The Montreal Canadiens season is essentially over. Their biggest potential victory will come in a few months when the playoffs begin and Montreal finds out where they’re drafting. Hopefully they’ll beat the odds and land the chance to draft Rasmus Dahlin.
So who should fans cheer for in the meantime? Thankfully, there are plenty of options, and several that directly impact the Montreal Canadiens’ draft positioning. Sure you can root for anyone that you choose, but these are a few options that are worth cheering for on the side.
Why?: Last year at the trade deadline, Montreal sent a conditional fourth-round pick to the Kings in exchange for Dwight King. Fast forward to the early part of this season, and Montreal sends Torrey Mitchell to LA for a conditional fifth-round pick. That condition is that if the Kings make the playoffs, Montreal gets their fourth-round pick back from the King trade.
There’s no guarantee that a fourth-round pick turns into anything, but giving Trevor Timmins so many at bats in one draft is almost certain to result in at least a few home runs in the end.
Why?: It’s not so much the Oilers that Habs fans should root for the rest of this season, it’s former backup goalie Al Montoya. If he plays seven total games with at least 30 minutes of playing time, the fifth-round pick Montreal received for him becomes a fourth-round pick this year. As it stands, Montoya has five such games for the Oilers, meaning he needs just two more to get Montreal a better draft pick.
I’m not one to suggest rooting for someone to play badly, but Cam Talbot struggling and granting Montoya a few starts is a win for Montreal at this stage.
Literally anyone playing Chicago
Why?: Montreal has Chicago’s second-round pick thanks to a shrewd bit of business from Marc Bergevin when he acquired Phillip Danault and said pick for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann two years ago. The Blackhawks are more than likely going to miss the playoffs for the first time in recent memory, meaning that second-round pick will be near the beginning of the round for Montreal. Factor in Montreal’s own second-round pick being near the top of the round, and the Habs have the chance to create a seriously deep prospect pool come June at the draft in Dallas.
Why?: Do you really need a reason other than the fact that Montreal’s long-time centre has a shot at a Stanley Cup?
Well, if you do, then I don’t really know what to say, Plekanec did everything ever asked of him in Montreal, and getting a chance at the biggest prize in the NHL is a great reward for the Czech forward. Plus, I wouldn’t dare ask Habs fans to root for all of the Leafs, even if they are one of the most exciting teams on the ice right now.
Why?: Because if the Canadiens can’t keep their stars like Shea Weber and Carey Price healthy in the next few seasons, their contracts are going to become bloated albatrosses during a potential rebuild. If both return to health and their top form — which they should — it could take some sting out of what may possibly be a period of rebuilding and retooling.
As always continue rooting for the Habs as you will, but there are plenty of other options that fans could also cheer for that benefit Montreal in the long run. Either way, it’s going to be a hectic off-season after the last whistle sounds, and hopefully Montreal will have a few more picks in their pocket heading into the draft for Trevor Timmins to work his magic.