The comment appears regularly: after Suzuki, Caufield and Dach, the attacking sequence in CH offers no security.
Well, Slafkovsky is of course being considered to one day join the aforementioned trio. He clearly has the means to do so. However, we will have to be patient with him and despite his recent good performances, we must remember that in his case we are still talking about a “long-term project” for which we do not know the real ceiling.
Alex Newhook also has some interesting tools. Enough to cement his place on one of the top two lines of a competitive NHL team? I still need to be convinced.
By the way, Joshua Roy is off to a great start to his American League career. He shows once again that he can produce regardless of the level at which he plays. But will he do it in the NHL and if so, to what extent?
Finally, Sean Farrell also has an interesting start in the AHL. But does he have what it takes to take his qualities into the Bettman circle and dominate there? We’ll see.
In the long term, and if we take a cold look at the current portrait, the CH attack therefore relies on Suzuki, Caufield, Dach and… four young attackers with very interesting skills, but with an as yet unknown true potential.
This reality certainly explains why many fans are looking for “top talent”. This, these people claim, is what Canadians are missing.
I am far from disagreeing. In fact, these people (hello if you’re one of them!) are absolutely right.
But you know like me that sometimes there is a big difference between what we want and what actually happens/can happen.
The Canadian currently ranks 16th in the NHL. Usually (yes, there are always exceptions!), you don’t draft elite talent with a mid-first-round interview. These guys are usually between ranks one and five.
Photo credit: Getty Images via AFP
Otherwise, there is always the option of a trade or signing on the free agent market, that’s true. But then again, a player coming in under these circumstances will more often be an interesting addition than a “game changer”.
In short, yes, there are options to improve the offense. And I’m sure Kent Hughes will take them all into consideration. In fact, it has to. Except there is no miracle/easy cure.
But what about the reality where I’m telling you that CH’s “long-term offensive problem,” while present, might not be that big/difficult to fix?
In case Kent is reading me (I doubt it, but hey!): That doesn’t mean not injecting talent into the offense. let me be clear…
The key to a dangerous attack… despite everything?
As of today, only four teams are ahead of the Habs in defenseman goals.
Through 15 games, Montreal has seen guards hit the target nine times. And it is far from a coincidence.
Martin St-Louis and his deputies have a clear philosophy. A philosophy that is already profitable (as the figures above show) and is unlikely to lose its influence in the coming years.
“We have some young defensemen with great offensive potential coming into our prospect bank (Lane Hutson, Logan Mailloux, Bogdan Konyushkov, Adam Engström, David Reinbacher) and there are guys already in place who can produce,” he told me this morning. Justin Barron at the end of practice The contribution of the backs, given the way we are asked to play, could certainly become a good part of our identity in the future,” he continued.
But how exactly is this famous gaming philosophy described?
In the main video I present it to you by summarizing the explanations given to me by Martin St-Louis and Justin Barron.
Happy listening and… happy match on Tuesday!