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The votes have been added up from our readers and writers.  Who earned the top grades for the Canadiens this season?  We finish our report cards with a look at the forwards.

Players must have played in 20 games to be eligible for voting.

Cole Caufield

Fan Vote Average: 7.97
Writer Vote Average: 7.89

Caufield picked up right where he left off last season and scored at a 46-goal rate over an 82-game season. Unfortunately, his year ended early with a shoulder injury, preventing Caufield from demonstrating consistency over a full season which has plagued his short career thus far. With his rookie contract now complete it’ll be interesting to see what deal gets done with Caufield given the tantalizing potential with lots of inconsistency. When he’s on, he’s a dynamic player that can score from anywhere. He made some good strides in developing other aspects of his game as well. As a 22-year-old he is just starting his career and will be one to watch this coming season.

Stats: 46 GP, 26 goals, 10 assists, 36 points, -2 rating, 2 PIMS, 158 shots, 18:03 ATOI

Nick Suzuki

Fan Vote Average: 7.76
Writer Vote Average: 8.11

Suzuki was the only player to play in all 82 games for the Habs. He did it with countless different linemates and still set a career-high in points. He played in all situations and was by far the most dynamic and reliable player for the Habs this past season. He still needs to continue to improve (as he has each year with the team) to become a true first-line centre. As captain of the team, there was a considerable amount of pressure on the 23-year-old, so it was great to see him handling it so well. Speaks to his character and of the other players on the team to be successful despite having such a terrible year. It was the first year of his 8-year contract so he’ll be with the Canadiens for the foreseeable future.

Stats: 82 GP, 26 goals, 40 assists, 66 points, -13 rating, 33 PIMS, 162 shots, 21:06 ATOI

Kirby Dach

Fan Vote Average: 7.28
Writer Vote Average: 7.89

Dach was a pleasant surprise this past season and when paired with Suzuki and Caufield on the wing, they formed a very good line. Dach started out the season slowly but became a different player after moving up to the top line and continued to display that confidence after separating again. Both he and that line were better playing together but he started to come into his own while playing centre on lower lines. The injury bug hit him again – as it has every year – so hopefully the next few seasons he can remain healthy and keep the momentum going. He’s heading into year two of his four-year deal.

Stats: 58 GP, 14 goals, 24 assists, 38 points, -2 rating, 43 PIMS, 107 shots, 18:30 ATOI

Rafael Harvey-Pinard

Fan Vote Average: 7.07
Writer Vote Average: 8.22

Harvey-Pinard played his first game on January 17th and never looked back. He was a plus player which is a significant accomplishment on a very bad team. Each shift, Harvey-Pinard provided the energy and jump and was someone who forced turnovers and made plays happen. He exceeded every expectation and established without a doubt that he can play in the NHL. Going forward I don’t expect he’ll be able to maintain his 24% shooting percentage, but the drop may be offset by the experience and success he gained in 2022-2023. He is a restricted free agent with arbitration right this summer; I expect to see him signed and in a Montreal jersey for the start of the season.

Stats: 34 GP, 14 goals, 6 assists, 20 points, 7 rating, 10 PIMS, 58 shots, 17:14 ATOI

Josh Anderson

Fan Vote Average: 6.43
Writer Vote Average: 6.89

Anderson has continued to play his hard-driving fast-paced game but also added a little more East-West under Martin St. Louis’ guidance. There’s so much to like in his game and his attitude and he could still be around for a while longer with four years left on his contract. At 29 years old, he’s in the prime of his career, so it was amazing to see the continual improvements in his game. I have a feeling he’s in for a breakout season in 2023-2024 with stronger and more consistent linemates.

Stats: 69 GP, 21 goals, 11 assists, 32 points, -8 rating, 72 PIMS, 164 shots, 16:58 ATOI

Sean Monahan

Fan Vote Average: 6.03
Writer Vote Average: 5.89

The Canadiens were clearly a better team with Monahan in the lineup, going 12-11-2 when Monahan was playing compared to 19-34-4 without him. Unfortunately, injuries caught up with him again and crushed his season but at least this time it wasn’t his hips. When healthy, Monahan played great hockey in the 2C spot and the Habs could certainly use all the help they can get at centre (with Dach playing much better on the wing with Suzuki/Caufield). As a 28-year-old UFA, Monahan is likely to sign a short-term deal this offseason due to health concerns, but I wouldn’t be against Montreal bringing him back. But perhaps Monahan wants to move to a contender. It’ll be an interesting story to watch unfold over the summer.

