Day four of Montreal Canadiens camp marked the third day of on-ice play, and with it came more unanswered questions, and ideal line combination scenarios. A few lines have stood out, and continued to look solid together, 51-14-22 and 20-15-17 standout, along with 94-47 and 52-72 on defence. But one line has stood out from the rest, and they have formed what looks like a Swiss army knife line with skill, smarts and an offensive punch; they could be a top penalty kill and powerplay unit.
Each member of the line is looking to prove themselves able to stay healthy and play consistently, and one is trying to crack the Canadiens roster for the first time. Line combinations obviously are subject to change, and preseason will be the best showcase, should the line remain intact. If they can have some reps during the preseason, they could be a favourite of Martin St. Louis’.
The Do-It-All Line?
The line I am describing is that of Joshua Roy, Sean Monahan and Kirby Dach, and ideally, you would want Dach at centre, but Monahan seems like the choice to this point. It doesn’t mean that Dach won’t play centre, but that he will do so under Monahan’s mentorship, which should be the ideal way for him to better prepare for the role on the fly. Roy is kind of the wildcard, mainly because it’s not guaranteed that he will remain with the team after the preseason, but he has shown great chemistry with his two training camp linemates.
It’s crystal clear what Monahan brings to this line for the Canadiens, but more importantly the team. He is excellent down the middle, and he has leadership skills, gained from his time with the Calgary Flames, where he was an assistant captain for seven seasons. He has dealt with injuries recently, but when he did play his ability to slow things down for his linemates was seen regularly.
The benefits that Dach and Roy will gain from a player who can do what Monahan does are invaluable, as often the league can come at you fast, and a calming presence can prove important. Dach has spent the summer working on his shot, and from video footage, it looks as though he wants to use it early and often, and with Roy and Monahan he should benefit from some great passes. He will also be able to take faceoffs on his strong side and have Monahan support him when he needs a break or is having an off night.
Roy has proven to be one of the Canadiens best prospects and his fantastic two-way play, paired with a great defensive stick, fuels his ability to break up plays and intercept passes. He is a great passer, and while he doesn’t have blazing speed, he has a knack for arriving in the right place at the right time. When he gets himself open, he is a constant scoring threat, and he takes advantage of goalies who overplay the shot, by making a deceptive pass, or a quick deke, he is very deceptive.
The strength of this line is their hockey IQ, and they’ve used it to keep the other team off the scoresheet. The fact that each one has such different, but effective offensive skills, makes them so hard to play against. Dach and Roy are the shooters, and Monahan has some Joe Pavelski-like skills in front of the net, which sometimes leaves goalies swimming in their crease to keep the puck out.
If this line doesn’t stick now with the Canadiens, maybe it’s something that St. Louis reconsiders in the future.
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