Montreal Canadiens: With Justin Barron - It's Time For A Stint With Laval

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators
Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages
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The Montreal Canadiens sought out Justin Barron in any trade package for Artturi Lehkonen from Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche.

Barron has all the physical tools and he has some problem solving skills to go with his high offensive instincts. His skating is smooth and fluid, he covers a lot of ice very quickly. The Halifax, Nova Scotia native has earned praise from some of his fellow Nova Scotians NHL players.

The likes of Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Brad Marchand are all too familiar with the talent that Barron has. So his struggles this season are tough to watch. You know full well that for some of the NHL's best to endorse him, there is a little more to the player than we have seen.

I believe that Barron has the tools and skills to be a staple in the Canadiens, suddenly crowded right defence room. But until his mind matches his body, he will continue to struggle; it appears that the pace is too quick for him. While Laval has struggled, you can look no further than Arber Xhekaj and Logan Mailloux, as examples of how going down to Laval can be a benefit.

I love what Barron brings to the team, but on the same token, I am aware that he is struggling and I think he needs to catch his breath. Laval shouldn't be treated as a cakewalk; as such, Barron knows that the level of competition is still very high. With an increase in minutes, Barron will benefit from the additional reps, which will allow him to work on his decision making.

He appears to overthink on plays, often coughing up simple zone exits or getting beat to a 50/50 puck, failing to battle for it. The skating that Barron is known for, seems to disappear when trying to defend - he falls a lot and his strides are more choppy and almost nervous. It seems that he is scared to make a mistake, so he rushes decisions and ends up making one.

Playing in Laval will mean he plays more minutes, perhaps even on the penalty kill, which will push him to work on his gaps and defensive zone reads. Xhekaj and Mailloux have been down in Laval, and neither one of them looks unhappy about it. The goal for all three of the young defenders is to play in the NHL, but taking the right path to reach that goal is essential