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Jordan Harris: too small for a club that wants to win the Stanley Cup

Did you see the size of the Golden Knights’ 2023 defensemen? The guys were huge.

It’s no coincidence that Vegas won the Cup because defenses win championships… and in recent years, it’s been fair to say that BIG defenses win championships.

Every year, we try to figure out which model has allowed the champions to go all the way, and clearly, the Knights’ model can hardly be repeated. But even so, they’ve followed a trend: go for big defenders.

Last night, on 98.5 FM, Dany Dubé said two things that stood out for me on the subject:

  • Since 2016, only three defensemen shorter than six feet have won the Stanley Cup.
  • A forward shorter than 6’1, a defenseman shorter than 6’2 and a goalie shorter than 6’3 have to be very good to earn their place.

If we go back to 2021, the Canadiens made it to the finals (in part) thanks to Carey Price, Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson. They’re all coing big men of the defensive corps.

Recreating that will be important.

We know that the Habs want a fast, talented and imposing team. And what’s interesting, when you focus on the blue line, is that the club’s big prospects (or young players, at least) are imposing.

I’d also add a Mike Matheson, as I think he’s the veteran most likely to still be around in a few years’ time.

  • Mike Matheson (left-handed): 6’2
  • Kaiden Guhle (left-handed): 6’2
  • Arber Xhekaj (left-handed): 6’4
  • Justin Barron (right-handed) : 6’2
  • Logan Mailloux (right-hander) : 6’3
  • Johnathan Kovacevic (right-handed) : 6’4

I’ve listed the main prospects here, since there are others, but you’ll notice that I’ve omitted two names: Jordan Harris and Lane Hutson. These are two players who are shorter than six feet.

Can the Habs afford to have two smaller defensemen on the left? To ask the question is to answer it.

I’m not saying that the two will never play together. What I’m saying is that in a championship team, the chances of seeing both in the same top-6 are slim.

And if Lane Hutson develops properly, he’s not going anywhere. A club is entitled to its Cale Makar, after all.

To me, what this means is that Jordan Harris’ future is possibly elsewhere. The defenseman will continue to develop in Montreal, but if he doesn’t develop a bulletproof shot or a must-have quality, he could be the one pushed out the door.

Of course, many things can change, as the development of young players is never linear, but let’s keep in mind that he may end up being the odd man out in the end.

We knew, when we got all these defensemen, that not everyone was destined to stay in Montreal. We knew that some left-handers would have to go elsewhere.

And Kent Hughes already made a move last year by trading Alexander Romanov, a sub-6’2 defenseman who’s a little worse with the puck than some of the others, to give himself the tools to uproot Kirby Dach from Illinois.

In gusto

– Who will lead the Remparts?

– Sheldon Keefe is in it to stay, obviously.

– To be continued.

– The Grand Prix is important for Montreal. [BPM Sports]

– Who will go out first?

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