Upon hearing the news that Kaiden Guhle made Team Canada, there was a reported collective sigh of relief across the island of Montreal. Guhle was far from a lock to make this roster, and the jury was out on the Habs First Round pick from this past summer. While Guhle was the focus of Habs fans in general, I would like to give a Montreal native some much deserved shout out!
Before jumping into the Team Canada roster, I just wanted to take a moment to congratulate Devon Levi on making this team! I do not know him personally, I am fortunate enough to know one of his trainers, who speaks the world of him. With no consensus number one guy coming into camp, Levi has a chance to make his case to start the tournament for his country come Boxing Day.
Levi can easily be compared to a Habs goaltending prospect in terms of path to the World Juniors. Levi and Primeau were both 7th round picks, and both have gone through or are currently playing for Northeastern. Primeau managed to bring home a Silver medal with USA, so here’s to hoping that Levi can one up his predecessor at Northeastern by taking home Gold!
Getting back to the Habs, I was praying for Guhle to make this team because the blow back from the media if he was cut was inevitable. I expect that Guhle will be asked to play a high paced, physical game. He will be playing a shutdown role in part due to his size, but more importantly he can skate. As a pure skater, I think Guhle is second only to Byram, however his game is not predicated on offense. Even in light of his number last season in a more offensive role with the Raiders (Prince Albert), Habs fans should not expect to see Guhle on the Power Play. Any points he get will be gravy for fans, because he should be seeing more of the opposition’s top line on a nightly basis.
I will not go any more in depth on this team for today, however, here are the line combinations I expect now that the roster is official. For starters, I am taking Cozens out of the 2C spot, because I cannot see Canada not putting him beside Dach and McMichael.
What do you think Canada’s lines will look like? Let us know in the comments!
Taking a quick glace at additional Habs prospects, starting in the US, a lot of College programs were back in action to start their seasons. While many Habs fans are watching Wisconsin because of Caufield, Northeastern is probably the school to pay attention to. The team is Captained by Habs draftee, Jordan Harris (’18, 3rd) who plays along side one of my personal favourite’s, Jayden Struble (’19, 2nd). Both got their names on the scoresheet this weekend with Struble picking up a pair of assists, while Harris exploded for two goals and three assists on the weekend.
Just a side note, if you want to know why I love Struble; this.
A couple more Habs prospects in the NCAA are Brett Stapley in Denver and Blake Biondi (Minnesota-Duluth) who were both in action this weekend. Stapley is off to a solid start with four points in his first six games (Eliteprospects.com), while Biondi picked up his first career NCAA point this weekend with an apple.
In the USHL, Sean Farrell continues to wreak havoc on the league, and should continue to do so all year. Just remember that he is playing in a league that is clearly below his skill level, so his dominance, while nice to see, should to a degree, be expected. With that said, remember to temper expectations and give him a couple years to develop before we started labelling him with expectations. A couple more names to watch in the USHL are Jack Smith (Sioux Falls), Rhett Pitlick (Muskegon Lumberjacks) and Jakub Dobes (Omaha Lancers).
Finally, a quick glance across the pond in Europe, I am happy to announce that Mattias Norlinder is back and the shoulder looks good thus far. While he and Frolunda are still licking their wounds after losing to the last place team in the league (win percentage wise) on Saturday afternoon. His game was very meh this weekend and had an unfortunate turnover that directly led to a Malmo Goal. Frolunda played some uninspired hockey, so bigger picture chalk this up to a bad game and move on as this will not impact his development.
While my job affords me the luxury of watching a lot of SHL hockey, my knowledge of other European leagues is very limited. I have been unable to find any video on Josh Brook (DEL) right now, but the great thing about the Canadiens is that this rabid fandom reaches all corners of the globe. Case and point, Patrick Bexell does a great job providing analysis on Habs prospects in Europe and I encourage anyone looking for more to check out his work.
One last tid bit I would like to point out is that despite the NHL releasing a start date for their season, there is still no official word on what the plan for the AHL is. While many of the Habs prospects, specifically those expected to play in Laval, remain in Europe, it will be interesting to see if there are any changes in the coming weeks.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce content! Peeze and Alex are joined again by Duke to discuss the NFL, NBA and a very odd situation with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Check them out here to find them on the Streaming platform of your choice!
Hockey talk continues on Weekly Sauce! Alex the Intern, Terry sit down with Jason Paul from Wave Intel to discuss how analytics and information are used in Hockey. They also go over Wave Intel’s player comparison tool using a couple Habs as example!
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