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Alex Newhook: we can expect him to play very little in the center.

Looking back on Kent Hughes’ summer of work, it’s hard to ignore what is, in my opinion, one of the CH’s two biggest moves of the past two months: the acquisition of Alex Newhook from Colorado for two draft picks and prospect Gianni Fairbrother.

For those interested, the other biggest move in my opinion is the selection of David Reinbacher at No. 5. But back to Newhook.

On the ice, Newhook will bring a pretty important element of speed to the forward group. He’s an excellent skater, but he also has some interesting offensive assets.

And reading a text by Marc Dumont, I came to agree with him on the case of the former Avalanche: we can expect Newhook to spend the bulk of his time on the wing this season (and perhaps even in the long term, more on that later).

As I said earlier, the attacker’s speed is really what makes him stand out. So, by putting him on the wing, it would be easier for him to use his main strength to play to the best of his ability.

And that’s one of the ways the CH could make better use of his speed than the way he was used in Colorado.

The other main advantage of using Newhook on the wing (apart from the fact that he says he’s comfortable on the wing himself) is that it reduces his defensive responsibilities a little and exposes him much less often to one of his weaknesses: face-offs.

He has won only 38.6% of his career face-offs. To give you an idea, that’s a bit like facing Patrice Bergeron on every face-off, who won 58.9% of his face-offs in his illustrious career.

And what’s interesting for the CH is that they have the resources to use Newhook on the wing. Nick Suzuki will certainly be the club’s first center, but on the second line, a guy like Sean Monahan is much better in the face-off circle, and Kirby Dach is capable of performing well at center even without winning his duels (he only won 38.3% of them last year).

And since the Habs have stated that the youngster will play in the top-6, he clearly won’t be playing third-unit center.

So, putting a guy like Newhook on the wing to let him breathe and to put him in conditions where he can showcase his strengths becomes a more than interesting idea for the Tricolore. Dumont sees him playing with Dach and Cole Caufield on a second trio, for example.

I’m not sure this will necessarily happen, but it would be a great combination for the youngster to shine.

We’re likely to see Newhook spend some time at center this season and in the future, but in the long term, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him spend most of his time on the wing. He’s got the makings of a very good winger, and I think that’s the position where he’ll find his niche in Montreal.

And considering the CH’s emerging depth at center, that’s not a bad thing, if you ask me.

In gusto

– Jake Allen should reach the 400 career wins plateau this season.

Despite the IIHF’s decision, Ivan Fedotov continues to take part in CSKA’s KHL training camp. I can’t wait to see what he does on September 1…

– Quite a comeback on his part.

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