Montreal Canadiens: Senators Completely Collapse as Habs Future Looks Brighter

Dec 19, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Ottawa Senators goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (70) gives up a gaol
Dec 19, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Ottawa Senators goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (70) gives up a gaol / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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It goes without saying that, at this point in the 2023-24 NHL season, there are still a lot of question marks surrounding both the Ottawa Senators, and the Montreal Canadiens.

In September, I had done a piece on the state of the Senators rebuild as they entered what I and many others considered to be a crisis point, having failed to make the postseason in each of the past six seasons. While GM Pierre Dorion had done a solid job to this point of constructing a fast, young, and promising offensive core around Captain Brady Tkachuk, the on-ice results had yet to match consistently.

Ultimately, after a botched deal with the Vegas Golden Knights cost Ottawa a first round pick, they did what most had seen coming for months at this point. Letting Dorion go after eight seasons. Not long after, following an embarrassing 6-3 loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday, head coach D.J. Smith was similarly fired after four seasons, with little to no success to show for it.

A former top junior coach with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires and a long-time AHL defenseman before that, Smith’s penchant for development didn’t exactly translate to playoff appearances, even as Ottawa’s top prospects slowly but surely turned into top-line players.

With this, the two men that orchestrated Ottawa’s rebuild were gone, with Steve Staios replacing Dorion as GM, and none other than Jacques Martin replacing Smith behind the bench, the coach who originally took Ottawa from the brink of disaster in 1995-96 as the team was on the verge of bankruptcy.

With former Senators Captain Daniel Alfredsson being brought in alongside as an assistant coach, its clear Ottawa is trying to fix things and fix them now. Having realized by this point that their chance to compete with this roster is dwindling more and more with each regular season loss, this is something the Canadiens well… don’t have to worry about, yet somehow find themselves performing leagues above the Senators with a roster that isn't anywhere near as developed.