4 Big Questions for the Montreal Canadiens in 2020-2021

Jesperi Kotkaniemi #15 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Jesperi Kotkaniemi #15 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15)
Jesperi Kotkaniemi #15 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Here are Four Big Questions for the Montreal Canadiens in 2020-21.

The Montreal Canadiens have not made an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals since the 1992-1993 season, and have not even seen the Eastern Conference Finals in a decade. Some Hockey fans might go as far as saying that Montreal has let the career of one of the best goaltenders of a generation go to waste in Carey Price.

Even last season’s Playoff appearance in the Bubble had some controversy attached. Despite going 31-31-9 before COVID-19 halted the 2019-20 regular-season, the NHL magically came up with a postseason scenario that included both the Chicago and Montreal markets. In hindsight, both the Blackhawks and the Canadiens pulled off big upsets in the play-in round which made for some entertaining hockey. So complaints became a whisper.

The NHL selecting a scenario that put the Canadiens into the playoffs may have done more for the club than any other recent management move.  From the outside looking in, Montreal’s unexpected postseason success seems to have been the catalyst for the front office to be very proactive this offseason.

This leads us to the first big question facing the Montreal Canadiens in the 2020-21 NHL Season…

4. How will the Canadiens’ offseason acquisitions perform?

If you watched the World Junior Championships (WJCs) you saw the Canadiens 2019 First-Round pick Cole Caufield win the Gold Medal with Team USA. Unfortunately, Caufield might not quite be NHL ready for another year or two. Instead, Montreal made big additions through both Free Agency and via trade.

Perhaps one of the more surprising moves made this offseason was Montreal trading away Max Domi for Josh Anderson, then promptly signing Anderson to a long-term seven-year deal. The Canadiens have got to be expecting very big things from Anderson as they also shipped off a Third-Round pick with Domi. Anderson did score 27 goals in the 2018-2019 season but battled injuries last season, scoring only one goal in 26 games.

The biggest signing of the offseason, however, was that of Tyler Toffoli who signed a four-year deal that averages $4.25 million per year. Toffoli is a top-six winger who has experience with winning a Stanley Cup in Los Angeles in the 2013-2014 season. He will add much-needed scoring from the wing in Montreal.

montreal canadiens
Tyler Toffoli #73 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Depth, depth, depth was a huge story last season in the Bubble, and this year with travel, taxi squads, and regular COVID testing it will be more important than ever. The Canadiens have made plenty of depth moves too. They signed veterans Corey Perry and Michael Frolik to round out their forward core, as well as trading for the rights to sign Joel Edmunson from the Carolina Hurricanes before signing him and keeping him off the free-agent market.

New additions could just not work. The lack of chemistry is one of the risk factors of any roster addition. The best example I always go back to is that while playing for the dynastic Colorado Avalanche of 20+ years ago, Hall of Fame forwards Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic never really played together consistently.

So will these veteran additions mesh? A lot of that will depend on the returning players for Montreal and their ability to get everyone on the same page. This brings up a very seamless transition to our next question…