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Five Montreal Canadiens With The Most To Prove At Training Camp

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens will have a very interesting training camp this September, with many players coming in with something to prove to Habs management.

There will be no shortage of storylines going into training camp on September 21, as there will be quite a few new faces in the Canadiens dressing room this time around. A combination of newly acquired veterans and blossoming youngsters will be looking to establish themselves within the hierarchy of the Canadiens organization in what is to be an open and highly competitive camp. Some will be vying for the final remaining spots in the lineup, while others will be looking to secure important spots on the team. Montreal Hockey Now looks over which players have the most to prove at camp below:

 

Sean Monahan

After having surgery on each of his hips, Sean Monahan feels healthy and ready to go, which can only benefit the Montreal Canadiens this season. After going from top-line centre to healthy scratch in a matter of two seasons, Monahan will look to prove that he can be that dangerous top-six forward capable of scoring goals and winning key faceoffs for his team. Being in the final year of his seven-year deal, Monahan will be looking to impress the Canadiens, but also to make the absolute best impression for the league in general as he looks to secure another lucrative contract next summer.

Kirby Dach

Kirby Dach was acquired as a reclamation project that general manager Kent Hughes felt was a great gamble to take. Dach showed much promise in his instances in the NHL, but, unfortunately failed to take his game to the next level with the Blackhawks due to untimely injury and a lack of growth on the ice. Under a new system with a more offensive-minded coach in Martin St. Louis, Dach will have the opportunity to develop in a no-stress environment, as the Canadiens have reiterated on multiple occasions that development, not win counts, will be the priority this season. Dach will look to take one of the centre spots in Montreal’s top nine right out of camp and force his way into the top six, but, to do that, he will need to hit the ground running at camp.

Michael Matheson

The newly acquired Michael Matheson will be primed to come into camp this fall and prove to his doubters that his statistically impressive 2021-2022 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins was not an aberration, but a sign of things to come. The 28-year-old Montreal native has a prime opportunity to jump to the top of the Montreal Canadiens’ defensive depth chart with a strong camp and ensure himself top utilization at even strength, as well as on the powerplay. Embodying the style of speed and mobility that St. Louis covets in his defencemen, Matheson will have every opportunity to distinguish himself and act as a role model for the young defencemen coming through the ranks.

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. The Canadiens currently have 15 NHL forwards on contract for this upcoming season, which might make Slafkovsky’s goal of cracking the roster a little difficult. However, he’ll be looking to force management’s hand regardless and give them no choice but to move out some bodies to make room for him.

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.

HM: Jordan Harris, Kaiden Guhle, Joel Armia, Evgeni Dadonov

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