The Offseason: What’s Next for the Montreal Canadiens?

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by Kolby Solinsky

Editor, White Cover Magazine

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Why We’re Here:

The Montreal Canadiens were victims of a couple close games and a couple close calls — Habs fans don’t need to see this top-corner flutter shot from Kyle Turris anymore — but they were ultimately a victim of their own ineffectiveness. They were a longshot from the beginning, and they were a longshot even at No. 2.

The Canadiens tried to mask their quite obvious lack of ability with a complaint about what should have been called a clean hit by Eric Gryba (above), but it only bought them one win.

There are seven other teams in the Eastern Conference’s side of the playoff bracket, and all of them have proven more capable to play than the Montreal Canadiens we saw in Round 1.

The Solution:

There isn’t one, not without either patience or massive changes, and I wouldn’t recommend the latter. You don’t wait all this time to suddenly decide to blow up the ship.

The Canadiens have a future in guys like Gallagher and Galchenyuk, but they need to pull themselves off of their dependence on Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta, two guys who appear neither ready or willing to do much of anything against anyone with a bigger body.

The Plus Side:

The Habs’ defence is their buoy. Josh Gorges, Andrei Markov, and P.K. Subban are as good as anyone, and Carey Price might not have been a stalwart down the stretch, but he’s still Carey Price.

The Cons:

There’s nothing wrong with being small, and the Canadiens are certainly small.

But, if you’re going to be small, you better be skilled and speedy, too. The Habs just don’t have enough of that right now.

The Offseason:

Package your borderline first liners — Plekanec, Gionta, or Rene Bourque — for one player who can push and push and push. The Habs waste their time with fillers. Max Pacioretty can play first line — he’s that good. Montreal needs to bite the bullet, realize they may have to risk a playoff spot or a low seed for a year or two, and consider waiting for the next Rick Nash or Brad Richards. Or, they can try and pry a star away from a team that’s lost its love for one — ala what Columbus did when they sold Derek Dorsett and Derick Brassard to Manhattan for Marian Gaborik.

The Prediction:

The Habs don’t do anything. Marc Bervegin goes all Mike Gillis on it and stands too tied to his own principles.

Montreal finishes in the middle of next year’s playoff race — settling somewhere from 5th to 7th — and goes out in the first round once again.