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Canadiens’ Defensive Prospects Up The Tempo on Day 2 Of Camp

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Montreal Canadiens defenceman Jordan Harris

With Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj standing out on the backend for the Montreal Canadiens on Day 1 of scrimmages, Jordan Harris and Justin Barron decided to get in on the fun on Day 2.

The Canadiens are now started to get fully settled into a training camp environment and, after shaking a bit of the rust, certain prospects began to show more of what they’re capable of. Day 1 saw Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj Xhekaj really stand out with their poise, skating and decision-making; but Day 2 saw youngsters like Justin Barron and Jordan Harris take the spotlight with some inspiring performances.

Harris was already looking stellar on Day 1 paired with Xhekaj. The two had instant chemistry in their games and were seamlessly able to transition up the ice and from side to side. Harris, who is currently slotting on the right side of the defence, despite being a lefty, looked like a natural on the ice. He was quick on transition and was very good at maintaining possession of the puck under pressure.

What stood out the most today was his ability to capitalize on offensive opportunities. On Day 1, Harris showed his ability to create plays out of nothing; using his excellent footwork and active stick to get pucks to his teammates quickly. On Day 2, he showed more of a willingness to open up the game by getting lost in the opposition’s defensive coverage and making himself available to finish offensive opportunities. He succeeded in capitalizing on such an opportunity early in the scrimmage game with a beautiful passing play with Owen Beck.

 

On the flip side, Justin Barron also looked more decisive in his decisions on the ice on Day 2. Barron played in a more assertive game, jumping in on the play as the 4th man and offering himself as a shooting option in every situation. He played a more effective defensive game as well, playing next to veteran Mike Matheson, who had himself a very impressive Day 2. There were still instances of hesitation that need to be cleaned up, but that will come with more playing time and confidence.

Barron was once again very effective at driving up the puck on the transition; making his pairing the most fluid on the ice on Day 2. He was able to slow down the play once he gained the offensive zone and distribute the puck with authority. He also managed to score a nice goal off a one-timer thanks to a beautiful feed from Mike Hoffman behind the net.

If Barron is to stick with the Montreal Canadiens this season, he will need to continue to play to the strengths of his game: transition and mobility. The hesitancy in certain moments will stand out more than the positives in the evaluation, but that will likely come as he continues to shake off the rust.

 

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