The Montreal Canadiens have gotten potentially their biggest piece of business done in busy summer early. The team announced on Wednesday that they have signed interim head coach Martin St. Louis to a three-year extension and removed the interim tag from his title.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 1, 2022
The Canadiens had a horrible season but under St. Louis showed signs of life. Players who struggled before his arrival started to play well. Games that looked anything but competitive started to feel like games the Canadiens could win. The team’s points percentage increased by 69 percent, Cole Caufield looked like a star again, and defenseman Jeff Petry started to rethink his earlier trade request. Among the biggest improvements, Christian Dvorak went from scoring 1.38 points per 60 to 2.96 points per 60 under his new bench boss. Dvorak’s name has come up in trade rumors, but if he’s moved, the Canadiens will get a decent return because of his production under St. Louis.
GM Kent Hughes said of the extension:
“We are happy to officially appoint Martin as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. Martin is a proven leader, a great communicator with a deep understanding of and passion for the game of hockey. His arrival brought a renewed energy to our group, and we look forward to him returning behind the bench to continue guiding our team for the foreseeable future.”
Knowing the Canadiens are rebuilding, St. Louis says his approach this coming season will be a mixture of trying to win games while developing his young guys. On why he signed for three seasons, he said, “It gives me time to build something.” He added, “Do I want to win at the price of not developing the young guys? No.” He added, “Sometimes you got to put those guys on the ice and show them confidence. I’m not going into the season thinking I have to win every game. I’m not doing that. “
What he did say is that losing games and having a loser mentality are different. The first he could live with, even if that’s not ideal. The second he won’t tolerate. And, among the players who will likely get ice time this coming season is whomever the Canadiens take with the first-overall draft pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.
When asked if any other teams were on his coaching radar, St. Louis responded “My son’s bantam team, they were really interested in having me back.”
The post Martin St. Louis Talks Plans for Canadiens After Signing 3-Year Extension appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.
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