2021-22 Montreal Canadiens preview: a new team looking for repeat performances

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The Montreal Canadiens captured our hearts with their appearance in the Cinderella Stanley Cup Final, then quickly lost our confidence in Logan Mailloux’s draft, as well as Marc Bergevin’s presence in the ongoing Chicago Blackhawks lawsuit. While the Canadiens’ off-ice movements will be closely scrutinized, their performance on the ice next season also remains a question mark.

Where they left off

Where the Canadiens left off may not be where they started the 2021-22 season. Last season, the Canadians were 24-21-11, placing them fourth in the Canadian Northern Division.

The only team with a negative goal differential (-9) to make the divisional playoffs, they were the big underdogs and lost 3-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. After coming back to win the series in a shocking upheaval, they crushed the resting Winnipeg Jets 4-0, which had just swept the Edmonton Oilers, before winning a six-game series against the Golden Knights of Vegas.

They made their way to the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning by heart and by Brendan Gallagher’s determination not to let any injuries stop him. The team deserved to be in that Cup final, no questions asked, but whether or not they can come back this year is another story.

2021 Draft

Unfortunately, the Canadiens’ draft was dominated by their surprising (and unpleasant) selection from Logan Mailloux. I won’t go into details (having previously explained how President Geoff Molson and the Canadiens leadership viewed the decision), but Mailloux was charged with libel and offensive photography in Sweden and fined for his charges before the draft, and had given up his availability.

Despite his accusations and fan outrage, and Mailloux’s own picks, the Canadiens still drafted him in 31st place, a move that sparked a whirlwind of well-deserved criticism for the Canadiens leadership.

The next player the Canadiens picked in the draft was forward Riley Kidney, 63rd overall. Kidney is a cross with an attacking punch and great vision. He’s more of a passer and playmaker than a goalscorer, but he can still score relatively consistently. He played 33 games with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL in 2020-2021, where he scored 13 goals, 25 assists, 16 penalty minutes and a +9 rating.

The full list of Canadiens players is as follows:

  • Round 1 (31st overall): Logan Mailloux
  • Round 2 (63rd): Riley Kidney
  • Round 2 (64th): Oliver Kapanen
  • Round 3 (87th): Dmitri Kostenko
  • Round 4 (113th): William Trudeau
  • Round 5 (142nd): Daniil Sobolev
  • 5th round (150th): Joshua Roy
  • 6th round (191st): Xavier Simoneau
  • Round 7 (214th): Joe Vrbetic

Listing

The Canadiens’ roster for the 2021-22 season is a far cry from the one that pushed the team to the Stanley Cup final.

The inimitable and beloved captain Shea Weber is in LTIR with no actual return date (if he returns at all), and goaltender Carey Price, who was hilariously unprotected in the expansion draft, will join Paul Byron and Mike Hoffman on the injured list, as all three failed their physical exams due to injury.

Playoff performer Corey Perry signed a two-year contract with the Lightning, proving that if you can’t beat them you should join them, and Phillip Danault signed a six-year contract worth annual average of $ 5.5 million with the Los Angeles Kings. . Perry and Danault are both bigger losses than you might think. The Canadiens are an emotional team, playing their best hockey when the locker rooms are in sync with each other. Perry and Danault are energetic indoor guys, and even though Perry excels in the playoffs but isn’t a regular season standout, and Danault has had a bad year, they were still important tools in the game. alignment of Canadians.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi was successfully retained by the Carolina Hurricanes, where the winger signed a one-year, $ 6.1 million contract with the ‘Canes when the Canadiens decided not to match the offer. In return, the Canadians received two draft picks from the Hurricanes. The whole offer of the offer sheet was petty and ridiculous, and surprisingly successful. Kotkaniemi had been a good scratch at times, and it was clear that there might be some friction caused by the ice weather given to him. The 21-year-old played 56 games for the Canadiens last season, totaling 5 goals, 15 assists, 12 IMPs and a -1.

If there is one bright spot in the Canadiens roster, it’s the return of Jonathan Drouin, who took time off on a trip to Alberta last season in April. Drouin has spoken openly about his reasons, namely insomnia caused by anxiety, a problem he has long survived and which reached its peak last season. I can’t thank Drouin enough for speaking publicly about mental health this past season; Unfortunately, the stigma associated with mental health is still very much present in hockey, and the more athletes who speak candidly about their experiences, the better the sport fits into discussions about mental health.

Here’s what Daily Faceoff’s makeup will look like:

Before

Tyler Toffoli – Nick Suzuki – Cole Caufield
Jonathan Drouin – Christian Dvorak – Josh Anderson
Joel Armia – Jake Evans – Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen – Cédric Paquette – Mathieu Perreault

Defenders

Joel Edmundson – Jeff Petry
Alexandre Romanov – David Savard
Ben Chiarot – Chris Wideman

Goalkeepers

Carey Award
Jake allen

What can we expect in 2021-2022?

We can expect the unexpected; the roster of the Canadiens is totally different and we are back to our regular divisions. I expect the team to have a bit of a hard time at the start, as they adjust to their new lineup and count for players starting the season injured, but they should, as Canadians generally do. , accelerate their pace towards the middle and end of the season. Will it be enough to return to the playoffs? Who knows.

The San Jose Sharks and the Montreal Canadiens will meet twice during the regular season, all in October. They will meet first on October 19 at the Bell Center, then again on October 28 at the SAP Center.


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