Pierre McGuire Believes Nick Suzuki Can Be A 90-100 Point Producer With Improved Powerplay

2012 NHL Awards - Red Carpet
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Help Is On The Way

Lane Hutson
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When McGuire mentions players that will join the Canadiens and help the Habs special teams, it's hard not to instantly think of one player.

Lane Hutson has ripped up the NCAA for the Boston University Terriers over the last two seasons and it's more likely than not that he joins the Habs this season. He is almost certainly going to burn the first year of his entry-level contract and within reason. When he does arrive, it will allow him to get a feel for the NHL pace.

Physically there is a bit of a concern, so sheltering him, as McGuire suggested as the seventh defenseman makes sense. He can be worked into the lineup - starting at the bottom and then working his way up - likely playing a bit of powerplay time. The writing is on the wall, eventually Hutson will leapfrog Mike Matheson as the top powerplay quarterback.

His skating and skill combination are rare for a defender, and there is nobody in Montreal who can do the things that Hutson can. Shifty and uber-talented, Hutson has all the tools to be an offensive dynamo for many years in Montreal. And when he finds some chemistry with the Habs' top players, the powerplay is likely to find another level.

Nothing is written in stone and once there are a few more pieces in place to deploy amongst the two units, there may be changes to the top unit. Joshua Roy has emerged as an interesting option and I think he is already poised to secure a spot on the second powerplay next year. Arber Xhekaj is another guy whose game has grown and the ridiculous slapshot that he possesses makes him an obvious choice for the second powerplay.

Another guy, who may be another year away from competing for a spot on the Canadiens is Logan Mailloux, who has shown great poise and mobility for the Laval Rocket along the blueline. Aside from Hutson, I would have to say that Mailloux is the next-best offensive defender for the Habs. He is big, and shifty and has a heavy, accurate shot that he isn't shy to use.

When he does arrive in Montreal full-time, I can see him as an option, perhaps opposite Xhekaj on the second unit. The pair built some chemistry during Xhekaj's conditioning stint with Laval, and I think that is reason enough to see what they can do together in the NHL. His defensive play and awareness have improved, but with another year to polish that aspect of his game, he could be a threat to crack the club to start the 2025-26 season.