The greatest organizational needs of Canadians are emerging

The Montreal Canadiens have been a very exciting and surprising team to start the season, but they are still missing a few key elements.

They have high octane forwards, they have a stable defense and they have good goalkeepers, although the future of this position is still unknown.

Given the style the Canadiens would like to emulate on the ice, certain pieces will need to be added to their core for Montreal to become a perennial contender.

With the last 16 games in mind, here are the areas the Canadiens will likely need to strengthen to ensure they can eventually take the next step in their rebuild:

Strategist

Despite all of these surprising successes, the most glaring thing the Canadiens lack is a bona fide defenseman who leads the game to back up the Canadiens’ forwards and act as a double threat from the blue line.

It’s not a shadow Kaiden Guhléwho could possibly stand out as a top pair defender, and played a stellar and responsible style, while also contributing offensively where he can.

For the Canadiens to have long-term success, Guhle will eventually need a partner on the right side who has the dynamic skill set necessary for a successful quarterback on the power play, generating a high odds ratio in favor. of his club and recording 23+ minutes per night.

The Canadiens haven’t had a successful power play since Andrei Markov ran the power play and desperately need such a player to help them optimize their effectiveness in such critical situations.

It’s easier said than done, because those kinds of defensemen are hard to find in the NHL, but it’s something that Jeff Gorton previously mentioned as a priority for the organization to acquire, either via trade or through trafficking.

No. 2

Over the past two years, Nick Suzuki established himself as the team’s undisputed No.1 centre.

His strong start to the season, as well as carrying the weight of captaining the Canadiens, has pretty much cemented his place in the club’s hierarchy, but there are still questions as to who will eventually be the other center in the top six at the future. .

The plan still appears to have Kirby Dach as the No. 2 center down the line, but his instant chemistry with Suzuki and Cole Caufield may well force the Canadians to rethink their long-term strategy, or at least prepare for the possibility of Dach being the missing piece on the top line and not Suzuki’s runner.

By having options for the second-line center role, the Canadiens could move some players around without necessarily hurting the club’s depth or needed strength in the middle.

Right now, Sean Monahan did an admirable job playing in the center in place of Dach, but is unlikely to be in the cards long-term, given that his name is already in discussion for the next trade deadline in the NHL.

Acquiring or drafting this bonafide No. 2, who could also switch between wing and center, would give the Canadiens the firepower to keep up with the best teams in the league, taking them from team to line to line. offensive power.

All in due time

None of these positions need to be dealt with in the immediate future, as it’s best for the Montreal Canadiens to find long-term solutions to these holes in the roster.

But, as the Canadiens continue to build toward a better and brighter future, these two major positions will need to be filled if they are to keep pace with the league’s top teams.

Aubrey L. Morgan