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Alex Newhook’s former teammate gives a new vision of what he can bring to the Habs

When Kent Hughes acquired the services of Alex Newhook, I immediately thought to myself: “He’s going to look for one of his former clients again”. The implication is that I’m worried his assessment might be biased by his affection for the player. Love makes you blind, as they say.

He signed Anthony Richard. He traded for Mike Matheson. He trained Jayden Struble and Jordan Harris. During the last draft, many rumors mentioned that he wanted to select Will Smith for the same reasons. That’s a lot of Kent Hughes, the agent and coach, in the equation.

After all, it was when Marc Bergevin fell in love with his players that he made his worst moves, such as the $6.5 million per season contract to Brendan Gallagher. He may have been a bargain player for years, but it wasn’t a good idea to offer him a 6-year deal when he had a long history of injuries.

As the saying goes, “scalded cats fear hot water”. I’m afraid that Kent Hughes will fall into this trap. So far, it hasn’t happened, but I still think it’s a possibility, and the acquisition of Newhook at a high price, pick #31, pick #37 and Gianni Fairbrother, makes me fear the worst.

Yesterday, I was on the road between Beaupré and Quebec City, so I had a lot of time to kill. I rummaged through my podcast app and came across an old episode of comedian David Beaucage’s podcast Drette su’l tape. In this episode, he hosted Nicolas Aubé-Kubel and Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais. Although the latter is very funny, he wasn’t the reason I chose to listen to the episode. Rather, it was because I wanted to find out more about the likeable forward from Sorel who had played in Philadelphia, Colorado and had just signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the time.

To be even more precise, the episode was recorded during the summer of 2022, the one following his Stanley Cup conquest with the Avalanche.

During the show, he went back over the team’s playoff run and made some very interesting statements about Alex Newhook, and I thought it might interest you to hear his impressions of the man who is now a member of the Canadiens organization.

“My line with Compher, Newhook and sometimes Burakowsky, we didn’t get scored on in the series against Nashville. We got a goal against the Blues. We were a really good defensive line.” – Nicolas Aubé-Kubel

In all, the Aubé-Kubel trio had scored 3 goals and allowed just one in the first two rounds. He’s far from an offensive dynamo, but he clearly wasn’t hurting their team.

He goes on to explain that he lost his place a little after injuring himself following a shot to the ankle, and had to be replaced. This, combined with the fact that it was an offensive festival against the Oilers, would have led to him playing much less often in the last two rounds of the playoffs.

“The person who replaced me was Newhook, and he played great field hockey! I was in the stands and I just wanted that line to perform.” – Nicolas Aubé-Kubel

So, if you thought Alex Newhook was just an offensive player, think again. His former teammate, Nicolas Aubé-Kubel, has demonstrated with this story that he can be extremely solid defensively. Which means we shouldn’t worry too much about his offensive production, since he can be useful to a team in ways other than putting his name on the scoresheet.

That doesn’t mean I’m 100% convinced of the wisdom of Kent Hughes acquiring him, but it does make me realize that he’s less of a risk to the team than I thought.

In brief

– According to Adrian Dater, the signing of Ross Colton is an excellent move by the Avalanche.

– The Flames’ new club-school coach explains his philosophy and sees himself more as a teacher than a coach.

– A Sharks prospect leaves the organization because they wanted to force him to fight if he wanted to play in the NHL. I can’t believe we’re still here in 2023.

– It’s been crazy in MLS since the signing of Lionel Messi.

– Australia drops the Commonwealth Games.

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