Montreal Canadiens: Top Three Performers In Final Rookie Showcase Game

MONTREAL, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 29: Riley Kidney #86 of the Montreal Canadiens skates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Centre Bell on September 29, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 29: Riley Kidney #86 of the Montreal Canadiens skates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Centre Bell on September 29, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens wrapped up their schedule on Monday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators, with a win. Canadiens management got a great viewing of most of the young talent they’ve accumulated. There were players that could use some minor league seasoning, and a few that could be right on the cusp.

Due to their NCAA pacts, Jacob Fowler and Lane Hutson were unable to attend, and Vinzenz Rohrer, Adam Engstrom, Bogdan Konyushkov and a few others stayed with their respective European squads. But that didn’t affect the quality of hockey that the Habs’ faithful got to watch. Line combinations and defensive pairing could potentially be set for the Laval Rocket, and some players might even challenge for a spot at the Canadiens main camp.

Here’s a look at the top three performers during the third and final rookie showcase game for the Habs.

Riley Kidney

Riley Kidney had a nice goal off a drag-style wrist shot, which showed some nice poise and patience. The shot had some zip, and with a little more muscle mass on his frame, Kidney could be a nice secondary scoring piece for the Habs. He skated well throughout the entire game, and his puck skills stood out.

Sort of like a play connector, Kidney constantly kept himself wide open for his linemates, and his great passing helped him create offence through strong transitional play. With his head constantly up, he had some solid rushes up the ice, and he used strong puck play mixed with head fakes to throw defenders off. Defensively he was solid, and he played a strong game despite having less talented linemates on the third line.

Riley McKay

Riley McKay’s play didn’t translate to a ton of offence, but it also didn’t hurt the team, it gave them a spark. He was a sparkplug, and when the team needed some momentum, McKay had no problem throwing a big hit or dropping his gloves to rally the troops. He was a thorn in the Senators’ side, and as evidenced by his two fights, he showed his devotion to the team and that he will do whatever it takes to benefit the team.

Aside from his fisticuffs and body checks, you didn’t hear much about McKay throughout the game. The reason is that he didn’t have any negative plays to hurt the team, but rather smart, quick plays. He doesn’t look to be more than a fourth-line, energy player, but he did play his best game versus the Senators.

William Trudeau

William Trudeau wore the c on his sweater, and he took the opportunity to have a very strong outing. His mobility was on full display, he transported the puck up the ice and made smart passes to help out his forwards. He showed a willingness to try little puck plays and create space for himself, needless to say, he showed up to play.

One of Trudeau’s strongest outings, and his defensive pairing with David Reinbacher was another great pairing, to go along with Logan Mailloux and Jayden Struble. The duo played well together, and yes Reinbacher has been one of the best Habs during the showcase, Trudeau was no slouch. Regardless of where Trudeau plays within the Rocket lineup, I see a big year ahead for him.

Honourable Mentions

Before anybody jumps in and says there was a player who should have been included that wasn’t or one that wasn’t that should have been, this list is for you. I also want to emphasize the fact that I felt there were more than three players who had strong performances, but the three above had their strongest outings. With that said, here are some names of guys who were consistently good throughout the showcase, and that continued during the final game.

Joshua Roy put together his third consecutive strong performance through three games. He skated well and made smart puck plays utilizing his situational awareness beautifully. His shot continued to be a threat, even when he didn’t use it, defenders cheated to cover him, and that continually played to the benefit of his linemates.

David Reinbacher had one glaring turnover in the first frame when he tried to toe-drag the puck around a defender to create a play, it didn’t work out, but he used his great skating and positioning to get back and recover from the mistake. I think the confidence to pull off a move like that as an 18-year-old, shows the kind of player Kent Hughes drafted with Reinbacher. He played strong throughout the remained of the game, making great passes in the offensive zone and using his great poise to move smoothly from side-to-side on the blue line, and his defensive zone play remained steady.

Logan Mailloux played a physical game, showing no fear and using his large frame to separate the opposition from the puck. In the offensive zone, he was shifty, and constantly had his head up and on a swivel to hit passes or fire a heavy slapshot. I think it’s only a matter of time before both Mailloux and Reinbacher find themselves on the Canadiens blueline, and Chris Wideman, Johnny Kovacevic and David Savard see a decrease in their ice time. I like Justin Barron and I think he will take a big step this year, and the Canadiens will have a nice one, two and three punch with Reinbacher, Mailloux and Barron.

Rounding out the honourable mentions will be three players, featuring two forwards and one defenseman.

The lone defenseman on the list played consistently well throughout the showcase. Jayden Struble gave fans their first real viewing of him unless they watched his games with North Eastern. He didn’t disappoint, showing poise, great mobility and a bit of offensive touch that could grow if nurtured by JF Houle and his staff. He remained a constant defence partner with Logan Mailloux, and he proved the Canadiens have very strong left defence depth in their pipeline.

Sean Farrell and Owen Beck rounded out the top line for the Habs alongside Roy, and the trio looked strong, playing well off of one another. This line played with pace, and Beck’s strong play down the middle, allowed the line to have sustained puck possession because of his great play in the faceoff dot. Farrell’s speed and playmaking skills complemented his linemates, as he made a lot of hard passes look easy, which made this line a constant threat in the offensive zone.

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