Montreal Canadiens: Reasons Why This Lost Season Was Definitely Not a Waste

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 27: Cole Caufield #22 of the Montreal Canadiens and Nick Suzuki. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 27: Cole Caufield #22 of the Montreal Canadiens and Nick Suzuki. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images) /
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Apr 5, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) and Montreal Canadiens right wing Cole Caufield. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) and Montreal Canadiens right wing Cole Caufield. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /

Young stars take over

The biggest win for the Montreal Canadiens this season is the incredible growth of a few young stars. The team needs to get younger, quicker, and more skilled, but they already have a few building blocks at the NHL level.

Nick Suzuki has proven over a full season for the first time that he is capable of being a first line centre. He looked great last season but it was only for 56 games. He was really good in the postseason as well, but an 82 game season is an incredible grind for a young player.

Not only has Suzuki looked good all season, he appears to be better as the year drags on. Considering he is the only players on the roster to play all 73 games, that’s quite an accomplishment. He is just 22 years old, and has set career highs with 19 goals and 53 points.

That is just the beginning for him as he looks ready to really explode offensively next season.

Cole Caufield has exploded offensively in the second half of this season. He struggled mightily to begin the year, and just wasn’t trusted in big situations by Dominique Ducharme. Since St. Louis has taken over as the team’s head coach, Caufield has taken over as its best offensive threat.

The 21 year old has scored 17 goals and 30 points in 28 games since the coaching change was made on February 9th. That is a 50 goal and 88 point pace over a full season and the sample size is not that small anymore.

Suzuki and Caufield looked great in last year’s postseason, but they have shown this year that they are ready to be a terrific one-two punch for the foreseeable future.

They have some company on the blue line. Alexander Romanov was a healthy scratch for most of the playoffs but he has really blossomed this season. He started the season on the third pairing but has recently played over 25 minutes in several games. He has all the tools, skating, physicality, a great shot, a good breakout pass and good defensive instincts, to be a top pairing defenceman one day.

The 22 year old has shown not only is that a real possibility, but it could happen as soon as next season.

The Canadiens have lots of work to do after a bad season, but they already have cornerstones in place at centre, right wing and left defence and the breakout of Suzuki, Caufield and Romanov is the best thing to come of the 2021-22 season.

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