It's one of my first post here, so I'll try to make it short. I don't know if somebody already brought that up, but I'd like to talk about how lucky we were to finish 15th last year...
Last season, something very special happened in the Eastern Conference. It was the first time since 1987-1988 that a team was finishing last of its conference with a +/- differentiel being that high. In other words, it was the first time in 25 years that a low-ranking team was that good. Let's take a look at the standings last year.
How many games did we lose by only one goal last year? We were bad, but we weren't that bad...I've tracked down every season since 2011-2012 and the last time something like that happened was in 1987-1988 when the Pittsburgh Penguins finished with a +/- differentiel of +3. The Mario Lemieux era combined with a few years finishing last helped them to win the Stanley Cup in 1990-1991 and 1991-1992.
My point is very simple. We finished in last position, we drafted Alex Galchenyuk, one of the most explosive players we had in many years, and Sebastian Collberg, a top ranking prospect who was classed 4th among the European skaters last year. And, we have some great core players with Carey Price, PK Subban, Max Pacioretty, etc.
Now, we're first of the conference and a new era is beginning. I'm not saying we're going to win the Stanley Cup this year, but maybe finishing 15th last year was not a bad thing at all...
Also, goal differential is only expected to strongly correlate with rank within a division.
Maybe you're right but this is particularly special because normally the teams who finished last always had a differential around -60, sometimes -100, or even -150 in some case.
The fact that we finished with a -15 differential is really unusual. Plus, we drafted two extremely talented players. I'm just saying, I wouldn't be surprise if the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup in the next 3-4 years.