The Montreal Canadiens’ season is more than half over, and to mark the midway point of the campaign, general manager Kent Hughes provided an update on the team.
It’s no secret they have done more losing than winning this year, but Hughes remains confident he’s building toward success.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” said Hughes. “I don’t think you can teach your team to be great in one day either.”
It’s been one year since Hughes was hired as general manager of the Habs after the firing of Marc Bergevin.
“When you come into a situation like this, we’re trying to build a team that can win on a sustainable basis. There’s so much to do,” Hughes said.
The Habs are near the bottom of the standings, but Hughes feels he’s helping to foster a positive working environment among players and management alike. He acknowledges that’s easier to do when expectations are low like they are right now.
“I think I’m not ignorant of the fact that there’s less pressure today than there may be in a year’s time or two years time,” he said, explaining his goal is to maintain balance and patience as the team rebuilds.
The Canadiens shared some unfortunate news just as Hughes’ press conference began. Number one overall draft pick Juraj Slafkovsky will be out three months with a lower body injury. It won’t require surgery but his season is essentially over.
Hughes defended the choice not to send him down to the minors, saying the team wants to keep a close eye on his gradual development.
“Whether we’re right or wrong, I don’t know, because there is no one path. We’re going to go by trial and error as we go through all of this,” he said.
The GM says he is working to ink a long term deal with rising star Cole Caufield, and that goalie Sam Montembeault is on the upswing and he’s here to stay.
Hughes will have key decisions to make at the trade deadline less than two months away. Joel Edmundson and Josh Anderson are among those who could be moved.