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Canadiens Analysis

Canadiens Joshua Roy Staking Claim For Permanent Roster Spot



Montreal Canadiens Joshua Roy

The Montreal Canadiens are enjoying the fruits of their late-round draft labour.

When Joshua Roy hops over the boards, it tends to translate into something positive.

For example, Roy’s first NHL goal was a direct result of his smart positioning. Sean Monahan’s pass was perfect, giving his linemate all the time and space necessary to score, but Roy’s offensive prowess and vision were key to anticipating the play.

GOTTA SEE IT: Joshua Roy Scores First Career NHL Goal

With each passing game, Roy makes an array of high-intelligence plays. There’s a brilliance in his ability to make difficult plays seem routine.

If you weren’t aware of his rookie status, watching Roy could lead to some suggesting he’s a ten-year veteran.

On Saturday night, Roy made an absurd pass to veteran Joel Armia, who was streaking into a high-danger scoring area. Armia was left with an easy task, he simply had to tap the puck past Linus Ullmark. It was Roy’s first taste of an original six rivalry game, and he made the type of play that is usually reserved for players who feature on the team’s top line.

Making His Case To Stay With The Montreal Canadiens

One of the main reasons Roy was able to quickly acclimatize to professional hockey is his well-rounded, 200-foot game. He doesn’t cheat at either end of the rink, giving his coaches an honest effort with or without the puck.

Questionable skating and lack of motivation were two knocks against Roy during his draft season, and though there was merit to the concerns, he has worked incredibly hard to improve his weaknesses. He’s not the fastest skater on the ice, but his hockey IQ allows him to get to where he needs to be without issue.

Roy has the skill set to eventually play in the Canadiens’ top six, which means he can create time and space for his linemates. We’ve seen it on numerous occasions in the AHL. Like Juraj Slafkovsky, Roy is tenacious on loose pucks. Add his vision into the mix, and you have a constant threat to create offence while maintaining strong defensive awareness.

Despite struggling in his first two games of the season, Roy’s ability to bring positive value to the team has improved significantly in recent days.

In fact, he currently leads all Montreal Canadiens forwards in two very important statistical categories.

MUST READ: Joshua Roy Showing Encouraging Early Career Statistics

If the goal is to build a meritocracy, keeping Roy in the NHL is the only way to go.

Beyond this season, there’s also the exciting prospect of pairing Roy with a center such as Kirby Dach, giving the Canadiens two-thirds of a good line. With Alex Newhook and others fighting for a spot, suddenly the team’s top six is starting to look a little more encouraging.

I’m not sure how the cookie will crumble, but when it comes to Roy, I project he eventually be used as a top-six forward.

It’s a matter of ‘when’, and not ‘if’.

Final Thoughts

If Roy already looks this comfortable, there is no question that his confidence will continue to grow. I love the budding chemistry he’s building with Monahan, and though Armia has been a pleasant surprise this year, playing with someone who possesses more skill will only help Roy’s game grow.

Much like Jayden Struble did once he made his entry into the NHL, Roy is doing all he can to convince the Canadiens that the NHL is where he should be.

If he keeps it up, the best NHL hockey player hailing from St-Georges-de-Beauce will need to find a permanent residence in Montreal.