The top line was good this season, but what's next?

Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky formed the top line for the Canadiens; which electrified the home crowd on several occasions.
Dallas Stars v Montreal Canadiens
Dallas Stars v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

If the Bell Centre was hoping for some fun hockey, the Montreal Canadiens top line provided plenty of it.

Entering the season, Nick Suzuki was the only player who didn't have a point to prove; although if you ask him, he wants to keep improving. Cole Caufield dealt with an injury that cut his season short, so entering the 2023-24 season expectations were quite high - 50 goals or bust - which was unrealistic, although he does have the potential. Finally, Juraj Slafkovsky had a rookie season that didn't resemble one that a first-overall pick would have.

Caufield put up a stellar season - while he was battling the puck at times - he managed to find his scoring ways, posting career-highs in goals, assists and points (28 goals, 37 assists for 65 points). He had previous chemistry with Suzuki, but adding sophomore Slafkovsky to the mix took a little bit of adjusting. Once the trio found a little comfort together, they started to look like the engine that the Habs needed.

Slafkovsky started slow out of the gate and his confidence seemed to be a little shaken, but Martin St. Louis kept him in check. The season is much like a marathon, if the start gets you down, you can't dwell on it, because you could fall far behind and ruin any previous momentum. Thankfully, Slafkovsky leveraged St. Louis's support in turning his season around.

With Slafkovsky finding confidence and learning how much of an asset his strength and speed are, things started to change. 50/50 puck battles became a race for Slafkovsky and he became the guy who retrieved the puck and dusted it off for his linemates. If he wasn't dishing beautiful feeds, he would find himself lost behind the defence, waiting to fire a one-touch shot at the net.

All three players had impressive seasons, but the best part of it is that they likely aren't done improving. Suzuki, 25, took his game to another level and his linemates weren't playing at their highest level the whole year. Slafkovsky, 20, and Caufield, 23, are hoping to improve their consistency in 2024-25, which could elevate the Canadiens offensive attack.

I think that Caufield has the potential to score 50 goals and 30 assists. If Suzuki can continue his passing ways and present as a shooting threat, I don't foresee a situation where Caufield doesn't score more goals and Suzuki more assists. Then there's Slafkovsky, who exploded out of nowhere, silencing all of his doubters, with some impressive production.

I felt that we might not get to see the best of No.20 until maybe years four or five, but with his linemates - more so Suzuki - nearing their primes, he just might come along a little quicker. With experience gained this season and each player gaining confidence, it should be an exciting season to watch the top line. The team overall, for that matter, but certainly the top line will be looking to elevate their games to the next level.