The hapless Canadiens fired their head coach just months after he was at the helm for a miracle run to the Stanley Cup Final. Even at the time of his interim hiring though, there were questions about how well Ducharme would fit in a head coaching role. Everything went right last year and he was carried along with it, but with everything going wrong this year, he didn't have the presence or the ability to steer them out of it.
Ducharme's replacement leaving his gig as head coach of a Pewee team to join the Canadiens, but it's a good thing that isn't the only thing on his resume. Martin St. Louis has plenty of playing accolades, but he also spent time as a special teams consultant for the Blue Jackets, and was considered for a previous coaching position with the Rangers. He is a very intelligent person, as he was with a player, and he also has exposure to the analytics side of things. Perhaps what may work best for the current group of Habs though is just St. Louis' poise and personality.
With Montreal poised to have a front seat for the offseason draft lottery, they may be hoping that St. Louis doesn't turn things around too quickly. As an interim coach though, he may have a short leash, so he has some incentive to wring results out right away. The main things that St. Louis will be tasked with is fixing the defensive systems, improving the special teams, and instilling a new sense of confidence in Cole Caufield.
Wingers Artturi Lehkonen and Jake Evans have earned more ice time with their play, as has Chris Wideman, though his minutes have been greatly sheltered, and he may not fare nearly as well in an expanded role. Look for those two wingers to see a small bump in their deployment, while Joel Armia, David Savard, and Cristian Dvorak are likely the first guys in line to see their minutes reduced, though it's not a given. The most interesting thing to watch will be which of Jeff Petry, Chris Wideman, and Sami Niku is running the first power play unit.
Hadi Kalakeche also had an interesting take on Caufield this morning, and what needs to be fixed in his game. Hopefully St. Louis is able to take a steady hand in accelerating the diminutive winger's development.