Kaiden Guhle, the solution? – Sports VAT

One goal in 27 attempts. The stat is nothing glorious, but it perfectly illustrates the Canadian’s failings on the power play. In the last seven games, CH has scored just one goal against four.

If there’s been a dip in the standings over the past few days, that’s also true of this important aspect of the game. The Habs now have the NHL’s worst power play record at 14.0%.

To make the numbers speak better, let’s note that the Canadian scored only 14 goals on the power play this season. That’s half the production of eight NHL teams.

Along with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, “Oilers” lead with 38 goals. They are followed by the Sabers (36), Senators (34), Bruins (33), Lightning (31), Kings (28), Canucks (28) and Avalanche (28).

Martin St-Louis and Alex Burrows can go back to the drawing board to find solutions in the hours before the duel against the Coyotes at the small 5,000-seat amphitheater in Tempe, Arizona.

For several matches, CH has insisted on using the first wave with five attackers. This choice of the coaches shows the absence of a true midfielder on the blue line, an attacking defender who can revive the game from the point. Montreal is without Rasmus Dahlin, Thomas Chabot, Charlie McAvoy, Mikhail Sergachev, Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar.

Mike Matheson has an offensive profile, but he’s never been a mainstay on the power play. Chris Wideman had that reputation at the KHL level. However, there is a world of difference between hockey in Russia and hockey in the NHL. At 32 years old, Wideman is a good veteran to lead the team’s youth, accepting the role of seventh defender, but does not represent the team’s future.

What about young people?

In an offseason with no tournament expectations, the Canadiens would do well to give their young defensemen an audition.

With Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, there are already two big pieces to an exciting power play puzzle. Suzuki (5 goals) and Caufield (4 goals) scored nine of the team’s 14 power plays. St-Louis reminded him more than once that it takes time to build a dangerous unit. And you need to bet on five players who know each other well.

Starting at the base of the season, the head coach can turn to Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris and Arber Xhekaj. It wouldn’t hurt to give them a rotation in the first wave.

After 31 games, CH scored just one goal from a defenseman on the power play. And it came from Xekaj’s crew.

Of the three, Guhle probably has the most offensive potential. In his final season in the Western Junior League, he had 40 points (7 goals, 33 assists) in 42 games in Prince Albert and Edmonton and produced at an even higher rate with 16 points (8 goals, 8 assists) in the playoffs. ) in Oil Kings gear.

Harris, who is second among Glorieux defensemen with ten points, has good vision but doesn’t have a shot. In Xhekaj’s case, he regularly hits the blue line target with his shot. But No. 72 is the defenseman most at risk among the three young guns.

Justin Barron’s name could resurface among Laval Rocket defensemen in the event of a recall. He leads his team with seven goals. In his own area, Barron still has many aspects of his game to polish.

Acquired in a minor trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on October 7th, Nicolas Beaudin recently got his season back on track with the Rockets. The Hawks’ 2018 first-round pick now has 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists) in 16 games. Jean-François Houle uses his first wave on the power play for several games.

Looking to the future

Laval, which is in a period of Canadian reconstruction, is full of young hopefuls in the small circles of Canada, in the American university network and in Europe. Everyweek, Newspaper will publish an account of some.

The column took a slightly different format this week, with World Junior Championships and NCAA-level action expected in Moncton and Halifax.

AHL: Justin Barron

Photo credit: Martin Chevalier archive photo

Cut at the end of CH camp, Barron’s job was to become a more complete defender with the Rockets. If he’s still fragile in his own zone, the former 1st round pick of the Colorado Avalanche is dangerous offensively. He has 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) in 25 games. He leads all defensemen in the American League with 5 powerplay goals.

AHL: Rafael Harvey-Pinard

Photo credit: Martin Alarie archive photo

Harvey-Pinard is going at a slower pace than last year with the Rocket. Number 11 scored 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists) in 28 games. Apart from his attacking numbers, Harvey-Pinard is a reliable winger in defence, and he always brings a good dose of energy.

OHL: Owen Beck

Photo credit: Martin Chevalier archive photo

Beck was disappointed not to earn a spot with Canada’s World Junior Championship team. However, he didn’t hesitate to return with the Mississauga Steelheads, collecting six assists in his first two games since camp in Moncton. He leads his team with 39 points (16 goals, 23 assists) in 27 games.

WHL: Jared Davidson

Photo credit: Archival photo by Pierre-Paul Poulin

A 5th round pick in the 2022 draft, Davidson is the offensive engine of the Seattle Thunderbirds. In his final season in the Junior League West at age 20, Davidson led the team with 39 points (16 goals, 23 assists) in 25 games. In his last game, Everett had four assists in a 5-1 win over the Silvertips.

OHL: Logan Mailloux

Photo credit: Agence QMI archive photo, Joël Lemay

Tragedy rocked the London Knights world this week with the death of 18-year-old striker Abakar Kazbekov. According to several reports, the Ontario native fell to her death from her apartment in London. The Knights did not play Saturday because of the tragedy. Mailloux continues his good season with 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 24 games.

OHL: Cedrick Guindon

Photo credit: Agence QMI archive photo, Joël Lemay

Guindon remains among the top 20 goal scorers in the Ontario Junior League. He has 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in 31 games with the Owen Sound Attack this season. The 2022 fourth-round pick scored a goal and added an assist in Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Windsor Spitfires in Owen Sound.

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