The Montreal Canadiens are not going to waste any time when it comes to giving AHL standout Justin Barron an opportunity to prove his worth in the NHL.
Barron has scored seven goals and nine assists in 25 games for the Laval Rocket, including five goals while playing as the Rocket’s quarterback on the power play.
He will take Chris Wideman’s place in the lineup, playing alongside fellow rookie Jordan Harris on the third pairing.
There’s no word whether he’ll feature on the power play, but seeing as the Canadiens struggle to create any sort of momentum while playing with a man advantage, it is a perfect opportunity to see if Barron’s skillset translates to the NHL.
There’s also the matter of the Canadiens owning the worst power play in the league, which connotes a little creativity is needed to breathe new life into the special units.
Barron will be the fifth rookie to populate the Canadiens’ blue line this season, in what can only be described as a surprising, yet encouraging development.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) December 28, 2022
Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj, Johnathan Kovacevic and Harris haven’t just treaded water since earning a spot in the lineup, they’ve outplayed their veteran counterparts by a significant margin.
By icing five rookie defencemen in a single game, Martin St-Louis will set a Montreal Canadiens franchise record.
The last NHL team to gamble on youth in such an aggressive manner was the Philadelphia Flyers, who used Braydon Coburn, Lasse Kukkonen, Nate Guenin, Ryan Parent and Alexandre Picard on Apr.5, 2007.
“We’ve been watching the rookies all year,” said Joel Edmundson. “They look comfortable. Barron is composed out there, a smart player, and he does the simple things right. We’re comfortable having five rookies out there, and it will be a tough challenge tonight, but there’s no better way to prove yourself in this league.”