What are the Canadiens Doing?
By Patrick Hoffman
With the NHL trade deadline having come and gone, the Montreal Canadiens appear to be in the same position that they were prior to it.
For the Canadiens, that is absolutely nowhere. As of this writing (February 27, 2018), the team is 6th in the Atlantic Division, which is well out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. There also 27th in the entire league.
Basically put, the Canadiens are not very good. For a franchise with such rich history, pride, and many unbelievable and unforgettable moments, the current state of this hockey club is abysmal.
The blame really starts at the top with job done by general manager Marc Bergevin. While the team has made the postseason under his watch in 2014, 15, and 17, they have not done well (except for 2014 when they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals) while their play in the regular season has been mediocre at best.
The deals Bergevin has done have not really worked out. The obvious one is when he dealt fan favorite PK Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber a few seasons ago.
Subban is an absolute star in Nashville and not only did he help his team reach the Stanley Cup Final last season, but he has helped his team be in a good position this year to perhaps accomplish the same feat.
At the other end, Weber has been solid offensively, but has not helped the Canadiens succeed where it matters most in the postseason. It also does not help that he has missed much of this season with a foot injuryand was recently shut down for the remainder of it (February 22, 2018).
To help bolster the team's offense going into this season, he went out and acquired Jonathan Drouin in exchange for defenseman Mikhail Sergachev. This season, Drouin has 30 points (9 goals and 21 assists) in 57 games while Sergachev has 31 points (8 goals and 23 assists) in 61 games (All as of February 27, 2018).
Yes, the numbers are quite similar. With that said, remember that Drouin is a forward and Sergachev is a defenseman, which means that the numbers really should not be that close and Drouin should be performing much better.
Another problem Bergevin has run into is his netminder Carey Price. Price had injury troubles in 2015-16 and also this season, obviously things that neither Bergevin or Price could control.
With that said, when between the pipes this season, Price has been extremely inconsistent. In 43 games, Price is 15-22-6 with a 2.98 goals against average, a .904 save percentage, and 1 shutout, all bad numbers for Price.
Price is currently on injured reserve with a concussion. This means that his injury history continues to grow larger, which should be somewhat concerning to Bergevin.
The question is where do the Canadiens go from here? How can Bergevin improve this team and get them back into playoff contention for next season?
Right now, there appear to be no answers, which leaves the Canadiens in no man's land.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.