Since the trade deadline, the Canadiens have been the worst team in the NHL. Only one victory in nine games, goals conceded by the ton, a numerical disadvantage which yields practically half the time… We can nevertheless, through the storm of the last few weeks, identify some positive elements. La Presse offers you seven.

Joel Edmundson’s nickname among his teammates is “Steady Eddy”, which the French translation of “Stable Eddy” could easily refer to a European monarch of the Middle Ages. For the first half of the season, however, the 29-year-old defender wore his title badly. Before injuring his back in late January, Edmundson was posting an abysmal -21 differential in just 39 games. Since returning to action on March 2: 7 in 10 games. As our colleague Guillaume Lefrançois recently pointed out, the coaching staff seems to have lightened his workload, which serves him quite well. Now let’s see if his proverbial stability will hold up if Kaiden Guhle’s absence is prolonged.

We mentioned it in the introduction, but since the deadline for transactions, it hasn’t worked at all for the Habs. Record of 1-6-2 in 9 games, with 42 goals against. Even removing the goals given in numerical inferiority, we see that CH was among the worst clubs in the circuit five against five. However, in this phase of the game, the statistics make Samuel Montembeault look very, very good. Five against five, since March 3, he has posted a .933 save percentage and an average of 2.25 goals against per 60 minutes of play. Despite his disastrous start to the game last Thursday in Florida, the specialized site Natural Stat Trick calculates that he has allowed, in his last six starts, 3.6 goals less than what was expected of him.

Who on earth predicted that with six points, Alex Belzile would have production to match Nick Suzuki over the last nine games? Here, no one. Of course, the comparison must end there, since Suzuki faces the best opposing line night after night and has carried the weight of his team for 70 games now. However, the history of Belzile already resembles, with 12 games to play, the most beautiful of the season. At even strength, he certainly spent the majority of his time on a fourth line, but he obtained additional missions after Christian Dvorak fell in battle. The fairy tale continues for the 31-year-old striker, who wonders if he could inherit a permanent position next fall.

Given the number of goals allowed by the Canadiens, it should come as no surprise that Michael Matheson finds himself on the ice for more successes from the opponent than from his club for some time. However, it will be difficult to reproach him for certain generosity given the magnitude of the tasks that fall to him. Since January 21, when he returned to full time after suffering multiple injuries, he has played over 22 minutes in 21 out of 24 games. He even hit a career-high 31:57 on March 9 against the New York Rangers. This workaholic is also on his way to having one of his best seasons in the NHL offensively, despite having already missed 34 games.

It’s a funny time to talk about him, since he was benched by his coach last Saturday because he arrived late for a team meeting the day before, but Jonathan Drouin is the CH’s leading scorer since the trade deadline. A goal (finally!) and seven assists give him a one-point lead over Josh Anderson. It is important to put this harvest into perspective, while his trio often struggles in defensive cover. And despite a recent whiff of excitement about him among fans on social media, there are still doubts that this performance will earn him an offseason offer from the Habs. Nevertheless, casually, Drouin continues to make his way.

We suspect that he himself is not happy about it, but it is clear that the misfortunes of the Canadian have served the cause of Michael Pezzetta well. Since a carnage hit his team head-on in mid-January, two phenomena have come together. First, for lack of additional options, Pezzetta played all of his club’s matches. Then, Martin St-Louis had no choice but to put together a so-called “energy” fourth line, mainly composed of players recalled from the Laval Rocket. Much better served by a more conventional style than what St-Louis advocates through its offensive concepts, the hairy skater is like a fish in water. Since Belzile’s recall on January 21, number 55 has amassed 10 points in 24 games. This season he has now played 51 games, the same total as last year. However, he amassed two more points and saw his differential go from -7 to 2.

We save them for the end since their awakening is more recent, but Denis Gurianov and Jesse Ylönen are surfing on pretty offensive sequences. One has scored four goals in his last five, and the other, three in his last four. Beyond the goals themselves, it should be noted that these were, in most cases, sequences during which the two attackers displayed their skills. The mention is not trivial, especially in the case of Gurianov, who has almost doubled his shooting rate per game (from 1.6 to 2.8) since being acquired from the Dallas Stars. As for Ylönen, he remains shy in this regard, but we suddenly understand a little better the praise he received in the American League.