The Montreal Canadiens have tabbed Martin St. Louis as the team’s next head coach. In a press release, the Canadiens announced that St. Louis has signed a three-year contract extension and that the interim head coach tag has been dropped from his title.
St. Louis was named Montreal’s interim head coach in February after the team fired Dominique Ducharme in the middle of the regular season. The Canadiens made the decision to fire Ducharme after he went 8-30-7 in the team’s first 45 games of the season.
“We are happy to officially appoint Martin as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens,” Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said. “Martin is a proven leader, a great communicator with a deep understanding of and passion for the game of hockey. His arrival brought a renewed energy to our group, and we look forward to him returning behind the bench to continue guiding our team for the foreseeable future.”
St. Louis coached the final 37 games of the 2021-22 season and led the Canadiens to a 14-19-4 finish. The Canadiens finished the season with a 22-49-11 record and an NHL-worst 55 points.
For St. Louis, he didn’t have any prior head coaching experience before being named the Canadiens interim head coach, but did serve as the special teams consultant with the Columbus Blue Jackets under John Tortorella back in 2019. St. Louis played 16 NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Calgary Flames and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.
While the Canadiens had their fewest wins since the 1994-95 campaign, there are plenty of building blocks for St. Louis. The Canadiens saw 21-year-old winger Cole Caulfield finish his rookie season strong with 43 points (23 goals and 20 assists), including 35 points in 36 games after St. Louis became the interim head coach. Montreal also owns the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft after winning the draft lottery last month.
St. Louis will be the franchise’s third head coach since February 2021, when the Canadiens fired Claude Julien and replaced him with Ducharme.