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2022 Montreal Canadiens Top 25 Under 25: #7 Joshua Roy


When the Montreal Canadiens made Joshua Roy their fifth-round decide in 2021, it wasn’t a lot fanfare. Hardly ever is there any hype round late alternatives, however there was maybe extra potential to that decide than you usually see that late within the draft.

A former first total decide within the QMJHL Draft, Roy managed precisely a point-per-game clip in his draft yr break up between the Saint John Sea Canine and Sherbrooke Phoenix. The hope was that he had a little bit extra to supply than what he’d already proven. He delivered in spades throughout his draft-plus-one season.

Elite Prospects

He exploded for 119 factors by way of 66 video games with Sherbrooke in 2021-22, main his staff, and taking dwelling the Jean Beliveau trophy as the highest scorer within the QMJHL. With 23 factors in 11 playoff video games, he acquired even higher because the stakes acquired greater, and actually put himself on the map as a reliable NHL prospect.

It put him on the map for the Canadian Nationwide Junior Staff as effectively. He was a reserve participant for Staff Canada on the ill-fated winter run of the event, however his season in Sherbrooke made him plain for the August version. There, he put up eight factors in seven video games, and performed essential minutes for the gold medal-winning squad.

There might not have been a whole lot of hype when he was drafted, however his exponential enchancment since then has made him one of many hottest names in a deep Montreal prospect pool. If he retains bettering at his present price, he’ll doubtless go down as the most important steal of the 2021 NHL Draft.

Voting

With a excessive vote of fifth, and a low of 12, our panel is sort of assured in Roy total as a prospect. Significantly in such a robust prospect pool, that he climbs on our record this quick is a testomony to how a lot he has improved since being drafted.

I used to be that top vote, and I knew I might be trying to put him in my prime 5 after watching nearly all of his video games this season. His offensive talents give him a really excessive ceiling, and I’ve extraordinarily excessive confidence in his capacity to make the enhancements he’ll want in an effort to attain it.

High 25 Below 25 Historical past

On this depth of a prospect pool, a big impression must be made for this type of soar, from 22 to 7, and he clearly managed that final yr.

Historical past of #7

12 months #7
12 months #7
2021 Cayden Primeau
2020 Victor Mete
2019 Cole Caufield
2018 Ryan Poehling
2017 Scherbak/Juulsen (T-7)
2016 Daniel Carr
2015 Zack Kassian
2014 Jacob de la Rose
2013 Jarred Tinordi
2012 Brendan Gallagher
2011 Danny Christ
2010 Max Pacioretty

Strengths

He’s about as completed a shooter as you may discover on the Junior stage. He has wonderful mechanics, good velocity, and pinpoint accuracy that enables him to beat goaltenders from wherever. His launch is so fast and misleading that he would not want an enormous windup or a whole lot of open area to place it to make use of. For those who give him the smallest opening, he could make you pay with a fast flick of the wrists.

When he cannot, or when he would not like his taking pictures lane, he makes use of the mere menace of his shot to govern lanes for his passing. His passes are crisp and correct, and he will get inventive along with his setups to make it very troublesome to foretell the place he is going with them. He additionally has an innate sense of the place his teammates are purported to be on the ice, and may pull off some jaw-dropping feeds because of this.

He exhibits wonderful hockey IQ and ever-improving positioning, usually inflicting the opposing staff to fully lose him in protection, then reappear attacking downhill. He makes up for an absence of wow-factor pace by taking sensible routes, and thru his drastically improved off-puck positioning.

His bodily and defensive play can also be fairly underrated. Dave Cameron gave us an actual take a look at that through the World Juniors, electing to place him in a checking function in opposition to one of the best the opposition needed to supply. He had been very strong defensively for Sherbrooke through the season, however when given an opportunity to point out off his 200-foot recreation on the large stage, he actually drove dwelling how laborious he is been working at bettering that facet of his play.

Weaknesses

It’s all however universally agreed that skating is the principle factor he wants to enhance in an effort to attain his potential. I disagree with feedback about him being gradual, as a result of that’s actually an oversimplification of what hinders him.

As my former colleague David St-Louis places it, his posture is what holds him again. He is hunched over and missing ankle flexion, that means it takes extra effort and time for him to achieve and preserve his prime pace. It additionally limits his capacity to make fast cuts and be elusive, forcing him to make use of his stickhandling and play off his teammates to create area.

As one might predict, and as evidenced by Mitch Brown’s participant monitoring, the shortage of acceleration has a big effect on his transition recreation. He cannot stand up to hurry rapidly sufficient, so he drastically favors passing off to his teammates or dumping the puck in/out of the zone. His positioning and physicality give him an edge by way of successful these pucks again, however the capacity to exit and enter zones with possession extra recurrently can be essential to him realizing his potential.

The excellent news is that he has an unimaginable work ethic. His conditioning is leaps and bounds forward of the place it was firstly of his draft yr, and his skating has additionally taken a step ahead. There’s nonetheless work to be carried out, however with how a lot he has already improved his recreation, you must like his possibilities of with the ability to make the required changes.

Projection

If he can proceed to enhance his skating, he has top-six scoring winger written throughout him. The specter of his shot, coupled along with his capacity to bluff and manipulate passing lanes to arrange teammates, might make him an excellent weapon for one of many prime two trios in Montreal. His versatility on the facility play might make him a lock for the highest power-play unit no matter who he is with at five-on-five.

If he cannot present some extra skating enchancment, the aforementioned transitional play points might be an issue on the skilled stage. This may doubtless restrict him to a checking function even within the AHL, would considerably restrict his offensive output, and he’d have a tricky time reaching his ceiling.

I’ve about as a lot religion in him as I’ve ever had in a participant to make the required changes. The Canadiens are in no rush to have him be part of their ranks, so he ought to see at most the nine-game tryout with the membership earlier than being despatched again to Sherbrooke, the place he’s anticipated to be named captain. In December, he must also be in line for an enormous function with Staff Canada once more on the 2023 World Juniors, so we’ll get a really strong pattern from which to evaluate his progress.

His work ethic makes him somebody the Canadiens’ growth staff ought to discover very straightforward to work with. If he exhibits extra enchancment this yr, and brings that work ethic to camp with Adam Nicholas, I am going to boldly predict that we might see him difficult for a roster spot with the Habs as early as 2023-24.

After all, a season in Laval would even be a robust chance, but when there’s one factor Joshua Roy has proven since his draft yr, it is that you simply should not sleep on him.


Matt Drake turns into the professional together with Anton “the Fugitive” Rasegård and Patrik Bexell as they focus on Joshua Roy:


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