Canadiens' lineup in 2023-2024: a huge surprise would make its way into Martin St-Louis' forward lines

Published July 30, 2023 at 7:06 PM
BY DAVID ST-JEAN
While the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes, did not make major moves this summer, some changes are expected in Martin St-Louis' lineup for the first game of the season against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The departures of veterans Joel Edmundson and Jonathan Drouin will likely provide opportunities for some young players to step up in the top 6 and the first two defensive pairs. Additionally, the arrival of Alex Newhook will give the coach an extra option to create trios capable of making a significant offensive contribution.

With a few months left before the start of the season, many armchair managers have made their predictions about the lineup Martin St-Louis will use for the 2023-2024 campaign. Here is the suggested lineup from the website Habsolumentfan:

Forwards:


Cole Caufield -- Nick Suzuki -- Kirby Dach
Alex Newhook -- Sean Monahan -- Josh Anderson
Juraj Slafkovsky -- Christian Dvorak -- Brendan Gallagher
Mike Hoffman -- Jake Evans -- Joel Armia

Extra: Michael Pezzetta and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard

Defensemen:

Kaiden Guhle -- David Savard
Mike Matheson -- Justin Barron
Arber Xhekaj -- Jordan Harris

Extra: Jonathan Kovacevic - Chris Wideman

Goaltenders:

Samuel Montembeault -- Jake Allen

The decision to keep the Suzuki-Caufield-Dach line intact is agreed upon by many. The three players undoubtedly had their best moments when playing together last season. Nick Suzuki and Kirby Dach are excellent playmakers, which will undoubtedly benefit Cole Caufield, who has a devastating shot and a knack for finding dangerous spots in the offensive zone.

The composition of the second line with the speed of Newhook and Anderson seems promising. Sean Monahan's experience allows him to read his teammates' intentions, and he could help Newhook reach the 20-goal mark once again this year.

However, many hope that Juraj Slafkovsky will have the opportunity to play some games on the top two lines, as he could greatly benefit from being paired with more offensive teammates to unlock his scoring potential and make a significant contribution on the scoresheet.

Regarding the forwards, preferring Joel Armia and Mike Hoffman over Rafaël Harvey-Pinard would be a monumental mistake in the view of some. The two veterans no longer seem to fit into the lineup, as they only seem to show up every fifth game. Additionally, with the arrival of Newhook, Hoffman's power-play time is likely to decrease significantly, as he has limited utility outside of that situation.

On the other hand, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard consistently gives his all every time he steps on the ice, and his work ethic is contagious for his teammates. During his 34 games with the Canadiens last year, he showed that he could play on any line and bring a positive impact wherever he played. Personally, RHP absolutely deserves to be one of the team's top 12 forwards every night.

As for the defensemen, apart from Joel Edmundson's absence, the defensive pairings are expected to be similar to those used during the 2022-2023 season. The return of players like Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj will undoubtedly help the Canadiens, and fans are eager to see the offensive impact Mike Matheson will bring this season.

However, despite the excitement surrounding the progression of many young players, it will be challenging for the Canadiens to compete in a highly competitive Atlantic Division. It's important to remember that the organization is still in its rebuilding process, and the upcoming season will allow the young players to gain valuable experience for the years to come.

Do you believe that Rafaël Harvey-Pinard deserves a spot in the top four forward lines?

Source: Habs & LNH
DO YOU BELIEVE THIS LINEUP CAN LEAD THE CANADIENS TO WIN 35 GAMES IN THE 2023-2024 SEASON?
JULY 30      190 ANSWERS
YES15280 %
NO3820 %
  LIST OF POLLS
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