Grading Kent Hughes a year later on the Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Montreal Canadiens
Montreal Canadiens (Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports) /

Montreal Canadiens: The Hirings

This is where I suspect Jeff Gorton’s influence on the organization is most likely, not even necessarily because of who has been hired, but more so the roles that have been filled. Obviously, when talking about people the Canadiens have hired, nobody stands out more than the head coach Martin St. Louis.

Obviously, his impact has been very noticeable, turning Cole Caufield into the elite goal scorer everyone thought he could become. St. Louis has had some rough patches, but seeing as he’s quite literally very new to coaching, and the Habs roster is, well not great, he’s done a pretty solid job. But the list is much deeper and much more impactful than just St. Louis.

In my opinion, the most interesting hire the Habs made was hiring a skills coach, a role that didn’t really exist previously. The Habs brought in Adam Nicholas very early in the process, although his official title is the director of hockey development.

It’s no secret that the Canadiens have struggled to develop talent over the last decade at least, and with Nicholas hiring, it showed a larger commitment to making improvements in that area. And that was only further proven true when they hired Canadian Hockey legend Marie-Philip Poulin as a Player Development Consultant and Vincent Lecavalier as a Special Advisor to Hockey Operations.

The Canadiens also hired Christopher Boucher as their Director of Hockey Analytics in an effort to modernize the way the organization thinks. All in all, these hirings are not just great to see because of the people they hired, although the names are significant, but more so because of what they represent.

A lot of these roles either didn’t exist or were just not taken seriously enough under the old regime. And well these hires don’t guarantee success, it’s hard to view them as anything but positive developments. The jury is still out on a lot of these hires to be completely honest, in large part because their impacts are more long-term effects than they are immediate impacts, but I like their chances of becoming big successes.