Priority: development

Priority: development


No doubt you had this thought after the victory of the Canadiens against the Edmonton Oilers, in fact, after the impressive weekend of the troupe of Martin St-Louis.

“Okay, we're getting away from Connor Bedard. »

Maybe. On the other hand, we can only rejoice in Alex Belzile's first career goal.

We can only applaud the efforts made by Rafaël Harvey-Pinard who, alongside Nick Suzuki and Josh Anderson , does a job of getting the organization's decision-makers to review the list of workforce priorities.

When Martin St-Louis says: 

“We have a style that we want to perfect, we have an identity that we want to improve, but that's not done by giving the players a manual and telling them, this is how we're going to play. It takes some time to properly assimilate what we want to accomplish as a concept. You have to know how to be patient and above all know that the process will obtain results as we multiply the actions, such as involving the defenders more in the deployment of our attack. »

More and more rewarding

For a trainer, there is nothing more rewarding when the daily teachings give results like those of the weekend. And the defenders, not only were they up to it in their territory, solidly supported by the two goalkeepers, but they confused the opponent's defense plan.

True that the Canadian s away from Connor Bedard. We all agree.

However, can we recognize that this team has changed in recent weeks. That the arrival of Pinard and Belzile gave coaches options. And also to Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes.

In recent games, scouts from other teams have surely raised the evaluation of a few Canadian skaters who can make an impact on a team struggling to a playoff qualifier or a team with big ambitions.

And let's remember that the Rangers and Islanders caused a grueling race last week to find talented players or support players to bring more depth in anticipation of the spring competition.


Therefore, at the Canadian, several players could be on the market. Josh Anderson appears to be an interesting candidate. Also Christian Dvorak. No doubt David Savard will fuel the conversations. Joel Armia has done well recently. Even Mike Hoffman got involved and played an important role in the team's success on offense. Can Jake Allen help a formation like the Vegas Golden Knights, for example?

Sean Monahan and Joel Edmundson remain.

In fact, the Canadian wins on both fronts.

Certainly, Bedard is the coveted player. However, the Habs must fully push their program based on development, identity and culture. Also Hughes has the ability to raise prices for some of his veterans.

This is what is happening now. Players want to win. They don't care about the next draft. They think above all of their personal status, necessarily of the success of their team, they want to leave a good impression. At the same time, everyone follows the process and if St-Louis and his group manage to meet the objectives during this first season of transition, the Canadian will come out a winner.


For example, this defensive brigade, battered in December, has made giant strides in recent weeks. We knew that the Canadian was betting on several hopes on the blue line, the most important thing was to make sure that the young people who were entrusted with great responsibilities respond correctly.

In attack , the absence of Cole Caufield weighs heavily, it is obvious. But it is often said that other players have to accept new responsibilities. Kirby Dach confirms his role at the center.

Then comes a 24-year-old skater, Harvey-Pinard, who not only gives results in attack, but who appears as one of the best skaters in defensive mission.

For the moment , the stimulus program is going well. Will we be able to take advantage of the situation to liquidate some salaries and make the desired transfers in terms of the workforce?

Kent Hughes did well last February. Can he repeat? 

Why the Oilers? 

We have to believe that the missing piece for the Edmonton Oilers to reach the Stanley Cup final is Erik Karlsson.

First of all, a good choice. Isn't he the most productive defender in the league? But don't the Oilers bet on a formidable team in attack? Don't they have the most powerful team in numerical superiority? Four of the NHL's top 16 scorers are in team uniform. Shouldn't we focus on adding more depth to support staff? Could a defensive-minded defender make an impact?

Ken Holland is a crafty general manager. His record is impressive and he must have a good reason to try by all means to lure Karlsson to Alberta. But by the way, would Karlsson agree to leave California for Edmonton? It will take Connor McDavid to persuade him that the weather isn't as bad as some are making it out to be…

Rangers have left a clear message to all teams in the Metropolitan Division and the Premier League. Eastern Association. This 6 to 2 victory in Carolina, last Saturday, leaves no doubt about the balance at all levels found in this team. Caroline, Pittsburgh, Washington, Islanders, Sabres, Red Wings are constantly window shopping…

Priority: development