I understand the Montreal Canadiens are not in the best position being down 3-0 in a series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but for the Chicago Blackhawks trying to move out of a rebuild, I think Montreal has a path to success.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are a team built with players in their primes doing everything they can to win with talent up and down their lineup. They are in the middle of their best years, while Montreal is a team with veterans and rookies mixed together to form their current roster.
The Chicago Blackhawks are going to be hoping to follow a similar path as Montreal in a few seasons. A team that just sneaks into the postseason that manages to make some noise. Next season might not be a run to the Stanley Cup Final for Chicago, but it could be a year in the postseason.
The Montreal Canadiens roster looks similar to where the Chicago Blackhawks could be soon.
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The Canadiens have veteran players like Shea Weber, Eric Staal, Carey Price, Tomas Tatar, and Tyler Toffoli mixing in with young players like Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. This team has a great combination of young and old all mixing together, and to think just last season they were the 12th team in the Eastern conference similar to Chicago being 12th in the West for the play-in round. They have come a long way.
The Blackhawks are going to hope that they can be like the Canadiens in a few seasons. Once they add a few more players to their roster they need to hope that they can have some young players like Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki lead the team to a postseason run. Nick Suzuki has 16 points in 21 games and Caufield has 12 points in 19 games.
Another interesting connection between Montreal and Chicago:
The Canadiens have Erik Gustafsson on their team. I want to take a moment to recognize one move that the Blackhawks made that was pretty smart.
Trading away Erik Gustafsson was the right call when they decided to deal him away. Gustafsson has played in 16 games of the Canadiens postseason run and he only averaging 10 minutes of ice time a night.
He does have the best Corsi numbers on the team, but he is also being sheltered in where he plays. Moving on from Erik Gustafsson was the right call by Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks.
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Now after mentioning Gustafsson I am sure he will be scoring the game-winning goal during a game during the next couple of days that will make me regret mentioning him. The playoffs could have ended last night, but Montreal staved off elimination. Can they do it again in Tampa Bay?