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Alex Newhook: his speed should be put to better use in Montreal than in Colorado
Yesterday morning, the Canadiens announced that they had reached an agreement with Alex Newhook on the terms of a four-year contract. The young forward, who began his career in Colorado, will earn $2.9 million a year during this period.

Over the next four years, the CH hopes to turn him into a player worth more than $2.9 million a year. They want to turn him into a solid top-6 forward, and even if he couldn’t do it with the Avalanche, the Tricolore hopes to find the key to unlocking his potential.

A bit like Kirby Dach a year ago, basically.

Getting there won’t be easy, but part of the recipe is figuring out how to maximize the youngster’s greatest strength: his speed. And today, in an excellent article published on The Athletic, Arpon Basu seems confident that the youngster’s skating stroke will be better utilized in Montreal than it was in Colorado.

In simple terms, Basu believes that the CH’s system (which allows talented players to express themselves on the ice) will be more beneficial for Newhook than the Avalanche’s, where he was asked to check forward and push the puck into the back of the opposition’s zone rather than enter in possession.

Clearly, the Avalanche recipe works, but it may not be ideal for a talented guy like Newhook in a depth role.

Again, it’s worth remembering that the Avalanche gave Newhook chances to establish himself as the team’s second center and play on the power play, but he wasn’t able to prove he deserved the job. Even if he was sometimes frustrated by the way he was used in Colorado, he had opportunities that he failed to seize there, after all.

The difference, however, is that the Avalanche had no time to let him learn by making mistakes on the top-6. The club needed to rack up wins, and Newhook wasn’t ready to replace Nazem Kadri on the second line, so he assumed a depth role.

In Montreal, he’ll have more room to make mistakes and learn from the top-6. The CH intends to give the youngster chances on an offensive trio, and with a system that relies on the speed and talent of the guys, Newhook will have the chance to demonstrate his skills under the right conditions.

And clearly, the youngster likes what he hears from his new coach since being traded to Montreal.

Of course, this isn’t the only factor to consider, and just because his speed might be put to better use in Montreal doesn’t mean he’ll end up unblocked. That said, by putting him in better conditions on the ice, the Tricolore are putting the odds in their favour.

It remains to be seen whether Newhook will be able to seize this new opportunity.

In gusts

– Still… We agree that Ducharme wasn’t the only factor, but the new chapter has done the young maverick a world of good.

– Nice read on Adam Fantilli.

– Considering they already have Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll (and Matt Murray, but for how much longer?), I’m not sure I see the fit.

– Some nights are just like that…

– The young Quebecer shines.

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