Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!
 

Canadiens Seem To Have Turned The Corner + Prospect Thoughts

January 16, 2019, 12:41 PM ET [130 Comments]
Brandon Smillie
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Montreal Canadiens came out of a tough back to back stretch against rivals Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers with 4 points and a whole lot of confidence.

This team responded to its lowest point of the season by stringing together 3 straight wins in convincing fashion. After scoring only 5 goals over 4 games and earning 1 win and 3 losses, the Habs responded with 11 goals in their last 3 games while only allowing 3 in return.

This team deserves so much credit so far this season. A team that certain TO based media were saying was foolish for dealing away Pacioretty and Galchenyuk has given the other NHL squads all they can handle for most of the season. Now sitting tied for 3rd in the Atlantic and one point away from 2nd (albeit with a couple more games played than their immediate competition) the Habs are creeping ever closer to that desired 55% win percentage (currently 54%) they would need to LIKELY make playoffs this season.

The Habs have issues on Defense outside of Weber and Petry, but some of the vets and young guns are playing better lately. Benn has been playing great hockey and is working on earning himself either a playoff bonus cheque or a trade to a contender with said cheque, not to mention a case for his agent to work with when arranging a new contract this summer. The play of Kulak and Reilly is moving in the right direction as well and the Canadiens are reaping the benefits.

All of this would be moot with Price playing like Price, through a strain of some kind no less. Price has been nothing short of amazing since his little break and appears motivated. Watching him laugh his ass off at Mete's missed open net was great as well. To me, this appears to be a well bonded team and the play of Price and Weber really reflect that as both have been outstanding this season.

Oh and all those people upset about the two trades I mentioned earlier really have no reason to be anymore. Domi has come in, taken #1C by the horns and produced wonderfully. His advanced stats in that Colorado game are stuff of legend. He put up a 82.5 CF% (33 CF, 7 CA) while starting only 36% of his shifts in the O Zone. Unreal...




That has allowed Danault to take a better role and his break out I predicted last season (check the archives) is finally happening because of Domi's ability to handle #1 C. Danault is on pace for 55 points as 2nd line C and that's fantastic news as he has only recently turned 25 years old with 235 NHL games under his belt. Still in his career infancy and already closing in on a 60 point pace is outstanding news for Habs fans. Oh, and we got Danault and a pick that ended up being World Junior Top D man Romanov for Fleischmann and Weise (who cleared waivers today). Yeah, the Bergevin haters really only have one trade to be mad about because of their feels. Bergevin has been doing this the right way, most of the time, for a while now. Huzzah!

Consider the Habs are playing this well without the help of their best prospect pool in decades even having an impact on them yet and the future is bright. Suzuki looks like a future offensive star (53 its in 33 games with 23 Goals in the OHL), Poehling showed what he can do with skilled players at the World Juniors (tourney MVP) and is favorably compared to R O'Reilly, and Brook is showing he has elite offensive D potential. Add that to Romanov's clearly high end all around game and the Habs have some serious, young reinforcements arriving over the next 2 seasons.

All of that and I don't even mention top G prospect C Primeau and how he is on a perfect timeline to become Price's understudy in the next 5 years where he will work through his ELC just as Price is approaching year 5 or 6 of his current 8 year deal. There is some pretty smart team managing going on right now in MTL if you take the time to look.




This team's reset took all of one injury plagued, Captain trade requesting, underachieving season to land a future top 6 C with loads of smarts and size, and all the other assets I mentioned above being picked (or picked the year before).

The Habs are entertaining to watch, can keep pace with some of the leagues best, and have a stocked cupboard full of blue chip prospects.

I am personally really enjoying watching this season unfold and I hope you are as well. If it continues then that's fantastic as I would love to get amped for some Playoff hockey. If they fall out then there are a few mid first targets I really like and the draft doesn't really drop off until about 20th overall (in my humble opinion) so they could add another great young piece to an overflowing prospect pool. It's win win right now so enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Go Habs Go
Join the Discussion: » 130 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Brandon Smillie
» THE SKY IS FALLING! Habs Losing Streak Giving Fans Fits...
» Canadiens Look To Bounce Back Against Reeling Predators
» Dutch Gretzky Recalled From Laval... The Flow Returns...
» Ducks Dominated… + Danault Breaking Out
» Road To, And Through, The Playoffs Is Arduous For The Canadiens