1. How will Montreal’s young defensemen perform in 2020-21?
Leading the Montreal Canadiens defensive core is 35-year-old Shea Weber and 33-year-old Jeff Petry. That means both experience and the possibility of diminishing returns. I am a fan of both defensemen, but I doubt that means anything to the Canadiens.
The next tier of Montreal defensemen is not as clear cut. All pairings seem bound to be adjusted as the season or even individual games unfold. The Canadiens expect big things from 22-year-old Victor Mete, who is going into his fourth season of NHL action. Even more excitement surrounds 2018 Second-Round pick Alexander Romanov who is predicted to make his NHL debut this season.
Mete has been serviceable to this point in his young career showing growth as his points-per-game numbers have risen in each of his three seasons so far. Mete finished the 2019-2020 regular season with 11 points in 51 games, while playing as a defense-first type of blueliner.
And, while Romanov might not have league-wide hype, he was stellar in the 2020 World Junior Championship, scoring six points in seven games for Russia and he has the skill-set needed to take the NHL by storm in 2020-21.
If these two young guns can be more like cannons than pistols, then the Montreal Canadiens will not only succeed in 2020-21, but it will also set up the team’s future success. After all, Jeff Petry and Shea Weber cannot play forever.