Martin St. Louis Focusing On Positives, Despite No Playoffs

Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens
Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Martin St. Louis’s Montreal Canadiens have continued progressing forward, although they will suffer the same fate this season as last. 

Among the positives, are the development of Juraj Slafkovsky and Jayden Struble asserting himself as a top-six defenseman for the Habs. Kaiden Guhle was elevated to the top defence pairing alongside Mike Matheson. Jordan Harris and Arber Xhekaj have also taken considerable steps forward, which only further solidifies the strength on the backend. 

The Canadiens have also been far from an easy out against many of the league’s top teams. Despite having only two players with 20 or more goals, the rebuilding Habs have hung tight for the most part. So it’s not a huge surprise that St. Louis views this team as one with plenty of life and promise. 

And it’s hard to argue with his standpoint, it isn’t a lost season and the blowout losses have been few and far between. The Canadiens aren’t just a few miracle fixes away from being a contender. But with a little more patience, Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton will add more pieces to the puzzle. 

The future is incredibly bright for the Canadiens, without considering who the Canadiens select in the 2024 NHL Draft. This is going to end up being a solid selection; likely in the top 10, which means the Canadiens will add a very good prospect, despite which position they choose. Ideally, a forward would be perfect, but the league isn't averse to trades that involve dealing an organizational strength to improve on an organizational deficiency.

I regress, back to where I was heading; the Canadiens have some quality prospects that will be joining the fold over the next couple of seasons. Next year alone, the Laval Rocket will have the services of defensemen David Reinbacher and Logan Mailloux. Adam Engstrom could make his way over to North America as well; a player who will only raise the level of skill on the Rocket blueline.

Lane Hutson is another guy, who is going to play a few games to finish out the Habs season and there is a fair chance that he plays in the NHL come October. Owen Beck has been dominant this season in the OHL, even more so since he joined the Saginaw Spirit at the trade deadline. There is also Filip Mesar, who will likely join Beck in Laval next year, and Florian Xhekaj has shown he is more than a bruiser, and after another season in junior; he may be considered as an addition down in Laval.

St. Louis was likely talking more about the current roster and not who is on the way, but it is hard to imagine that he isn't excited about who will play in Montreal soon enough.