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CH: nearly half the club will be 24 or younger this year
Since Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton arrived in Montreal, the plan has been quite clear: they want to rejuvenate the team. Several veterans have left over the past two years, making room for the acquisition and playing of youngsters.

And when you add that to the fact that there were already some good youngsters in the organization, it’s starting to look like quite a line-up. There may be a lack of quality, but there’s a huge amount of young talent in town.

As a result, the Tricolore lineup is getting younger and younger. And in a piece published on The Athletic today, Arpon Basu even raises the possibility of up to 11 players aged 24 and under in the line-up this year.

I don’t know if there will really be 11 players aged 24 and under, but clearly they’ll make up almost half the squad. The consensus is that Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach, Alex Newhook, Juraj Slafkovský and Kaiden Guhle have an almost guaranteed spot in the lineup, and the chances of seeing Arber Xhekaj and Jordan Harris in town are pretty good.

All told, that’s eight players. But it doesn’t stop there.

The fact that Jesse Ylönen and Gustav Lindström have to go through the ballot means that they have a slight advantage in carving out a place in the line-up. What’s more, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard showed last year that he’s capable of playing in the NHL, and while it won’t necessarily be easy for him to secure a place in Montreal, Justin Barron could well start the season with the big club if he has a big training camp.

So that’s eight players almost guaranteed a spot and four others for whom a path to the NHL isn’t so complex. We’re already at 12.

Add to all this that guys like Sean Farrell, Joshua Roy, Emil Heineman, Logan Mailloux and Filip Mesar, to name but a few, could be among the players recalled in the event of injury, and once again, the number continues to climb.

And there’s also a world in which Lane Hutson and David Reinbacher play a handful of games in Montreal this year. It’s more likely for Hutson than Reinbacher, but it’s possible for both.

I don’t know how many youngsters aged 24 and under will play with the CH this year, but what I do know is that the number will be quite high and, if everything falls into place perfectly, it could be between 15 and 20. And by packing in guys like Mike Hoffman, Joel Edmundson, Rem Pitlick and Jeff Petry, Kent Hughes has found a way to make a little room for the youngsters in his organization.

The CH won’t make the playoffs this year, but its youngsters will gain experience and have the opportunity to play in the NHL to improve. The rebuild is progressing slowly, but clearly, it’s progressing.

In bursts

– Matthew Tkachuk excels on even strength.

– A look back at Luke Hughes’ NHL debut.

– The resources are there, in any case.

– Hard blow for the Cubs. My text on the subject.

– Nice read on the Montreal Alliance.

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