The Montreal Canadiens wrapped up their preseason on Saturday, which got more headlines, but the Laval Rocket also completed their exhibition schedule Saturday afternoon with a 5-3 win against the Belleville Senators.
Youth led the show, and the team looked quick and explosive. It was a great start to build on and gives a reason for hope for the young Rocket squad this season.
Amid all the fresh faces, the Montreal Canadiens fifth-round pick from the 2019 Draft had a solid debut game. He was poised and calculated with the puck and a great distributor to his linemates. Joshua Roy had a three-assist outing, the first coming on Phillippe Maillet’s first career tally with the Rocket, before he set up Jayden Struble with a nice pass, then he set up Filip Mesar for his first preseason goal with the Rocket.
Clearly, he was one of the best under-23 players at Canadiens camp, and he had been chomping at the bit to start his professional hockey career. He didn’t disappoint and showed off his patience and high offensive IQ throughout the game. Smart, high-percentage plays with the puck were a regular occurrence for Roy, and he followed up his positive performances at Canadiens camp with a strong debut AHL preseason game to build on.
I expect a big year from Roy, and I believe he will surprise a lot of AHL teams this year with his fantastic two-way play. The smart defensive stick and ability to steal pucks will put him high on the opposition’s list of players to game plan for. His shooting ability poses a threat each time he circles the offensive zone, he is as good a passer as a shooter, and he is so deceptive with the puck, using a great poker face to look off defenders.
Roy will give the Canadiens a great problem by mid-season, which is another forward to the crowded group. A toolkit that will be welcomed to the lineup, and a knack for being in the right areas, despite not being an overly quick skater are a direct indication of his high processing ability. He could lead the team in points while continuing to be one of the top penalty-killers for the Rocket.
Pretty impressive play, and great value from the fifth-round pick. Roy should emerge as one of the Rocket’s most valuable players. And he had a great debut to start building positives upon to start the season. I can’t imagine a scenario where he doesn’t earn the first call-up to the NHL, should injuries call for it.
His strong play and consistent smart reads should be no surprise because he has been putting on a show since Habs rookie camp. He has emerged as one of the best forward prospects for the Canadiens, and will likely see himself in the NHL very soon.
His versatility, high hockey IQ and ability to make difficult plays look routine are all highlights of his brilliant game, and make him a good bet to become an impact player at the NHL in the near future.
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