Montreal Canadiens: Five Teams That Prove NHL Teams Can Go From Last to Playoffs

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: Nathan MacKinnon (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: Nathan MacKinnon (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The Montreal Canadiens finished the 2021-22 season in last place in the NHL standings. Their 22 wins and 55 points in 82 games was two less than the Arizona Coyotes who fought hard for that last spot.

So, where do the Canadiens go from here? It can’t be that hard to go up, but how far can they leap in one offseason? It depends on a lot of factors.

First, and most importantly, is Carey Price’s health. The future Hall of Fame goaltender played only five games this season, finally returning to the lineup in mid-April to make his season debut. If he plays five games again next season, or less than that, things likely won’t go well for the Habs.

But, if Price is fully healthy over most of the offseason and is at 100% when the puck drops on the 2022-23 season, the Canadiens will be much better team. They had one of the worst team save percentages in the league last season, but that won’t happen with Price in goal.

The next big question is what to do with Jeff Petry? He wanted out, but didn’t get his wish, and now the player and team have to decide if he will play another season in Montreal. If he does, the team has a legit top pair with him and Joel Edmundson. If Petry wants out and gets traded, the team is much worse on the blue line.

Up front, they will be adding first overall pick Shane Wright to the lineup, which is a big help. He is young, obviously, but he plays a terrific two-way game and will be a first overall pick for a reason. He is going to make the team better.

How much better? That’s hard to say, but these five teams prove it is possible to go from last place in the NHL one season to the playoffs the following year.