The Montreal Canadiens bounced back from an embarrassing Thursday night effort with a convincing win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
A 6-3 victory over a mediocre Preds club ins’t enough to cover the stink that is the 2021-22 Montreal Canadiens. That game was the team’s 20th of the season and just their 5th win.
They are averaging just over two goals per game and allow 3.5 per contest. They have been outscored by 26 goals and only the Arizona Coyotes and Seattle Kraken have worse points percentages at this point in the season.
It has been an ugly start to the season and there is almost zero chance the Habs will finish within 15 points of a playoff spot. Trying to battle back from this deficit would be like giving Seabiscuit a quarter mile head start and thinking you have a chance of catching up while riding a bull. In other words, the Habs just don’t have the horses to catch the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lightning who are all off to great starts.
What the Habs need to do is forget about the team that was in the Stanley Cup Final and see this season as an opportunity to complete a rebuild.
The team doesn’t need to chase a playoff berth they are already guaranteed to miss. They need to retool and bet on Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Ryan Poehling, Alexander Romanov, Mattias Norlinder, Cayden Primeau and the next wave including Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Jayden Struble, Riley Kidney, Joshua Roy etc can turn the team around in the next couple of years.
What would also help with that is a chance at the first overall pick and Shane Wright. He has the potential to be as good as Nathan MacKinnon and will be the face of someone’s franchise as early as next season.
The Canadiens haven’t had an offensive superstar since… Guy Lafleur?
The last time the team had a player finish in the top ten in scoring was Mats Naslund in 1986. He scored 110 points that season and was just 105 back of the league leader. Seriously. The last time the team had a player in the 20 in scoring was Alex Kovalev who finished 11th in 2008. He is the only Montreal Canadiens player to finish in the top 20 in league scoring since Pierre Turgeon did in 1997. That’s 25 years of the Canadiens having one guy who one time finished in the top 20 in league scoring.
Shane Wright would be the first consistent offensive star in Montreal in decades. There is no guarantee you get the top pick after an awful season, but it is the middle of November and the Canadiens can already guarantee they aren’t going to make the playoffs.
May as well try and get the best pick possible since the playoffs are out of reach. The Canadiens should really go all-in on rebuilding the organization at this time and here is how they could do that.