We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the 2015-2016 season has been a long and disappointing one for the Montreal Canadiens. Carey Price having played only 12 games by March didn’t help for sure, but his absence has exposed some serious gaps in this line-up, none of which have been filled by GM Marc Bergevin, who will likely try to address issue this upcoming summer. Lacking top end scoring should be at the top of his priority list, although this is something that almost every single NHL team is looking for.
Whether it be through trades by the June NHL Draft, through free agency on July first, and/or from within the team’s own prospect pool, Bergevin will be hard at work trying to add some natural scoring ability to the Canadiens. It seems like Alex Galchenyuk has turned the corner, having reached the 20 goals plateau for the second time in two seasons, and has recently been promoted to the first line centre position, a situation that perhaps should have been done a while ago according to many.
With the team already deprived of Price, Brendan Gallagher left Saturday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets with a lower body injury, which appears to be a knee or a groin. He joins defenseman Jeff Petry on the injury list, he who will not return this season, and Nathan Beaulieu who has been kept out of the line-up with is own injury. Further, the loss against the Jets has dropped the Canadiens’ odds of making the playoffs down to 1.2% according to Sports Club Stats, which has all but officially eliminated them from the playoffs.
Time for experiments
Reading social media will likely be even more annoying from now until the end of the season as fans and media personalities, particularly those with an axe to grind with the coach, the GM or some individual players are likely to ignore the reality of situation to further push their agenda. The reality, in the Canadiens’ situation, is to allow the team to evaluate what they have on hands in order to determine how much their top prospects have developed this season. This will not only serve to decide who has a shot at helping the big club next season, but also to see which ones the team would be willing to sacrifice in possible trades to try improving the team.
It will also give more time to management to see which veterans are still competing hard and which ones have packed it in for the season, as this is the first time in the Bergevin era that the team finds itself in this unpleasant situation. Fans and media should expect plenty of movement in the line-up, players in different positions and roles from game to game or even throughout the same game. People better get used to it and in some cases, change their mind set, as that’s exactly what’s coming up. While the coaching staff and management will expect the players to give full effort, the end result of the game (win or loss) will not be as important as determining how individual players perform.