By JD Lagrange – Training camp started on Wednesday and players have officially started on the ice on Thursday, with head coach Martin St-Louis putting them through the ringers. In the scrimmages that we’ve got to see so far, one thing has been obvious: the pace is extremely fast. When you have that many players with a legitimate shot at earning a spot on the roster, it brings competition.
I’ve decided to break down the battles at each position, to show just how tight things are, just how competitive this camp truly is. You have a mix of youth pushing the veterans and you have too many NHL caliber players. There will be tough decisions to make, some cuts, some trades.
Of course, wingers can change sides and centers can also play the wing. This is not a perfect science, but it serves as a general overview at the team’s depth chart to show the battles at camp.
- Cole Caufield
- Jonathan Drouin
- Mike Hoffman
- Juraj Slafkovsky
- Rem Pitlick
- Paul Byron
- Michael Pezzetta
- Rafaël Harvey-Pinard
- Emil Heineman
- Joshua Roy
- Joël Teasdale
NHL: Pending any trades, Caufield, Drouin and Hoffman have their spot on the team secured.
FIGHTING: Paul Byron (injured) and Rem Pitlick are starting with a bit of a lead in this battle. But Juraj Slafkovsky, Michael Pezzetta, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and Emil Heineman have a legitimate shot at forcing the Canadiens to make room for them.
- Josh Anderson
- Brendan Gallagher
- Evgenii Dadonov
- Joel Armia
- Jesse Ylönen
- Alex Belzile
NHL: Again, pending a trade, Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher and Evgenii Dadonov have their spots secured on the top-9 right-wingers.
FIGHTING: Joel Armia, mostly due to his contract and experience, has a huge step on Jesse Ylönen. But the younger of the two is making a serious push for a job. I have little doubts that he is NHL-ready and can play at this level. But is he really a fourth-liner?
- Nick Suzuki
- Christian Dvorak
- Sean Monahan
- Kirby Dach
- Jake Evans
- Jan Mysak
- Owen Beck
- Filip Mesar
- Xavier Simoneau
- Nate Schnarr
- Riley Kidney
NHL: No doubt that Nick Suzuki, Christian Dvorak and Sean Monahan (when healthy) will be in the NHL. Kirby Dach will be as well and it’s unlikely that Jake Evans is going anywhere.
FIGHTING: The reason why I placed Dach and Evans in bold is because they should be fighting for a center position. Having said that, Dach is NOT a fourth line center and should play on the top-9. Jan Mysak is close to being NHL-ready but he will likely miss the cut, as will Owen Beck. Both are impressive at camp. Mesar and Simoneau are also having a good camp but both need some maturing.
- Joel Edmundson
- Mike Matheson
- David Savard
- Chris Wideman
- Justin Barron
- Jordan Harris
- Kaiden Guhle
- Arber Xhekaj
- Mattias Norlinder
- Madison Bowey
- Otto Leskinen
- William Trudeau
- Gianni Fairbrother
NHL: Joel Edmundson (injured), Mike Matheson, David Savard and Chris Wideman have their spots secured on the big club.
FIGHTING: The biggest fight at camp as no less than 10 players are legitimately fighting for three spots with the Canadiens. All are either NHL-ready or close to being ready, based on training camp or past experience. Justin Barron, being right-handed, has a leg up on the others. William Trudeau, due to the log jam, is likely to return for one more season in the QMJHL. We will see a rotation between the others based on performances and injuries, according to what’s best for their development.
- Jake Allen
- Samuel Montembeault
- Cayden Primeau
- Kevin Poulin
- Joe Vrbetic
- Antoine Coulombe (UFA)
NHL: With Carey Price out indefinitely, Jake Allen’s job is secure as he’s the only NHL-proven goaltender in the organization.
FIGHTING: While many are handing the backup job to Sam Montembeault, the sound thing to do is to wait and see how ready Cayden Primeau really is. As we’ve recently touched on, there are a couple of suitable options for his development.
As you can see, there are battles at every position and that is what’s creating this fast-paced, intense and competitive battles at camp. Exhibition games are about to start and this will be when decisions will be made.
|SUN, SEPT. 25||3:00 PM ET||Red vs White||Bell Centre|
|MON, SEPT. 26||7:00 PM ET||New Jersey||Bell Centre|
|WED, SEPT. 28||7:00 PM ET||Toronto||Scotiabank Arena|
|THU, SEPT. 29||7:00 PM ET||Winnipeg||Bell Centre|
|SAT, OCT. 1||7:00 PM ET||Ottawa||Canadian Tire Centre|
|MON, OCT. 3||7:00 PM ET||Toronto||Bell Centre|
|TUE, OCT. 4||7:00 PM ET||Ottawa||Bell Centre|
|THU, OCT. 6||5:30 PM ET||Ottawa||Steele Community Centre (Gander, NL)|
|SAT, OCT. 8||6:00 PM ET||Ottawa||J.K. Irving Centre (Bouctouche, NB)|
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6 thoughts on “Battles At Camp By Position”
I don’t see how Madison Bowey is in this log jam of would be NHLers. 27 and had not caught on as a regular on any previous team. I am not in anyway slagging the guy. There are a lot of NHL journeymen who make a career out of filling immediate but temporary positions on and off throughout a season. With Habs having an incredible stock of ready and waiting young guys, I just don’t see him taking a place a head of many of them. He’ll be a great addition to Laval, and be a vet presence for a very young Rockets D.
Because he’s a veteran and he’s right handed. An option if Barron isn’t ready and/or the experiments of lefties fail on the right.
Good run down. This stuff will be the fun stuff to watch this year (although I’m hoping for a lot of high scoring games – regardless of the outcome). It seems like HuGo know they are working with a lump of dough and free to make what they want. Can’t wait to see the future bread. I’m hoping it moves as far as away as possible from the conservative defensive game the Habs have been playing since they adopted the Roy template (i.e. get a good goalie and ride him).
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