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Canadiens Analysis

Canadiens Assign Mailloux, Defensive Group Becomes Clearer



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have announced that they have assigned defenceman Logan Mailloux to their AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket.

He had a solid camp and was clearly not afraid to play a big role whenever he was on the ice, however, it was also quite clear that he has many aspects of his game that will need improving, particularly his play in the defensive zone. Mailloux will report to Laval and take part in their training camp, which is currently underway.

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Remaining Defencemen

Mailloux’s assignment to the AHL leaves 10 defencemen at camp, though two of them, Chris Wideman and Gustav Lindstrom, are currently injured. Wideman’s injury is indefinite, while Lindstrom is currently listed as day-to-day.

If we assume veterans Mike Matheson and David Savard are guaranteed a place in the top six, only five spots will be available to the following players: Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj, Johnathan Kovacevic, Justin Barron, and Mattias Norlinder.

Based on their pedigree and experience, we can expect Guhle, Harris, Xhekaj, and Kovacevic to take four of the available jobs, leaving the seventh defenceman spot for either Barron, Norlinder, or Lindstrom if he’s deemed healthy enough to play.

Given that he’s a right-handed defenceman, Barron may have the inside edge, though Lindstrom has more NHL experience, and doesn’t necessarily figure into the team’s long-term rebuild plans, which means he’d serve as a good insurance policy in the NHL.

But if we’re basing this on merit, it must be said that Norlinder is enjoying the best camp of the three.

The 23-year-old defenceman has stood out thanks to an increased level of confidence, something that was noticeably absent from his game during the previous training camp.

He’s done a good job activating on the rush, and his defensive positioning has been more than adequate.

Norlidner is in the final year of his entry-level contract, which comes with a very reasonable $860,000 salary cap hit. The Canadiens may want to see what he can do in the NHL before considering the best step forward for his development, not to mention his long-term value to the organization.