3 X-Factors that will make the rest of the Canadiens season exciting

It doesn’t look like the Canadiens are going anywhere this season unless they find a way to embark on a major winning streak or two, but it doesn’t mean they won’t be fun to watch.

Feb 13, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) celebrates his
Feb 13, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) celebrates his / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
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While we can’t count the Canadiens out of the running just yet despite the fact they have just 52 points, it will be tough to see them climbing back into the playoff picture this season. This team is primarily young, and they lack a ton of experience, hence the down season. 

But despite the bad year, Montreal has so far paced a pair of teams in their own division that were supposed to contend for the playoffs: The Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators. While it’s clear the Sabres and Senators have underachieved, it indicates that the Canadiens could have lapped them, given their better season to date. 

Yeah, it’s a bummer that the playoffs are likely out of the picture barring a magical run, but it doesn’t mean the Canadiens can’t be exciting to watch over the last two months of 2023-24. Here are three X-Factors that could very well keep Montreal entertaining from mid-February until mid-April. 

Montreal’s youth alone will make the rest of the year exciting

As of February 16th, the Canadiens are the third-youngest team in the NHL and the second-least experienced, which translates to a poor record. But, 52 points so far in what was supposed to be a throwaway season isn’t terrible, so Montreal and their fan base have a lot to be proud of. 

One reason behind their success comes from the ability of their youngest players to stay generally healthy and play solid hockey. Nick Suzuki (52 points) and Cole Caufield (45 points) are a pair of players 24 and under who continue to lead this young Montreal Canadiens team to perform better than we expected through the season’s first four months. 

But there has also been growth among other young players, including former first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky, defensemen Jayden Struble, Kaiden Guble, and Arber Xhekaj. Alex Newhook is another name worth keeping tabs on, so the core in Montreal is brewing, and their growth should be on full display throughout the final eight weeks of the season.