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Bottom Six Minutes: It can’t just be Cole Caufield

Some roster changes are needed to avoid these embarrassing blowout losses with flashes of Caufield brilliance.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens saved perhaps their most embarrassing 2022 defeat for last, losing 9-2 to the Washington Capitals in a macabre way to usher in the new year. Despite being down early in the game, they managed to get worse as it wore on, culminating in a completely embarrassing third period where they were manhandled for four goals despite entering it down 5-2.

The only thing they had going for them in that game was Cole Caufield, and that just isn’t going to cut it for the remainder of this season.

As encouraging as it is to see Caufield breaking out this season, there needs to be more. I’m not talking about them magically constructing a roster that wins a bunch of games — that won’t happen, and frankly the losses serve only to improve their lottery odds. I’m talking about the walking dead we see all over the rest of the roster, and how they’re not contributing to the rebuild in any way.

As my colleague Jared Book put it the other day, there is too much dead weight on this roster. The team needs to make some moves to free up space so that other young players can be evaluated. It might be tough, because some of these veterans are ostensibly being auditioned for trades, but if that is the case, these blowout losses where they look like dead weight will tank their trade value. It may be better to look for deals now while you can still hang your hat on previous seasons.

We’re not learning anything we didn’t already know about the likes of Joel Armia, Mike Hoffman, Joel Edmundson, Jonathan Drouin, and so on. We seem to learn new things about Caufield and Nick Suzuki on the regular, but that’s not enough. We know they’ll work on the other side of the rebuild, but the question remains who can be developed to play around them.

Just imagine how good Cole Caufield would be on a team where he’s not the only clear and present danger. They need to figure out how to build that team.

Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, also available on your podcast platform of choice. The Habs have a much needed two-day break, and we’ll return when they do this coming Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.