Deslauriers’ Inner Radulov

VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 19: Nicolas Deslauriers
VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 19: Nicolas Deslauriers /

Nicolas Deslauriers might be one of the brightest spots of the 2017-18 season for the Montreal Canadiens and their fans

There is no denying that losing Alexander Radulov had a negative effect on the Montreal Canadiens. However, gaining Nicolas Deslauriers was a positive welcoming for the team. Traded for Zach Redmond, Deslauriers does not bring the star talent that Radulov had. On the other hand, he does bring the intangibles. Oh how I love intangibles.

The biggest issue plaguing the Montreal Canadiens this season has been consistency and work ethic. If this “fourth line” brings anything, it is exactly that. Over a nine-game stretch earlier this season, the line combined for 22 points. All three players have been solid, with Daniel Carr and Deslauriers shining just a little bit brighter.

All three are 26 years old this season, which means it is do-or-die for them. If they do not continue to perform this year, it could be the end of their NHL careers. Fortunately, they are fulfilling this expectation far beyond what was expected of them when they were initially called up.

In fact, they were doing so well that when Artturi Lehkonen returned from injury, Charles Hudon was made a healthy scratch. Hudon is objectively a more skilled hockey player than Byron Froese or Deslauriers, but one simply cannot justify breaking up that line with how well they were performing.

People like to watch entertaining hockey, and Deslauriers brings the entertainment every night

Deslauriers is a stand-out on the fourth line though for one big reason. Passion. This man plays the game like his life depends on it every shift. Never has Deslauriers been seen dogging a shift, or letting up to catch his breath.

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All game and every game, the work ethic is at 110%. It’s infectious, and having a player like this rubs off on everybody sitting on the bench. The energy of Deslauriers is something similar to what was seen from Radulov.

The hype after beating Zac Rinaldo in a fight during the lost effort to the Arizona Coyotes. The childlike exuberance after scoring a goal for his team. Everything about this guy is pure energy and drive; it’s a welcoming sight on a team lacking it. The celebrations after the two goals scored against the Vancouver Canucks were almost a picture-perfect recreation of what could be seen from Radulov.

Deslauriers Celly

Radulov Celly

Eventually, this line will slow down, and Nikita Scherbak along with Hudon will return to the lineup. With so many middle six wingers on the team, it would not be a shock to see some players moved before the trade deadline.

Hopefully, management can secure picks or prospects from a team looking to pick up a good depth player for the playoffs. A team simply cannot keep rotating so many players in and out of the lineup, especially with the return of Ales Hemsky looming (remember that guy?). It will be very interesting to see what the wings look like after the trade deadline passes; who will survive, and who will be shipped out to try again elsewhere?

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