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Five issues to keep an eye on with the Canadiens between now and the end of the season
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

The Canadiens’ 2023-2024 season is drawing to a close. Nine games remain before everyone packs up and leaves for the summer.

When you look at it, the Canadiens’ last game will be on April 16 in Montreal. It won’t be long before the lockers empty and the end-of-season interviews begin.

And before you know it, there’ll only be a few Quebecers left in town, the guys who are dating a Quebecer, the guys with kids who go to school… and Nick Suzuki, of all people.


That said, just because the season’s over doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to watch. There’s the standings, of course, but on the ice, there are also stakes.

What should Martin St-Louis’ men be looking out for over the next two weeks, before going months without seeing a Flanelle game this summer? Here’s a top-5 list of what’s important to me.

1. We have to wonder if the first trio will still be as productive. Will Nick Suzuki reach the 82-point plateau? Will Juraj Slafkovsky finish the season strong? Will Cole Caufield score?

They have to finish the season strong.

2. The goaltending issue will also be the talk of the town. And no, I’m not talking about the potential return of Carey Price or how to manage a ménage à trois, because that’s all ancient history.

In fact, the question will be how much Cayden Primeau will play. That’s the question on the table.

3. Will Christian Dvorak be able to return to action? Because according to Renaud Lavoie, it’s quite possible that the player who has been training in a regular jersey recently could come back.

The other injured players (Kirby Dach, Chris Wideman and Joshua Roy) are not expected to play with the Habs this season.

4. Personnel moves with the Rocket are something to keep an eye on. When will Jayden Struble join his Rocket teammates for the playoff run down under? Will Joshua Roy be fit enough to help the club in the playoffs-if there are playoffs?

If there are no injuries in Montreal, will the Habs still call up Logan Mailloux to test him in the NHL, for example? If so, the clock is ticking.

5. Speaking of finishing the season in Montreal: we know Lane Hutson should do it. He’s the prospect most likely to finish the season in the NHL, and it should happen once his season is over.

He has a game or two left in the NCAA (April 11 and April 13 if he wins the 11th) and the Habs finish their season on April 16. It’ll be short, but he should still finish the season in town.


And after the season?

We know Martin St-Louis doesn’t like the question, but knowing which players will agree to take part in the World Championship in a few weeks’ time is an interesting question.

Cayden Primeau, Samuel Montembeault, Mike Matheson, Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Juraj Slafkovsky, Alex Newhook, Joel Armia, Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki are logical candidates.

After that, we’ll be in off-season mode, and the issues overseen by Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton will take center stage. We’ll have plenty of time to talk about it all before then.

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