Are the Canadiens aiming for the playoffs or the first pick?

What is the Canadian's real objective this season? Will the executives want to keep improving the team to try to reach the playoffs, or will they look to trade veterans in the coming weeks?.

Are the Canadiens aiming for the playoffs or the first pick?

What is the Canadian's real objective this season? Will the executives want to keep improving the team to try to reach the playoffs, or will they look to trade veterans in the coming weeks?

Like many others, I had classified the CH out of the playoffs before the start of the campaign. Reaching the playoffs will be extremely difficult for the team.

But for now, the Canadian is still in the race. Except that he probably plays in the most raised section of the league, with the Bruins, the Maple Leafs and the Lightning.

A contract for Monahan?

Finishing among the top three in the Atlantic section therefore seems impossible to me. So what will the team leaders do? Will they give a contract to Sean Monahan, who has had a good start to the season and who seems to me a good veteran? Or will they attempt to trade it?

And there are other experienced players within the organization who are surely in the deal market right now. Players like Josh Anderson, Mike Hoffman, Joel Edmundson. The latter is having a lot of difficulty at the moment, with his differential of -7, but he could be of interest to other teams.

I would add to these names that of Mike Matheson. There is also Evgeni Dadonov, who clearly has no future in Montreal. But still it will be necessary that a team wishes to acquire it...

Only the Canadian knows the answer for now. I am unable to answer it. And of course, the team cannot publicly reveal their cards.

They surprise me

Even if it has been more difficult for CH for 10 games, the club has surprised me since the start of the season. He already has 15 points more than at the same time last year!

What I love the most about the Canadian right now is his youngsters. Nick Suzuki was among the league's top 50 scorers until recently. His production has gone down lately, but I think that's because he plays way too much!

It is used against the best opposing lines, on the advantage and on the penalty kill... It's a lot at the start of a career.

On the other hand, I liked that Martin St-Louis separated Suzuki and Cole Caufield in the last game, against the Stars. It was the first time he had done so since taking office.

That's a hockey team. Sometimes a coach wants to balance his lines. Other times, he prefers to join forces. We are still at the experimental stage.

That's the funny thing about the Canadiens. Usually, it is the young people who are slow to get started. But in Montreal, the veterans are the problem. Anderson, Hoffman, Edmundson, Joel Armia and Jonathan Drouin aren't doing enough.

If Drouin's game has improved in recent weeks, his production is still insufficient. He still hasn't scored...

You will have to decide

In addition, the CH is the worst formation offensively in its section. Even the Red Wings and Sabers are far superior in this aspect of the game. And the Canadiens are a team that, without being robust, is one of the most unruly.

Decisions will have to be made soon. In which direction does the Canadian want to go? The results of the next matches will also provide us with answers.

Because what worries me is seeing Montreal finish 21st or 22nd overall, while teams like the Blue Jackets, Blackhawks, Coyotes or Ducks seem to be aiming for one of the last places.

This will allow them to get their hands on a talented player in the next draft. Whether it's Connor Bedard or someone else.

– Interview by Jessica Lapinski

My surprise at the Canadian is Arber Xhekaj. wow! He's faster than you think, he has a good wrist shot, he hits the net.

Kaiden Guhle is often referred to as the team's up-and-coming defender, with good reason. But if we compare their offensive contribution, Guhle shot 33 times towards the opposing goal and Xhekaj... 52 times!

Why? Because he, compared to other defenders, regularly reaches the goal. I can't believe how much the other backs on the team are struggling with this. Even veterans like Joel Edmundson and Chris Wideman.

Connor McDavid has already scored 30 goals. He's heading for a 60-goal season. I'm so happy for him. He is by far the best player on the circuit.

At the end of the season, he risks winning all the trophies: the Hart, the Art-Ross, the Maurice-Richard. Only the Stanley Cup is still in danger of escaping him.

And if the Oilers don't take the top honors, I wouldn't want anyone to blame McDavid, like we did at one time with Alex Ovechkin when the Capitals didn't go all the way.

McDavid is exceptional. He shows up in every game even if he is always watched closely, even if the coaches prepare their game plan with the aim of stopping him.

By scoring the 802nd goal of his career last Friday, Alex Ovechkin overtook Gordie Howe as the second-highest scorer in history.

What I love about the Capitals right now is that everyone wants to help Ovechkin score as many goals as possible. Everyone passes the puck to him so he gets closer to Wayne Gretzky and the front row. And that doesn't stop them from winning.

Peter Laviolette, the Capitals coach, is also collaborating on the mission. Every time the Capitals lead by a goal or two, he puts Ovechkin on the ice so he can score into an empty net. It's brilliant.

I remember it: when I was a coach in the years of Gretzky or Mario Lemieux, I often saw these two score goals in an empty cage!