Montreal Canadiens: Former Head Coach Claude Julien Heading to World Championships

Aug 12, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Montreal Canadiens are happy to have Martin St. Louis behind the bench these days.

The Habs are in a unique situation where they have dismissed a pair of head coaches in rapid succession. That means St. Louis is the third head coach currently on the payroll.

Dominique Ducharme was fired in February and he took over from Claude Julien about a year earlier. Julien’s contract had him tied to the team through this season.

Following this season, Julien has already found another job. A short term one, but a fairly high profile one nonetheless. The former Canadiens bench boss will be behind the bench of Team Canada at the upcoming World Hockey Championships. His assistants will be D.J Smith of the Ottawa Senators and Andre Tourigny of the Arizona Coyotes.

This announcement could bode well for a handful of Canadian Canadiens who want to continue playing hockey this spring.

The World Hockey Championships take place from May 13-27th in Helsinki, Finland and rosters are comprised of NHL players that either missed the playoffs or were eliminated early from Stanley Cup contention.

The Canadiens are among those teams that will miss the playoffs, and Julien is quite familiar with their current roster. Veteran coaches love veteran players to lean on, especially ones they are already familiar with and Julien was no exception to that rule.

Joel Edmundson only played under Julien for 18 games but he played a lot of minutes on a pairing with Jeff Petry in that time. The Brandon, Manitoba native has only played 18 games this season so it would be a nice extra bit of ice time for him if he heads to Finland.

Brendan Gallagher played a big role under Julien and developed alongside Tomas Tatar and Phillip Danault into one of the best two-way lines in hockey. He hasn’t had his best season, but playing for a World Championship would give him a chance to finish the year on a high note.

Paul Byron turned into a 20 goal scoring, penalty killing speed demon under Julien’s tutelage. He missed a lot of time this season and has only played 26 games. If he wants to get a few more reps in, he would be a good choice for a leadership role on this team.

Nick Suzuki is the player that could have the biggest impact. Team Canada took a young team last season and won a gold medal. Bringing a 22 year old Suzuki after he scored 57 points in 76 games so far this season would be a wise selection.

Josh Anderson made a positive impression on Julien early last season in a short stint before the coach was let go. His combination of speed, size and work ethic would make him a great addition to any team.

I wouldn’t expect all of these players to make the team, but the announcement that a recent Canadiens coach is heading up the roster makes it even more likely that current Canadiens players will be on the radar.

We won’t be watching Canadiens playoff hockey this year, but that doesn’t mean Canadiens players won’t be in action in May. I’d expect a few of these players to be playing under Julien in the World Championships next month.

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