Joshua Roy Is Here To Stay, How Good Can He Really Be?

Feb 22, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Montreal Canadiens right wing Joshua Roy (89) at the
Feb 22, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Montreal Canadiens right wing Joshua Roy (89) at the / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It was not supposed to have been in the cards for Joshua Roy to play close to 40 games in the National Hockey League this season but his strong play has forced the Montreal Canadiens hand, leaving the organization no choice but to deviate from the plan.

Coming out of the junior ranks, there were doubts about whether Roy’s game would translate to the highest level at all with his below average skating being the biggest concern in the ever faster NHL game.

However, Roy has more than made up for his lack of foot speed with sound positional play and his elevated hockey IQ, that always seems to have him in the right place at the right time. Additionally, his superior defensive awareness, quick release and ability to finish around the net give him more than enough tools to succeed on the big stage and he is doing just that.

After being selected by the Habs in the fifth round of the 2021 NHL Entry draft, Roy’s star has been on the rise. He put up back to back monster seasons with the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the QMJHL, underlining both with elite performances at the World Junior Hockey Championships.

The native of St-Georges-de-Beauce arrived in Laval this year with the same positive attitude, work ethic and willingness to play any role that served him so well in the past. In doing so, the Quebecer quickly became a favorite of his head coach Jean-Francois Houle and Roy’s production on the ice only backed up that belief. Roy put up an impressive 30 points in 34 games with the AHL’s Rocket prior to being called up to the big club for the first time in January.

Roy registered his first career NHL goal and first career NHL assist during his initial six game stint with the Habs before he was sent back down. Roy obviously made a great impression though, being recalled again a few short weeks later and this time he appears to be with the CH to stay.

The 6’0 , 193 lb winger has clearly passed the disappointing Jesse Ylonen among others on the club’s depth chart to a point where there is simply no way for head coach Martin St. Louis to keep him out of the lineup. To date, Roy has four goals and five assists for nine points in 20 NHL games with no signs of slowing down.

Knowing that he can be counted on to play a responsible 200 foot game coupled with his above average offensive talent, Roy should have a great baseline to stay in the NHL for the foreseeable future.

We can see that Roy has a high floor and the make up to carve out a long career for himself as at worst a solid third line player. The real question is how high can his ceiling be?  Can he be a top six contributor on a contending team?

I believe he can. I believe that with better line mates, increased ice time and more power play opportunities, Roy can put up more than enough offensive numbers to play consistently on the second line of a winning hockey club.

In fact, he reminds me a lot of a young Brendan Gallagher. The first time I saw Gallagher play, I knew he had something. He’s a different kind of player obviously but Roy is following a similar trajectory. A fifth round success story that doesn’t jump off the screen when you watch him but when something happens he is right in the middle of it. Sound familiar?

Like Gallagher, Roy doesn’t excel in any one particular area. He just does all the little things very well and those little things can add up to much more than the sum of their parts. Gallagher was a staple in the Canadiens top six for the better part of a decade and twice topped 30 goals in a season. I think Roy has that potential.

You know a real one when you see it and to me, Roy is a real one. He has shown an uncanny knack for outperforming expectations and I fully expect that he will continue to do so. But, if he ever needs more inspiration to prove people wrong he need not look further than a few stalls down at number 11 because if Roy can have even half the career that Gallagher has, it will be a very successful one.