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Early-season ballot: Jesse Ylönen or Michael Pezzetta at risk

Everyone can’t wait for field hockey to start again.

The off-season is long and painful in the National Hockey League, especially for fans of teams that didn’t make the playoffs.

Right, Montreal Canadiens fans?

Even though the 2023-2024 season is once again shaping up to be a non-playoff season in which the CH will finish in the lower echelons of the NHL, fans are eager to see the team back in action.

We’re all looking forward to the 2023-2024 season to see the development and progression of all the team’s young players, as well as newcomers like Alex Newhook.

What will be even more interesting and exciting for fans is to follow the rookie camp as well as the team’s training camp to find out which players will make the team.

Right now, that’s what everyone’s speculating about: what will the line-up look like when we face the Toronto Maple Leafs in our season opener on October 11?

We want to know which hopefuls/youngsters will have found a position in Montreal, and which players will have been sent down with the Laval Rocket.

When you say down, you mean potential ballot passes.

And that’s where it’s going to get tricky for the Habs when it comes to making decisions.

Which players will the CH take the risk of losing via the ballot?

Well, the more we analyze the situation, the more we realize that a rather important decision will have to be made between two players, namely Michael Pezzetta and Jesse Ylönen.

And why is that?

Well, because if logic holds and Kent Hughes fails to trade one of the veteran forwards (Mike Hoffman, Joel Armia and/or Christian Dvorak), they’ll have to be in the line-up, at least to start the season.

This leaves the CH with 16 forwards who played NHL games last season.

It’s important to note that I’m not counting Sean Farrell (six games), Owen Beck (one game) and Lucas Condotta (one game).

  • Nick Suzuki
  • Cole Caufield
  • Kirby Dach
  • Sean Monahan
  • Alex Newhook
  • Josh Anderson
  • Brendan Gallagher
  • Mike Hoffman
  • Joel Armia
  • Christian Dvorak
  • Juraj Slafkovsky
  • Jake Evans
  • Rem Pitlick
  • Rafaël Harvey-Pinard
  • Jesse Ylönen
  • Michael Pezzetta

Of this list, I believe Rem Pitlick will be the first to be sacrificed and sent to the ballot.

That leaves 15 forwards, and that’s where my aforementioned dilemma comes in.

Generally, NHL teams keep 13 to 14 forwards in the NHL.

12 are on the ice, while two serve as extras.

If the CH keeps 14 forwards up top, there’s still one too many, and that one too many will be between Michael Pezzetta and Jesse Ylönen.

One of the two will most likely be sacrificed and sent to the ballot if no forwards are traded between now and the start of the season.

What’s more, I don’t think RHP (exempt from the ballot) will be sent to Laval to protect Pezzetta AND Ylönen.

So, now, who to choose?

Pezzetta, 25, is a crowd favorite for his intense, rugged and sometimes comical style of play.

The CH’s number 55 has established himself over the past two seasons as an ideal player to have on the fourth line.

He won’t exactly rack up the points, but the way he plays upsets the opposition, and the CH needs that.

In 114 NHL games so far, Pezzetta has accumulated 12 goals and 14 assists for a total of 26 points.

As for 23-year-oldYlönen, he’s the complete opposite of Pezzetta.

He’s a rather discreet player in terms of intensity and sturdiness, and doesn’t really get involved in this kind of game.

However, he’s an excellent skater with solid vision and a very good shot.

The problem with Ylönen is that he always seems to lack something in his game.

He does everything pretty well, but he never stands out enough to be convincing.

In 52 career NHL games, Ylönen has amassed eight goals and 13 assists for a total of 21 points.

So, who do you pick?

Personally, I’d still choose Pezzetta over Ylönen, mainly because I sincerely believe that Pezzetta would be claimed in the ballot, whereas in Ylönen’s case, I’m not so sure that any team would claim him.

Admittedly, Ylönen is more talented than Pezzetta, and brings more to the table offensively, but considering that there are plenty of players of his style in the NHL, I prefer Pezzetta’s unique style of play.

So, normally, one of the two will have to be sacrificed before the first game of the season, that is of course taking into account that no prospect completely surprises everyone at training camp and forces the team’s hand.

That could very well happen.

Joshua Roy, Sean Farrell and Emil Heineman will all want to prove that they already deserve their place in the NHL.

En Rafale

– To be continued in connection with the Erik Karlsson file.

– Top-5 Flames prospects.

– Quioto’s absence still hurts CF Montreal.

– A great rivalry.

– The Alouettes in the midst of a battle for second place in the Eastern Section.

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