This fits Julien's dream style

After taking over Michel Therrien's last season for his second Habs stint (which led to a fast exit in the 1st round of the playoffs), and his disastrous first season (which led to the lottery and Kotkaniemi), Julien's Habs came out in 2018 with a brand new full-speed, ultra-high paced style of hockey. The Habs came out flying in October 2018, with Julien himself wondering how long they could keep that up. The line of Tatar-Danault-Gallagher was born, Domi was flying, Kotkaniemi impressing with his defensive acumen as a very young 18 year old center (he was still the youngest player in the NHL in his second season), Drouin was himself, Armia proved a shrewd trade, Byron had magical goal totals with solid play. But cracks were already appearing: Julien's team played a game of thousand cuts, but lacked depth and finishers. The defence was a mess, mostly on the left side (Mete with Weber, Alzner...). Then it got more difficult. The style they played needs 4 regular lines, but got players tired, injured (Shaw, Byron, Weber) and the lack of depth was exposed. Julien was "desperate" for a proper 4th line. This lead to the Nate Thomson acquisition. The Habs failed to make the playoffs, tying the NHL record of 96 points for a non-playoff team. Life is unfair, as the Stars and Avalanche both made the playoffs with lower totals out West.

The same story was repeated for the 2019-2020 season. Brett Kulak, a nice surprise, regressed, and so did Kotkaniemi. The backups of Carey Price failed again. After a fast start, the team crumbled again. Paul Byron was not even his own shell, Domi was ineffective and the team missed Andrew Shaw. After an adjustment period, Ben Chiarot proved a valuable D pickup. Suzuki showed the Pacioretty trade was a steal (Norlinderr's development helps there too). Again, Bergevin could not find valuable players to use his cap space. The team was going to miss the playoffs again.

Then COVID-19 happened.

In the play-offs that followed resumed play, the Habs shined. Suzuki proved his worth, Kotkaniemi rebounded in a big way, Drouin was the lead scorer, Price showed what he can do when rested, Byron was rejuvenated. With this promise, and the cap and salary crunch league-wide, Bergevin saw his position turned upside-down: he now had space, financial might and leverage. He first traded to get the rights to Joel Edmundson, who he hopes is Chiarot 2.0. Then he traded Domi to get his dreamed big power forward in Josh Anderson. He got a good (if pricey) backup for Price in Jake Allen, who like Price proved very valuable with a reduced workload in St-Louis. In the draft, Guhle fits the Chiarot-Edmundson style. Then he got a scorer in Tyler Toffoli with a contract that would have been impossible without COVID.

Julien has no more excuses. He could comfortably roll out a 4th line with the likes of Byron, Armia and Lekhonen. While Evans is still a bit green, those are quality NHL players, and good depth in case of injuries. Anderson can pound, and so can Chiarot and Edmundson (and Weber). The big guys he acquired recently all have another attribute: they skate very well. That shows Bergevin learned that he could get big D who did not necessarily drive offense, but he needs them to skate (unlike Alzner). This is Anderson's main difference with guys like Lucic (thanks Chiarelli!!) or Clarkson. The defence looks full, if on the older side. Romanov is also coming. That's a massive amount of good skating muscle.

While the team is still lacking in top-end scoring talent, every other need has been (theoretically) filled. Julien can now roll every line with almost similar ice times (I don't think the top 9 will see much different ice times, except for special teams play). He has to win now. That team should be exciting.

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