Results of the offseason: the Habs on the move after a wild summer on the heels of the Cup final

Jul 5, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) defends the net against Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) in the second period of Game 4 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final at the Bell Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens’ shocking run to the Stanley Cup final was followed by an equally shocking offseason.

To flip the list quickly, the Canadiens’ summer featured: Losing a former top pick in the draft to an offer of revenge sheet, learning their captain’s career likely ended due to injury, exposing the goalkeeper who led them through the playoffs in the expansion project and being humiliated by the canadian prime minister (among many, many others) after drafting Logan Mailloux with their first-round pick in the NHL Draft.

Another day at the office for Les Habitants.

What happened in 2021?

A lot.

The Habs entered 2021 as a wild card in the All-Canadian division.

They weren’t good at all in 2019-20 and only hit the playoff bubble because the NHL needed 24 equal teams. That said, the Habs had a good head-to-head record against other Canadian teams that season, so there was some optimism they could do well.

From the start, the Habs got off to an excellent start, as they only lost their first game in regulation at the end of January. Their hot start evaporated in February with a five-game losing streak that ultimately resulted in the canning of head coach Claude Julien.

Dominique Ducharme took over the bench and did not do better. Montreal was 9-5-4 under Julien and they did 15-16-7 the rest of the way with Ducharme.

Montreal limped into the playoffs looking like a team that had no interest in being there. The Canadiens have lost their last five games of the regular season and likely would have been caught in the standings by the Flames or the Senators had the track been longer.

The favored Leafs took a 3-1 lead in their first-round series, then suddenly everything clicked. On the verge of elimination, Montreal won Games 5 and 6 in overtime, then pulled off the comeback with a dominant win in Game 7.

The Habs then swept the Jets, the team that had just swept Connor McDavid and the Oilers, and then beat the Golden Knights, who tied for the league’s best record in six games. The Habs’ Cinderella race was ultimately stopped by the seemingly unbeatable Lightning, but it was one hell of a race.

What happened during the offseason?

Notable additions: Christian Dvorak, Mike Hoffman, Cédric Paquette, Mathieu Perreault, David Savard, Samuel Montembeault, Sami Niku, Chris Wideman.

Notable subtractions: Shea Weber (injured), Phillip Danault, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Tomas Tatar, Corey Perry, Eric Staal, Jon Merrill, Erik Gustafsson.

If you thought the Canadiens season was a wild ride, buddy, wait until you hear about their offseason.

At the end of July, the Habs announced that captain Shea Weber would miss the 2021-22 season due to injuries and he is unlikely to ever play again. On the same day, it was announced that star goalie Carey Price would be undergoing knee surgery.

Price was exposed to the Seattle Kraken during the expansion draft. Some thought the Kraken would take Price, as he’s from Pacific Canada, played for the Tri-City Americans in the WHL, and had just finished a legendary playoff series. The Kraken decided to avoid Price and his gigantic contract and the signing bonus they should have paid him a few days later.

Then we have the NHL Draft, where the Habs went ahead and selected Logan Mailloux, who had previously waived any consideration due to his accusation in Sweden for taking and distributing an offensive photo as a result. of a sexual encounter.

In free agency, Montreal let the two-center stud Phillip Danault walk, accompanied by a handful of veterans of their race, such as Tomas Tatar, Corey Perry, Eric Staal and Jon Merrill. The Habs added new blood to the free agency mix, signing David Savard, Mike Hoffman and Mathieu Perreault.

Finally, there’s the Carolina Hurricanes Revenge Tour.

In 2019, the Habs signed the restricted autonomous agent Sebastian Aho on an offer sheet and the Canes went to match him. In August, Carolina got their revenge by signing former No.3 pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi on an offer sheet. The Canadians let Kotkaniemi go and used their draft picks as compensation to acquire center Christian Dvorak from the Coyotes.

All in all, it’s a very, very different team than the one we saw in June. Even with their new players, the internal progression of young talent, and a full season of playoff superhero Cole Caufield, it’s hard to argue that they’re better.

May 1, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Cole Caufield (22) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Ottawa Senators in overtime at the Bell Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

What to expect in 2021-2022?

I mean, it’s hard to sideline this team because they keep breaking through the odds.

The Canadiens were highly unlikely to beat the Penguins in a five-game series, but they did. The Habs were highly unlikely to return after losing 3-1 in the first round to the Leafs, but they did. The Canadiens were highly unlikely to beat the Golden Knights in a seven-game series, but they did.

There’s no question the Habs are worse off now than they were in June when they faced Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup Final. Losing Danault and Weber is a huge blow and it is unclear how effective Price will be upon his return from surgery.

It seems highly unlikely that the Habs will be able to find their way back to the playoffs given everything they’ve lost this summer, but hey, you know it now.

A bold prediction …

Going back to an earlier prediction, the Canadiens will miss the playoffs in 2021-22 and finish below the Ottawa Senators in the standings.

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