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Canadiens Prospects With Legitimate Shot At Cracking Roster

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are set to have one of the most interesting training camps in recent memory, with a handful of prospects that could crack the roster come September.

The Canadiens will be looking to continue the process of making their rosters younger and faster by providing their top youth with a chance to prove that they belong at the NHL level next season, There are other prospects that could have made this list, as there are many youngsters that are looking to make an impact at camp next month, but, with so many contracts already handed out, only a select few have a legitimate chance of cracking the roster this fall.

 

Juraj Slafkovsky

The Montreal Canadiens’ 1st overall pick is going to be primed and ready to make the most of his first NHL training camp. The youngster has been working hard in Slovakia this summer to get faster and stronger in time for training camp. He’s already back in Montreal  to acclimate to his new environment before the start of training camp. Due to being drafted out of Europe, the Canadiens have many options as to where they could play Juraj Slafkovsky, and the young power forward will want to give the Canadiens no choice but to keep him on the roster come October 12.

 

Jesse Ylönen

Jesse Ylönen is the most NHL-ready forward in the Montreal Canadiens system at this time. This is likely the most important training camp of the 22-year-old’s career, as he finds himself at the crossroads between the AHL and NHL after knocking on the door to the NHL for almost a year now. The former 2nd round pick in 2018 has greatly improved his speed and offensive implication on the rush and looked like he belonged in his 14 games with the Canadiens this season. Ylönen’s versatility will be his greatest asset when it comes to standing out above the other prospects attending training camp, as he could play in a bottom-six or top-six setting in a pinch. His speed, vision and tenacity make him a serious candidate to usurp an NHL veteran slated to be on the main roster with a strong performance at camp.

 

Justin Barron

This is a big camp for Justin Barron, who will look to prove that he belongs in the NHL as a full-timer. The fact that the Montreal Canadiens have moved veteran Jeff Petry opens the door wide open for a player like Barron. His combination of fluid skating and puck-moving abilities make him exactly the type of player that Martin St. Louis is looking to have on his backend as the Canadiens continue to alter their game to be more predicated on speed and transition. Although Barron is just 20 years of age, he had shown some noticeable growth in his five games with the Canadiens last season and looked to be about to take off prior to his unfortunate ankle injury that ended his season early. Having the entire offseason to heal and build up his body, Barron could be one of the young prospects that will rise to seize a roster spot and push other veterans like David Savard or Chris Wideman a notch lower on the depth chart.

 

Kaiden Guhle

The topic of whether or not Kaiden Guhle is NHL-ready has been a hot one this summer, especially after his MVP performance in the WHL playoffs this past season with the Edmonton Oil Kings. The 20-year-old is arguably the Montreal Canadiens’ most promising defensive prospect and already plays a very mature game for his age. This past season, he was able to build upon his already stellar defensive play by adding offensive elements, especially on the counter-attack, to his game. His time with the Oil Kings helped Guhle gain the confidence to hold onto the puck a little more and initiate the transition himself by using his deceptively strong skating to move the puck up the ice and overload the opposition on the rush. Being able to add those elements to his game makes him a strong candidate to impress come training camp, as he will be one of the more impressive physical specimens at first glance. Whether or not Guhle starts in the NHL might come down to a numbers game, but you can expect him to leave a lasting impression on management regardless of where he starts the 2022-2023 season.

 

Jordan Harris

After jumping into the NHL from the NCAA last season, Jordan Harris will look to hit the ground running with the Montreal Canadiens right out of camp. The 22-year-old will face some stiff comeptition on the left side of the Canadiens defence, but has a head start on other prospects within the organization due to the experience he gained last season playing in plethora of situations. Harris has an ability to adapt uickly to his environment and looked better and better with each passing game last season. With a full summer to rest, regroup and train; the young defender will be poised to take the 3rd pair role on the left side at camp. It will be interesting to see how he and Guhle measure up against each other, as they’ll likely be vying for the same spot on the Canadiens’ blueline. Harris has a few advantages however, as his aforementioned NHL experience and his ability to play the left and right side of the defence in a pinch make him a more versatile and polished player at this junction.

 

Honorable Mention: Raphaël Harvey-Pinard

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habbernack

Who is returning or have been signed by Laval on defense..

Billy739

MTL
Matheson-Savard
Eddy-Barron
Harris-Wideman
Schuneman

Laval
Ghule-Xhekaj
Norlinder-Bowey
Leiskanen-Dello(NCAA player formerly for DET that Laval signed)
Fairbrother

Junior/other
Trudeau- ready for AHL probably after this season
Struble-Senior in NCAA turning Pro next year

Thats really what we got and its deep.
I only listed 2 non Pro level players as they’ll be up soon.

Billy739

Xhekaj along with Ghule were the final 2 cuts last year
Given Xhekaj ceiling is a #4/5 D who plays Physical & contributs on PP
Its more likely he makes it over Ghule who’s a projected top pair guy

With Matheson , Edmundston and Harris on LD makes it more likely though that Schuneman gets the call to be 7th D cycling with Barron/Wideman as needed.

Xhekaj could also be used in that role but Schuneman makes more sense.
Have Xhekaj join Ghule playing his RD where we have a big hole in Laval.
Added bonus of getting top minutes and adjust to playing his offside by Ghule.

You want to build up up Schuneman a pending UFA on a league minimum’s value as he put up good numbers last year averaging 16 mins but playing as high as 21 mins when injuries demanded(All Wins when he played over 20 too)

Even if he produces at the same rate as last year he’ll get us a 3rd or 4th pick.
He’s a smooth skater with confidence who’s a good insurance pick up for cap strapped teams at the TDL. Once he and likely Wideman are gone at the TDL then promote someone

Plus we Madison Bowey who since covid a 5 games after the 2019-20 season stopped till last year. He had a great year in the AHL and if he has a good AHL season here because he’s already cleared waivers teams at the TDL will be looking at him too and a call up if we keep it under 9 games to showcase him at the TDL could get us more.

Point is in order for a Ghule to get in Harris or Matheson has to go because Steady Eddy IMO is about to be our next Captain even if only til the 2023-24 TDL. I mean i suppose Matheson against what Hughes said could move to RD if Ghule stands out but given Xhekaj destroyed him head to head in the Memorial Cup on a year where it was all Ghule in Junior , i just dont see it happening if he cant get by Xhekaj

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