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Montreal Canadiens

Top-3 Montreal Canadiens With Most To Prove Next Season



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens want to move to the next phase of their rebuild, but to get there, some players will have to take their game to new heights next season.

Like any rebuilding club, every summer is important in the preparation for next season.

Players, young and old, head back to improve their skills and get into top physical condition to be ready to take the next step in the fall.

There are many candidates that need to up their game on the Canadiens like Mike Hoffman, Christian Dvorak and Jake Evans, but for the organization as a whole to move forward, they’re going to need big seasons from a select few players on the club:

Juraj Slafkovsky

There was a tentative worry this season from Habs fans regarding the usage and play of Juraj Slafkovsky. Coming into camp at a staggering 238 lbs, the youngster was never really able to get his footing before his season was cut short due to a knee injury.

Slafkovsky showed progress on the ice as the season went on by better using his imposing frame, taking pucks to the net and playing with more physicality, but it all came to a screeching halt in January leaving fans wondering whether the season was a loss for the 19-year-old.

The youngster attended almost every game after being ruled for the season and watched from above for three months in the press gallery, picking up on finer details.

With the Montreal Canadiens wanting Slafkovsky so focus on his training rather than rushing back into play by attending the IIHF World Championships, the message is loud and clear: he has to have himself a very big summer.

For the young power-forward to effectively play his game, he needs to come into camp leaner, faster and meaner than last season to force the head coach Martin St-Louis to play him in a consistent offensive role.

A strong sophomore season from him would go a long way in assuring fans of the long-term direction of the club.

Rafaël Harvey-Pinard

Rafaël Harvey-Pinard was one of the best stories around the Montreal Canadiens last season, jumping into an injured lineup and putting up 14 goals in 34 games as a rookie in the NHL.

RHP quickly became a crowd favourite at the Bell Centre and was often one of the most exciting players on the ice.

Playing alongside Nick Suzuki, Harvey-Pinard continually elevated his play and looked like he belonged in a scoring role on the team; outplaying veterans on the club and taking nothing for granted.

Likely to receive an extension this summer, expectations will now surely rise for Harvey-Pinard, as he looks to make it in the NHL on a full-time basis.

Over an 82-game season, many things can happen and ice time can fluctuate, especially with a healthy lineup, and it will be up to Harvey-Pinard to prove that he not only belongs in the starting 12, but could repeat his scoring prowess if positioned in the right slot.

There’s very little doubt that he’ll continue to be a very useful and hard-working player, but the true test will be to see just how high his offensive ceiling could go.

Samuel Montembeault

Samuel Montembeault has been doing his best to prove he is deserving of the starting role with the Montreal Canadiens.

After putting up a multitude of solid performances for the Habs in the second-half of the season, Montembeault then backstopped Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Hockey Championships earlier this week.

The 26-year-old has been deemed by general manager Kent Hughes as an important piece for the organization moving forward, meaning there could be big things on the horizon for the Quebec-born goaltender.

But it’s one thing to be given the tag of a No.1 goaltender, and another entirely to keep that tag once you’ve been given it.

Due to injury and incredible performances, Montembeault has played 78 games over the last two seasons, which is almost the workload of a starting goaltender in the NHL.

The physical toll of an NHL season is likely not going to hold the youngster down, but for him to truly take the next step in his development, he’s got to play with more consistency.

Montembeault was one of the goaltenders with the most games played with a 0.930 save percentage or higher in the NHL, but his save percentage was 0.901; meaning that, due to mistakes on his end or the extremely inexperienced lineup in front of him, he wasn’t able to maintain that success.

As the team continues to mature and grow together, it will be up to Montembeault to string together more game-stealing performances to truly help the Canadiens get back into a competitive mindset.

I say he does it.

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I agree. I think Montembeault will continue to prove the doubters wrong.

I’d add Xhekaj to this list too. With the crowd on the left side and his name often mentioned as the odd one out moving forward, coming back from an injury, he’s going to have to continue where he left off last year and progress from there to prove he wasn’t a fluke. His unique skill set is a necessary component of the rebuild, but he’ll need to continue to develop his game in order to fend off all the competition for his spot in the lineup.

john harmsworth

I agree, Arber needs a very clear expectation of how we want him to play and make it clear that he is not here just to scrap. We want him to develop into a good Dman and get only involved when it counts.

John Stone

we all know he is there to protect caufield and suzuki.. which i mean isnt a bad thing.. but he needs to show his offensive talent i know he has.. Instead of the fighting.. we know he can throw down. PROVE US WRONG ARBER show these people ur not just a fighter .. !!! Going to love seeing this team When rebuild is done.!!!

John Stone

Motembeault had a great tournament.. dont get me wrong.. but there was alot of b-level talent..and over aged players.. he may get the start.. but he wont be our long term. I hope for him he does prove all the nay-sayers wrong.. lm a sucker for an uderdog story. Good luck to him moving forward.


Definitely. The talent doesn’t compare to the NHL, but the team in front of him wasn’t exactly an all-star team either.


Slafkovsky more than anything has to adjust to the smaller ice surface and learning there isn’t as much room when cutting to the centre of the ice (especially with your head down) so his hockey instincts have to be adjusted and once that happens Montreal with have a star player on their hands.

john harmsworth

I really like Slaffy’s attitude and work ethic. Combined with his size I think he will become an impact player and even if it takes some time to adjust his game to the NHL I believe he is worth the time and effort. He shows real excitement to be involved in the play. Looking forward to his development.

John Stone

i said it bwfore he even stepped foot on the ice surface in N.A. .. Have him play with mesar with the knights.. or had him adjust to his role in the AHL.. i still think they need to do this.


I believe they need to carry 3 goalies or trade Allen for an asset and maybe gain some cap space. Primeau needs to backup and him and Monty would push each other for playing time.