The robots confirm it: Yes, the Canadiens players are making progress. See which ones have improved the most

The recent losses to the Kings and Panthers may not indicate this, but yes, the Canadian is currently achieving his main goal of the season: seeing the progress of his young players.

Achieving the famous “p” word (progress) that the club’s management hoped for – without dreaming of the “p” word, which means “playoffs” in English -, The newspaper has quantified it in recent days thanks to the help of robots from the company Sportlogiq.

The observation is clear. Six of the nine players we focused on improved in most categories relevant to their game compared to last season, such as: B. Scoring chances, time spent in the offensive zone or zone exits (see below).

No stars, but…

That doesn’t necessarily make them future NHL stars, but it does show that the club will have good support in its rebuild if it eventually adds established stars to its roster.

Because these nine players are part of the Canadian’s future. We therefore do not find the names of more experienced players such as Mike Matheson, Brendan Gallagher, Sean Monahan, Tanner Pearson or Jake Allen.

Photo credit: Photo Martin Chevalier

We also excluded the goalkeepers, as the famous “ménage à trois” limits the number of games played by Samuel Montembeault and Cayden Primeau.

And also because Primeau was limited to seven spells of action with the Canadian last season, which represents a small selection on which the comparisons are based.

The name Rafaël Harvey-Pinard also does not appear in our list. The Quebec striker has been injured since November 14th, but most importantly, he has played in a completely different role so far this season than last year.

The first star for Justin Barron

After removing these names from our list, we come to one observation in particular: it is Justin Barron who has improved the most this season.

Photo credit: Photo Getty Images via AFP

We’ll give you more details below, but the 22-year-old defenseman improved in all 11 defensive categories (e.g. zone exits, blocked shots) compared to last year as of Saturday.

And often it grows a lot.

Jesse Ylonen, the idiot

On the other end of the spectrum is Jesse Ylonen. To his credit, the talented Finn has had few opportunities to shine this year.

But he only advanced in three of the 12 categories related to attacking position, including number of goals (0.18 per game, compared to 0.16 last season) and average number of shots on goal per game (1.35 in the period 2023–2024). , compared to 1.08 in 2022-2023).

The team is also making progress

The Canadian has also improved overall. At least if we extrapolate his current record to an 82-game season.

Martin St-Louis’ team is two points behind after 24 games compared to its performance last year (23 against 25), but we must not forget that the situation quickly deteriorated for CH last year. Last season when the injury list grew.

With the infirmary already full this year, the Canadian will have a record of 34-38-10 in April if he maintains his current pace.

His total score of 78 points would take him away from the famous “p” word, which means “playoffs” in English, but would represent an increase of 10 points compared to last year.


Juraj Slafkovsky – 11 categories improved to 12

The first overall pick in last year’s draft improved in almost every category, which is encouraging. Most of the time, however, there are small improvements, as was the case with shots on goal: 1.33 shots per game compared to 1.15 last year. He improved the most in scoring chances (1.92 vs. 1.26) and successful appearances in the offensive zone (3.72 vs. 2.21).

Cole Caufield – 9 for 12

A seventh goal for Caufield –

Despite being separated from Nick Suzuki for a few games, Caufield has improved significantly this year. In fact, the category in which he has seen the biggest decline is surprising given his profile: that is… goals (0.57 per game last season, compared to 0.29 this year). The small forward spends an average of 43 seconds with the puck in the opponent’s zone (compared to 35 seconds last year) and takes 3.88 shots per game (compared to 3.39).

Alex Newhook – 8 for 12

Photo credit: Photo Martin Chevalier

The change of direction is beneficial for the former Avalanche, who gets significantly more ice time. Before his injury, he averaged 0.30 goals per game, compared to 0.18 last season. The forward also completes 1.22 passes per game, compared to 0.72 in his final season in Colorado.

Nick Suzuki – 7 for 12

The captain is scoring fewer goals this season (0.29 goals per game compared to 0.32 in the 2022-2023 season), but he is getting more chances to do so (2.04 compared to 1.89 per game). Suzuki has made the most progress in the number of individual battles won: in 2022-2023 he won 2.26 per game, compared to … 3.21 since the start of the current season.

Jesse Ylonen – 3 for 12

Photo credit: Photo Getty Images via AFP

We said it: Ylonen has little chance to shine this year. He had to wait a long time before he got the opportunity to play, especially on the power play. However, the fact remains that the offense has regressed in several categories, including successful zone entries (1.82 average this year compared to 3.05) and time of possession in the offensive zone (0.13 compared to 0.20). ).


Justin Barron – Improved 11 out of 11 categories

Barron allows the CH to close the distance –

You can see it on the ice almost every game and the offensive statistics confirm it: the 22-year-old defender has improved greatly compared to last year. Especially when it comes to passes completed in the offensive zone (6.95 per game this season; 4.79 last year), shots blocked (1.10, 0.46) and tackles won (1.14, 0, 67) goes.

Kaiden Guhle – 7 out of 11

Photo credit: Photo Martin Chevalier

Guhle is already considered the Canadian’s best defender in the future and, above all, has further developed his defensive game. He has made strides in his territory: he blocks an average of 2.40 shots per game (compared to 1.39 last year) and blocks 46.3% of players attempting to enter CH territory (compared to 41.2% in 2022-2023). Guhle has also increased the number of shots he takes on the opposing net on offense (3.30 this year, 2.45 last year).

Arber Xhekaj – 5 out of 11

Before he was injured and then demoted to a missile, the “Sherif” had improved, especially in attack. He averaged 5.24 passes per game in the offensive zone, compared to 3.29 in 2022-23, and managed to move the puck out of his territory 2.59 times per game (compared to 2.02 in last year). In contrast, Xhekaj has seen a significant decline in pass attempts (2.75 in 2022-2023, 1.29 this year).

Jordan Harris – 4 of 11

Photo credit: Photo Martin Chevalier

Poor Harris. Not only does he win fewer one-on-one fights than last season (1.06 average compared to 1.43 last year), but he also attempts fewer throws (1.81 compared to 2.52) and The percentage of turnovers he commits has also increased bit (13.1 vs. 12.7). Given the congestion on the Blue Line, it’s hard to imagine him returning to work any time soon.

*We didn’t include Jayden Struble’s stats since he didn’t play last year, nor Gustav Lindstrom’s stats since he’s 25 years old.

Darren Pena

Avid beer trailblazer. Friendly student. Tv geek. Coffee junkie. Total writer. Hipster-friendly internet practitioner. Pop culture fanatic.

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