The Canadian school club must develop, but also win
The Laval Rocket's season ended Friday after a heartbreaking loss in Utica. Like all American League teams, he faces a difficult choice: develop or win at all costs?
In my opinion, one does not go without the other. An organization must develop its hopes in order to help the great club one day or another. At the same time, this progression must take place in a quality environment.
In the long term, this is a guarantee of success for the American League team and the National League team. When it goes well up, it often goes well down. It's not scientific, but the trend is strong.
Back to the Rocket. Since its arrival in Laval, the subsidiary of the Habs has regained its letters of nobility. It has allowed players to find themselves at the next level while being competitive on a regular basis.
The season that just ended was full of ups and downs. The Rocket has been the victim of the endless list of injuries at the Canadiens. No less than 11 players played matches in Montreal and Laval. That's huge.
That's one of the reasons the Rocket found itself in survival mode for a playoff berth in the final month of the regular season.
The Rocket has done the work developmentally. Canadian head coach Martin St-Louis even recognized it with the success of Rafaël Harvey-Pinard. However, ranking performance suffered throughout the campaign. The statistics are there to prove it.
The Houle franchise
The Canadiens have an excellent hockey man in Jean-François Houle. He remains calm even if the Canadian often deprives him of his best elements. He is the right man in the right place.
When debriefing his team, Houle was candid. He did not have a training built for the playoffs. What does that actually mean?
He had too many small forwards to take on the big defenders of the Utica Comets. Then, the inexperienced defense committed several turnovers that were repaired by the prowess of Cayden Primeau. It's very difficult to win a series in this type of situation.
Tell it like it is. The Canadian's school club did not have the energy to compete with its opponents. Houle players left many on the ice as they battled for a playoff spot. A participation that they obtained in the snatch.
The Rocket got some help in the last week of the regular season, but it wasn't enough. Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and Jesse Ylonen were physically and mentally drained when they arrived in Laval. However, their contribution was crucial down the stretch. However, fatigue caught up with them in the playoffs.
They are human after all. After all these emotions experienced in the NHL, their tanks were empty despite their good will.
A difficult next season?
Houle has already displayed its colors for next year. The Rocket will have several rookies on its roster. Logan Mailloux, Riley Kidney, Joshua Roy and a few others will join the Rocket after a stint at the Canadiens' camp.
Despite their potential, they will all experience pitfalls in their first year as professionals . Some could struggle for several weeks. It's also part of the development.
The leaders of the Canadiens will have to find the right veterans to properly supervise them. It's a must if they want to get good results from their prospects.
However, with the presence of several rookies and a demanding schedule, victories could be rare. A place in the playoffs could be difficult to achieve.
We often talk about transparency with the Canadian. In Laval, development will come before victory. Rocket fans take it for granted.