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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Habs 3C Brewing In The OHL

Owen Beck
Saginaw Spirit v Ottawa 67's / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

In my opinion, if not for his age, Owen Beck would have already started taking strides toward securing the third-line centre role.

Beck has the speed to keep pace with Newhook, and high hockey IQ like Roy. All three players are good passers and have the potential to score 15-20 goals in the future. Newhook will earn a ton of experience defensively because of his current role, but I expect any deficiencies will be masked by Roy and Beck.

This line would be young and relatively inexperienced, but in time could be a matchup nightmare. Physically, they aren’t likely to create much havoc, but they all play a relentless style on the backcheck and forecheck. Roy loves to force turnovers in the neutral zone, which will benefit his line in transition and generate quick-strike offensive zone chances. 

Beck is willing to shoot more, and his success has helped his confidence. Still, I don’t expect him to be a high-volume goal scorer at the NHL level. But with his intelligence and strength in the faceoff dot, it doesn’t matter, he will impact the game in many other ways.

Newhook’s vision hasn’t stood out much, but he has been given a huge role on the number-one power play, so that could still come. Regardless of that, however, he creates so much with his footspeed and smart short passes. If he can play with pace and his linemates can keep up, it feels fair to say that  he will find success. 

Roy has transitioned from the QMJHL to the AHL quite well, so much so that he finds himself back with the Canadiens for the second time this season. He is the Habs Swiss Army knife, with the ability to play up and down the lineup because he is so smart. The purest shooter of the three, Roy can freeze goalies and defenders, which favours his two speedy linemates. 

Each player on their own is hard to play against, so throwing them together feels natural. With better matchups, the Habs' third line will take some pressure off the top two line’s shoulders. Depth has been important for every Stanley Cup winner, and the Habs will have plenty of it, especially with No. 89, 15 and whichever number Beck ends up wearing, on the third line.

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