Predicting The Future Canadiens Third Line

Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils
Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The Montreal Canadiens' third line, while considered second-fiddle behind the top six, could become a hidden gem.

It’s awfully difficult to predict how the trio will shake out, but because of the organizational forward depth, it’s bound to be an important part of the puzzle. It isn’t impossible though - in fact - I believe that the line is two-thirds of the way to being complete. 

In an ideal world, the third line creates energy, plays fast and doesn’t harm the team. Smart two-way players, who can produce offence and almost certainly feature on one of the two penalty-killing units, fit the bill. Fortunately for the Canadiens, two players are already set in place on the third trio.

Joel Armia is the logical odd man out, and in an ideal world, he gets replaced by one of the Canadiens' U25 talents. This leaves a hole in the lineup, with Joshua Roy on one wing, and Alex Newhook down the middle. For my money, Newhook is best suited for the wing, where he has less defensive responsibility and can utilize his speed.

The line formations are much different now than they will look next year - Jake Evans will shift down when Kirby Dach Returns. He has done his best work on the fourth line, so that’s where I expect him to return. Unless Brandon Gignac slides to Evans's wing, I expect he will be sent down to Laval.