clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Where would Martin Reway fit with the Canadiens?

New, comments

He's coming to Canada this year, so what is the best way for the Canadiens to use Martin Reway?

Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Before any discussion about Martin Reway and where he could play on the Montreal Canadiens roster can be had, you first have to address his likelihood of making the team out of camp. There are a number of players on the cusp of becoming NHL regulars with the Habs next year, so it should be very competitive.

There's Artturi Lehkonen also coming over from Europe, and it is all but guaranteed that he'll go straight back to Sweden if he doesn't make the Habs. That will warrant at least a longer look from the coaching staff, which could make things even tougher for Reway.

But camp is a wonderful time of year, when many things can happen. Take Mike Condon ripping the backup job away from Dustin Tokarski last year, for example. If Reway has a great camp, there is no telling what that could get him.

Where would he fit

While he is capable of playing both at centre and on the wing, the Canadiens are pretty full up the middle, so ideally he stays on the left wing. And when you look at his creativity in the offensive zone, it is apparent that you don't want to stick him on a line where he's asked to play big defensive minutes.

It's not that he's defensively inept, because he is actually solid in his own zone, even killing penalties for Slovakia at the World Championship, but you want to put him in a position to really succeed. He is best off in a secondary scoring role, where he gets a good amount of offensive zone starts, and can play to his strengths.

Down the middle, the Canadiens have a configuration that probably goes Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller, and Torrey Mitchell. Reway won't be stealing Max Pacioretty's spot, and the fourth line will probably be saddled with defensive minutes, so he'd have to carve himself out a place in the middle six to make the team.

I'm spitballing here, but an interesting line could be Reway with Plekanec, and perhaps Daniel Carr on the right. Plekanec is usually the defensive workhorse of the forward corps, but if they use Lars Eller to that end, it could allow the other three to be the second part of a one-two punch that begins with the Galchenyuk line. Worth exploring for sure.


The best answer for where Reway fits right now is probably the St. John's IceCaps. This will allow him to adjust to the pace of the North American game, honing his skills a little before they give him a shot at the show. It has been confirmed that he'll go to St. John's if not Montreal, so he's definitely open to that idea.

With St. John's, you have to hope that Sylvain Lefebvre sees what he has, and uses him accordingly. Put him in a scoring role with good linemates, and let him show what he can do. Also, give the kid a heavy dose of power-play time, because I'm about to get to how good he is in those situations.

The man advantage

Reway has been a power-play specialist with every team he has played for. It was most evident at the World Juniors with Slovakia, where you saw a team that ran the entire thing through him. When you check out his season highlights from 2015-16, you see a player with ridiculously good vision and passing in that scenario. It's impressive.

Montreal's power play has been abysmal for some time. They have been extremely one dimensional in their reliance on P.K. Subban to produce scoring chances, and they desperately need to make some adjustments there. Reway could be exactly what they need if he makes the team.

He can quarterback a power play as a forward, similar to what Alex Steen has been doing with the St. Louis Blues, and it's a sight to behold. You can find plenty of highlights where he gets the puck, forces the defenders to move with him, and then puts incredible passes on his teammates' sticks for scoring chances.

All of this is contingent upon Reway actually making the team, which as mentioned will not be an easy task. That said, he could also get a chance to come up from St. John's and fill in should they need some reinforcements.

If he doesn't make the team, it is imperative that they let him run one of the units on the farm. If he is to spend a year in the AHL developing, the one thing you really want to get him working on is that. He's already very good at it, and if he gets even better it will benefit the organization greatly once he's ready.

Whether he lands in St. John's, or shakes up the Habs and makes the NHL next year, he will definitely be a player to watch.