A year ago, it looked like the Montreal Canadiens would make the playoffs again.
Now, after a tough loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, it looks like the franchise is going to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Montreal’s offseason was pretty bad.
They lost a lot of key pieces and lost a number of good players, including defenceman Alexei Emelin and winger Shea Weber.
The Habs have been without the services of defenceman Lars Eller, who missed most of training camp with a foot injury.
And centre Max Pacioretty is out for the season with a broken collarbone.
The Canadiens also have to deal with the departures of forwards P.K. Subban, P.A. Parenteau, Jussi Jokinen, Alexei Yashin, Jiri Sekac, and J.T. Miller.
But the big news is that they have signed free agent centre Jarred Tinordi to a one-year, $1.9 million deal.
Tinordis was one of the hottest prospects in the NHL last season, and he scored 24 goals and 41 points in 62 games with the St. Louis Blues.
The 27-year-old is the second-best defenceman on the Canadiens after Shea Weber, who also scored 37 goals and 71 points in 72 games with Tampa Bay last season.
The signing of Tinordic also gives the Canadiens some depth at centre, which they’ve lacked in recent years.
The club also signed free agents Matt Nieto and Max Paciello to two-year deals, along with forwards Andrew Mangiapane and David Desharnais.
The return of centre David Deshoit from the Stanley Cup Final loss to Chicago last year will help the Canadiens continue to build on their playoff success.
The last time the Canadiens lost in the first round was in 2015.
Montreal finished second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 37-19-9.
They also got lucky in the draft.
They picked left-winger Anthony Mantha with the seventh overall pick and centre Nathan Beaulieu with the 25th overall pick.
Mantha was a big part of the Canadiens first Stanley Cup winning team in 2006, while Beauliev was a steady, hard-working defenceman.
They both played for the Ottawa Senators last season before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The final pick in the 2015 draft is probably going to be defenceman David Deshaies.
The 25-year old has a very good chance to make the Canadiens this season.
The 19-year vet has two goals and eight assists in 46 games with Carolina this season and he also scored a goal in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Dallas Stars.
Manthan will play on the second line with Shea Weber and Shea Weber will play alongside Mantha and Weber will likely start in the second and third line.