The Montreal Canadians finished the season with 96 points, two points shy of the eigth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. What possibly killed their playoff chances was their awful power play time on the ice. It was dead last in the league. That was the focus of their off season repairs.
To begin their attempt to fix their power play, the Canadians used their first-round draft choice, fifteenth overall, on United States U-18 National Team right winger Cole Caufield. All in total, 8 members of the U-18 National Team were selected in round one. In free agency, they added right winger Riley Barber, left winger Phil Varone, defensemen Ben Chiarot, and center Nick Cousins in free agency. The Canadians honestly believe they have the roster to win. We will see if they are right.
The Montreal Canadians came very close to being the story of the year, in not just the NHL, but sports in general. After finishing 2016 with 82 points, and coming nowhere close to playoff contention, halfway through last season, found themselves sitting atop the Eastern Conference with the best record in the league. Second half struggles pushed them back to the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. In round one of the playoffs they were sent packing early by the New York Rangers in six games, but overall, a good season considering what they were expecting. Their leader may be 34-year-old Tomas Plekanec, but the good news is, the Canadians have a lot of players in their early-to-mid 20’s, such as 23-year-old Alex Galchenyuk, who tallied 44 points a year ago in 61 games played. The Canadians added to this collection of young players in the draft, using the 25th selection overall on center Ryan Poehling from St. Cloud State. Let’s see if the Canadians can keep the mojo going this season.