Montreal Canadiens: Are The Canadiens One 35-Goal Scorer Away From Being Contenders?

Colorado Avalanche v Montreal Canadiens
Colorado Avalanche v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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The Montreal Canadiens have accumulated a nice group of players, with a few yet to debut in front of the Bell Centre crowd. 

Kaiden Guhle and Jayden Struble are two pillars on the Habs blueline. And once you take a look throughout the pipeline, it’s noticeable that the Canadiens have put an onus on building a strong blue line. Lane Hutson, David Reinbacher and Logan Mailloux are also coming along, and Arber Xhekaj has made a strong case for the next call-up. That’s not even to mention Adam Engstrom, who is ripening in Sweden. 

On the offensive side of things, Martin St. Louis and Kent Hughes have pieced together a nice core. Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield were already in the fold, thanks to Marc Bergevin’s work. Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook were brought in by Hughes, and Joshua Roy looks like a top-six forward. 

Throw in Filip Mesar - who has taken massive strides in his second OHL season. Showing top nine upside, with the potential to become a top six NHL talent. He is the total package - speedy, smart and dynamic offensively, while his two-way game has taken significant strides. 

Then Owen Beck, who appears to be the Canadiens third line centre. Offensively, his game isn’t on par with his defensive game, but it has shown steady improvement. His faceoff prowess and steady two-way game are what drew the ire of Habs management, and it seems he will take on his role soon.

One 35 Goal Man Away From Contention? 

Barring a trade, the Habs are going to head into the draft with their current group. Is it good enough to compete down the road, who knows? Hughes and Jeff Gorton seem to think so. 

If that is their belief, then the moves on the draft floor will be very telling. With all that said, I think that adding a couple of high-potential forwards makes a lot of sense. With Juraj Slafkovsky, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield forming the top line.

Kirby Dach and Joshua Roy look to be two-thirds of the second line. So adding a new piece at the draft could put the finishing touches on the top six. Putting Newhook with Beck and say Emil Heineman or Jesse Ylonen would give the Habs a very competitive top nine. 

The Canadiens aren’t far off, and with a healthy roster to start the 2024-25 season, expectations for a playoff spot will only increase.