would have been a better, more competitive final.

Still, the Canadiens made the final after 28 years, and that showed that this team has grown a lot. But during this offseason, things have taken a step back, in my opinion, due to the fact that Philip Danault and Tomas Tatar are gone.

Danault’s departure to L.A. leaves a glaring hole at the centre position. No current centre in the lineup is past their third or fourth season in the NHL, and that spells a lack of experience and a recipe for disaster.

Every team needs a solid first-line centre to shut down the opposition’s first line, which is basically what Danault did for the past couple of seasons, and he was good at it. Just ask Auston Matthews or Mark Stone how difficult it was being shut down by him.

Right now, on the depth chart, the number one center is Nick Suzuki, and no offence to Suzuki but I personally don’t think he is ready for that type of role, meaning Marc Bergevin will have to go find a number one centre. But they don’t grow on trees.

Another big reason I believe the Canadiens won’t make the playoffs is losing a big piece like Shea Weber. He’s their captain, their leader. He looked devastated when they lost to Tampa, and now we know it’s because he knew that might have been the end.

Adding David Savard helps but as Bergevin stated in his press conferences, Shea Weber can’t be replaced.

They were able to replace Tatar with Mike Hoffman which I think is a great add-on offence. Getting Cédric Paquette to replace Corey Perry (who decided to join the club in Tampa after losing to them in back to back Stanely Cup finals) also helps.

Not losing Allen to the Seattle Kraken expansion draft was huge and it should take the pressure off Carey Price a bit, as Allen was the one who got Montreal in the playoffs when Price was hurt and missed the last month of the regular season.

But I still don’t think that’s enough, as the Atlantic division will be the hardest division in the league dealing with Tampa, Toronto, and Boston, not to mention an 82-game schedule. Adding the fact that the Habs barely survived 56 game shows this next season will be a lot more difficult.

The Canadiens are famous for those super-fast starts to the season and midway during the season falling off, and I honestly don’t see this next season playing out any differently. It will just be a step back for the Bleu Blanc et Rouge.

Next. Rating Shea Weber’s Replacements. dark

That’s just my personal take on the whole situation, but the Canadiens have proved me wrong before, so let’s see how the rest of the offseason and the regular season unfold.