Canadiens utilize club option to extend Head Coach Martin St. Louis.

The Canadiens have opted to exercise the club option on head coach Martin St. Louis’ contract, securing his position as bench boss through the 2026-27 season. St. Louis, whose contract was originally set to end in the summer of 2025, now enjoys a two-year extension.

At 48 years old, St. Louis stands as one of the NHL’s younger coaches. Since taking the reins of the Canadiens during the 2021-22 season from Dominique Ducharme, St. Louis has overseen a record of 75-100-26. This includes steering the team to a 14-19-4 finish in 2021-22 following Ducharme’s tenure and witnessing a modest uptick from 68 points in the previous season to 76 points in the current year, despite concluding with consecutive overtime or shootout losses to the Red Wings.

Speaking with reporters, GM Kent Hughes hinted at the possibility of further extensions after meeting with St. Louis’ staff. Assistant coaches Alexandre Burrows and Trevor Letowski, as well as goaltending coach Éric Raymond, remain unsigned for the upcoming season. Hughes expressed confidence in retaining the existing coaching crew, signaling a preference to maintain continuity.

Although St. Louis, a native of Laval, Quebec, never had the opportunity to play for his hometown team during his notable 1,134-game NHL career, he has found success in his coaching debut within one of the league’s largest markets. Prior to assuming the interim head coach role in February 2022 and being named permanent head coach the following offseason, St. Louis gained NHL staff experience as a special teams consultant with the Blue Jackets during the latter half of the 2018-19 season.

While St. Louis has yet to manage a playoff-contending roster, the Canadiens’ top-10 prospect pool, poised to continue graduating over the extension period, presents an opportunity. Notably, he played a significant role in nurturing the breakout performance of 2022 first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky, who tallied 20 goals and 50 points in all 82 games this season. Under his guidance, the team has shown improvement in defense and possession metrics, with their overall 5-on-5 Corsi For percentage rising from 45.4 to 46.3 and expected goals against per game at 5-on-5 decreasing from 2.37 to 2.13 while maintaining offensive output.

The Canadiens’ management believes St. Louis is capable of leading the franchise to its first playoff appearance in the post-Carey Price era. While he’ll receive support from Hughes in constructing a competitive roster, it’s evident that St. Louis has established a rapport with the team’s youthful core early in his coaching tenure.

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