SB Nation Reacts: Canadiens fans feeling more confident about the team’s direction
There was quite a bit of unhappiness with the organization when the pandemic struck, but the mood is greatly improved four months later.
Fans of the Montreal Canadiens were already generally upset with how things had gone at the time of the NHL Trade Deadline, but that confidence in the organization fell even further in the days after the season was put on pause by the coronavirus. After four months, the Habs’ situation has drastically changed, and optimism is renewed.
On March 16, it seemed as though the Canadiens’ 2019-20 season was over; another failed campaign that didn’t earn the team a playoff spot. But reports kept surfacing that the NHL was looking at expanded playoff participation, with rumours of 24 teams being involved, and that extended just far enough down the order to include Montreal. Sure enough, as we reach the midpoint of July, the Canadiens players have ended what they thought were prolonged summer vacations to once more take to the ice with competitive games on the horizon.
In the midst of all that happening, the Canadiens also participated in the draft lottery. In a normal season, they would have only had a 6.0% chance of winning the first overall pick, and getting to select Alexis Lafrenière, but a few tweaks to the format and a friendly draw later, those odds will now be one-in-eight in a Phase 2 lottery should they lose their Stanley Cup Qualifier versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It has also been announced that the salary cap will remain flat for at least the next season; usually bad news for teams in the league, but good news for a Canadiens club that has operated well under the cap ceiling in recent years. Several of the top contenders in the NHL are significantly impacted by the news, which bodes well for Montreal’s immediate future. There could finally be a chance to benefit from their foes’ woes and pluck a quality player from a cap-strapped club to fill a hole on their own roster.
And, of course, the team also just signed top defence prospect Alexander Romanov, who is now very close to beginning his NHL career after there had been some uncertainty about his future.
The NHL has seen a lot of things change in the past four months, and many of them have benefited Montreal. The outlook has suddenly improved for the organization, and that was reflected in your responses.
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