The Montreal Canadiens are in the midst of their preseason, so nothing has been set in stone yet when it comes to lines and defense pairings for the upcoming season.
The team still has a pair of preseason games left on their schedule to iron out the final roster spots and tinker with possible combinations for opening night. With 72 players showing up for training camp on day one, it took some time to find the right pieces, but that will come before the Canadiens take on the Toronto Maple Leafs to open the regular season next week.
The Canadiens are returning a lot of the same players who were on the roster last season. Yet, there are reasons to believe the team can be a lot better than the one that finished fifth last in the overall standings last season.
Some of that optimism comes from the few additions the team did make in the offseason. Alex Newhook was brought over from the Colorado Avalanche for a pair of high draft picks and will be given the opportunity to play a big role with the Canadiens.
The Canadiens were also able to convince Sean Monahan to stay for an additional season by re-signing him before he became a free agent. They then acquired Tanner Pearson just before training camp began, which gave them a pair of veteran forwards to help guide some of the younger players on the roster.
On defense, the departure of Joel Edmundson removes a veteran from the team, but it also opens up additional opportunities for the plethora of young blue liners on the team to take on a bigger role.
With such a young roster, we should expect growth from many players on the 2023-24 Canadiens roster, but these three players are due for the biggest breakout seasons of all Habs.