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 – APRIL 1: Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Defender Back and Forth

I briefly mentioned Benn there as a player in the mix to make the team on defence. It also extends to Brett Lernout, David Schlemko, Xavier Ouellet, and Simon Despres.

Some of you may have laughed at the mention of Schlemko. He didn’t have a good season by any means considering a lot of that was spent nursing injuries. But his awareness of the ongoings around him that stung the most. Schlemko is making $2.1 million for the next two years which could make him a project worth working on. Perhaps that will be one of Luke Richardson‘s first assignments as the team’s new defence coach.

Lernout had a better showing with the Montreal Canadiens at the end of the year. He looked a lot less frantic and stable making the small, simple plays instead of trying to do too much and take himself out of position. Spots on the blueline aren’t necessarily open, but who knows what a strong performance at camp can do.

Ouellet will be having the same mentality after being bought out by the Detroit Red Wings. He’ll have a friendly face in Tatar who shares the same redemption-flavoured goal for the year which may help bring out his best. His play away from the puck in combination with his skating ability could have him as a dark horse to make it.

So, you can only imagine where that leaves Despres. He made the choice to return to the NHL after playing in the KHL for a year. Injuries severely derailed his progression as a top defender, but he seems willing to put the work in. Despres is far behind the rest of the group as he doesn’t have a contract and whether or not that changes is on him.

Next. Standouts from the Rookie Tournament. dark

This mini-series will continue with which prospects to look for at training camp. With the narratives mentioned above and possibly more that haven’t been mentioned, it’s exciting to see so much taking place for the Montreal Canadiens. Make your predictions now because, in a few weeks, the roster will be set.