Montreal Canadiens: proof to be made
BETTING À DAY
With the deadline for trades now a thing of the past and the longest trips of the season behind him, the Canadian begins tonight, with the visit of the Hurricanes, the last stretch of his calendar.< /strong>
Considering that Martin St-Louis' team will play 19 games in 38 days, these last five weeks will not be easy. Since the possibility of earning a place in the playoffs has long been given up, Canadiens fans will keep a close eye on the Connor Bedard derby.
Internally , however, no question of looking down. At the end of Sunday's game, David Savard argued that he and his teammates had to be faithful to what the organization is trying to establish.
“We want to build a solid foundation. Keep pushing, no matter what happens in a game, it has to be part of our DNA,” said the defender.
This DNA is what Martin St-Louis is trying to instil since taking over the team. The same one who made Joel Edmundson, aware of the rumors of a transaction against him, say that he did not want to leave Montreal.
“I didn't hear that a player wanted to leave here. We also hear that our young people want to stay here. There is so much future in Montreal. I hope that the culture and the environment that we establish will add to this desire, ”said Kent Hughes, during the press briefing he held at the close of the trading market.
This last quarter of the season will therefore be the perfect opportunity to lay the foundations for the next campaign and help the team take a new step in its progress.
Since no one wants to leave, decisions may have to be made. The Journal offers seven issues that could dictate what happens next for some of the team's current color bearers.
1. Youth Minutes
Kaiden Guhle, Justin Barron, Arber Xhekaj, Jordan Harris.
This quartet of backs with a green navel has done quite a job this winter. “If at the beginning of the season, I had been told that we would play with four, five rookie defensemen in the lineup for most of the season and that it would be fine, I would have been surprised,” said St-Louis. . He will no doubt want to ensure that those who are not slowed down by injury continue this impressive development by providing them with several minutes of play and a significant number of repetitions in particular match situations.
2. The sparks of RHP
Due to the numerous injuries in attack, the Canadian had to recall some players from the Rocket as reinforcements. Of the lot, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard is clearly the one who stood out the most. Since his first game on January 18, he has led all NHL rookies in both goals (8) and points (12). Such an outfit prompted St-Louis to use it on the first line and on the two special teams. These last 19 games will serve to solidify his grip on a position for next year and on a contract in good standing with the NHL.
3. The future in net
On the morning of the last game in Philadelphia, St. Louis indicated that he would continue to favor an alternating system between his two goaltenders. Due to the hectic pace of the schedule, this is a wise decision. The ten starts that Samuel Montembeault will getcould therefore very well serve as a barometer to know where its progress is at. The 26-year-old goaltender has scored important points in his eight consecutive starts made necessary by the absence of Jake Allen.
4. The condition of Sean Monahan
Among the many cases of fallen players with the Canadiens this season, that of Sean Monahanis the most worrying. Hughes raised the possibility that he could return to action before the end of the season. If this is the case, will this be enough to encourage the general manager of the Canadiens to offer him a new contract? Nevertheless, given the Ontarian's injury history, one wonders if it's worth it for a GM who is starting to see a little light under the ceiling, to stiffen up from a risky contract.
5. Hearing of Denis Gurianov
Hughes claimed that he acquired the services of Denis Gurianovwith the intention of keeping it at the end of the present campaign. In the same breath, he stressed that he was going to follow the evolution of the great Russian striker “closely”, that “each player must be worth his contract”. This trip of four meetings allowed us to see the extent of the spectrum it can offer. Everywhere on the ice against the Sharks and the Kings, we saw him slowly falling asleep against the Ducks and the Golden Knights. It is precisely this problem of consistency that prompted the Stars to part with it.
6. What next for Jonathan Drouin?
Some players will play for their future. This is the case of Jonathan Drouin, whose annual contract of $ 5.5 million will expire at the end of the campaign. Hughes acknowledged that the Quebecer's salary footprint had made a transaction involving him impossible, even by paying part of his salary. Sidelined on several occasions over the past few winters, Drouin, who will be 28 at the end of the month, will have to have a good end to the season if he wants to obtain another contract in the NHL.