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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David Savard

David Savard
Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Savard isn’t as fleet of foot as he once was, but he is the type of defender that you win with. Savard can serve as a mentor to young defenders and he leads by example. As a sixth or seventh defenseman, you could have much worse than Savard.

Savard is among the top shot blockers on the team each year. Offensively he won’t wow you, but the big man has decent mobility and a great first pass. And his Stanley Cup-winning presence is a great addition on the ice and in the dressing room. 

He has another year left on his current deal after the 2023-24 season. His cap hit is $3.5 million and while it’s a bit rich, salary retention could make it work. The value that he provides comes from his consistent play and he plays a simple rugged game. 

In the thick of the playoffs, having a veteran defender to help the team could be t

Sean Monahan

Monahan was brought in to be a single season rental, but found himself on IR early in the year. The Canadiens and Monahan agreed to a one-year extension that will last him through the remained of the season. With an expiring contract, Monahan has made the most of a healthy season.

He serves as the Habs second line pivot, with Dach out for the year. Monahan has played on the team’s number-one powerplay all season. The former Calgary Flame is one of the most efficient Habs in the faceoff circle and a stalwart on the penalty kill. 

It’s hard to quantify why Monahan is so important in words, you have to watch him play; then you realize what makes him so effective. Positionally he is so aware, which has rendered him a mentor for younger players trying to acclimate to the NHL. Very seldom is he out of position and his great vision makes him an easy choice to play alongside. 

You can never have too many centremen, especially during the playoffs; where depth often pushes teams over the hump. 

Mike Matheson

Matheson can be a frustrating player to watch, simply because he is so talented. This issue is that he overthinks and forces plays sometimes. But teams will certainly call Hughes wondering about Matheson’s availability.

Chances are, if you’re a contender you already have a powerplay quarterback on the number one group. That works perfectly for Matheson, who could slot onto the second unit and run an efficient powerplay from the blue line. In the playoffs, being able to exit the zone quickly and efficiently is crucial, Matheson’s vision, mobility and great first pass all contribute to consistent zone exits. 

Matheson can take the pressure off of primary offensive players. His ability to log 25-plus minutes a night should unquestionably garner interest. He rushes the puck up the ice himself regularly and he supports his forwards well in transition. 

Having two puck movers balances the skill throughout both defence pairs and powerplay units, which makes the team stronger overall.