The Montreal Canadiens endured one of their worst seasons in recent memory this year, with dismal play on the ice accompanied by bizarre changes to the coaching staff and terrible decisions by the management team.
The historic hockey club finished the season in the basement of the Eastern Conference, producing the third-worst record in the NHL while missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
The Habs will now go into the offseason without a general manager after the firing of Pierre Gauthier, and with a coach who is certain to be let go after a tumultuous time in La Belle Province.
Whoever the new general manager is, he will have his work cut out for him in rebuilding a team that is being hampered by unproductive contracts, while also lacking elite prospects in the farm system.
There is some good news for Canadiens fans, though.
The most obvious of which is simple: The new GM simply can’t do a worse job than Gauthier, so things are already looking up.
In actuality, the team has a star goaltender in Carey Price to build around, assuming they do what’s expected and sign the restricted free agent to a long-term contract. There is a strong core of defensemen in place, led by Andrei Markov and 22-year-old P.K. Subban. The forward group also has some solid pieces, despite lacking a little bit of depth.
The Canadiens were also hammered by the injury bug this season, losing over 400 man-games, the highest total in the league. In all likelihood, that won’t happen again next year.
So take a deep breath Montreal fans, because there are reasons to be optimistic for the start of the 2012-2013 campaign.
But not all of the players on the current roster will get the chance to help turn things around.
Here are eight players who won’t be wearing the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge next season.
What do you think? Who won't be around in Montreal next season? Have your say in the comment section below.