October 12, 2022
The Montreal Canadiens are set to play their season opener tonight at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. We find ourselves in a unique place as Habs fans – knowing this team will likely pile up a lot of losses and strangely looking forward to it. It’s finally time for the Canadiens to deliberately step out of mediocrity by taking some steps back to get to the stepping forward part.
Making predictions for the new season is very fashionable, so I won’t resist. Here goes.
Jonathan Drouin will be traded by American Thanksgiving.
That’s six weeks away.
Drouin won’t be dealt because his performance is abysmal any more than he’ll be dealt because he’s tearing up the league and teams are offering up first rounders. Jo will be Jo – a useful player that could never live up to the price that was paid for him, or the weight of expectation laid on him.
Six weeks will be enough time for the playoff picture to take shape and for teams to identify holes. A team on the bubble will come looking for scoring depth and offer up something Hughes can’t refuse… like maybe a veteran defenseman.
Kent Hughes will take a third first-round pick into the draft in Nashville, and he will acquire it through a deadline deal for Joel Edmundson.
Edmundson’s return will not come soon enough to prevent Hughes from adding a veteran defenseman but will come soon enough to establish himself as still having game. An all-in team will give up a first rounder to add him to their top four for a playoff run.
By the trade deadline, Guhle will have already established himself as capable of replacing Edmundson and taking that first-round pick will be a no brainer.
Not worth a first, you say? Ben Chiarot is waiting for you on line one.
Every single rookie on the roster for opening night will spend some time in Laval.
The Guhle fans just broke something while rolling their eyes at this one. He looks fantastic and I do believe he will establish himself in the top 4 by end of season. Perhaps the pathway to top-4 defenceman in the NHL runs through Laval. Did you hear about the HuGo plan to rotate kids in and out of Laval as needed to work on specific aspects of their game? Did you read what Marty told Eric Engels about Laval?
“If he’s going down, it’s because there’s a plan for him. Like, do we want him to go down and see if he can run a power play? Kill penalties? Can he get more of those reps in there?”
I don’t see why their developmental philosophy wouldn’t apply to Kaiden Guhle.
Kent Hughes will add a goalie.
This could go two routes. I do believe that Hughes will be open to adding a long-term option in net whenever that player becomes available, whether through draft, trade or free agency. That said, I don’t believe there will be a rush to land the future starter. If he falls in their lap at any time over the next three or four years, they’ll run with it.
The other more likely route is that Montembeault continues to struggle – and not in that “valiant effort but we lost a close one” kind of way. If it becomes necessary to over-rely on Jake Allen because Montembeault is in net for too many blowouts, I predict Hughes will add a placeholding goalie to play tandem with Allen through the rebuild.
In his first year as Captain, Nick Suzuki will shine – to the tune of 26 goals and 55 assists.
Nothing fancy about this calculation. Suzuki scored 41 points in his first two seasons in Montreal, and 61 in his third. I’m calling this as his true breakout year and a total of 81 points. Suzuki will lead on the ice and be the most important player for the Habs.
Cole Caufield will be the main beneficiary of those assists, but a bevy of wingers will rotate through that line while they continue to search for the perfect trio.
There you have it. Five predictions.
Okay, let’s do one more for rivalry’s sake. The Habs will beat the Leafs in their season series. It starts tonight!
5 thoughts on “Five Habs Predictions for 2022-23”
Jojo traded that soon is pretty bold. I’m not sure his max value will be achieved by that point, but if he gets off to a hot start then you may hit 5 for 5. At this point, I have no idea what would be a reasonable return for Drouin.
I’m raising a Spockian eyebrow of hope over the Edmunson for a 1st.
Completely agree about Suzuki. He’s a steady player with a large amount of untapped talent. If he was on the dreaded Leafs, 90pts+ wouldn’t be unreasonable and would be an upgrade over Tavares imho.
The Jo prediction is deliberately bold. At some point, they’re going to have to accept that his value is not likely hitting the peak they hope. As for Edmundson and the first, he’s better than Chiarot in my view. And someone paid that for Big Ben.
I figured re: Drouin’s prediction. It certainly caught my attention lol. I’m curious if you have an idea on the return for him wrt a Thanksgiving trade? Seeing him start the season in civvies doesn’t inspire much hope.
Did a quick look at the stats and Edmunson’s surprised me – I might have bought into the Chiarot hype during the Dream Run. Chiarot struck me as someone who could anchor a pairing while Edmunson not so much – but I could definitely be wrong.
Getting a first for Chiarot was absolute robbery. But there is always a GM who will go for that kind of guy, regardless what the stats say. As for Drouin, I don’t believe he will fetch a great return, now, at Thanksgiving, or at the deadline. If he can’t get in the line up soon, or is in and out, that will inevitably become a distraction. That’s my thinking.
Will be fun to see how these smart predictions fare. Future injuries may play a role. No prediction about Hoffman’s future??
Imo, the Red Wings did a good job against Habs rush game. Maybe Keefe was right about his team’s poor effort.