Stats: 25 GP, 6 goals, 11 assists, 17 points, -5 rating, 16 PIMS, 55 shots, 17:22 ATOI

Alex Belzile

Fan Vote Average: 5.91
Writer Vote Average: 6.44

There weren’t many bright spots in the second half of the season for the Habs but Belzile was certainly one of them. Originally thought of as a short-term injury recall, he forced his way into a full-time spot in the lineup and was relatively productive in the bottom six while also playing centre which isn’t his natural position. Belzile turns 32 in August which is late for someone trying to earn a one-way contract for the first time but he might have a shot at one as an unrestricted free agent.

Stats: 31 GP, 6 goals, 8 assists, 14 points, even rating, 13 PIMS, 40 shots, 12:08 ATOI

Michael Pezzetta

Fan Vote Average: 5.84
Writer Vote Average: 5.78

Pezzetta was the energy guy on the fourth line but through sheer determination and effort, he has provided a surprising amount of offence putting up 26 points over 114 career NHL games. Not bad for a team guy who plays nine minutes a game with no power play time, someone who will fight a much bigger and tougher opponent at a moment’s notice to stick up for his teammates, and someone who will bring the energy whenever he’s on the ice. His teammates love him and that should be all that fans need to know. He’s an RFA but should be re-signed without too much problem. Looking forward to seeing him back in the Habs jersey in 2023-2024.

Stats: 63 GP, 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points, -4 rating, 77 PIMS, 70 shots, 9:19 ATOI

Jesse Ylonen

Fan Vote Average: 5.66
Writer Vote Average: 5.44

Ylonen showed at times the type of upside that once had him near the top of Montreal’s prospect pool. His shot is a significant weapon but he didn’t use it anywhere near often enough. And with the rest of his game still a work in progress, he often went from being impactful to nearly invisible at times. Ylonen needs a new contract this summer and will be waiver-eligible for the first time so the team will need to decide fairly soon if they still believe that he’s part of their future plans.

Stats: 37 GP, 6 goals, 10 assists, 16 points, -11 rating, 0 PIMS, 43 shots, 13:27 ATOI

Jake Evans

Fan Vote Average: 5.50
Writer Vote Average: 4.89

Evans started off the season slow with only four points in the first 20 games but turned it around over the last 34 games putting up 15 points, a pace that would have matched his career-high had it not been for injuries. This was despite often playing with Pezzetta or AHL call-ups, who (no disrespect intended) are not known for their offensive contributions. Evans continued to play responsible hockey, starting most of his shifts in the defensive zone while winning 52% of his faceoffs and anchoring a dependable fourth line. Evans is under contract for two more seasons at a reasonable cap hit of $1.7 million so I expect to see him back next season.

Stats: 54 GP, 2 goals, 17 assists, 19 points, -5 rating, 28 PIMS, 55 shots, 14:29 ATOI

Juraj Slafkovsky

Fan Vote Average: 5.16
Writer Vote Average: 4.56

Slafkovsky clearly wasn’t ready for the NHL this year and management completely botched his season. Instead of playing big minutes in the AHL and developing positively, he was kept in the NHL playing in the bottom six, constantly making errors, and having limited success. His play and confidence deteriorated noticeably before his season-ending injury. Like all rookies, they need to put him in a position to be successful and if he can’t find that in the NHL yet, then the AHL or Europe is a better place to develop. Let’s hope Slafkovsky is mentally stronger than the Habs management because Montreal needs him to develop into a top-six winger if they want to be competitive.

Stats: 39 GP, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, -13 rating, 33 PIMS, 42 shots, 12:13 ATOI

Christian Dvorak

Fan Vote Average: 4.95
Writer Vote Average: 4.44

Dvorak pretty much hit his career average in points and remained solid in the faceoff circle (52%) in the season. Like everyone else, he missed significant time with injury but when playing he provided strong effort and stability in the 3C slot despite playing with a rotating cast of linemates. While Habs fans may have hoped for more, at 26 years old, Dvorak has established consistency in his play and offensive production that can be a real attribute while anchoring the bottom six.

