Surprises At The Top On Habs Defense

By JD Lagrange – All things considered, the Montreal Canadiens have to be totally happy with with record after six games. If someone had predicted that after six games, Martin St-Louis’ team would be sitting at 3-3-0, they would have likely been laughed at. If you had told them that they would manage to do that with both Joel Edmundson and Mike Matheson out of the line-up, they would want to send you to the cuckoo bin.

The Canadiens have St-Louis and his coaching staff to thank for that, of course. But they also owe former General Manager a stick tap for Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris and Arber Xhekaj, who are playing a key role already in their rookie season. Kent Hughes and his pro scouts deserve some credit as well for picking up Johnathan Kovacevic, who has been a pleasant surprise by helping control the bleeding need on the right side. Oh he hasn’t stopped it, but he is controlling the hemorrhage created by the departures of Shea Weber and Jeff Petry.


This early “success” has turned fans to the NHL stats’ sheet, to see if the numbers match the eye test early on this season. I will share some of my findings but be warned, you might just be at least a bit surprised in some cases.

K. GUHLE60220.33-47621:131:172:341411147
J. HARRIS60110.17+421820:130:032:0261362
J. KOVACEVIC60000.00+101217:450:001:5513553
D. SAVARD60220.33-62322:110:063:0763151
C. WIDEMAN60000.00+22917:152:550:011571
A. XHEKAJ61230.50+213915:180:010:2626960

To see Arber Xhekaj leading the team in hits and penalty minutes is not a huge surprise. But let’s be honest here… If someone had told you that the rookie tough guy would be leading all Canadiens’ defensemen in points and be tied for second best in plus/minus after six games, what would you have said?

Things will start getting crowded soon enough as Joel Edmundson is hinging closer to a return. And when Mike Matheson is ready to come back, Kent Hughes might just be forced to complete a trade in order to make room for those young defensemen. Stay tuned…

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