Canadiens Struble On His Growth, Possible Future With Habs
Montreal Canadiens prospect Jayden Struble will have an important decision to make in the next month, but he’s keeping a focus on the present, with an attentive eye on Montreal.
The 22-year-old is in his senior year at Northeastern University and has been enjoying what will be the final year of his NCAA career.
Catching some of the Huskies’ games of late, one would quickly notice the sound, two-way style that Struble has adapted over the last four years; playing a more disciplined and effective game than years prior.
“I’m in my groove right now and playing a good game all around,” said Struble about his stylistic shift this season. “I’ve been here for a while and I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. I feel like I’ve been really putting it together the last couple of games.”
Although the points don’t jump off the page when you look Struble up, his habits in the offensive zone have been much more conducive to offensive chance generation this year.
He’s improved his ability to move the puck up the ice at the right time, rather than forcing plays and trying to do too much on his own.
That maturity in his game has been a huge boost to his game and his contributions to the Northeastern Huskies defensive brigade.
“To be honest, I feel like it’s my decision-making,” said Struble regarding the aspect of his offensive game that has improved the most. “I’m not trying to do too much, but, when it’s there, I try to make the best play. That could be as simple as making the best first pass and then joining up. In the offensive zone, make sure to not panic with the puck and make sure you have your next move already planned. The numbers may not blow you away, but I think I’ve done my part in keeping the play in front of me, rather than chasing it.”
Having just recently won the Boston-based Beanpot tournament, Struble has his eyes set on the Hockey East division title and an NCAA Championship in the coming month; but decision time is soon approaching.
Relationship With The Canadiens
Either by late March or early April, Struble’s NCAA season will have come to an end; and he’ll have to make a choice.
Will he sign his entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens or opt for free agency in the summer?
Struble hasn’t given it much thought, but his appreciation for the organization and the city itself was noteworthy.
“They drafted me and stuck by me all these years. I love the city and it’s a historic franchise. I haven’t given it too much thought, but it’s a really good option for me.” said Struble when it comes to whether he’s considered his future with the Canadiens.
Besides general manager Kent Hughes being his former family advisor, the term for an agent in the NCAA, Struble also has a strong friendship with former teammate Jordan Harris and Canadiens Development Director, Adam Nicholas.
“I know Adam very well, I have for a while. He’s really helpful and has helped my game a great deal,” said Struble about his existing relationship with Nicholas prior to him joining the Canadiens’ developmental staff. “I’ve skated with him every summer for the past six or seven years, so I always have a good time with him.”
The fit makes a ton of sense on paper, given the familiarity at the player, hockey ops and management levels, but the fact remains that left-shot defencemen are overflowing in Montreal.
With the Canadiens having an overabundance of left-shooting defencemen at both the NHL and AHL level, for now, Struble understands that opportunity may be difficult to find, at least to start.
That being said, in no way does any potential competition for ice time and organizational opportunity intimidate him when choosing the right landing spot.
“There’s definitely a balance between opportunity and destination, but, at the end of the day, you’re going to have to beat out guys for spots no matter where you go,” said Struble regarding the stiff competition on the left side of the Canadiens’ defence. “It wouldn’t be an intimidating thing, I’m not scared of having to beat out guys for my role.”
It will be an interesting time, as fellow Montreal Canadiens prospect Sean Farrell will have a similar decision on his hands, despite being eligible to return to the NCAA next season.
Like Farrell, Struble’s time in the NCAA is seemingly up and it’ll be decision time within the next few weeks.
The former 2019 2nd-round pick will take his time to make a wise decision on his future, but Montreal remains a very attractive destination.
“I haven’t given it too much thought.”
i could not agree more. that statement is so offensively bogus.
It like when guys in the NHL that are going to be a UFA/RFA and say the same thing about their contracts or the possibility of getting traded at the deadline. Whatever guys. I don’t get why this has become a thing. What’s so bad about saying, “Uh, is consumes my every waking moment. Duh.” 😂
To play in the NHL regularly, Struble must continue to progress. From what is written here, it’s reasonable to assume that the Canadiens have done their best to convince him that they can provide an environment conducive to his development. That’s good. By the time that Struble is NHL-ready, the team’s defensive landscape will likely have changed. He should know that the Canadiens is not necessarily is final destination; he may be traded or picked-up on waivers. He should also know that, regardless which team he signs an entry-level contract with, he will be in this situation. There’s no non-movement or non-trade clauses in ELC. If he joins the Canadiens’ organization now, he’ll be able to burn a year of his entry-level contract. This is a net gain for him for when he succeeds in playing in the NHL. Given that he already has a good relationship with Hughes, odds are good that he’ll sign with the Canadiens, but NCAA players must wait until the end of their season before making any commitment. Thus they are often cautious with what they say, especially when they get to participate in playoffs.
Good points. Struble and Northeastern have a chance to do some damage in the playoffs. With a very good goalie , Levi, anything is possible. I recall just last year Jordan Harris wisely said very little until the playoffs were over too .
The ncaa should be forced to make a rule change whereby if you choose not to sign with the team that invested in you for 4 yrs you have to sit out a year before you can sign with another team.
That seems rather harsh. It’s got to be a mutual conversation where the drafting team stays in regular contact with the player they chose to assure development. The player also knows this NHL team wants them and should certainly want to show that loyalty in return. Post college, Struble may spend a couple of years in Laval, getting used to playing more games as well as better opposition. With the continuous parade to the doctors Habs’ players have been making, any player signed to the organization knows if they do well they’ll get a crack at the Bigs sooner than later. Struble looks to become a player who’s a menace to play against and you can never have too many of those.