The season is only six games old and Habs’ fans are ecstatic at what they’ve seen so far. I mean 10 points out of possible 12, all of them on the road? With the new additions having an immediate impact and the team’s young centres excelling against top competition? Who can blame them? It doesn’t take a genius to see that Marc Bergevin has done an amazing job assembling this team and addressing each and every need for his team. He even tried landing Pierre-Luc Dubois when he recently became available!
We all knew that the Canadiens are now deep on the wing and on defense. Taking a centre in Max Domi out and adding Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, Corey Perry and Michael Frolik doesn’t only add depth, it adds quality and experienced depth. Bergevin also added quality depth in goal, trading for Jake Allen, without losing any roster player or goaltending depth. He also traded a pick for Joel Edmundson and convinced Alexander Romanov to sign in North America.
If there is one question mark, it’s up the middle. Nick Suzuki (21), Jesperi Kotkaniemi (20) and even Jake Evans (24) performed really well during the playoffs. That is telling because you don’t face weak teams in the playoffs and players raise their game a notch or two. Not only were they capable of keeping up, they drove their lines for the most part. And this is likely why Bergevin felt like he could trade Domi. Still though, could they sustain that caliber of play?
While the team performed well during this past road trip, several individuals stood out from the crowd. One of them was Suzuki. Slick Nick ended the trip with six points in as many games while centering the Canadiens’ top line between Jonathan Drouin and Anderson.
After the final game of the trip in Vancouver, a 5-2 win over the Canucks, Suzuki received the praise of at least two teammates. Corey Perry, who had played in first game with the Habs, told reporters that Suzuki is no stranger to him.
“I skated with Nick back in London (Ontario) over the break and I know exactly what he’s all about. He’s got skill. He’s got vision. He’s got finish and he’s the real deal.”
Perry has seen others and calling him the “real deal” is not something to take lightly coming from him. At least one of Suzuki’s linemates is also spreading it thick when it comes to talking about his young centreman. Drouin, who also finished the road trip with six points of his own, had this to say:
“He’s a mini Patrice Bergeron in my eyes, a bit. He’s a player who you can have so much confidence in for so many situations. I’m on the wing. I know he’s going to do his job down low. I know he’s going to do his job on the defensive side. So, it lets me play a bit more in attack.”
Will Suzuki develop and become the Canadiens’ version of Patrice Bergeron? Time will tell. One thing we know for sure though, it’s that he makes his GM look good. Suzuki was the key player in the Max Pacioretty deal with Vegas. The Canadiens also received a second round pick (Mattias Norlinder) and Tomas Tatar (Vegas retaining salary). Right now, Suzuki is a very, very good young centreman. If he turns out to be anywhere close to a Bergeron, Habs’ fans will be smiling for a long time. Go Habs Go!