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Logan Mailloux: perhaps (already) the CH’s best right-handed defender, thinks Grant McCagg

When the Habs drafted David Reinbacher fifth overall in the last draft, they did so (in part) because they knew he was weak at right-handed defenseman. We’re talking about a position where top players are relatively rare throughout the NHL, but with the CH, this is particularly true.

That said, in addition to Reinbacher, the CH is also banking on Justin Barron and Logan Mailloux as young right-handers with intriguing potential. And in the case of the latter, it’s particularly true: while some have serious doubts, others swear by him.

The answer is probably somewhere in between, but seeing him stand out at the development camp is a good thing.

As my colleague Marc-Olivier Cook reported, Mailloux was at it again today, this time in the intrasquad game. And among those impressed by the youngster’s camp performance was Grant McCagg, who made this statement on Tony Marinaro’s Sick Podcast:

[Mailloux] may be the best right-handed defenseman they have [in Montreal]. – Grant McCagg

McCagg, who expects to see Mailloux play in the NHL at some point this season, wouldn’t even be surprised to see him make the club at the end of training camp. He believes it will be difficult for the CH to cut a guy like him if he continues to perform like this.

On the one hand, I understand McCagg’s point, and it’s not completely crazy considering that the CH has a gap in right-handed defensemen. On the other hand, that said, I really wonder if a guy who’s missed so much field hockey in recent years is already better than a veteran like David Savard or a more experienced youngster like Justin Barron.

Either way, he’ll have to play a lot of games next season to gain experience.

Does Mailloux have the potential to be the CH’s #1 right-handed defenseman in the long term? It’s not impossible. He has all the attributes you’d look for in a good NHL defenseman, and if he can hone his game, he’ll be an important piece of the top-4.

And with Reinbacher, he’s got the potential to make one hell of a right-handed duo. Add guys like Lane Hutson and Kaiden Guhle to the mix and you’ve got a promising young top-4, don’t you think?

Personally, I think a season in the AHL would be good for Mailloux, who would have the leeway to make mistakes. He had a great season in the OHL, but to fine-tune his defensive game against the pros with the Rocket would be, in my eyes, a good thing.

And if he continues to impress with the Rocket, the idea of giving him games in Montreal next year becomes an interesting one.

We’ll have to wait and see, but Mailloux has really impressed in recent days. If his meeting with Gary Bettman goes well, we’ll be able to start asking more than a few interesting questions at the Habs’ training camp.

In gusto

– McCagg also had kind words for Adam Engström.

– Marie-Philip Poulin enjoyed working with David Reinbacher.

– Robert Hagg in Anaheim.

– Signature in the Capitals organization.

– Important victory for Canada.

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