With 24 Stanley Cups, the Montreal Canadiens are historically the most successful team in the NHL. Recently though they haven’t been as successful. The team hasn’t won a championship in almost 30 years and until this season the team hadn’t made the playoffs since 2017. General manager Marc Bergevin had his hands full this offseason and he managed to improve his team.
Why the Montreal Canadiens made the Playoffs?
After being invited to the NHL’s return to play the Canadiens matched up with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the play-in round. Pittsburgh was favored to win the series but Montreal pulled off the upset. Of the teams invited to the bubble, the Canadiens were actually the worst team. Montreal shockingly defeated Pittsburgh in 4 games. After winning in the play-in series the Canadiens advanced to the first round to face the Philadelphia Flyers. The Canadiens ultimately met their demise against the Flyers as they lost in six games.
Montreal Canadiens Offseason Acquisitions
The Canadiens have already started revamping their team. Gm Marc Bergevin knew he needed to find a solid backup goalie for Carey Price. The team allowed 220 goals during the 2019-20 season so Bergevin also needed to acquire a defender to try and help his defense. Bergevin has already improved his roster and will continue to try and improve his team throughout the offseason.
The long-time St. Louis Blues starting goalie found himself sitting on the bench during the past two seasons. When Jordan Binnington took over the starting goalie position and lead the Blues to their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history it pretty much sealed the fate of Jake Allen for his career in St. Louis.
After being eliminated from the 2020 playoffs, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong got to work immediately. Allen and a seventh-round pick were traded to Montreal. The Canadiens acquired a third-round pick and a seventh-round pick. Allen will now be the backup goalie for the Montreal Canadiens behind franchise star Carey Price.
The Carolina Hurricanes defense core was very strong during the 2019-20 season. With lots of depth on the blue line, Joel Edmundson was expendable. The 2018-19 Stanley Cup winner with the St. Louis Blues got traded to the Hurricanes right before the 2019-20 season started.
Edmundson benefited greatly from the trade as he had a career year. He scored 7 goals and added 13 assists for 20 points. His real value comes on the defensive end. Edmundson earned a plus 8 rating showing that when he is on the ice his team scores more than the opposing team scores. Edmundson’s strong defensive presence and his ability to produce on the offensive makes the Canadiens decision to trade for him a fantastic one.
The Canadiens acquired Edmundson in the offseason for a fifth-round pick. Edmundson immediately signed a four-year contract with the Habs for 14 million dollars. Edmundson will be in the Canadiens top six defensemen and will improve their team by a lot.
Josh Anderson is a very confusing player indeed. During the 2018-19 season, Anderson was one of the best Columbus Blue Jackets. He played in all 82 games and scored 27 goals and added 20 assists. He helped the Blue Jackets defeat the mighty Tampa Bay Lightning in a David vs Goliath type of series. Big things were expected by Anderson in the 2019-20 season. Anderson battled injury and only managed to get into 26 games. In his brief 2019-20 season, he only managed to score one goal and three assists.
During the offseason, the Blue Jackets decided it was time to move on. They traded him to the Canadiens for Max Domi. As soon as he was traded to the Canadiens he inked a massive seven-year contract worth 38.5 million dollars. General manager Marc Bergevin is hoping Anderson rebounds from his tough season and returns to the 2018-19 version of Anderson.
At the 2020 trade deadline, the Vancouver Canucks went all in by acquiring a sniper that formerly played for the Los Angeles Kings. Centerman Tyler Toffoli was a massive piece in the Kings’ Stanley Cup championship in 2014. The Canucks hoped he could bring the same magic north of the border.
Toffoli was actually an amazing player during his short time with Vancouver. During his ten regular-season games with the Canucks, Toffoli managed to score six goals and add four assists for ten total points. After putting up a point per game in the regular season for the Canucks, Toffoli continued his success by scoring two goals and two assists for four total points in seven playoff games.
During the offseason, Toffoli cashed in on his recent success as he signed a four-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens worth $17 million. This signing is the best signing the Canadiens made during this offseason. Montreal was one of the worst goal-scoring teams in the league last season. By signing Toffoli, a player known for his offensive capabilities should only improve the Canadiens and increase their chance of making the playoffs.
The Montreal Canadiens only lost one player this offseason. This player was Max Domi. As previously mentioned Domi was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Domi was a pretty good player for the Canadiens during his short two-year stint. Domi arrived in Montreal after a disappointing couple of seasons with the Arizona Coyotes. In his first season after being traded from the Coyotes, Domi had the best season of his career. He played in all 82 games for the Canadiens and set multiple career highs as he scored 28 goals and 44 assists for 72 total points. Expectations were sky-high for Domi as he entered his second campaign with Montreal.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Domi and the Canadiens were only able to play 71 games in 2019-20 season. In his 71 games Domi scored 17 goals and 27 assists for 44 total points. Montreal media was not happy with Domi’s performance and pretty much forced Marc Bergevin to trade him. Columbus decided to take a chance on the 25 year old forward. After acquiring him they signed him to a two tear extension worth 10.6 million dollars. If Domi can have a similar season to the one he had in his first season with Montreal then the contract will definitely be worth his production but if he disappoints again then the Columbus Blue Jackets will regret their decision to give him this contract.
Conclusion on the Montreal Canadiens Offseason
Overall the Canadiens made some fantastic moves this offseason. They improved multiple parts of their team. They improved their goaltending situation by acquiring Jake Allen to backup up Carey Price. They also brought in Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli to try and improve their goal scoring. Joel Edmundson will also be able to provide good production from the blueline. Canadiens fans should be very excited about their new and improved team.
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