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CH: no progress, according to The Athletic
Credit: Nov 12, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki (14) celebrates with teammates including forward Cole Caufield (22) after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

More and more, it’s starting to smell like field hockey in Montreal. With the golf tournament yesterday and the rookie tournament starting tomorrow, the CH’s return seems more imminent than ever.

And I don’t know about you, but personally, I’m really looking forward to it.

On the other hand, this season may not yet be the “p-word” for the Habs. Once again, the goal will be to foster the development of young players to continue on this trajectory.

But even so, that doesn’t stop some fans from hoping to see the Tricolore climb out of the basement of the standings. On the other hand, according to Harman Dayal(The Athletic), we can still expect to see the CH nosedive.

How far? To the point where he doesn’t expect to see the Habs move up in the standings, considering they’re among the top five contenders for the top pick in the upcoming draft.

In concrete terms, then, he expects the Habs to finish among the league’s five worst teams. And since the club was in exactly the same place last year, that wouldn’t represent a progression in the standings (and would even possibly imply a fall).

The reasons behind his reasoning are simple enough: the CH’s division is stacked, Montreal’s power play is very uninspiring, it lacks big offensive talent and the young defense is going to go through a learning curve (read here that it will make mistakes).

At the very least, he expects the youngsters to progress and the club to be exciting to watch, as well as opening the door to a big improvement if the return of the injured players has a major impact. There had to be something positive, right?

Obviously, it sounds a little pessimistic as a projection… but in reality, it’s quite realistic.

Simply put, in the East, it could be only the Flyers and Blue Jackets who are behind the Tricolore. In the West, there are a few more contenders (the Sharks, Blackhawks, Ducks and Coyotes), but if the Connor Bedard effect kicks in and the Coyotes maintain their lead over the CH, that puts the Montrealers back in the top-5 at the bottom.

And you know what? It’s no more serious than that: if the players make good progress and it doesn’t necessarily translate into victories, the season will still be a success. Once again this year, victories will be secondary, as it’s the development of the core for the years to come that will be paramount.

I also think we’ll see the Habs languish in the lower reaches of the standings again this year. A scenario in which the club wins more often exists, but it seems obvious to me that another big draft pick is even more likely.

And if the youngsters progress this year, I have no problem with the discussions surrounding the CH this spring revolving around the big prospects in the next draft. All in good time, after all.

In bursts

– Once again, the Avalanche are the favourite team to win the Stanley Cup this season.

– It’s time to give William Trudeau some respect. [BPM Sports]

– Well done.

– A former teammate of David Reinbacher praised the young man on air today.[BPM Sports]

– I don’t believe it, personally.

– Good news for the Jays.

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