It’s time for the latest update in our recurring series where we look around at our rivals and laugh.

Montreal Canadiens

The mystique of the Habs is dead!

Let me elaborate on that.  The mystique of the Habs has actually been no great shakes for a while now.  While the Montreal fanbase is eternally impressed with its masturbatory pregame ceremonies and the fact that they were very good in the 1970s, the fact is le bleu, blanc et rouge have been le mediocre for un while now.  But the decay of the franchise has finally become so impossible to ignore that even diehards have to admit the glory has faded.

The Habs’ problem is that they are built to win now, and they suck.  They have an enormous amount of money and term committed to franchise pillars Shea Weber and Carey Price, but both of those players are in their 30s and have struggled with injuries.  The Habs also have zero natural top-six centres.  So as you can imagine, they were in a desperate state as superstar centre John Tavares approached free agency.  They had one seize everything they ever wanted.

Actually, they didn’t really have an opportunity.  John Tavares refused to even meet with the Habs.  He did not cite a reason but, spitballing here, maybe he didn’t want to play for a franchise that hasn’t shown the capacity to manage assets worth two-tenths of a damn and that would blame him for being an Anglophone leading a bad team.  The Habs also didn’t get a sniff of Paul Stastny and, aside from reacquiring Tomas Plekanec and dealing Alex Galchenyuk at a modest loss, they were basically left twiddling their thumbs and hoping Carey Price can remember how to operate his limbs.  They have $12M in cap space and nothing to do with it, because nobody wanted to go to them.

The big takeaway here is the Habs have no magic.  They are an unappealing franchise whose recent past and immediate future are both grim trudges into the abyss, led by a confused GM whose only steady direction is down.  I think that’s beautiful.

Vancouver Canucks

At times like this, we must ask ourselves: what are the Canucks doing?

The Canucks signed Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel, who are both depth players, to four years each at $3M AAV.  The defence of this was that “this was the market”, which establishes exactly nothing about why the Canucks needed to win the auction.  No one should sign these players to those deals; least of all the Canucks, who should aspire to be good in a couple of seasons.  It would take a very minimal decline for Roussel and Beagle to drop below replacement level, and then whoops-a-daisy, you’re blowing $6M on guys you could get on waivers.

I do not know whether Jim Benning thinks his team is good (they are not) or bad (they are.)  I do not know why he signs the players he signs or why he is still employed to carry out a rebuild he started three seasons late.  He is a wonder and a mystery and every day is an adventure.  And I would not trust him to administer a five-dollar bill.

New York Islanders

I’m going to give Isles fans a pass this round because losing your franchise player in free agency really does suck, and they’re entitled to be upset about it for a while.  But, just saying, sooner or later you have to stop being the angry drunk dumped guy at the bar complaining about how his supermodel ex isn’t really even hot, and you move on.  To a new life. Where you’re pretty obviously trying to tank for Jack Hughes.

Edmonton Oilers

Just want to note that the Oilers a) traded up b) to take a goalie c) in the second round of the draft d) who was the son of their goalie coach.  Even with the little things, the Oilers are always the Oilers.

Ottawa Senators

Oh dear sweet lord.

  1. The Sens were forced to trade Mike Hoffman subsequent to some pretty ugly personal stuff, which I will not mock them for.  I will, however, mock them for taking back a bad contract from the San Jose Sharks (Mikkel Boedker) and then watching as the Sharks immediately flipped Hoffman back to the Atlantic division at a profit of three picks.
  2. The Sens drafted Brady Tkachuk over Filip Zadina because they wanted someone who was supposedly more NHL-ready.  Why, one wonders, would they care about this at all?  They’re going to be awful next season anyway.
  3. The Sens are trying to trade Erik Karlsson and, by most accounts, are poised to not get back an A prospect for him.  Erik Karlsson is a top-five player in the NHL.
  4. The Sens are going to trade Matt Duchene.  Would you like to guess whether they will get good value on him?  I don’t think they will!
  5. The Sens are going to be the worst team in the NHL next season.
  6. The Sens gave up their first-round pick in the Matt Duchene trade.  The one where they acquired him, not the future one where they’re going to give him away.
  7. Mark Stone filed for arbitration, which if pursued, will end in him taking a one-year deal, after which he will go UFA.  I wonder whether he would like to re-sign in Ottawa, where he would be quite possibly the only good player?
  8. Ottawa’s owner is still Eugene Melnyk, who has all the flaws of a villainous rich man without actually having any money.

All this adds up to the following:

In one year’s time, the Sens could quite plausibly have the worst forwards, defenders, goaltending, attendance, profitability, and ownership in the NHL.

And then they could win the draft lottery for someone else.

I have nothing else to add.

What is going to happen to the Sens?

Things will start to improve38
Things will continue about the same118
It’s going to make the Book of Revelations look like a colouring book537