The Montreal Canadiens made waves earlier this season when the most storied franchise in NHL history replaced a head coach that had just guided them to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance in nearly 30 years with someone who had no professional coaching experience to speak of. However, under Laval native Martin St. Louis, the Canadiens, despite being battered and bruised, looked rejuvenated and carried much more of the same energy that had taken them through four rounds in 2021.
Now, it appears that St. Louis has done enough to impress the team’s front office and guide them through what’s likely to be a tumultuous next few seasons in terms of roster construction. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that he expects the Canadiens to announce an extension for St. Louis “in the near future”, although there’s no timeline given for this. The Canadiens finished the season 14-19-4 under St. Louis, a marked improvement over the team’s abysmal 8-30-7 record under Ducharme.
- After being swept out of the Second Round by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Claude Giroux expressed interest today in returning to the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers. How the team manages to make that work under the salary cap, though, is a gigantic mystery. While the Panthers don’t have any significant pieces to re-sign aside from Giroux and Mason Marchment, the team is greatly restricted in salary space next year by the combined $6.575MM cap hit from the Keith Yandle and Scott Darling buyouts. With that, the team will have just $4MM in cap space this offseason with depth roster spots to fill. Giroux would need to take a steeply discounted deal, which could be unlikely given the much more rich offers he’ll receive elsewhere. Giroux had 23 points in 18 games down the stretch for the Panthers in the regular season and eight points in 10 playoff games.
- The Ottawa Senators appear to be ready to take aggressive steps in exiting their rebuild, with general manager Pierre Dorion saying that the team’s seventh overall pick at the 2022 NHL Draft is on the table for trade. Dorion also said that he’s focused on acquiring a top-four defenseman or a high-end forward, if possible. While the Senators do have a strong pool to deal from, they’re also a core that has proven very little with the team staying stagnant in the standings this season. With the team sitting on over $20MM worth of cap space again this offseason, though, they have the roster flexibility to make moves.