So far, in our attempts to recap the Canadiens 2022-23 season here on A Winning Habit, we’ve handed out positional grades to the goaltenders and defensemen. Now, we will conclude this mini-series by evaluating the forwards. You can read the first two editions here:
As far as what might’ve been expected from the positional groups, I think it’s fair to say the forward core had the highest expectations. After all, they had a nice mix of young talent and veterans who could contribute as well. I don’t think anyone expected them to put up incredible numbers, but there was hope they could take a significant step forward. What we got was a mixed bag.
When handing out a grade, we don’t just look at the numbers, compare them to the rest of the league and grade the group on that. We need more context. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be fair. For instance, the Canadiens are a rebuilding squad, so their forward core wasn’t deemed all that great coming into the season. That and many injuries can help explain poor numbers. It doesn’t necessarily excuse them, but it does at least allow us to better understand how we got there. That’s why the other two positional groups had relatively favourable grades despite numbers that are… not stellar.
So with that in mind, let’s look at the forwards. I’ve broken them into three groups. First is the tweeners, the players who didn’t really have much of a role before the season began and may not moving forward. Second, are the Underachievers, the guys who didn’t show up much and performed poorly based on expectations as well as salary. And lastly, we have the studs, the players who performed really well and pretty much cemented their role with the team. So without further adieu, let’s begin.