ESPN’s 2023-24 Canadiens Projections: The Good & the Unhealthy

With hockey season rapidly approaching, these taking part in fantasy hockey bought an early look into the ESPN 2023-24 level projection. In complete, 318 gamers obtained projected level totals for this season, together with 12 members of the Montreal Canadiens. A complete of 11 gamers within the NHL might attain the 100-point plateau, with Toronto Maple Leafs ahead Auston Matthews sitting on the surface wanting in with 99 factors.

A number of the Canadiens listed are part of the anticipated top-100 level producers this season, with a stunning quantity of offensive enhancements throughout the board. Well being will play a task in these gamers reaching these totals, because the Canadiens had been pummelled with accidents final season, ending the 12 months with 751 man-games misplaced. In fact, some might regress on Montreal’s roster, together with some leaving followers scratching their head.

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Unusually sufficient, the prediction fashions embrace 4 Canadiens forwards ending the 12 months with at the very least 20 objectives or extra. The final time this occurred was within the 2014-15 season, when head coach Michel Therrien had an arsenal of firepower, together with Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, and Tomas Plekanec. Montreal additionally made the playoffs that 12 months, dropping to the Tampa Bay Lightning within the second spherical.

The Good: Caufield & Suzuki Lead Offensive Cost

Beginning with the least stunning predictions, and sure the best to realize, are Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki main the group within the 1-2 slots. Caufield initiatives to provide 42 objectives in 76 video games, turning into the primary participant on the group to take action since Vincent Damphousse hit 40 within the 1993-94 season. He was lowered to 46 video games final season, besides, his 26 objectives give followers an excellent impression of what he can do over an entire season. If he can keep comparatively wholesome, the Canadiens might have one in every of their very own competing for the Rocket Richard Trophy.

Cole Caufield, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With each scoring winger comes a centre that is aware of the place to seek out him, and that’s the place Suzuki is available in. The overall level projection for the Canadiens’ captain sits at 66 factors, the identical as final season, however might surpass this complete with Caufield on his wing for a complete season. Montreal’s energy play was abysmal final season, ending in twenty ninth with a 16.1 % price, however might see a drastic swing in the suitable course with extra stability on each waves.

The Unhealthy: The Overestimation of Slafkovsky & Harvey-Pinard

Surprises aren’t at all times optimistic and generally make little sense, which is the case with the numbers given to Juraj Slafkovsky and Rafael Harvey-Pinard. The 2 younger forwards be part of Caufield and Suzuki within the 20-goal membership, scoring 22 and 21, respectively, whereas Slafkovsky initiatives to succeed in 55 factors — an enchancment from his 10 factors in 39 video games throughout his rookie season. Whereas this will likely go a good distance to enhance the Canadiens’ probabilities of being aggressive, there’s a low chance of both attaining these totals.

Harvey-Pinard reached 14 objectives final season, sparking an increase in momentum and a much bigger function on the group. Whereas the Canadiens had been riddled with accidents all season, few took benefit of their alternatives greater than Harvey-Pinard. On high of a formidable second half, he additionally put up these totals in 34 video games, however the probability to play with Suzuki as he did might not arrive this time. With the Canadiens buying Alex Newhook and the group remaining wholesome, Harvey-Pinard’s time will seemingly be in a bottom-six place.

Rafael Harvey-Pinard Montreal Canadiens
Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Montreal Canadiens (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Though Slafkovsky’s sport highlighted some positives, his lack of time because of well being points and a few points along with his bodily sport raised some issues. The Canadiens’ 2022 first-overall choose might be an ideal participant with some persistence and growth, however the perception of going from six objectives in 39 video games to 22 in twice as many appearances appears far-fetched. Maybe Slafkovsky’s offseason coaching will repay, and he’ll see extra time within the high six, however for now, it’s too early to foretell such a meteoric rise in manufacturing.

Canadiens’ Projections Lead To Intriguing 2023-24 Season

With most specialists predicting the Canadiens to complete someplace between twenty fifth and useless final, it’s a surprise how they’ll end so low if they’ll get this sort of manufacturing out of a number of gamers. Some regressed in comparison with final 12 months’s totals, together with Brendan Gallagher and Josh Anderson, and accidents taking part in a component within the group’s success once more might be an element. Having a 40-goal scorer and three with 20 or extra places them in good competition to be aggressive, on the very least.

These are merely a matter of opinion, in fact, and the info is collected purely on hypothesis and figuring out success with a group’s offseason strikes and the way they give the impression of being heading into this season. It may be left up for debate on each ends whether or not these predictions are as near correct or a wild swing for the fences, however one factor stays sure — take them with a grain of salt. They’re enjoyable for figuring out who to pick in a fantasy hockey draft however ought to by no means grow to be a device for putting your hopes or cash on.

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