Montreal Canadiens fans have had little to cheer about lately, as their beloved Habs have failed to reach the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.
In the 2018 offseason, general manager Marc Bergevin made some trade acquisitions that seemingly helped the Habs improve their season point total by 25 points.
His biggest move came in acquiring Max Domi from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, and it has paid off extremely well. Domi, the son of former Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi, had a career year with the Habs, putting up 28 goals and 44 assists while staying healthy and playing in all 82 games.
The Canadiens fell short of making the playoffs by only one point this season, but with the emergence of new youthful players to the organization, the city of Montreal is once again poised for a bright future in hockey.
Director of Amateur Scouting, Shane Churla, and his staff have found some outstanding talent from all around the world, and don’t be surprised to see some new faces rocking the legendary bleu, blanc, et rouge in the near future.
Habs fans got a taste of the future in their team’s last game of the season, when 2017 first-round pick Ryan Poehling scored a hat trick as well as the shootout winner in a hard-fought 6-5 victory against the Maple Leafs.
Ryan Poehling, Another Great Talent from the Minnesota Hockey Hotbed
Poehling, a Minnesota native, played his high school hockey at Lakeville North and was a standout as he notched an impressive 45 goals and 74 assists in only 74 games over the course of three seasons. He then chose to play college hockey at St. Cloud State University alongside his twin brothers Jack and Nick.
In Poehling’s three seasons at St. Cloud, he tallied 75 points in 107 games and was named to the NCHC First All-Star Team in 2019.
During the 2018-19 campaign, St. Cloud was ranked #1 in the country for several consecutive weeks and boasted an impressive roster, including Jimmy Schuldt (Vegas Golden Knights signee) and Blake Lizotte (Los Angeles Kings signee), to name a few.
After St. Cloud was upset by last seeded American International College in the NCAA Tournament, Poehling decided to forego his senior year and sign with the Canadiens.
As previously mentioned, Poehling got his first taste of the NHL in the team’s last regular-season game and he did not disappoint. Poehling is a hard-working forward with an ability to finish.
At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, he brings a much-needed combination of size and skill to the Canadiens’ roster. The young centerman has good hockey sense, a strong set of hands, and has a substantial ability to generate offence off the rush, which in and of itself is a key factor in today’s fast-paced game.
Poehling is a decent skater, however he still lacks a bit of foot speed. If the young talent can get faster and stronger over the summer, Habs fans can expect to see the rookie play a major role on their beloved team next season.
Strong New Signees and Draft Picks
Other notable signees and draft picks for the Canadiens include goalie Cayden Primeau (Northeastern University, 2017 seventh-round pick), center Nick Suzuki (Guelph-OHL, 2017 first-round pick by the Golden Knights, acquired in the Max Pacioretty trade), defenseman Josh Brook (2017 second-round pick, Moose Jaw-WHL), forward Joni Ikonen (KalPa-Liiga, 2017 second-round pick), forward Jesse Ylönen (Pelicans-Liiga, 2018 second-round pick), and defenseman Jordan Harris (Northeastern, 2018 third-round pick).
Bergevin and his staff will look to add to its already impressive stack of prospects at this summer’s NHL Entry Draft, which is being held in Vancouver, BC on June 22 and 22n.
Habs fans may have had little to cheer about these past few years, but the future is shaping up to be brighter than ever. With such remarkable new talent, the Canadiens will soon revive from its current slump and be a factor come playoff time.