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Rebuilding the Canadiens: Fans still optimistic
Credit: Fans, unlike coaches and goalies, love offensive games!

Last night, I told you about the Montreal Canadiens’ prospect bank, which ranks 3rd in the NHL according to Byron Bader of the website Life sometimes works out well, and today saw the release of The Athletic’s annual survey of Montreal Canadiens fans. While there’s nothing scientific about this exercise, I’m happy to report that many of us are very enthusiastic about the rebuilding process currently underway at the Tricolore.

More than 90% of respondents said they were prepared to wait 2 to 4 years before seeing the Canadiens achieve lasting success!

Ninety percent!!!!

That’s not a small majority by the skin of your teeth, folks.

The majority of us therefore have faith in the process begun last season following the hirings of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes, and this is no stranger to the level of confidence we have in them. According to The Athletic’s survey, only 3.1% of respondents report a level of confidence in the duo below a passing grade. They even scored above 8 out of 10 in over 87% of ballots. Once again, these are very impressive figures.

And their love rating is up slightly on the August 2022 poll, when they scored ” only ” 86% 8 and over out of 10. In other words, seeing the team at the bottom of the league has had no negative impact on Montreal Canadiens fans!

Remember when we were told for years that it was impossible to rebuild in Montreal and that fans wouldn’t buy the project?

Anyone who said that was in the field. Sorry to put it this way, but that’s pretty good!

I’d like to tell you that all is well in the best of all possible worlds in Montreal right now, but that would be misleading. When asked about the Habs’ biggest obstacle to success, nearly 33% of respondents said there was no solid option in front of the net, while 35.9% said it was the lack of top-level prospects. So, even in the most generalized optimism, there are still a few questions about the team’s future. Lane Hutson is a dream (at least he is for me), but it’s true that the CH doesn’t have many prospects with this type of profile in its bank. The next draft could very well make up for this lack, with an advantageous lottery next Monday at 8 p.m.

On another note, when asked to rate Juraj Slafkovsky’s first season in the NHL, 48% of respondents said it had been okay, but nothing more. Once again, that’s pretty close to my personal assessment. I’d have liked to see him in more games to refine my assessment, but even so, you have to admit that he didn’t break anything in his first season on the Bettman circuit.

In closing, 56.7% of respondents indicate that Kaiden Guhle is the most exciting prospect for our Glorious, excluding Slaf from the equation. This doesn’t surprise me at all, since he’s been excellent this season. Perhaps I’m dreaming a little too much, but I would have thought that Lane Hutson,2nd in the ranking, would have obtained more than his 28.9%. It’s not bad, but for a guy who got better stats than Brian Leetch, Adam Fox and Cale Makar in his NCAA rookie season, it still seems a bit low. I’m sure you’ll tell me I’m hung up on details! Arber Xhekaj (4.5%), Logan Mailloux (2.7%) and Joshua Roy (2.5%) round out the top-5.

In conclusion, I invite you to go and read the text by Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin, as there are many other questions I haven’t touched on here that are worth discovering.

In bursts

– Mats Naslund and Cole Caufield, fighting the same battle despite their 40-year age difference.

– While we’re wondering if he’s still the right man for the job in Ottawa, D.J. Smith will once again be behind the Canadian bench for the World Championship.

– Akira Schmid is the flavour of the day… or should I say, of the month in the NHL.

– Another magical statement for André Tourigny.

– According to Blain Potvin, Ethan Gauthier is the top prospect in the QMJHL.

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