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Canadiens Analysis

Canadiens Pearson Finds Chemistry On Top Line, Mesar Shines



montreal canadiens scrimmages

The Montreal Canadiens played their annual Red and White intrasquad scrimmage at the Bell Centre on Sunday afternoon, the final scrimmage before the team begins its preseason calendar.

Team Red won 4-3, though it was a highlight entertaining scrimmage that led to a bevy of highlights. Let’s dive right into it.

Tanner Pearson’s Effort

Newcomer Tanner Pearson was used on the top line, alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. Of course have to temper our expectations when dealing with highlights from a scrimmage, but Pearson quickly found chemistry with the team’s top duo, owing to his strong work ethic in the offensive zone.

Pearson is very tenacious on the forecheck, as evidenced by the handful of puck battles he won deep in the offensive zone. He’s not particularly fast, which means we’ll have to pay close attention once the games start to matter, but for the most part, he overcomes his lack of speed with good anticipation.

He looked particularly good late in the game when he stole the puck from David Savard, which led to a quality scoring chance for Caufield. He followed it up by once again corralling a loose puck and finding Caufield sitting in a perfect scoring area.

It’s much too early to discuss Pearson earning a permanent role on the top line, but the results were interesting enough to warrant an audition during preseason action.

Speaking of the top line, I’m starting to get the impression that Suzuki might be a pretty good hockey player.

Son of David

Jared Davidson does not have an NHL contract. He’s headed to the AHL season to play with the Laval Rocket. But that did not stop him from standing out during the team’s scrimmages, as evidenced by his hat trick earlier in the week.

He scored two goals on Sunday, one during 5v5 play, and one in the shootout.

Expect Davidson to play a big role for the Rocket this year, as he’s the type of player that head coach J-F Houle adores.

Méchant Mesar

Filip Mesar did not score, but he did a very good job driving the play. Again, it’s a scrimmage, and these situations usually help players like Mesar find open ice, but there’s no denying that he’s consistently improved his play throughout training camp.

It’s also worth pointing out that Mesar was b being used as a centre, which was not the case last year with the Kitchener Rangers.

He’s clearly more comfortable playing down the middle. It allows him to set up the play and create time and space for his linemates. It is also quite clear that Mesar is better off with teammates who have professional experience.

Armamma Mia!

We need to talk about Joel Armia.

He did not have a bad game. In fact, I’d argue he’s having a pretty good camp.

But he’s also showing the type of accuracy that would look bad among a group of failed Star Wars stormtroopers.

The good news is that he’s heading to high-danger scoring areas, but the bad news is that if he doesn’t hit the goalie square in the logo, he’s missing the net by roughly seventeen feet.

Miscellaneous Montreal Canadiens Notes

Quentin Miller had a very solid outing. He faced a lot of high-danger chances, and though he wasn’t perfect, he certainly made several quality saves.

Mattis Norlinder had his best game of training camp. He was active in the offensive zone and drove the play very well. Norlinder will have to maintain his high level of play if he’s to earn another contract with the Habs.

Emil Heineman also had a good outing, but his decision-making leaves something to be desired, particularly in the play in which he controlled the puck during a 4v1 rush. He kept the puck, which is fine, but his shot did not even reach the net, as it was blocked by the only defender left in front of Miller.

As per usual, William Trudeau stood out on the blue line, and the same can be said about Jayden Struble.

Struble had a lot on his plate when playing for Northeastern. Now he has to do a lot less, which will allow him to focus on the details of his game.

The Laval Rocket’s defensive group should be very entertaining this season, with both Struble and Trudeau playing important roles.

The Montreal Canadiens will be back in action on Monday, as they host the New Jersey Devils at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM ET.

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William O'Neill

To be honest I don’t remember the last time where there was so much “potential” throughout training camp. Looking forward to some real competiton to see where prospects truly stand.