Top 10 Prospects - #2 Joshua Roy

Joshua Roy has come a long from being selected in the fifth round of the 2021 NHL Draft. He has essentially established himself as a top-nine NHL forward.
Colorado Avalanche v Montreal Canadiens
Colorado Avalanche v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens are always looking for new ways to improve their offence, so when Joshua Roy earned his call-up, they were certainly pleased with what they saw.

Roy, who was selected 150th overall in the 2021 draft, was criticized for his lazy, almost uninterested play away from the puck and his footspeed. He has done more than his fair share of work to change the narrative, and the reason why he sits at number two in my rankings is because of his two-way play. In the American Hockey League it's one thing to force turnovers, then another to do so as a 20-year-old rookie.

But Roy one-upped his impressive play in the AHL, by following it up in the National Hockey League. It didn't happen right away, but when he got to a certain level of comfortability, he was pickpocketing the opposition on a nightly basis. It became routine for him to force a turnover in the neutral zone, then flip the puck back the other way, transitioning from defence to offensive attack in just a few strides.

This brings me back to the criticism about his skating, this aspect of his game deserved to be questioned. He has worked on it tremendously, and though it will never be a strength of his game, it isn't by any means a hindrance. What Roy lacks in footspeed, he makes up for in high hockey IQ - he reminds me a lot of Sam Reinhart - both aren't fleet of foot, but they slow the game down and make such smart plays routinely.

Roy also has the uncanny ability to emerge in spaces before the puck, then intercept it and head into the attacking zone. Once in the zone, he almost flips a switch and becomes laser-focused, scanning for an outlet or manipulating his way into open space to create. Standing still, he has a good shot, but he prefers to play set-up man, or use one-touch shots to score.

Of all the forward prospects pre-2024 draft, Roy has the highest potential to become a top-six forward of all. For that reason he sits at number two and because he is almost a lock, much like the number one ranked prospect, to play the whole year with the Habs. Roy barely scratched the surface last season, but I expect this season will be a big year.