The Montreal Canadiens Should Be Bad Next Year And Why That Is Good

Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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PETERBOROUGH, ON – MARCH 29: Shane Wright (Photo by Ken Andersen/Getty Images)
PETERBOROUGH, ON – MARCH 29: Shane Wright (Photo by Ken Andersen/Getty Images) /

A Solid Base

The Montreal Canadiens do have a solid base. In my opinion, the sky is the limit for Cole Caufield. He almost won the Calder Trophy for the best rookie in two months of play, and I think that a big contract could be on the horizon for Caufield, maybe even as soon as this offseason.

Nick Suzuki is a fantastic 200 foot player and (not-so-future?) captain. He might not turn into a premier offensive pivot, but as a 1A or 1B option on a team would make them incredibly difficult to beat.

Especially when the other 1A/1B center would be Shane Wright. I will gladly eat a metric ton of crow if the Montreal Canadiens do not select Wright first overall, but I will also believe that Kent Hughes would be making a mistake not selecting Wright. Similar to Suzuki, Wright may never become a superstar in the way that a Matthews or McDavid are, but it will be hard to see him not turning into a great NHL caliber center.

The problems start coming on the back end. As entertaining as Alexander Romanov is to watch, he is definitely not a top pairing defender. He took amazing strides this year in his play, and is still young enough to grow in his game, so I am not as pessimistic as others can be on Romanov, but seeing him becoming the top guy on an elite or great defensive group is hard.

And then there is a bunch of question marks. Jordan Harris, Justin Barron and Kaiden Guhle all project to be good, but can two of them make a top pairing on a contender? Time will tell.

And then the goaltending. Carey Price is done being an elite starter in the league. I would go so far to say that he will not be a starter in the traditional sense ever again. Injuries have piled up, and if you want Price to be at 100% in the playoffs, he is going to have to miss a lot of regular season games. But he makes $10.5 million, leaving not a ton of wiggle room for a 1B or heavily used backup.

And who knows if Price can hold up again? He was absolutely incredible in the Finals run, but can he be trusted to do that again? And anyways, by the time Suzuki, Caufield, Guhle, Wright, Barron and Harris are at their peaks, Price will either be retired or a clear cut backup.

So what other options are there? There is Cayden Primeau, the former 7th round pick. He has somewhat stalled in his development, but is still only 22 years old. For example, Igor Shesterkin made his NHL debut at 24, and really came into his own this year at the age of 26, and he was picked 3 rounds and 3 years before Primeau.

But goalies are notoriously difficult to project, and I think it would be foolish to try to put all hope on Primeau.