Canadiens: Now Is Not The Time To Fret The Winning Streak

Feb 21, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Cole Caufield. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 21, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Cole Caufield. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Montreal Canadiens are tanking.

Ah, the art of the tank. It’s the anti-sport sport. The point of the NHL is to build a hockey team that can win a Stanley Cup or two, and then have to rebuild and do it all over again. And the best way to build a Stanley Cup champion is to have a lot of high draft picks over many years. And the best way to get high draft picks is to suck. Plain and simple.

The Montreal Canadiens have been bad this year. Historically bad. Before going on this 5 game winning streak, the Habs’ record was 8-33-7. That is 23 points in 48 games. That’s over half of the season gone, meaning that the Canadiens were on route to finish the season with under 50 points. It is a far cry from some of the worst of all time: the Washington Capitals of 1975 finished 8-67-5; 1993 had two of the worst teams of all time in San Jose (11-71-2) and Ottawa (10-70-4); they probably won’t even match the 2020 Detroit Red Wings who finished with 17-49-5; and it might be a matter of opinion if this year is worse than the Canadiens’ year in 1940, finishing 10-33-5.

Chychrun takes a shot
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

As of writing this, Montreal isn’t even the last place team in the league. Winning five games in a row has given Montreal 33 points, one more than the Arizona Coyotes. Not that that is much of a accomplishment, Arizona had jettisoned off anyone of note other than Phil ‘The Thrill’ Kessel and Jakob Chychrun, who has been rumored to be on his way out all year.

That is the reason why the winning streak is the bane of the tank team. Now Montreal isn’t in last, and therefore does not have the best chance of winning the first overall pick. At least they have a chance, because the Edmonton Oilers were too bad for too long and changed the way the draft works. The Oilers got the first overall pick in 2010 (Taylor Hall), 2011 (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins), 2012 (Nail Yakupov) and 2015 (Connor McDavid), with 2013 and 2014 also being top 10 picks.

But its not like people seriously believe that Montreal will actually win the draft lottery. In the over 100 years of Montreal Canadiens history, the Canadiens have selected the first player in the entry draft 5 times. They picked first overall in 1963 (Garry Monahan), 1968 (Michel Plasse), 1969 (Rejean Houle), 1971 (Guy Lafleur) and 1980 (Doug Wickenheiser). And we all know Montreal hasn’t been lighting the league on fire, especially recently.

But lets back up for a second. Maybe we shouldn’t panic too much.