Speculation: What should Montreal do with this season?

Following tonight's 5-4 loss to Arizona, a team that had a 2-15-3 record prior to tonight's game and had not won in regulation yet this season,Canadiens fans are left scratching their heads as to which direction they should go with this season.
Disclaimer: This is all speculation. I am not Marc Bergevin (thank god), just an avid fan who wants Montreal to succeed.

One such option, and the one we will be focusing on, is a reshaping of the franchise's outlook and future. It does not look like this team will be making the playoffs, and I doubt the addition of Ales Hemsky, David Schlemko, or Arturri Lehkonen (all of whom are on injured reserve) will really turn that around. Let's face it, the 2017 off season was an absolute joke and a the main source of their woes this season. Let's break it down:


  • Karl Alzner (5 years, 4.6 M AAV, 7-team no trade clause)
  • Ales Hemsky (1 year, 1 M AAV)
  • Mark Streit (Contract has since been terminated)
  • Jonathan Drouin (6 years, 33 M AAV)
  • Byron Froese (2 years, 650K AAV) 
  • Peter Holland (2 years, 650K AAV)
  • David Schlemko (Traded from Vegas for 5th round pick)
  • Andrei Markov (KHL)
  • Alex Radulov (Dallas Stars)
  • Nathan Beaulieu (Buffalo for 3rd round pick)
  • Alexei Emelin (Taken by Vegas)
  • Martin Reway (Contract termination)
  • Mikhail Sergachev (Tampa Bay for Drouin)

Two things I notice right off the bat: First, that is almost all of our Russian players shipped out, assuming you count Galchenyuk as "Russian." Second, that was 3 of our top 6 d-men and our blue-chip defensive prospect. Naturally, the back end of the team has deteriorated to the point where they were relying on 19-year old Victor Mete to carry them to victory. Simply put the off season losses and addition, along with Carey Price's 84-million dollar anchor... excuse me, contract have completely handcuffed the Canadiens and it's time they shake it up. Here is what I propose:

1. Marc Bergevin: Fire him, right now! 
He may have made some decent trades in his time with the team, but he is pulling the team into the ground with poor signings, and getting hosed in trades. 

2. Gut the defense
Shea Weber is near unmovable with his contract lasting until he's 41, but at least he could teach the younger guys a lot (7.8 million dollar teacher is not appealing but what are we going to do?). Jeff Petry and Karl Alzner are under performing and taking up too much cap space and ice time. Brandon Davidson somehow managed to make me want David Desharnais, a player I despised in Montreal, to come back; at least his contract was done last off season. He has never shown any consistent play with Montreal, and need not stay with the team. Jordie Benn is making me think we made the wrong choice of protecting him over Nathan Beaulieu with his play of late. These players are all playing so woefully poorly they look like Colorado's defensive core last season. I cannot comment on David Schlemko, since he has yet to debut with the team, but he may be a bit old for my liking but his contract is manageable enough so it would not be a huge issue.

3. Forwards... oh boy...
Torrey Mitchell is collecting dust riding the bench on a team plagued by injuries, so he likely won't return next season.  Ales Hemsky is lucky he got injured when he did, otherwise his contract would likely be terminated too. Tomas Plekanec could stay with the team if he took a massive cut from his 6 million dollar cap hit that ends this July. However the big change I see coming, is the end of Max Pacioretty as a Montreal Canadien. He may net the team 30+ goals a year, but he turns into a complete ghost once the playoffs come around, and his contract expired after next season. Move him out for a solid prospect and a decent 1st round pick if you can. 

4. The unthinkable...
Carey Price. He may have to go. I feel terrible saying this because he has carried this team to the playoffs on several occasions all on his own. However at age 30, with a few nasty injuries in the past, and a 10.5 million dollar cap hit that kicks in next season, he can't stay. Hopefully you can net a nice reward for a world-class goaltender like him. This point is really dependent on whether or not 23-year old Charlie Lindgren can keep up his starter-like performance throughout the year, or at least until Price returns.

5. Tank the season and hope for Dahlin
A solid, offensive left-defense-man who can learn from a grizzled veteran like Shea Weber? Yes please. Hopefully the team can net a couple more 1st round picks in this draft which is looking to have a very strong draft class.

6. Johnny T? Maybe...
If Dahlin is as strong as he looks so far this year, he could make the jump to the NHL seamlessly as an 18-year old. If Price and Pacioretty can net a return that can produce well right now, and Jonathan Drouin can continue to develop, the team could succeed with Jonh Tavares in a Canadiens uniform. The team could have a strong starter in Charlie Lindgren, a more experienced Victor Mete, along with a line of Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk, and Arturri Lehkonen that could excel as a 2nd line on any team. But this is assuming Pacioretty and Price could net them solid forwards that could produce immediately, and not blue-chip prospects fresh out of the draft. 

Bonus: St. Cloud State alumni
The Canadiens signed 22-year old Charlie Lindgren fresh out of college in 2016, as the former starter for the St Cloud state Huskies. A year later, they draft center Ryan Poehling from the same school.  Now, we are hearing rumors of 22-year old Jimmy Schuldt signing with Montreal this spring, another St Cloud state alumni. There is also Poehling's 2 brothers who will be eligible to sign soon as well. Why not just scoop upall these guys and see if a Poehling-family line can do some damage. Maybe Jimmy Schuldt could fill a hole for an offensive defense-man that can log top-4 minutes. These are all speculations, but interesting to think about.

What should Montreal do this off season?

Reshape the team (as mention in the article)
Just sign Tavares
Just tank this season for a high draft pick
Fire Bergevin, relocate the team to Houston, and burn the city of Montreal to the ground
Please Specify:
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