Montreal Canadiens focusing on development in 2022-23

The Montreal Canadiens have a long road ahead of them. They have a chance to hammer out a development path in 2022-23 and start working some of their younger and talented players in to see what they have moving forward.

While there are some expectations on tap for some of the Montreal Canadiens prospects, this year, the focus needs to be on using the Laval Rocket staff in conjunction with the Habs to start piecing together the future of this organization.

When it comes to the Montreal Canadiens, being sent to the minors to join Laval has been viewed as a demotion at times, but for the 2022-23 season, it should not be considered as some horrible thing. In fact, Laval should be flooded with young talent and exciting players to watch this year.

Being able to rely on Laval to start instilling quality development for their prospects is vital for this organization’s future. It begins with some of the high-profile prospects like Juraj Slafkovsky, Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, etc. but trails down to some of the players who may not have as much top-tier upside.

For the Habs, being able to put players on development tracks that benefit the future is the way to go. Categorizing the Habs 2022-23 season as a rebuild is not wrong. Being able to let players like Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach, and Nick Suzuki settle into the NHL and emerge as future studs will be essential.

Montreal Canadiens’ key to 2022-23 is development.

With general manager Kent Hughes working to build for the future and Martin St. Louis settling into the head coach’s chair for his first full season, there are some things to watch out for. At the very least, the 2022-23 Canadiens should be fun to watch.

For the Habs organization, it’s going to be a rich mix of putting players in positions to do well and allowing them to develop, whether in Montreal or with Laval. Beyond that,  they will put prospects into uncomfortable situations to see how prospects react.

For some, putting a player in a situation that tests them allows the chance to handle some adversity. This could be the difference between a player like Jordan Harris seeing more playing time.

With Harris possibly being put in a position to play the off-hand defense position, he may go through some adversity and struggle early on. But that’s what the NHL brings, adversity and chances to either get better or take steps in the wrong direction.

This is just one of the many examples. The bottom line is that the Canadiens will be utilizing this season as a time to develop and get back on track. The results may not be the most exciting, but the long game is essential here.

If the Canadiens can come out on the other side of the 2022-23 season with a better understanding of who’s a part of their bigger picture for the future, it will help as they start building their future roster.

The 2022-23 season could bring changes to the Montreal Canadiens.

While it’s not to say the season will be littered with changes, the Canadiens may be looking at this year to gauge who needs to be kept around and who could be a trade asset. Some players may not be viewed as part of the bigger picture that holds value.

This is where Kent Hughes will be busy in 2022-23, starting to map out the direction this team is moving. With Nick Suzuki being named captain and the directing being vowed as a youth movement with hopes to recharge and move forward with an influx of young talent, Hughes has to figure out who stays and who goes.

This could lead to some trade deadline moves or shifts among which prospects are viewed as valuable for the long-run and which are going to be viewed as trade bait. It’s a year for learning and a year for development.

As the Canadiens get through training camp, it will be the first look at what the 2022-23 season will be like. While the talent could be iffy, the development path is the focus. Fans should be hoping to say that prospects who started the season at one level were able to develop and start showing positive changes by the end of the year to get to another level.

Not to beat the dead horse, but this year’s message is development. The hope is to have a well-painted picture of the future holds by the end of the 2022-23 season.