Canadiens Prospect Emil Heineman Lighting It Up With Laval
Montreal Canadiens prospect Emil Heineman has hit the ground running in North America, playing a vital part in the Laval Rocket’s playoff push.
The 21-year-old made his Rocket debut last week and has wasted little time in showing Canadiens fans what general manager Kent Hughes saw in him last season.
Included as a key prospect in the Tyler Toffoli trade last season, all eyes were on how Emil Heineman was going to transition to North America after four seasons with Leksand in the SHL.
The 6-foot-1, 194-pound winger plays a very fast and aggressive style that scouts believed would transition well to the AHL/NHL style; especially on a smaller rink.
It looks like there may have been some truth to that, as Heineman has been a breath of fresh air for the Rocket and has fit in seamlessly since coming over last week.
Fitting In Just Right
Right from his first game, he was utilized in the Laval Rocket’s top six, as the Montreal Canadiens affiliate has been plundered by their parent club due to multiple call-ups.
In the absence of Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Alex Belzile and Rem Pitlick, Heineman slotted on the second line next to Mitchell Stephens and Perrick Dubé, and the chemistry was instant.
The trio has caused chaos in the offensive zone, with their relentless forecheck and their speed along the wings; creating a high quantity of scoring chances in the process.
Heineman, who possesses a very quick and powerful shot, has taken advantage of his existing pro experience and hard-working linemates to show his ability to score goals in a variety of ways.
Averaging over 15 minutes a game since his debut, the rugged winger has five goals in his last five games and has energized the Rocket in their pursuit of the final playoff spot in the North Divison.
Heineman à Dubé à Heineman 🚨#GoRocket https://t.co/77PewifIa1 pic.twitter.com/rd2SyjhW4T
— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) March 29, 2023
Getting Ready For Next Season
For Heineman, the experience he’s gaining in helping to push the Rocket into a playoff position is invaluable.
As of next season, he will be on this side of the pond on a full-time basis, with the ultimate goal of carving out a spot for himself with the Montreal Canadiens.
The organization has high hopes for the former 43rd overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, as they view his potential much higher than a simple bottom-six grinder.
“I saw him at camp this fall, and he was the best player at rookie camp. So, when management said there was a possibility that we could be getting Emil (in Laval), we were pretty happy,” said Laval Rocket head coach, J-F Houle, in an interview on BPM Sports this week. “He’s got a lot of speed, protects the puck very well and he scores. I think he’s a great fit for us. We think he has a high ceiling; there’s a lot of runway for him to get better.”
Houle has enjoyed what he’s seen from Heineman, giving him more and more minutes as the games become crucial, must-wins for the Rocket.
Heineman’s ability to play in all situations and his explosive speed makes him dangerous at all times, but his maturity away from the puck is likely what will help him get to the NHL quicker.
He’s certainly a player to watch leading into training camp next fall.
Make it two goals for Emil Heineman tonight!
3-1 Laval pic.twitter.com/DD3LY36iK5
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 29, 2023
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Is he waiver exempt next year if he doesn’t make the Habs?