Michael Pezzetta Making a Strong Case

Montreal Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin has always said that it was up to the young guys to force his hand in making some room for them in the line-up. Several players have taken him up to task and he’s always delivered to his promise.

At this year’s camp, there are a couple of prospects who are opening everyone’s eyes. One is Kaiden Guhle, who should be send back to the Prince-Albert Raiders of the WHL regardless of performances. He’s only 19 years old and is the leading candidate to captain Team Canada junior at the World Junior Championships this year.

A 23 year-old winger is coming out of nowhere and he’s not going unnoticed either. Michael Pezzetta has had a two-goal night against the Toronto Maple Leafs while being a physical forces all pre-season. He went to Jonathan Drouin’s defense in one game, and dropped the gloves with Ottawa Senators’ Parker Kelly, who had just hit him from behind.

Standing at 6-foot one-inch and 216 pounds, the rugged winger can skate and isn’t too shabby on the defensive side of the puck. Pezzetta is not without reminding Habs’ fans of a certain Ryan White, but bigger. Yes, he can be a bit undisciplined at times but that’s what you get when you have players playing with an edge. He does however fills a role as the Canadiens don’t have many guys who play like him. He has obviously progressed a lot last season under Joel Bouchard.

If Pezzetta can continues to impress, Bergevin will have to make room for him and knowing how the Canadiens’ GM loves the rough stuff, don’t be surprised if he hasn’t already started thinking about it. He could be a good weapon to help protect young Cole Caufield and other young stars on the Canadiens…

Projected 2021-22 Line-Up

Projected 2021-22 Line-up

Training camp is well underway and the Montreal Canadiens have already made most of their cuts for the upcoming season. The team is dealing with a few injuries, some more serious than others. It had already been made public that team captain Shea Weber is likely to miss all season, dealing with injuries. Winger Paul Byron is said to be out until at least December.

Carey Price has yet to practice with his teammates and it seems unlikely that he will start the season on time. Likely for that reason, the team has claimed off waivers Samuel Montembeault from the Florida Panthers. The 24 year-old Becancour, Quebec-native represents an insurance policy for the Canadiens in net. Newly signed UFA Mike Hoffman injured his knee while skating just before training camp and he’s scheduled to miss the first month of the season or so.

The Canadiens had signed former Winnipeg Jets puck-moving defenseman Sami Niku, but a vicious hit from behind along the boards resulting in a concussion against the Ottawa Senators has taken him out of the line-up. Defenseman Joel Edmundson, Cedric Paquette, rookie forward Cole Caufield and Swedish defenseman Mattias Norlinder are all sidelined with minor injuries.

Healthy line-up

From the lines created by head coach Dominique Ducharme, it seems like the first two lines are set to begin the season. Newcomer Christian Dvorak has left a good impression so far, centering returning Jonathan Drouin and power-forward Josh Anderson. Nick Suzuki will likely be pivoting a line between Tyler Toffoli and Caufield, although that line looked great against Ottawa with Brendan Gallagher on the right side.

When Hoffman comes back, he could very well be the left winger on the third line, with Gallagher on the right. What’s unknown right now is who will be the centre for that line. Young Ryan Poehling has shown some flashes but has yet to show that he can do the job consistently, while Jake Evans, with a new 3-year deal in his back pocket, has spent most of his training camp with Joel Armia.

Pending no trades or further waiver pick-ups, the lines could very well look like this when everyone is healthy:

Tyler Toffoli – Nick Suzuki – Cole Caufield
Jonathan Drouin – Christian Dvorak – Josh Anderson
Mike Hoffman – (?) – Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen – Jake Evans – Joel Armia
(Matthieu Perreault, Cedric Paquette, Ryan Poehling)

Joel Edmundson – Jeff Petry
Ben Chiarot – David Savard
Alexander Romanov – Chris Wideman
(Brett Kulak, Sami Niku)

Carey Price
Jake Allen

Lots of battles are still happening and the line-up above-mentioned might be slightly different. For one, Michael Pezzetta is making a strong case to start the season in Montreal. Time will tell.