Current Team Overview
The Montreal Canadiens currently sit 5th overall in league standings with a record of 30-14-7 and are almost certainly a lock for the playoffs. Long term however their ability to remain competitive may become an issue. Their current core is composed of players like Carey Price, Max Pacioretty, Alex Radulov, Shea Weber, Alex Galchenyuk, Andrew Shaw, and Brendan Gallagher. This is a very strong group of skilled players who can and will challenge for a Stanley cup. The problem is that only three of these players are under 25 and their supporting cast is aging. with Jeff Petry (29), Andrei Markov (38), David Desharnais (30), and Tomas Plekanec (34) being examples of their age. Their core is in win now and is capable of challenging for a cup right now. A lot of their core however has maybe 5-7 years of competitive play left in them before they slow down and eventually retire.
Montreal has seemingly poor luck with developing prospects and getting them to have success at the NHL level. Players like Jared Tinordi, Jacob De La Rose, and Sven Andrighetto are recent examples of players who have not yet transfered their skills to the NHL level. Failures like that are going to cost the Montreal Canadiens when their core players start to show their age. In contrast look at the Chicago Blackhawks. For years, they’ve had to let players go or trade them on order to save cap space, yet they are still competitive. This is because they have prospects mature and take those spots in the bottom six whenever players are let go. The Blackhawks are a perfect model for sustaining long term success. In contrast, the shortcomings of some of the prospects that Montreal has made the future of the organization questionable.
The Future of the Habs
In my opinion I believe that the Canadiens will be cup contenders for 3-5 years. If they do not have prospects step up they will fall from being contenders and must then rebuild. They do have a lot of prospects currently bubbling under such as Mikhaill Sergachev, Artturi Lehkonen, Nikita Scherbak, Phillip Danault, Mike McCarron, Noah Juulsen, Zachary Fucale, and Charlie Lindgren. If some or all of these prospects can stick at the NHL level they will be able to stay competitive. Look for the Canadiens to either fail or succeed entirely based on the success of these prospects. Regardless, look for them to still be highly competitive for another 3-5 years with or without those prospects.
Do you agree with my opinion? Leave your responses in the comments below.