Cautious optimism permeates refreshed Canadiens roster

Refresh appeared to be the brand new buzzword because the Canadiens gathered at Laval-sur-le-lac Monday for his or her annual charity golf event.

The occasion is historically a time for optimism and after coach Martin St. Louis kicked issues off by asserting 23-year-old Nick Suzuki will function the crew’s youngest captain, the dialog turned to the expectations for coming season. 

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Most pundits see the Canadiens again within the draft lottery subsequent spring and crew proprietor/president Geoff Molson appeared to be OK with that.

“We’ve gone by lots of modifications since I employed Jeff Gorton,” Molson mentioned. “I consider the refresh, the rebuild — name it what you need — might be executed solidly. You need to take the time to have a long-term successful crew, so I’m in no rush in any respect.”

 “Each sport we play, the target is to win,” basic supervisor Kent Hughes added. “However we gained’t sacrifice the event of our crew and our gamers.”

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Hughes was busy within the low season, including veteran forwards Sean Monahan, Evgenii Dadonov and Kirby Dach in addition to West Island native Mike Matheson on defence. However a significant concern going into coaching camp is how the crew goes to deal with children like No. 1 total draft selection Juraj Slafkovsky and defencemen Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris and Justin Barron.

The Canadiens are overloaded with forwards, however Paul Byron and probably Monahan gained’t be prepared to begin the season as a result of they’re recovering from surgical procedure. That may give will give Slafkovsky an opportunity to get his toes moist towards NHL competitors. The Slovak has been skating together with his new teammates and has impressed together with his dimension and bodily means.

Hughes famous that the crew has flexibility with Slafkovsky as a result of he might be despatched to Laval if he wants extra seasoning or ice time.

Hughes mentioned earlier this summer season that he anticipated the younger defencemen to rotate out and in of the lineup whereas bouncing forwards and backwards between Montreal and Laval. He mentioned Monday that considering may very well be revised if one in every of extra of the children demonstrated he might play frequently at an NHL degree.

St. Louis introduced some pleasure to the sport after he changed Dominique Ducharme in February and he needs to be pleased with the upgrades at ahead. And whereas he has mentioned he doesn’t have issues going into the season, there are query marks in aim and on defence.

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“Actually, I don’t know if we’re in a rebuild or not,” St. Louis mentioned. “Expectations might change through the season. We’re a company that’s presently in a brand new starting with many modifications. We are going to take issues one by one and perhaps in two or three months issues may have modified.

“My aim proper now could be to arrange for the primary sport,” he added. “That is coaching camp. We’ve to focus on the duty at current. I gained’t start to set a aim of matches to win.”

The cautious optimism prolonged to the gamers.

“The rebuild was final 12 months, we’re prepared to maneuver on to the following step,” mentioned defenceman Joel Edmundson, who will function an alternate captain alongside Brendan. Gallagher.

“Our aim is to make the playoffs,” added ahead Josh Anderson. “You by no means go right into a season saying you’re going to lose.”

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