Montreal Canadiens: How To Turn Habs Depth On Blue Line Into Future Top Six Scoring Threat

Nov 12, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj
Nov 12, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
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The Montreal Canadiens find themselves at an interesting spot in their rebuild. Some pieces appear to already be in place, while other issues seem like they may never be fixed.

To be more precise, the Canadiens blue line is coming along quite nicely as they transition from a team that was in the Stanley Cup Final in 2021 to a completely revamped defensive group that looks to get back to the Stanley Cup Final before 2031.

The group that helped the team make it within three victories of a Stanley Cup was led by Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson. They also had Jon Merrill, Brett Kulak, Erik Gustafsson and Alexander Romanov playing games in that playoff run. It wasn't long after that playoff run that all eight defensemen were gone.

In their place are an impressive group of young blue liners. Kaiden Guhle and Justin Barron have been developing chemistry and look like a future top four pairing and backbone of a great team. Mike Matheson and David Savard have arrived as the veteran presence on the back end and they both play a lot of heavy minutes when they are healthy.

Arber Xhekaj, Jordan Harris and Johnathan Kovacevic all played regular minutes last season and performed well at the NHL level as rookies. Jayden Struble has stepped in this season when others were injured and has looked like a savvy veteran with his combination of size, phusicality, speed and smarts.

Add in Lane Hutson and David Reinbacher who are expected to take on huge roles in the near future and the Canadiens are bursting at the seams with young defensemen.

It is a great problem to have, but the same can't be said at other positions. Beyond Nick Suzuki and Kirby Dach, it is difficult to predict who else will play center on this team in two years time. There are also a list of good winger prospects but aside from Cole Caufield, there are not many high scoring threats.

It could lead to a big trade in the near future. The Canadiens need to deal from their plethora of defensemen to add some scoring punch up front. Let's take a look at three ways they could approach that situation.