Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

Take Town: The Conference Final rounds begin

As the locals would say, it was a fait accompli, but it was nonetheless nice to see Martin St. Louis officially get the head coaching job in Montréal.

Yeah, the Canadiens had a bad record under St. Louis (.432, ninth-worst in the league after he took over), and the underlying numbers were similarly bad. Perhaps that doesn’t really recommend him. But you can’t deny that they improved from where they were under Dominique Ducharme, or that guys who seem important to the future of the franchise like Cole Caufield definitely took a step forward.

The evidence is pretty clear: St. Louis didn’t have an NHL-quality roster to work with and more specifically his results were further soured by lack of available NHL-quality goaltending.

It will be really interesting to see what the Habs’ brain trust does with the roster this summer, and what exactly St. Louis is signing himself up for. It’s easy to see this club going through a somewhat comprehensive rebuild, but it’s also easy to see any team in this league (let alone one that basically prints money) try to go more “rebuild on the fly” route.

Given the quality of some of their prospects, and the whole “picking first” thing, I hope everything ends up going well for the Canadiens. The league is more fun when they’re good.

But their path back to contention, especially in the Atlantic Division, is certainly fraught.

Let’s go:

Access this article with EP Premium

Go Premium to access this article

Register your Premium-membership at to get access to this article and more quality, in-depth coverage at EP Rinkside

This article is about:
NHL Colorado Avalanche Edmonton Oilers New York Rangers Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Chris Kreider Cale Makar Mike Smith Martin St. Louis
Scoring Leaders