Montreal Canadiens: Emil Heineman Adds Physicality With Offensive Touch To Lineup

Winnipeg Jets v Montreal Canadiens
Winnipeg Jets v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

While the Montreal Canadiens newest roster addition, Emil Heineman, has been used sparingly by Martin St. Louis, he has shown some intriguing tools.

Any predictions are precisely just that, merely a prediction because Heineman has shown some great qualities and skills in the American Hockey League. But he has yet to do anything spectacular in the NHL, which is normal for a guy who has only two games under his belt. Fortunately for Heineman, he has shown some good things and bad things, which means he has some work to do to improve.

The bad is that he seems to struggle coralling passes, which disrupts his ability to make plays. When and if he can correct that, it's hard to project him as anything less than a third line winger. I wrote a little while back about how he and Jesse Ylonen could be ideal winger partners in the top nine, both are quick and have interesting offensive abilities - capped off with their great shots.

Some good things that I have seen from Heineman at the NHL level is his speed and tenacity on the forecheck. He likes to finish his checks, and he appears to be a player who isn't huge, but just hits opponent's like a truck. Heineman's blend of speed and heavy physical play in all three zones is something that the Habs should take a long look at.

As I previously touched on, Heineman has some hiccups to work through, which is a sign that he is playing to his strengths. Allowing Heineman to play his game is best for his confidence and growth, but it also gives the development staff some things to work on with him. Handling him with patience, and showing him things he can do to be a more efficient hockey player will serve the Swede well.

Because Heineman has a great shot, fantastic foot speed and great vision in the offensive zone - he could become an important piece for the Canadiens rebuild. He isn't small, which is another notch in his belt - the Habs can have smaller players, but like anything, you need a good balance. The blueline is a perfect example, it's likely that Jordan Harris ends up the odd man out, since the Habs are likely to have Lane Hutson before season's end - you don't want too many defenders that are under 6-feet tall.

I'm all for having physical players - like Michael Pezzetta in the lineup, but it's blatantly obvious that Heineman is going to bring more to the Habs than Pezzetta. I love Pezzetta, but with full transparency - he is a fourth liner, and doesn't deserve to be playing above more talented players. Heineman is that, and has shown that he can beat goalies clean at the professional level in North America.

He has yet to score his first NHL goal, but as he grows and sharpens his skills away from the puck, he will gain Martin St. Louis's trust. In turn he should see an increase in his ice time, and perhaps find a spot on the second powerplay unit in due time. He has the skills and plays a physical game, which I think will blend well with Ylonen.