Brian Wilde on Canadiens missing the playoffs, team’s rebuild and attracting stars

Click to play video: 'Call of the Wilde: 2023-2024 season wrap-up'
Call of the Wilde: 2023-2024 season wrap-up
The Montreal Canadiens have cleared out their lockers for the season, but despite once again failing to make the playoffs, no one can deny the team’s improvement. Global’s hockey analyst Brian Wilde joins 'Global News Morning' host Laura Casella for one last Call of the Wilde – Apr 19, 2024

The Montreal Canadiens may not have made the playoffs this season, but no one can deny the team’s improvement.

The storied club’s top brass are committed to reversing that trend, though they admitted it won’t come at the expense of a long-term plan.

Hockey analyst Brian Wilde joined Global News Morning’s host Laura Casella on Friday morning for one last Call of the Wilde segment for the season.

Here are some highlights from the conversation in Wilde’s words.
Click to play video: '2024 NHL Playoff Preview: Will a Canadian team finally end the 31-year Stanley Cup drought?'
2024 NHL Playoff Preview: Will a Canadian team finally end the 31-year Stanley Cup drought?

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On when the Habs will make the playoffs or win it all

Maybe as soon as next year, but probably two. I think they’ll flirt with them. They’ll have a little tryst.

All of the players that they’re acquiring, which is a great number, they have a lot of assets they need to mature, because nobody just shows up in the NHL and they’re as great as they will eventually be. 

On Martin St. Louis’ contract extension

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I love that guy.

On how the team is managed and new culture being built

The entire organization management team right now, they’re just so modern-age too. They’re just so of this generation. It’s just so great to see as someone who tries to be a part of this generation, too. In terms of, let’s say, the previous regime said things like, “Hey, if you want loyalty, get a dog, Markov.” You know, like after a decade of being loyal.

Instead, this organization, from (Kent) Hughes and (Jeff) Gorton and all three of them, are all about we want to make sure that we’re creating an environment here — a culture where people want to come play here and realize there is learning here and there is education. But there is also what I wrote in my column: there’s no tough love. Just love, just love.

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Click to play video: 'Montreal Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis’ contract extended'
Montreal Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis’ contract extended

On needing and attracting talent to Montreal

That is going to be vital because, you know, we’re about to start the Stanley Cup playoffs, right? And statistically speaking, if you just do the math — considering how many teams are from Canada and how many teams are from the United States and the ratio of that — there should be a Canadian team winning the cup every five years, right? It has been 30.

And why? Because there are three ways that you can acquire a player: you can trade for him, you can draft him and he can be an unrestricted free agent and choose the Canadian city. And they never choose the Canadian city for a number of reasons. Fishbowl, taxes is the big one.

So you’re trying to get an unrestricted free agent, but they got to want to come here because the taxes are tough.

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This regime is going to try to make people come here, just on how good it can be to be here.

On the Canadiens being in a good position for the NHL draft

In the draft, there is (lots of talent). They’re going to pick five, maybe again six or seven. They could even win the thing to pick one, but they’re in a good position to add another great player. That’s important.

They have a lot of assets on defence they could turn into more goals. That’s important.

I think it’s going to be a wildly busy summer for Kent Hughes. You may call me back in.

Click to play video: 'Call of the Wilde'
Call of the Wilde

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