3 Canadiens With The Most To Prove In 2023-24

The Montreal Canadiens are building a promising roster of young players, but they don't appear to be set to compete just yet. Instead, I see this as a strong development year for the team to find their identity and for players to start to break out in their roles. There are a few young players in that situation that have something to prove this season.

Juraj Slafkovsky

As the 2022 number one overall pick, there was a lot of pressure on Juraj Slafkovsky. His first season didn't go as planned as he played 39 games for the Canadiens and was injured, shutting him down for the season. He only scored four goals and 10 points and there just wasn't really much space for him to play in a spot where he could more easily succeed. The Canadiens freed up some space, but as there will still be a ton of pressure on Slafkovsky in a city like Montreal, he has to at the very least make positive strides.

Alex Newhook

The Canadiens jumped at the opportunity to bring in a young forward like Alex Newhook this offseason and plan on slotting him in somewhere in the middle-six. While he should have less pressure on him playing the wing in Montreal, after signing his new contract, will have something to prove. He is starting the first of a four-year contract at $2.9 million AAV, so it could start to look very good with improvement in his play, or just feel bland.

Sam Montembeault

Sam Montembeault is set to take control of the number one role in Montreal after he and Jake Allen split the season in 2022-23. Montembeault put up better numbers, is younger, and is going into a contract year. The Canadiens have put their trust in him by sticking with the tandem they have, and if he wants to stick around and get a bigger payday, he will have to prove it all season long in net.

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