When Montreal Canadiens fans were asked about the direction of the team in late January, a slight majority were happy with how the future was looking. On February 12, just under two weeks from the NHL Trade Deadline, that number had swelled to about 70% who answered “yes.” Now that the deadline is behind us, pending free agents have been exchanged for draft picks, and the roster is locked in for the rest of the 2019-20 season, the confidence has fallen to the lowest measured point in the sample; an almost even split.
So what happened in that two-week period to erase the positivity that was brewing?
On February 12, the Canadiens had put up a record of 9-4-0 in the previous 13 games as they prepared to face the Boston Bruins. They had the Florida Panthers five points ahead, and the Toronto Maple Leafs just seven up in the third and final Eastern Conference seed. After two eight-game losing streaks, the Habs at least had a small chance of catching those teams and sneaking into the playoffs. The game that night against the Bruins was the second of another long losing skid, this one of five games, taking them out of contention. Perhaps that dangled hope of post-season play, only to be crushed a week later, was responsible for the change.
Another possibility is that some saw the upcoming trade deadline as a chance to really build for the future. There were some valuable players on the roster who would bring in good prospects and draft picks, adding to one of the strongest pools of young talent in the league and the NHL’s largest number of selections in the entry draft. The deadline did increase the number of picks, but nothing of substantial value was added, leaving the team largely intact to finish the year. Could it have been the thrill of change and the subsequent maintaining of the status quo that soured opinion?
Does one of these explanations fit your choices? Despite the overall drop, are you still one of those who maintains a positive outlook for the organization’s future? Maybe you’re someone not aligned with the general trend, who turned a “no” vote into a “yes” response. Do you think you would change your answer from what you selected on February 26 after another week’s reflection? Share your thoughts below.
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