Canadiens report cards following a much-improved season

The Montreal Canadiens made significant improvements in 2023-24, and these improvements occurred in every phase of the game.
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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The Montreal Canadiens grades are based on the team’s overall performance for 2023-24 compared to what they did in 2022-23, as opposed to how they ranked vs. the rest of the league this past season. 

Now that the team’s core is solidifying, expectations will increase in 2024-25, so next season is when we can talk more about how well the Habs are stacking up against the other 31 NHL teams and grade them accordingly. So, how much did they improve in a one-year span, and will they keep the 2024-25 season from being a throwaway campaign?

When you look at the Canadiens overall performance in the offensive zone, it was demoralizing, with just 236 goals and a 26th-place finish in the league. In 2022-23, they also took 26th and scored 232 times, so there was hardly any improvement. But why should we feel so optimistic about the way they played in the offensive zone?

The Canadiens didn’t score much, but there should be optimism

For one, their youngest stars were responsible for 81 of those goals, with Nick Suzuki logging 33, Cole Caufield scoring 28, and Juraj Slafkovsky finding the net 20 times. That should be an encouraging stat line for the Habs, and even more enticing is the fact all three of these youngsters were in their age-24 and under campaigns. 

Another youngster, Alex Newhook, scored 15 goals in just 55 contests, so you can only wonder what he can do with a full season of play. With Newhook, the Habs have four talented scorers at forward, and their sheer talent will help the rest of the team find the net even more next season. 

Overall, they’re getting a solid C-plus, with optimism among their younger forwards serving as the clear upside. The only real downside is that there wasn’t much overall improvement from 2022-23 to the current season.