April 23, 2024

Canadiens look for continued improvement after adding Newhook to young core

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2023-24 regular season, which begins in October. 10. Today, the Montreal Canadiens:

Season 2022-23: 31-45-6, eighth in Atlantic Division; did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs

Key arrival

Alex NudanA: The 22-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche on June 27 and signed a four-year contract on July 11. Newhook, who won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2022, can play center or wing and will provide options. front. He had 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists) in 82 regular season games last season, and one assist in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Video: Newhook on joining the Habs and signing an extension

Key events

Joel Edmundson,d: Traded to the Washington Capitals on July 1, Edmundson had 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 61 games. He was a Stanley Cup champion with the St. Louis Blues in 2019, and played a key role in Montreal’s run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2021. … Jonathan DrouinA: He signed a one-year contract with the Avalanche on July 1. He had 29 points (two goals, 27 goals) in 58 games in his sixth season with the Canadiens. … Alex BelzileA: He signed a two-year contract with the New York Rangers on July 1. He had 14 points (six goals, eight goals) in 31 games, and 26 points (14 goals, 12 goals) in 31 games with Laval of the American Hockey League. . … Denis GurianovA: He signed a one-year contract with the Nashville Predators on July 11. He had eight points (five goals, three assists) in 23 games with Montreal after being acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars on February 26. … Chris TierneyA: He signed a one-year contract with the New Jersey Devils on July 14. He had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 36 games, including seven points (one goal, six assists) in 23 games with the Canadiens after being claimed. waivers from the Florida Panthers on February 23rd.

On the cusp

Rafael Harvey-PinardA: The 24-year-old will look to establish himself and earn a full-time role after getting good looks last season, when the Canadiens were rocked by injuries. He had 20 points (14 goals, six assists) in 34 games, including four power-play goals and one shorthanded goal, and earned time on the top line with Nick Suzuki. He started last season in the AHL and had 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists) in 40 regular-season games with Laval, and no points in two playoff games. … Justin Barron,d: The 21-year-old is in good position to take on a regular role as one of four right-shot options at defender along with David Savard, Johnathan Kovacevic and Chris Wideman. Barron had 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 39 games last season. He started last season with Laval and had 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 25 games. … Jesse YlonenA: The 23-year-old had 16 points (six goals, 10 goals) in 37 games last season. He had 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) in 39 regular-season games with Laval, then had no points in two playoff games. … Sean FarrellA: The 21-year-old had one goal in six games after scoring 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists) in 34 games in his final season with Harvard. Farrell has the same fight for a spot as Ylonen, who has more professional experience, and will likely start the season with Laval.

Video: CBJ@MTL: Harvey-Pinard nets 3 goals for hat trick

What they still need

The Canadiens could use more NHL experience at defenseman after the Edmundson trade but are unlikely to make any significant moves in that direction with so many young players at the position fighting to claim ice time. Expect more clarity up front in the coming months as there is too much progress on the roster despite the departures of Drouin, Gurianov and Belzile.

They said it

“I think with the roster we have, we’re able to improve on what we did last year. And when that takes us, hopefully we’re a lot healthier than we were last year and we’ll see what will happen.” – general manager Kent Hughes

Fantasy focus

The Canadiens boldly chose to go forward Juraj Slafkovsky with Pick No. 1 in the 2022 NHL Draft, but his impact was put on hold last season when he was limited to 39 games due to injury. Slafkovsky is a fantasy breakout candidate who could be much more than his average draft position if he earns sixth-round usage and should be a strong young core with starters Harvey-Pinard (24), Suzuki (23), Cole Caufield (22) and Kirby’s roof (22) in keeper and dynasty leagues. — Pete Jensen

Video: MTL@CGY: Slafkovsky fires home a shot 13 seconds in

Projected line

Old Monaghan – Nick Suzuki – Cole Caufield

Alex Newhook — Kirby Dach — Josh Anderson

Mike HoffmanChristian DvorakBrendan Gallagher

Juraj Slafkovsky — Jake EvansJoel Armia

Mike Matheson – Justin Barron

Kaiden Guhle – David Savard

Arber XhekajJordan Harris

Jake Allen

Sam Montembeault

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