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In Hainsight: A Good First Impression

September 26, 2023, 1:43 PM ET [285 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

You never have a second chance to make a good impression as the saying goes and some of the Canadiens’ prospects made sure theirs was a positive one. In a 4-2 loss to the Devils, a few players stood out for the right reasons, namely Joshua Roy, David Reinbacher and Logan Mailloux (at least offensively). A few veterans made sure not to be outshined though, Josh Anderson was literally flying all over the ice, and his center Alex Newhook was keeping the same pace.

In his last two seasons in the QMJHL, Joshua Roy had 99 and 119 points. While those are impressive numbers, they are no guarantee of offensive success in the NHL, but the way Roy played last night was very encouraging. Four minutes into the first frame, he scored the Habs’ first goal on the power play, capitalizing on the play set up by Ylonen and Simoneau. Furthermore, he looked good all night, skating with a purpose and getting in the right areas. It might just have been one game, but it was a good one and I tend to agree with those who say that right now, Roy is the Canadiens’ best offensive prospect (the way I see it, Owen Beck is also very good, but he’ll be a third line center and a solid two-way player).

Fifth overall pick David Reinbacher looked mature beyond his years, he was confident when he handled the puck and doesn’t seem to know what NHL jitters are. He plays a smooth and prudent game, even under pressure by the forecheck, he handled himself well playing alongside Kaiden Guhle. The 18-year-old is not ready for the big league just yet, but when he is ready to be a regular, he may very well turn out to be a first pairing defender, at least judging by this first foray into the NHL jungle. He even managed to record his first point when he joined the attack to receive Newhook’s cross zone pass and take a shot which was stopped but fell right onto Josh Anderson’s stick who scored one of the easiest goals of his career. Reinbacher knows how to pick his moments and it paid off.

As for the controversial first round pick in 2021 Logan Mailloux, playing against a real adversary allowed us to see the physical part of his game and it was solid, just ask Tyler Toffoli who was on the receiving end of a big open ice hit. The 6’’3’ defender also showed that he’s got good offensive instincts and dazzled a few times at the other end of the ice even though he needs to be more selective when it comes to joining the attack, as head coach Martin St-Louis said after the blue liner decided to attack while on the penalty kill and turned the puck over. Jack Hughes took advantage of his mistake, served a coffee cup to Josh Anderson and scored a beauty of a goal. In his own zone, Mailloux still has work to do and things to learn to become a fully fledged NHL player.

Alex Newhook and Josh Anderson had a very good game skating on the first line, they’ve got plenty of speed and there already seems to be chemistry between the two. Juraj Slafkovsky completed the line and while he wasn’t as efficient as his two linemates, he got better as the game went on. At one stage in the third period, he used his big body to battle for the puck on the boards and came away with the puck, fed it to Anderson who rung a shot off the post. There were also a couple of instances where he took possession of the puck in open ice and showed better awareness, he was ready for the hit that came and he didn’t have his head down, looks like he’s learnt his lesson. He could still use being more solid on his skates though, but that should come in time. The young Slovak shouldn’t be judged too harshly though, he hadn’t played a competitive game in nine months. As always, there are plenty of fans panicking on social media and calling him a bust, but it’s way too early for that, he’s only 19, they should take a couple of chill pills. Unfortunately, he looked like he hurt himself in the third period and left the game early, but that might have just been the Habs taking a prudent approach, we’ll know more on Wednesday when the team is back at work.

The players have got a day off today and they’ll be back at it tomorrow as they’ll prepare for the second game of their preseason against the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre. Hopefully, we’ll see Suzuki and Caufield take part in their first game then…
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More from Karine Hains
» In Hainsight: Preparing for the Jackets
» In Hainsight: Not in the Same League
» In Hainsight: Ylonen Seals the Deal
» In Hainsight: Beware of Still Waters
» In Hainsight: Montreal Steals One from the Ducks