Start by taking your rose-colored glasses off. Then proceed to put on your psychic headscarf and let's play of game of predicting what the Les Canadiens may look like say 3 years from now.
First off, most of you prognosticators are no Punxsutawney Phils (see the groundhog in well, Groundhog day) as you have a tendency on only plugging in current prospects and players into these forecasts. Yet we know, especially in this NHL-is-in-fact-Playstation world of Kenneth Hughes (and contrary the imploding world we came out of- no, I don't plan on stopping my criticism of Bergevin) the team could look drastically different from its current edition, and that new players will be added.
But, obviously, what we don't know is who these future acquisitions could be (although I do believe Montreal will soon become an attractive destination for many UFAs, and likely also see young players not including the Canadiens in their NTC list of teams) so rather than speculate let us leave a couple of spots open, but nevertheless identify the type of player we may need and see in those vacant spots.
First off, it is my belief that Kirby Dach will be either a 1a C on this team or, at worse, a 1B with Suzuki. I also expect Cole Caufield to eventually make his way down to a 2nd line (while obviously remaining on the top PP unit). Size will also need to be added to the forward group, which, as constituted, remains too small, too frail, and lacks and elite power forward (no, scoring by committee doesn't win you many Cups, despite what Vegas accomplished this past playoff season). A legit, point-producing 3rd line C will also be vital as neither Suzuki or Dach are likely to ever become elite centers in this league.
On D, it appears the Canadiens are absolutely blessed with young talent, and it will remain to see who is left out when the game of "musical" chair ends.
And finally the goaltending position will need a fix. Can Monty be a solid backup? Not sure, but few see star starter potential in him. Hugo will need to remediate this (believed he is open to ideas even today).
So here goes, tarot cards have been read, forensic predictions being what they are, my predictions in 2026:
Slafkovsky- Dach- UFA/Trade
Caufield-Suzuki- 2023 top 5 pick
Roy- UFA/Trade- Heinemann
Tuch/Rugged winger - Beck -Pezetta (I see a developing/improving player here)
Goaltending position TBD
Thoughts? If the Canadiens can fill the forward core with another 2 say 25 goal power forward wingers and a solid mid 20s goalie, would you see this as a Cup Contender?