Stats: 64 GP, 10 goals, 18 assists, 28 points, -12 rating, 6 PIMS, 69 shots, 16:52 ATOI

Brendan Gallagher

Fan Vote Average: 4.88
Writer Vote Average: 5.00

Injuries and lack of chemistry with linemates impacted Gallagher. He still gave 100% every shift of every game but wasn’t getting the quality scoring chances or rebounds that were there in previous seasons. Playing reduced minutes with a rotating cast of linemates on the third line didn’t help either. Perhaps this is what the Habs can expect going forward, but I’d like to think with improved surroundings. the 31-year-old would still be able to produce in a middle-six role. He’s got four more years at a $6.5M cap hit, so fans better hope Gallagher can turn it around.

Stats: 37 GP, 8 goals, 6 assists, 14 points, -5 rating, 45 PIMS, 93 shots, 14:17 ATOI

Denis Gurianov

Fan Vote Average: 4.78
Writer Vote Average: 3.78

Montreal acquired Gurianov at the trade deadline with the hope that a change of scenery could get him going again. He was productive over his first few weeks with eight points in his first 13 games before being held off the scoresheet altogether for the final ten games. If Montreal wants to keep Gurianov, they either have to give him a $2.9M qualifying offer next month or try to work out a cheaper deal before that time. Both of those seem unlikely at this point.

Canadiens Stats: 23 GP, 3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points, -7 rating, 6 PIMS, 46 shots, 15:11 ATOI

Chris Tierney

Fan Vote Average: 4.41
Writer Vote Average: 4.78

Tierney was a late-season waiver claim to help offset the growing list of injuries without having to take another player from Laval’s roster. He was a serviceable fourth liner and gave the Habs respectable minutes which is basically all they could have reasonably expected from him. After settling for a two-way contract last summer, Tierney will almost certainly have to do so again as an unrestricted free agent but it would be surprising if that deal came with Montreal.

Canadiens Stats: 23 GP, 1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points, -7 rating, 4 PIMS, 13 shots, 12:13 ATOI

Rem Pitlick

Fan Vote Average: 4.40
Writer Vote Average: 4.11

When Pitlick signed a two-year deal last summer to stay with Montreal, the hope was that he’d be able to repeat his performance from the year before. It didn’t happen. Instead, Pitlick played sparingly early on before clearing waivers midseason. Injuries gave him a regular role down the stretch but his performance didn’t improve much. As things stand, Pitlick is on the outside looking in at a roster spot, hardly ideal for someone who has another year and $1.1M left on his contract.

Stats: 46 GP, 6 goals, 9 assists, 15 points, -15 rating, 22 PIMS, 30 shots, 12:55 ATOI

Mike Hoffman

Fan Vote Average: 4.38
Writer Vote Average: 4.78

Hoffman started off slowly this past season but ended up being the fourth leading scorer for the Habs scoring just over 0.5 points per game while playing mostly third-line minutes, often with AHL call-ups. On the backside of his career, Hoffman is starting to slow down, but he still has pretty slick hands and a cannon of a shot that should be more useful on the power play. He’s entering the last year of his contract so don’t expect him to be with the Habs all of next season. But if he and the rest of the Canadiens are healthy and can start the season strong, he could be an appealing pickup at the trade deadline.

Stats: 67 GP, 14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points, -10 rating, 28 PIMS, 148 shots, 15:40 ATOI

Jonathan Drouin

Fan Vote Average: 4.26
Writer Vote Average: 3.89

As one of the highest-paid forwards on the team, Drouin scored just two goals in 58 games despite seeing regular power play time. Unfortunately, his production was not an aberration that would improve, as Drouin has scored a combined total of 17 goals over the last four injury-riddled seasons. While there were bursts of energy and effort in 2022-2023, Drouin provided mostly uninspiring play and defensive lapses. Unable to be traded at the deadline, thankfully his contract has come to an end and the Habs will almost certainly let him walk in a classic case of addition by subtraction.

Stats: 58 GP, 2 goals, 27 assists, 29 points, -18 rating, 18 PIMS, 69 shots, 14:54 ATOI

Joel Armia

Fan Vote Average: 3.60
Writer Vote Average: 2.89

With just two points in his first 20 games, Armia has a terrible start to the season. He picked it up a bit (hard to do worse) in the next 23 games scoring 10 points and playing with much more energy. With the skills, size, and strength that Armia possesses, it’s hard not to hope and expect more from him. He’s got two more years at a cap hit of $3.4M, so it’ll be tough to trade him. Let’s hope St. Louis can work some of his magic with Armia. It would be a real treat to watch him have a really successful season.

Stats: 43 GP, 7 goals, 7 assists, 14 points, -7 rating, 22 PIMS, 69 shots, 14:57 ATOI

2022-23 Habs Season Grades: Goalies and Defencemen