Owen Beck Reminiscent of Suzuki

By JD Lagrange – The Montreal Canadiens – finally – made some substantial cuts from their training camp. With the team only having two more games left to get ready for the regular season, the remaining group will be heading to Mont-Tremblant in hope to solidify team chemistry, away from unnecessary distractions.

Some of the young men who were cut on Saturday had a good camp and have left a good impression on both the coaching staff, the team management and the fans.

  • David Reinbacher‘s play was very reassuring to many, he who will be returning home for one more season to play in the Swiss league.
  • Joshua Roy had a good camp and he will be starting his professional career with the Laval Rocket in the AHL.
  • For a second year in a row, William Trudeau has a solid camp. His situation is not without reminding us of Justin Barron a year ago. He’s likely not pleased with being sent down but his goal should be to be the first defenseman called up when needed.
  • Jakub Dobes has also performed well at camp and with the so-so play of Cayden Primeau, he represents a good security in the event Primeau is claimed on waivers if the Canadiens try sending him to Laval.
  • Filip Mesar started slow but finished strong at camp and he will be trying to earn a spot in Laval when their training camp starts on Monday. It will be there or back to junior for the former first round pick.
  • Jared Davidson and John Parker-Jones also had a good training camp and both will be trying to earn a spot on a young and talented Rocket team.

Owen Beck

I have kept Owen Beck separate because many people on social media have expressed their displeasure in seeing the young man being sent back to the OHL. Ideally, Beck would have gone to the AHL but the rules being what they are, it was Montreal or the OHL for the promising prospect.

Beck is good on faceoffs, a skill that won’t be lost in junior. But let’s be honest here and let’s admit that he could generate more offensively. With 41 points in 30 games in Mississauga last season, he was up to a smoking start offensively and then got traded to Peterborough. In 30 games for the Petes, he only managed seven goals and 25 points, a sub-par production for him.

Beck’s situation today is not without reminding me of a current Canadiens player, Nick Suzuki. Back at camp in 2018, Suzuki impressed by his mature play. Many felt like he could have made the team back then. But Canadiens’ coaches and management decided to send him back to Owen Sound in the OHL with a list of things to work on. To his credit, the young man worked on the aspects of his game he was asked to perfect. That year, he played at the World Junior Championship (WJC) and when he came to camp a year later, he was more than ready.

Beck needs to work on generating more offensively. Much like the Canadiens captain, he has the hockey IQ and the skills set to apply what he will be asked to work on. I have little doubts that the Habs’ prospect will have a solid season and he should play at the WJC at Christmas time. He will return better and stronger in a year from now.

I, for one, am from the André Tourigny school of thoughts of playing young players at a level where they can succeed in order to maximize their development and confidence. I am pleased to see that this management group is not rushing prospects. I felt like they made the wrong decision last year with Juraj Slafkovsky by not sending him to the WJC and even Laval at some point in the season. Perhaps they’ve learned from it…

Justin Barron: The Forgotten One

By JD Lagrange – Justin Barron was disappointed when, after training camp last year, he was sent down to the Laval Rocket of the AHL, to work on a few aspects of his game. Acquired in the trade which saw Artturi Lehkonen packing for Colorado, the Avs’ first round pick (25th overall) in 2020 had shown some good things the previous season and he thought that he would be getting a better chance in Montreal than with a stacked Avalanche team.

Improved player

Since being called up on a heavily injury-riddled Canadiens’ team on time for the December 28th game in Tampa Bay, Barron has shown that his work down in Laval was starting to pay off at the NHL level. The 6-foot 2-inches, 201 lbs right-handed defenseman managed 15 points in the 39 games that he has played since being called up and only Mike Matheson had more points than the young defenseman from the blue line. Surprisingly enough, only three of those points were obtained on the power play, an area where Barron can certainly get better with age and experience.

He had improved on his positioning in his own zone, and was making better decisions with the puck as well. Only Matheson and Johnathan Kovacevic had a better plus-minus rating than Barron since his call-up.

Barron, who will turn 22 years of age in November – young for a defenseman – is often the ‘forgotten one’ when we see media members and bloggers on the web. Some even go as far as relegating him to Laval once again.


With Logan Mailloux turning pro this year, and with the Canadiens acquiring 24 year-old right-handed defenseman Gustav Lindström in the Jeff Petry trade from the Detroit Red Wings, the competition promisses to be fierce at camp for a spot on the Canadiens’ right side of the defense. In addition to Lindström and Mailloux, you also have to contend (and beat) the likes of David Savard, Johnathan Kovacevic and Chris Wideman.

And that’s not counting on a potential surprise, as the Canadiens’ fifth overall pick at this past NHL Draft, David Reinbacher, will also try to cause a surprise, taking part in his first NHL training camp.

Rest assured that Barron is a smart cookie and that he knows all of that. He will remember what happened at training camp a year ago and he will have put the efforts during his summer training to ensure that the same situation doesn’t happen again. Those pencilling Barron in as a starting in Laval in October might be surprised as I personally fully expect to see a more mature and improved young man, one who could even earn a spot on the Canadiens’ top-4 when the puck drops on this new season.