When the Montreal Canadiens are involved in NHL trade rumours or actual NHL trade talks, Canadiens prospect defenceman Jayden Struble isn’t a common name brought up in potential trade returns. One longtime NHL scout doesn’t understand why and confirmed to Montreal Hockey Now that his team has inquired on Struble before and still keep tabs on the Northeastern University defenceman that the Canadiens drafted in the second round (46th overall), at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
“Don’t sleep on Struble man,” a longtime NHL amateur scout told MHN on Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve watched this kid since his days at St. Sebastian’s (high school in Needham, MA), and I’ve loved his poise and control the last two years. He’s always been a passionate kid and he wears that on his sleeve still but he channels it better now.”
That assessment sounds a lot like what Struble’s former head coach and current Northeastern athletic director Jim Madigan told MHN Canadiens reporter Marco D’Amico after Struble completed his junior season this past April.
“For Jayden, he needs to develop more preparation and discipline; and I’m not talking about penalties, but discipline and a routine to fine-tune his game to be successful at the NHL level,” said Madigan who coached Jayden Struble in his first two seasons before becoming AD at Northeastern and being succeeded by current head coach Jerry Keefe. “He’s already improved so much in that regard.”
After 30 points (12g, 18a), in his junior year at New England Prep School powerhouse St. Sebastian’s (the same school new Montreal Canadiens USA amateur scout Albie O’Connell attended), and then a 40-point senior season (10g, 30a), Struble sky-rocketed up the 2019 NHL draft rankings. The Canadiens drafted him before he went on to Northeastern and since then his points haven’t exactly been where many expected but he has matured as an all-around defenceman and leader for the Huskies, and wore an A for them last season.
“He earned a letter this year, which was a big step for him in learning how to become a leader,” said Keefe regarding Struble’s added responsibilities this past season. “He came into our program as a really young kid himself, right out of prep school, and we had a lot of freshmen that came in this past year, and he was a positive influence for them.”
Struble was unable to really strut his stuff at Montreal Canadiens development camp last month after being ruled out on the first day of camp with a lower-body injury. As of now, the Cumberland, Rhode Island native is returning to Northeastern for his senior season. The Canadiens have until next August to sign him. The aforementioned NHL amateur scout believes Struble will either sign by then or be traded.
“The Habs have a lot of young D coming so he’s got a lot of competition even to break the Laval lineup but I can’t see Kent [Hughes] letting him walk for nothing next year,” the scout said. “He’s watched him a lot obviously with his son [Jack] playing there so I’m sure he knows his game and he knows him well. This kid will make the show and be good.”