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Jayden Struble left out of two games without being noticed
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

When he arrived in the NHL, Jayden Struble was the talk of the town because he wasn’t the talk of the town. Let me explain.

When a defensive defenseman isn’t the talk of the town, it’s because he’s doing his job right from the start. And when that happens, he’s the talk of the town.

All that to say, after his first few games, we realized that Struble had great NHL potential.

It’s interesting because he was recalled without any guarantee of playing. In the end, he seized the opportunity to stay with the Habs, but also to remind people not to dismiss him too quickly from the formula that will help the Habs find their way back to respectability.

So, for weeks, he was never left out. Then he got hurt against the Devils last month, missed four games, came back and hasn’t lost his place.

So officially, he was never a healthy scratch? Not so fast.

In a recent article on the La Presse website, Simon-Olivier Lorange mentioned that during two of the four games he didn’t play, he was available. However, his coach didn’t use him.

As he was still injured in the public eye, it went like butter in the frying pan.

Note that Struble didn’t play the February 24, February 27, February 29 and March 2 games. Could he have played the last two, which were in Florida, even if he was entitled to a few days of treatment?

Was he left out because he wasn’t at 100%, or did the coach take advantage of the fact that it wouldn’t cause a ripple to sit him down and give the others a few rehearsals? Your guess is as good as mine.

But let’s see what the coach thinks of his player, who is playing fewer minutes per game these days.

His game isn’t up to the level he showed us. He’s not as consistent as he used to be. – Martin St-Louis on Jayden Struble

In recent weeks, we’ve started to notice that Struble is making a few more mistakes than he used to. And while it’s important to note that this isn’t abnormal for a young defenseman coming into the NHL (and doing so with such a young defensive brigade), it’s worth noting.

He simply needs to find consistency, in order to play at the same level as before. Perhaps finishing the year in Laval, at some point, will help him in that regard. But I don’t think a demotion is imminent: it can wait.

For the past month or so, it’s been easy to establish some trends on defense: Mike Matheson, Kaiden Guhle, David Savard and Arber Xhekaj are never left out.

Savard, who has not been traded, is a good shoulder for Xhekaj, who has taken up his position in front of Struble. He had lost it earlier this season.

Johnathan Kovacevic is often the one to bail out. He’s missed five of his team’s last ten games, and he’s the one who’s been bailed out when a defender returns from injury. #Harris #Struble

He’s clearly the seventh defenseman.

(Credit: ESPN)

Let’s also remember that in the coming weeks, the Habs organization will undergo some changes on the blue line. Lane Hutson is expected to eventually play with the Habs, and the Rocket should count on David Reinbacher and Adam Engstrom.

Struble will have to work for every minute of the game, both up top and down low.

And that’s without counting the Logan Mailloux, Justin Barron, William Trudeau and company who want his place in the NHL and will be trying to earn a recall by the end of the season.

Stay tuned.


– Training at 10:30 for the Habs.

– Stealing bobbleheads? Wow.

– Slaf and WiFi get along well.

– Big hit.

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