The Montreal Canadiens announced they’ll be icing another young lineup against the Maple Leafs, as they continue their evaluation process.
The Canadiens will have some important decisions to make soon, so it’s no surprise that this lineup is once again full of the club’s young prospects who have yet to be fully evaluated. Most notably, prospects like Juraj Slafkovsky, Emil Heineman, Jesse Ylönen and Filip Mesar will be under the microscope as they look to prove to the team’s management group that they belong at the next level.
The Future At Forward
This will be the first time that Montreal Canadiens fans will get a look at Heineman in a simulated-game situation against a rival team. The young man from Sweden has been nothing short of impressive in his game as of late, even earning the high praise of head coach Martin St. Louis. Heineman’s direct competition and linemate for tonight, Jesse Ylönen, will also be getting in on his first preseason game.
It will be important for both wingers to push the pace of the game and continue utilizing their shots and smarts around the net. For centre Jake Evans, who has the pleasure of centering these two youngsters, it’ll be about playing with speed and making sure to feed them the puck when open; as both possess heavy and deceptive shots.
Juraj Slafkovsky, who was not scheduled to play in this game, will be suiting up at left wing this game to replace Jonathan Drouin, who is out sick. The young man will quickly look to impose himself in this game, and, having big Joel Armia on his line may help create more room for the youngster to show the world what he can do.
Battle On Defence
It will be an interesting battle once again on defence as Arber Xhekaj, Jordan Harris and Justin Barron will be suiting up for tonight’s game and looking to gain ground in the race for the final spots on the Montreal Canadiens defence. Harris and Barron will be playing in their second straight preseason game, as both are in direct competition for one of the final roster spots on the right side. Harris looked better so far during camp with his calm demeanour and controlled play, while Barron has been a little more inconsistent, but has shown flashes of brilliance in the offensive zone.
Arber Xhekaj will be suiting up for his third career preseason game in the NHL and tonight will be the kind of setting where fans and management alike will be paying attention to see how the 21-year-old’s physical game translates at the pro level. Xhekaj gets very excited and looks to make crushing hits whenever he can, but has recently reeled that aspect of his game in to make him more efficient at puck possession and on the transition.
See the full lineup: