Montreal Canadiens: Storylines and battles heading into training camp

MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 26: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen (58) congratulates Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) after winning the game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Canadiens on March 26, 2018, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 26: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen (58) congratulates Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) after winning the game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Canadiens on March 26, 2018, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Montreal Canadiens
MONTREAL, QC – JANUARY 25: Montreal Canadiens (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Growth on the Backend

Many are expecting Victor Mete and Noah Juulsen to take a step. Mete shocked a lot of people in playing well enough to make the team last season. His usage took a turn for the worst after spending most of his time with Weber on the top pairing.

Mete will likely be back on top with Jeff Petry, and hopefully, he shows up looking ready to take the NHL by storm. The 20-year-old should have responsibilities on the second power-play unit locked up already. It’s his overall play that needs improvements.

More from A Winning Habit

Juulsen made his NHL debut late last season and impressed the coaching staff almost immediately. He did the impossible in making Karl Alzner look more comfortable and in many ways more sturdy on the blueline. The 21-year-old was smooth on the ice and never appeared to panic or second-guess himself. He was also playing responsibly enough to earn minutes on the penalty kill which is a role he hopes to be given more this season.

Training camp could be a partial indicator of how the efforts to improve for Mete and Juulsen playout.

Mike Reilly is another name who could use a nice training montage. The Habs received him at the trade deadline for a fifth-round pick, and he was used immediately on the backend. Rielly stood out as far as his shot generation went, but he was a bleeder in terms of shots against. He may be a solid option for the third-pairing if he sorts that out. Otherwise, Julien will go to Jordie Benn for it.