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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens William Trudeau Emerging As Laval’s Best-Kept Secret



Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens prospect William Trudeau was eligible to return to junior, but, thanks to a major step up in his development, instead finds himself on the top pair of the Laval Rocket.

The Montreal Canadiens’ 4th-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, William Trudeau, has often been forgotten within the Canadiens’ crowded defensive depth chart.

Last year, Trudeau made a name for himself in the QMJHL for being a sound, two-way defenceman capable of doing it all on the ice. He posted a very respectable eight goals and 36 assists for 44 points in 68 games with the Charlottetown Islanders on a second pairing.

Mission Impossible

Due to having a late 2022 birthday, Trudeau had the option to turn pro this season, as the AHL ruling allows 19-year-olds to play in the AHL as long as they turn 20 before December 31 of that year.

There were many obstacles, however, as the Canadiens had an enviable amount of depth on the left side of their defence, with four rookies coming in and starting above him in the pecking order.

Nonetheless, Trudeau came to Montreal with one objective this fall: play for the Laval Rocket.

“It was my objective to play in the AHL this season and I came to camp, even the rookie tournament in Buffalo, and things went really well and I played some really good games,” said Trudeau regarding his strong training camp. “I feel that Montreal Canadiens management was really happy with my game and I carried that to the camp in Montreal and then in Laval. I had no idea where I was going to play.”

Like most 19-year-olds across the league, the start to a pro career in the AHL takes time, as players get used to the timing, pacing and physical toll the game takes on their bodies.

On top of the jump in quality of play, Trudeau also had to contend with an unfortunate roster logjam, as the Laval Rocket, who hadn’t planned on having Trudeau amidst their ranks, had to juggle eight defencemen on their active roster.

It meant that Trudeau had to sit out a handful of games early this season despite putting up solid performances when called upon.

But he didn’t let it keep him down.

“I get there, and it’s my first year; I couldn’t expect to play all the games. My goal was to learn as much as possible,” said Trudeau about Laval’s logjam on defence to start the season. “I worked hard in practices, and, when I did play, I gave my 100% every time I was on the ice and it went well. We were just too many defencemen and I had to skip my turn. I didn’t stress about it; I knew it was my first year.”

Moving On Up

Trudeau continued to work on his game and practiced hard; honing in on some skills that had made him a formidable defenceman in the junior ranks, but needed polishing in the pro game.

“I’ve learned that, when I move my feet, good things happen. Then there’s also playing with confidence; it’s an important element. When you play with confidence it helps you better play your game,” said Trudeau about the things he’s learned this season. “Players on the team told me to have more confidence in my ability to make plays; and, I felt that, when I understood that, I started making more and more plays during games and that’s where the offence has come from.”

And that confidence had slowly allowed him to lock down a regular role on the Canadiens’ farm team when they began to thin out their ranks by contract terminations of call-ups to the Montreal Canadiens.

Gaining some consistency in his playing time, Trudeau began to thrive in all situations for the Laval Rocket; gaining some precious power play usage along the way after the recall of Justin Barron.

Trudeau used the opportunity to not only show that he could put the team on his back defensively, but that he could bring the offensive boost they desperately needed with all the injuries they’d sustained.

Trudeau, a regular healthy scratch in October, has quickly risen up the ranks to become the Rocket’s No. 1 defenceman and has registered one goal and ten assists for 11 points in his last 14 games.

His fluid mobility on the ice and strong positional play has made him an indispensable player for the Rocket, and has vaulted Trudeau right up the Canadiens’ defensive depth chart.

Montreal Canadiens Development Staff Paying Dividends

Trudeau credits his impressive developmental growth to a summer of hard work and the help of the Montreal Canadiens’ development staff, most notably Director of Hockey Development, Adam Nicholas.

“I trained all summer in Brossard; Adam was running the practices then. Just being able to be around him this summer and skate with him was very beneficial for my game,” said Trudeau regarding the growth in his game. “Xavier (Simoneau) and I have already agreed that we have to do it again next summer. It was great for our games because we were forced out of our comfort zone.”

