The Montreal Canadiens have hit the midway level of the 2022-23 season and whereas their total file is healthier than final yr right now, it’s clear the crew remains to be struggling by means of rebuilding pains and the roster stays a piece in progress with vital holes to fill.
The arrival of 2023 implies that the enjoyable is about to start for the entrance workplace as they proceed to look ahead and implement their plan for sustained success sooner or later. With that in thoughts, listed below are 5 daring predictions for the Habs throughout this subsequent calendar yr.
Edmundson Will Be Moved on the Deadline
Kent Hughes aced his first Trade Deadline in 2022 and shall be wanting for a repeat efficiency over the following few weeks. Just like the Artturi Lehkonen deal, the overall supervisor will handle to commerce a participant nonetheless below crew management past this yr and that participant shall be Joel Edmundson.
Too many contending squads are wanting for defensive assist for Hughes to not get a suggestion he can’t go up. The veteran defenceman has struggled on the ice, however he’s enjoying out of place on the highest pair, one thing he received’t do on a playoff crew, and his intangibles off the ice are invaluable. Edmundson can be Hughes’ greatest likelihood to amass one other first-round decide given Sean Monahan’s damage and the truth that administration is contemplating bringing him again in recognition of how invaluable he’s rapidly grow to be.
Slafkovsky Will Finish the Season in Montreal
Held pointless over his final 12 video games, Juraj Slafkovsky has hit the proverbial wall and the 18-year-old rookie’s chilly streak unsurprisingly coincides together with his crew’s present free fall. Fans and media members are calling for him to be despatched to the American Hockey League (AHL) for a stint with the Laval Rocket to regain his confidence.
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So far, Hughes hasn’t given in to the stress, and it doesn’t appear to be he’ll. Management feels that the NHL is the very best place for the Slovak proper now to proceed his growth. They have their causes, and it is going to be fascinating to listen to what they’re as a result of their high prospect is now one yr nearer to unrestricted free agent (UFA) standing. During the latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading, Darren Dreger indicated that he believes Slafkovsky shall be despatched down finally, however Hughes doesn’t wish to make a knee-jerk choice throughout this skid. While he ought to see a while in Laval, maybe throughout the Canadiens’ prolonged break round NHL All-Star Weekend originally of February, he’ll look to complete the season on a excessive observe in Montreal.
Canadiens Will Draft Twice within the Top 10
The NHL Draft is lower than six months away and Montreal is in a chief place so as to add extra elite younger expertise to their prospect pool after a affluent draft in 2022 which included choosing Slafkovsky first total. Not solely will they’ve their lottery decide this yr throughout the festivities in Nashville, however there’s a robust likelihood that the Florida Panthers’ first-round decide, which they acquired in the Ben Chiarot trade, may also be a lottery choice because of their struggles this season.
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While it will be enjoyable and daring to guess that the Habs will land Connor Bedard, particularly since they’ll possible get two cracks at him, let’s go together with a safer prediction as a substitute: the Canadiens will make two picks within the Top 10 and one shall be within the Top 5. In a deep draft which is loaded with expertise on the high, this lottery consequence could be an ideal luxurious. It would permit them to pick two doubtlessly game-changing items that shall be a part of the crew’s new core whereas additionally giving them the flexibleness to prioritize positional wants with their later picks. It would speed up the rebuild in an enormous approach, which is exactly what Hughes is attempting to do.
Hughes Will Make Another Summer Splash
Last summer season, Hughes stole the displaying throughout the draft in Montreal when he struck two separate offers to land Kirby Dach, who has taken his recreation to a different degree whereas enjoying alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.
Chances are he’ll make one other splash throughout this coming offseason so as to add one other key piece, maybe a top-four defenceman who may also help the Canadiens’ terrible energy play. Josh Anderson and a number of other prospects might be used as commerce bait in a possible commerce.
Beck Will Make the 2023-24 Opening Night Roster
After buying and selling Owen Beck to the Peterborough Petes forward of the Trade Deadline within the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), James Richmond, basic supervisor and head coach of the Mississauga Steelheads, predicted that his now-former participant shall be playing in Montreal next year. Chances are, he’ll be confirmed proper.
The centreman’s development since being chosen at no. 33 total by the Habs within the 2022 NHL Draft has been nothing wanting spectacular. In addition to a robust NHL coaching camp debut, he put up 17 targets and 40 factors in 30 video games with the Steelheads and received a gold medal with Team Canada on the World Juniors. Mature past his years, Beck performs a whole recreation and appears to make one thing occur every time he’s on the ice whatever the event. He’s dependable and does all of the little issues properly that assist groups win video games which is exactly what the Canadiens want.
The second half of the season is shaping as much as be considerably of a slog for the Habs, however followers nonetheless have tons to look ahead to as preparations start for the 2023-24 marketing campaign and past.
Melissa has been protecting the Montreal Canadiens for The Hockey Writers since March of 2020. She can be THW’s Social Media & Marketing Manager in addition to co-host of Chicks & Sticks, a weekly present produced by THW. In 2006, she spearheaded the social media initiatives for Tennis Canada and Rogers Cup and was the first individual accountable for their repairs for over 10 years. She has written articles for a number of tennis web sites and interviewed the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams. While her profession in sports activities began in tennis, her old flame has all the time been hockey. She has a journalism diploma from Concordia University.