Montreal Canadiens: Growing Pains - All Part Of The Rebuild

Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens
Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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Montreal Canadiens X (formerly Twitter) has turned into a cesspool amidst the Canadiens free-fall down the Atlantic division standings.

Suggestions that Martin St. Louis needs to be given the chop, he has no control over the team; and Kent Hughes is blind to it. The honeymoon is over - the Canadiens aren’t competing well of late, so decisions need to be made. Why hasn’t Hughes made a move, this isn’t a playoff team. 

But a week ago, the same pundits sat comfortably in the woodwork. Things were so different then, but so much has changed in three games. This team is rebuilding while dealing with injuries and inconsistent goaltending; aside from Samuel Montembeault prior to the Bruins game.

The Canadiens aren’t expected to make the playoffs and the plan hasn’t changed. At the end of the day, the goal remains the same, to keep developing and improving. NHL trades will be made if there is an opportunity, but the future won’t be leveraged for a return. 

Nobody on the team will say they are rebuilding. A professional hockey player is wired to win and the team’s status doesn’t change that. But reality is telling, if the kettle is black, let’s not pretend it’s blue. 

Trading veterans on expiring contracts to contenders is the smartest route. It allows the Habs to add more draft picks to their bag. But it also allows the veterans to go compete for a Stanley Cup.

If they wish to re-sign in Montreal, Hughes could contact players during the offseason. I’m looking at you, Sean Monahan. Truthfully, losing him right now would massacre the Canadiens center core, a three-player group, but the return could be a first-round draft pick.

Trading Veterans At The Deadline Will Help The Team In The Long Run..

Should the Canadiens consider moving a player for draft capital or a return including a prospect, the Canadiens could improve their team for the long run. 

Going forward the goal is to get younger, while ensuring the young core is well supported. So it’s unlikely that Hughes trades away all the veterans. Understandably so. 

However, I thought we could dive into the three players who should be highly coveted as we speak. Players that will instantly impact the club they go to for an array of reasons. One of them also has a Stanley Cup ring. 

One has doubled as both a mentor and the Canadiens number two centre. Playing on both the powerplay and the penalty-kill. While remaining the clubs most efficient in the faceoff dot.

The third player has run the Canadiens' powerplay from the QB position since the beginning of the season. He plays the most minutes for the team every night. And he leads the blueline in points with 32 in 47 games.