The Montreal Canadiens are regrouping as an organization after their incredible Cinderella-style run to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1993. Though they would ultimately fall in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Habs gave a new generation of fans everywhere some pretty incredible memories that will last a lifetime.
They've already taken care of some housekeeping procedures for next season, removing the interim tag from Dominique Ducharme, and also re-signing assistant coach Luke Richardson. However, the 2021-22 edition of the Montreal Canadiens will look far different than the team that skated off the ice dejected at Amalie Arena last month.
They've welcomed several new additions into the fold, including the defenseman who set up the Stanley Cup winning goal against them in David Savard. Also headed to the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge include the likes of help at the center position in Mathieu Perreault and Cedric Paquette, with additional reinforcements on the wing in the form of Mike Hoffman. GM Marc Bergevin hopes his additions will help to offset the losses of Phillip Danault, Corey Perry and Tomas Tatar, as well as defenseman Shea Weber, whose career may be over.
According to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski, the Habs offseason was neither great, nor terrible, ultimately giving them a pedestrian "C" grade. Check out his reasoning below:
Remaining hole: Restricted free-agent center Jesperi Kotkaniemi still needs a new contract, but otherwise it appears the cap-strapped Canadiens have the team they'll roll with next season.
Grade: C-. Admittedly, we're grading on a curve here. The loss of No. 1 defenseman Weber for next season -- and probably for the rest of his contract -- left the Canadiens with a gaping hole in their defense corps that the addition of Savard will only fill on an incomplete basis. The losses of Danault and Tatar mean the losses of two top-line players. Hoffman's all-offense game can help supplant Tatar's game and add something to a Weber-less power play, but Danault walking to L.A. really hurts their center depth.
Fleury being selected over Carey Price in the expansion draft either contributes to a downer of an offseason or helps redeem it, depending how one feels about the franchise goalie's contract."