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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens Make 2 Cuts, More On The Way



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens proceeded to assign Riley Kidney and Joshua Roy back to junior, but those aren’t the only cuts expected this week.

With the CHL season now having been underway for about a week, prospects like Joshua Roy and Riley Kidney being returned to junior was to be expected. It’s not that players like Kidney or Roy have been bad, far from it, but delaying an inevitable return doesn’t serve them or the team very much.

The club is already facing some eventual tough decisions at forward with 16 NHL calibre forwards on the roster and some potential surprises to contend with like Emil Heineman so far this camp. For the decision process and the good of the prospects it was likely the best decision to take.

Big Seasons In The QMJHL

For Joshua Roy, this is his season. He will be going back to the Sherbrooke Phoenix as the guy, even more so than last season. Likely playing on the top line with 2023 draft-eligible Ethan Gauthier, he will be expected to lead the Phoenix back to the spring dance in the QMJHL, but not before suiting up for Team Canada at the 2023 World Junior Championships. It will be interesting to see if he can repeat, if not improve, on his impressive 119-point campaign from last season in the QMJHL and lead the league in scoring for a second consecutive year.

As for Riley Kidney, he’s going back to a Titans roster in Acadie-Bathurst that has lost a lot of key pieces to last year’s powerhouse roster. Kidney will have to pick up some serious slack if the Titans are going to have any success this year in a competitive Maritimes Division. It will be a good test for Kidney, as it will force him to take his game up a notch in order to compensate for the lack of offence. Kidney can think the game at an elite level, but, similar to Nick Suzuki at the same age, his body needs to catch up to his brain. He needs to continue to mature physically and get an extra gear or two in his skating and he will be more than fine next season.

Beck & Trudeau Stick

Meanwhile,  Owen Beck and William Trudeau live to see another day at Canadiens training camp. Beck has been a standout at camp so far, playing some sound defensive hockey and being dominant in the faceoff circle despite being only 18. With injuries to Suzuki and Sean Monahan keeping them out of the lineup, Beck is being rewarded with some extra time with the big club and potentially another game on Saturday before being sent back to Mississauga for what will be a crucial sophomore season in the OHL.

As for William Trudeau, things are a little different. Being a late-born 02 player, he is eligible to play with the Laval Rocket or Trois-Rivières Lions because he will turn 20 years old before December 31 of this calendar year. The Canadiens are likely still evaluating where he is in his development before deciding whether to offer him an entry-level contract and choosing where to assign him for the season. If he is ultimately returned to the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL, expect to see a significant uptick in his play, especially his offensive numbers, as he will be the unquestioned No.1 defenceman of his team this season.

More Cuts Coming

The Canadiens now have 66 players remaining at training camp, with five preseason games left to play in a seven-day span. Sources have told Montreal Hockey Now that the expectation is that the Canadiens will be set to make more cuts on Saturday, and you can expect it to be more than a couple of players this time around.

The reason for that is the fast-approaching date of October 2; the opening of training camp for the Laval Rocket. On top of players on AHL deals, a large number of players currently attending the main training camp are expected to be cut in time for them to mentally prepare for yet another training camp, but at the AHL level.

Players like Jan Mysak, Xavier Simoneau, Mattias Norlinder or Gianni Fairbrother are likely to find their way to Laval early on, allowing the Canadiens to get closer looks at prospects who are on the cusp of making the show like Jesse Ylönen or Rafaël Harvey-Pinard.  The stage will then be set for the Canadiens to get a closer look at the fierce competition brewing between Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj, Jordan Harris and Justin Barron; as two, if not three, of these players, are likely to find themselves on the opening roster.

Once these cuts are made, the Montreal Canadiens will have five preseason games left to evaluate 40+ players, and those will likely decide who will take the final roster spots on opening night on October 12 against the Maple Leafs.

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