He spoke about the little details in his game that Nicholas had helped him unlock; helping him gain that extra step in terms of skating and also learning how to attack open pockets of ice to better contribute to offensive production.

“I knew I had to work on my first few steps and my explosiveness, but Adam showed me ways to better improve my mobility in general,” said Trudeau regarding how some changes in the details of his skating have paid dividends this year. “He showed us skating techniques, worked on pivots and really helped us with our crossovers. Once we got our reps in, it’s something you could add to your game and it makes you that much better.”

He’s certainly shown off those extra tricks so far this season; making him the best-kept secret in Laval at the moment.

Some players may be forced back down the depth chart once some injured bodies return to play, but Trudeau has fully cemented himself as a key member of the Laval Rocket, despite being only 20 years old.

He’s certainly a prospect that Montreal Canadiens fans should keep a close eye on moving forward; as he remains committed to wearing the Bleu Blanc Rouge in the not-so-distant future.

To watch the full interview, see the video below:

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The issue with Trudeau is he’s yet another lefty. Who is he going to supplant in the NHL? Even when we move Edmundson, there’s still Matheson, Guhle, Xhekaj and Harris ahead of him. And even if we keep him in the AHL for a few years until Matheson potentially gets moved, Hutson and maybe Engstrom will have become part of the equation by then too. And, despite our lack of the same depth on the right side, playing him on his off side is no guarantee for a spot. Assuming Savard eventually goes, there’s still Barron, Mailloux and multiple of the aforementioned lefties ahead of him. I just don’t see a future for him here, which is a shame.


Trudeau is miles out from ready as this article paints him to be.
First off we had to trade for Nicholas Beaudin a former 1st rounder in Caufields/Dachs Draft that CHI traded us for Nothing(Hillis always on IR since Junior year in OHL).

Beaudin passed Norlinder for top spot quick as he and Barron clicked instantly. Only issue that arose that gave Trudeau this boost the last 14 games is that Beaudin’s since been pointless and lost on the ice without Barron. He doesnt mesh well with Bowey and Dello who are less skilled more gritty. Schuneman is their 3rd RD when they need but also rely on ECHL call up Centerome which means our entire RD is full of bottom end 3rd pair RD types.

While Norlinder , Beaudin and yes Trudeau are all great prospects they’re all also inconsistent. They will need years to fix their holes or become like Bowey, Schuneman and Centerome aka the old guys in a rebuilding system who still dont get called up because their best years are behind them making their entire worth now tied to their leadership role’s

That said it took Trudeau almost 3 times longer to accomplish the same Beaudin did in his first dozen games in Laval .


That’s what I meant by my last sentence. I know we can play lefties on their off side, but that still means those players are blocking the way for Trudeau. We have so many lefties ahead of him, even if we play either Trudeau or some of the lefties on their off side, he’s still like 9th in line for only 6 spots on the team.


It’s a good position to be in for the club but I agree – tough on players. But when it shakes out in a few years, some of these good d prospects could get traded for future picks and/or prospects. So it becomes a bit of a win/win. The player gets another chance with a different organization and we gain assets more to our needs

Alex Barrette

There will be a log jam sooner or later. And its great for the franchise, we’ll be able to use some prospect and picks to add nhl players in the off season.


That’s the hope at least. But my money would be on Trudeau being one of those guys moved vs most I mentioned. The log jam is already here and imo he’s lower on the list of keepers than Matheson, Guhle, Xhekaj, Harris, Barron, Hutson, Engstrom, & Mailloux. There’s only 6 spots available and we already have 8 guys ahead of him in line. That doesn’t even take into account Edmundson, Savard & Wideman that are still here.


Eventually Edmundson, Savard and Wideman will be gone. I think within two years or however long it takes for management to have clarity on their young D men


Agreed. That’s why I didn’t mention their names in the first list of guys blocking Trudeau. I think Trudeau is 9th in line for a spot of D even without Edmundson, Savard & Wideman. He’s 12th in line with the vets included. That’s why I just don’t see him with the Habs long term.

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