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Jean-François Houle was impressed by Jayden Struble last season

Last season was a very difficult one for the Montreal Canadiens, and it was equally so for the team’s training club, the Laval Rocket.

Indeed, the CH’s misfortunes did not make the Rocket happy – quite the contrary.

With all the injured upstairs, Rocket head coach Jean-François Houle had to deal with several recalls and therefore different line-ups throughout the season.

So even though Laval ultimately managed to qualify for the playoffs by the skin of their teeth (only playing two playoff games), it was a tough season for the Rocket.

Even so, there were a few positives to take from the season.

One of these came very late in the season, when Jayden Struble signed with the pros and joined the Rocket.

At the time, we were happy to know that Struble had signed with the CH organization, and not with another NHL team.

Even if Struble isn’t a top-tier prospect, and the CH already has several good young prospects on defense, seeing a prospect leave for nothing is never a good thing.

We were also curious to see how he would perform in the AHL, a much more competitive and robust league than the NCAA.

Well, Jean-François Houle was impressed with Jayden Struble.

Indeed, that’s what the Rocket head coach said at development camp about Struble’s 11 games in the AHL last season.

“I thought he was going to get beaten one-on-one all over the ice, but that didn’t happen. For me, that’s very positive.” – Jean-François Houle

It’s clear from the Rocket coach’s comments that he had his doubts about Struble, but that the latter managed to surprise and quickly establish himself as a highly effective defenseman.

But it’s not easy to make the transition from the NCAA to the AHL.

“I’ve been around for a while now, and normally it’s not easy and it’s not pretty for NCAA guys when they get to the AHL, especially in a playoff context. Still, he (Struble) did very well and I was happy to see that.” – Jean-François Houle

Still, Struble only played 11 games in the AHL.

The 21-year-old must play many more games before we really get a good idea of his true potential. Still, after 11 games, it’s encouraging.

In fact, Jean-François Houle stated that, in his opinion, Struble has a chance of one day playing in the NHL for the Habs.

Houle found that the six-foot, 205-pound defenseman has shown great progression, and that with his physical game, if he keeps it up, he could make it to the big leagues.

In short, Struble’s progress and development will be something to keep an eye on, especially this year, which will be a very important season for him, as he will have a bigger role and more responsibilities with the Rocket.

Struble clearly hopes to one day join his former Northeastern University teammate, Jordan Harris, in the NHL with the CH.

To find out more about Struble and his summer of training, check out Stu Cowan’s excellent article here.

En Rafale

– A moment of respect between two legends.

– Bizarre.

– Too bad.

– Bravo.

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