Here's a challenge for the HFboards community : I'm challenging you to find any magazine, "expert" or professional website that has predicted the Montreal Canadiens to finish 1st in their division, for any of the last 6 seasons (including the current offseason). Do this knowing that Montreal won their division title for 3 of the last 5 years. I've done the same research myself, and while it's not exhaustive, the result is really mind blowing. How many expert have predicted a division title for the Habs over the last 5 years? Answer : ONE! Just a single one!! And a guy I've never heard about. Look at those predictions : 2012-13 What experts predicted : The Hockey Writers 1- Boston 2- Ottawa 3- Montreal Bleacher report 1- Boston 2- Buffalo 3- Ottawa 4- Montreal The Hockey News 1- Boston 2- Buffalo 3- Ottawa 4- Toronto 5- Montreal 2012-13 final standings 1- Montreal 2- Boston 3- Toronto 2013-14 What experts predicted : The Hockey Writers 1- Boston 2- Detroit 3- Montreal Bleacher Report 1- Boston 2- Tampa 3- Montreal The Hockey News 1- Boston 2- Detroit 3- Ottawa 4- Montreal 2013-14 final standings 1- Boston` 2- Tampa 3- Montreal (just 1 point behind Tampa) 2014-15 What experts predicted : 2014-15"]The Hockey Writers 1- Boston 2- Tampa 3- Montreal Bleacher Report 1- Tampa 2- Boston` 3- Montreal The Hockey News 1- Boston 2- Tampa 3- Montreal 2014-15 final standings 1- Montreal 2- Tampa 3- Detroit 2015-16 What experts predicted : The Hockey Writers 1- Tampa 2- Montreal 3- Florida Bleacher Report 1- Tampa 2- Montreal 3- Ottawa The Hockey News 1- Tampa 2- Detroit 3- Montreal TSN 1- Tampa 2- Montreal 3- Detroit 2015-16 final standings 1- Florida 2- Tampa 3- Detroit 4- Boston 5- Ottawa 6- Montreal 2016-17 What experts predicted : The Hockey Writers 1- Tampa 2- Montreal 3- Florida Bleacher report 1- Tampa 2- Florida 3- Montreal The Hockey News 1- Tampa 2- Florida 3- Montreal TSN 1- Tampa 2- Montreal 3- Florida ESPN Out of 10 experts, 10 of them project Tampa to win the division NHL.COM Out of 20 experts, 17 project Tampa to win the division. 2 says it's gonna be Florida. And... tadam! You have one guy, the only one I could find in 5 years, who predicted Montreal would win the division. And he was right! Congratulations Rob Vollman!! 2016-17 final standings 1- Montreal 2- Ottawa 3- Boston And the trend continues this offseason. Despite underestimating the Habs massively for 3 of the last 5 years, I'm still unable to find a single expert who projects the Habs to win their division in 2017-18. They project Tampa, who just missed the playoffs and replaced Drouin with Kunitz. I've seen Toronto, who lost 14 games in a row against Montreal. I've seen Ottawa too. But nobody is taking a chance on Montreal, once again. So the question is : why are experts so often underestimating the Habs? Here's a few possible answers : 1- Experts underestimate the impact of a star goaltender on the overall result 2- Experts are shy about placing the Habs first, because of what they represent, and because this is a team loaded with emotivity, good and bad. They prefer to take a safe bet and place them 2nd or 3rd every year, so they avoid controversy. 3- The Habs players and coaching staff have been greatly underestimated over the years 4- Habs overachieved 3 years out of 5. I assume this will be a popular option, but it's hard to believe. Habs have the 7th best regular season record in the past 5 years. Such consistent success cannot be overachieving. 5- Any other explanation?