The Montreal Canadiens made final cuts ahead of their first regular season game Wednesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
One debate has been settled, with final cuts coming today. The first overall pick, Juraj Slafkovsky, has made it onto the opening night roster.
Many will disagree with the move citing that he didn’t have a strong preseason and should be playing in the AHL. Many will agree with the move to keep Slafkovsky up with the NHL club giving him premium experience.
The next question that faces Slafkovsky is whether he will get the nine-game benchmark. Players can play nine NHL games before burning off a year of their entry-level contract, which some teams like to do.
It might be in the team’s best interest to give Slafkovsky time in the AHL to develop into a better transitional player. There, in the AHL, he can learn how to use his 6’3″ frame to his advantage as well as get a lot of touches.
The one thing that is very important when sending down a player of this calibre to the AHL is to make sure he is surrounded by quality linemates and essentially playing top-line minutes where he can touch the puck a lot and be put in favourable situations.
Even though the Canadiens played eight preseason games, it seems like the lineup is a complete toss-up ahead of Wednesday’s first game.
This lineup is not set in stone. Could we see Monahan and Dadonov sneak into the top 6? How much will Slafkovsky play? Does Martin St. Louis trust Slafkovsky enough to put him on PP2?
There are more questions than answers about this year’s Montreal Canadiens team to start. The lines shown here could be completely different when Wednesday’s practice comes around.
Seeing Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj, and Jordan Harris make the roster is excellent. All three defencemen had very strong showings in the preseason and were rewarded with making the team.
The Canadiens announced a variety of injuries today as well:
- Joel Edmundson is progressing; no timetable for his return
- Joel Armia has been placed on the injury reserve; out for one-to-two weeks with an upper-body injury
- Emil Heineman has a thumb injury and is expected to miss six weeks
- Mike Matheson has a lower-body injury; he is day-to-day, and Martin St. Louis is unsure if he will start with the team on time.