Logan Mailloux Best Served In AHL, Although Rocket Are Struggling

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens
Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens have done an earnest job in assembling quite the defensive brigade for the future, with Logan Mailloux developing into yet another intriguing option for the Habs blueline.

Offensively he appears to be a sure bet for the Canadiens' top-four defensive roles. At 6’3” 215 lbs, he is physically imposing and punishing. And he reads the play well, choosing to activate for a shot or to make a play at a moment's notice. In the attacking zone, he pre-scans, and whether he uses his edges to find more to shoot or mask his intentions to pass, Mailloux is by all accounts an offensive defenseman.

Playing under the Hunter brothers in London of the Ontario Hockey League, Mailloux’s defensive game took significant strides. He was relied upon heavily, especially during the 2022 OHL playoffs, playing big minutes. Often on both the man advantage and penalty kill, and he made the most of his increased ice time. 

Certainly the lack of playing time overall would slow his development, but by all accounts, Mailloux appeared well on his way. His tools and the package of size and speed are intriguing for a modern-day defenseman, and that is why he will be given the patience to ascend to the Habs defence in the future. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly obvious that Mailloux’s game in his zone and decision-making still need some work.

An Honest Defensive Effort, Could Translate To Bigger Things

To speak it plainly, Mailloux often looks comfortable to outwit the opposition, before blowing past them, using his swift skating. But he makes boneheaded mistakes in his zone, especially when trying to exit his zone. At times he makes the right play and supports his team on the breakout from his blueline, and then through the neutral zone. 

But there are other times, where it appears that he is a little too flashy, and it harms his team. He will hold onto the puck for too long or try to make a low-percentage play. Perhaps he would be best served making the easy, smart play instead of a fancier play that could carry more risk. Behind the back drop passes and saucer passes serve a purpose, when warranted. 

It may be that he has played far less hockey than his draft-class counterparts. Or that he just needs to iron out the kinks through more time marinating in Laval. But it appears that JF Houle is drowning fast, and the Rocket are suffering, with many player going through personal droughts. 

Whatever it is, Mailloux will have the time to work on his defensive inefficiencies. But his growth needs to be handled with a certain level of leniency, he may never be a shutdown defender, but he has some great tools and characteristics.  He could presumably become a top four offensive defenseman, and find himself alongside a more defensive defenseman, to cover for his defence lapses. 

Regardless, mental mistakes serve as a learning experience and a coachable opportunity. So it’s best now for the Canadiens and Mailloux to muck through the mud, and dig through the trenches. He will be a much better player in the future, because the Habs development staff gave him the help he needed to become an NHL defenseman.

An increased effort to make the right play consistenly defensively will surely translate to more positive opportunities in the attacking zone.