Montreal Canadiens: Thoughts On Joshua Roy’s NHL Debut

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

The Montreal Canadiens announced that Joshua Roy has been called up and activated with Josh Anderson out injured. 

So Saturday night at the Bell Centre; as Joshua Roy put it, is where he wants to be. All eyes will be on number 89, and Roy will have upwards of 30 close family and friends attending the game. No pressure kid, but you’re also going to be playing with Sean Monahan and Joel Armia. 

Roy has been a revelation; making the Canadiens look like bandits with his selection in the 2021 draft. Many teams passed on him, for one reason or the other. But Montreal swung for the fences and the move has aged like fine wine. 

With 30 points through his first 33 professional hockey games; it’s safe to say Roy has adjusted to the game. He has also battled through some tough stretches but found his next gear lately. With a need for top-six talent on the wing, Roy has a pretty enviable opportunity ahead of him. 

Game No. 1 For Roy

After his solo lap, with the crowd chanting, the Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, QC native must have had chills running through him. The energy in the Bell Centre appeared to be thumping and if Roy could create some magic, the roof might blow off the arena. 

An offensive player with the skills that Roy has and a Quebec native is sure to get some attention. Roy deserves it and has worked his way up the depth chart. This game is more of the same, however, for Roy, who appears to be locked in. 

That will serve him quite well if it translates on ice. McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are the league’s most dangerous duo and they can beat you in an array of different ways. Roy hasn’t seen McDavid’s speed live, but he will have his biggest test to date. 

His first period was a bit timid, he didn’t do anything flashy; he just tried to get used to the pace. There were a couple of gaffed passes, but positionally he is very aware. Martin St. Louis put him out with his regular line but also put him out with Nick Suzuki and Juraj Slafkovsky while defending against the Oilers.

Roy was one of two new additions to the Habs' second power play unit, along with Kaiden Guhle. The youthful exuberance could be felt from my couch at home. Marty is showing a ton of confidence in number 89 very early. 

In one shift he almost sent both of his linemates in on breakaways. The second time, was because of a smart turnover in the neutral and quick pivot then a pass to Armia. Offside deterred the play, and Skinner stopped the Monahan attempt. 

Physically Roy proved able to win battles, most notably in the defensive zone for positioning. He battled hard for his space, and almost always used it for good when he found some. Noticeably, he is a very strong neutral zone creator, because of his smart stick. 

I believe that like Jayden Struble before him, Roy should get a stint to prove himself. I can’t say he looked out of place or made any glaring mistakes. His shot should be utilized and Marty should encourage him to use it, especially on the power play.

Around the six minute mark of the third, Roy had played 11:13 and registered two shot blocks. 

With two minutes to go in a 1-1 deadlock, Roy was out for a shift. A true testament to his reliable game. 

All in all he had a solid debut, playing 13:03 in the 2-1 overtime loss.