By JD Lagrange – Well there you go. The pre-season is over, as is training camp and the puck will drop on the Canadiens 2022-23 season on Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre. What this means is that the final cuts are coming and good on you if you know for sure what’s going to happen. But I’ll give it a shot, although this article will get outdated in a hurry.
First and foremost, the three forwards who have been struggling the most in pre-season are, in no particular order, Mike Hoffman, Jonathan Drouin and Evgenii Dadonov. Truth be told, aside from Brendan Gallagher and Sean Monahan, most veterans have struggled a bit. Now, is it fully their fault or does management and the coaches play a role in this?
The Canadiens started camp with 74 players and it took a long time before cuts were made. Even when they did, lines were terribly inconsistent. Some was due to injuries, but many times, players who were doing well together were separated. That’s on the coaching staff too.
It’s too late for finger pointing so regardless, here’s what I think the line-up will or should be:
Caufield – Suzuki – Anderson
Drouin – Monahan – Dach
Slafkovsky – Dvorak – Gallagher
Pitlick – Evans – Dadonov
Guhle – Savard
Matheson – Kovacevic
Xhekaj – Wideman
Montembeault (or a veteran pick up)
IR: Joel Armia, Joel Edmundson
LTIR: Carey Price, Paul Byron
Waivers/traded: Mike Hoffman, Madison Bowey
Sent to Laval: Cayden Primeau, Jesse Ylönen, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Justin Barron, Jordan Harris, Otto Leskinen
To Europe: Emil Heineman
To Junior: Logan Mailloux
When Edmundson comes back, Arber Xhekaj would be the one sent to Laval as the Canadiens are better off with 27 year-old Schueneman missing games eating hot dogs than a promising young player. And when Armia is back, I’d like to see one of Dadonov or Drouin traded but it will likely be Pezzetta placed on waivers instead.
There will be moves made, which will make this article outdated. But as after the last pre-season’s game, with the roster being the way it is, this is what I see happening. But that’s not what it will look like by October 12th, when the puck drops on the regular season. Hughes has some work to do still.