Montreal Canadiens: Making A Top Powerplay Case For Justin Barron

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens have taken strides in the powerplay - both in success rate and confidence from growing chemistry. 

However, the top powerplay and second unit differ because Mike Matheson is the only defenseman getting sustained pp QB time, which isn’t indicative of the Canadiens' blueline depth and strength. There are a couple of options that could usurp Matheson, and having number eight on the second unit could elevate the second unit.

Justin Barron and Kaiden Guhle are two options right now, and I can already see Jayden Struble as an option also. Struble and Guhle are a story for another day though. I would like to zoom in on Barron, who is still growing his defensive game, but the offensive tools are there.

Barron Staking His Claim To PP1 QB

Matheson has done well on the top-man advantage unit, but in the interest of the rebuild, it would make a ton of sense to slot in a young defenseman. Thankfully the Canadiens have a plethora of options, and given Barron’s knack for beating goalies from the blueline, he would be a smart bet. The increased reps would also allow him to grow his game with the puck.

Equally, Barron could sharpen his defensive game; focusing on holding the blueline. The opportunity would increase his defensive awareness, simply because he would have to stay honest and respect the penalty killer’s speed. The sole knock on Barron has been his slow decision-making with the puck, which will improve with first-team powerplay reps. 

He has a great shot and is more likely to shoot than Matheson. The passing serves a purpose,  but the powerplay looks too passive at times. Barron would undoubtedly add another dimension, and create rebounds or deflections. The net front havoc would play into the Habs' hands. 

Rushing players is never a good idea, and the special teams units are a large responsibility. But Barron isn’t a rookie and was highly coveted by Kent Hughes in return for Artturi Lehkonen. With that said, it feels like a wise decision to give the kid a chance. 

Barron can shoot the puck well and is best in offensive situations. I’m no betting man, nor am I employed by the Canadiens. But giving Barron his shot could do wonders for his confidence. 

With all of the pieces coming along, and the Habs trending in the right direction, ahead of some other rebuilding teams, who have had much more time. The best way to see what you have in a player is by using them in different situations. Barron is certainly an intriguing option for the man advantage and I think he will find a spot on power play one before season's end. I hope so anyway.