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Clarity On Montreal Canadiens Prospect Jayden Struble’s Future

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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens prospect Jayden Struble has decided on where he’d like to play next season, a decision that was best for his development.

Montreal Hockey Now can confirm that Struble has officially committed to returning to the University of Northeastern for his senior year. The Montreal Canadiens 2nd round pick in 2019 (46th overall) recently finished his junior season with Northeastern University and was pondering whether to sign with the Habs or return to Northeastern for his senior year in the NCAA. He will return to the Huskies with significantly more responsibility and an opportunity to take his game to the next level.

 

The Right Choice For His Development

Earlier this year, Northeastern’s director of Athletics, Jim Madigan, and head coach , Jerry Keefe, felt that it would be in Struble’s best interest to return for his senior year and then turn pro, similar to what Jordan Harris had done last season before signing with Montreal.

“He’d be the guy on the back end, just like Jordan Harris was for us the last two years,” said Madigan of what Struble’s role would look like upon his return to Northeastern for his senior year. “This past season, he rotated with an A on his jersey, and he was maturing more and more. Being the guy and a leader on defence will help his growth and maturation, helping him better prepare for the NHL level.”

Playing upwards of 25 minutes a game in all situations for a competitive team in the NCAA is a pretty attractive notion for any player, especially considering the glut of incoming defencemen the Laval Rocket are about to receive this fall. With Arber Xhekaj, Kaiden Guhle and Mattias Norlinder all set to join the Canadiens organization at once, and the new additions of Harris and Justin Barron, Struble would have had a lot of competition for ice time next season.

With Northeastern set to field another very young edition of the Huskies next season, Struble will now be the go-to guy in the locker room and their pillar on defence. Having that top utilization in a league that mirrors the modern NHL game quite well will be just as, if not more, beneficial for a young defender looking to take the next step in his development than playing 12-13 minutes a game on the third pair in Laval.

 

Fears Of Taking The “NCAA UFA Loophole”

A grand majority of Montreal Canadiens fans remain spooked when a prospect returns to college for their senior year due to the “NCAA Loophole”, which allows NCAA-based players to hit free agent status after their senior year in college. When fellow Canadiens prospect and Northeastern Huskie Jordan Harris decided to return to the NCAA for his senior year last fall, many believed that he would look to jump ship and remain in the Boston area, but he signed with the Canadiens immediately after his season. According to Madigan, those fears can be squashed now that Kent Hughes is the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens.

“I will say this, with Kent Hughes in a management role, the fears of college-level players taking the UFA route should be lessened,” said Madigan regarding the anxiety that fans may have to allow a player to go back to the NCAA for their senior year. “Your first example is Jordan Harris. Hughes being the general manager made it a lot easier for Jordan to sign with the Canadiens.”

Madigan went a step further in displaying his confidence in Struble’s eventual signing with the Montreal Canadiens, by bringing up a connection between Hughes and Struble that has gone under the radar since the former became general manager.

“There’s a very good relationship between the Montreal Canadiens organization and Northeastern University,” said Madigan regarding the free-flowing communication between the members of management on both teams. “Kent Hughes was Jayden’s family advisor before becoming the Montreal Canadiens general manager.”

With Hughes being his former family advisor, there’s very little doubt regarding whether or not the 20-year-old would choose to sign with the Montreal Canadiens; the real question is simply to determine at what time it would be best for him to do so. Given the logjam of left-shooting defencemen currently under contract by the Montreal Canadiens, the increased playing time and pivotal leadership role waiting for him at Northeastern and his existing relationship with Hughes, there’s no downside in Struble returning to college for one more year. Struble made the best decision for his development and will now be assured of top utilization during the season; leaving himself the opportunity to sign with the Canadiens once his season is over in the spring of 2023.

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Billy739

That change to NCAA’s rules about 4 year max for players .
Is it going to allow Struble to play an extra year too ?
Or just this years class?

IMO he lost a full season (two half seasons) just like everyone else
If he wanted to take advantage of that it would help him a lot given our systems depth.

If he could get a 5th year like Stapley is offered this year
It would mean our AHL would be cleared out a bit as Norlinder and Xhekaj would no longer be waiver exempt and likely in the NHL in Xhekaj’s case , traded in Norlinders by the time that hypothetical 5th year would be done for him.

At that point MTL would have Trudeau in Laval on LD at that point and no one else.
He’d walk into a bigger role there and basically everyone would be gone from our NHL Dcore from today except Matheson and Savard who would be in their 2nd last and final years of their contracts.

Harris,Ghule,Barron ,Xhekaj, Mailloux,Schuneman and like Eddy still around guiding the youth hopefully wearing the Captaincy(its a heavy heavy weight to carry). Struble will atleast have a fighting chance and not be victim of our own success like Norlinder will IMO

Jon

Struble could be the anchor all those others need. There’s definitely a place for him IF he can stay injury free- which so far has been a real problem. Hopefully Xhekaj turns out- having both him and Struble AND guhle would make us real nasty.

Jon

Struble has a history of repeated groin issues. That has to be seriously looked at. His career could depend on it. I’ve never heard if he’s had specialists look at it. I mean surgical specialists. Does he do yoga? Pilates? Stretching courses? The Habs brass should have the best people on it. Struble could end being one of those anchor type D men Stanley cup winners need.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon

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