For their last selection of the fifth round, the Montreal Canadiens went back to QMJHL to grab a shifty and smart center, Joshua Roy. He was perceived by many outlets to be a second- to third-round talent, so the Habs were lucky to get him in the fifth. Rough around the edges, Roy will be a long-term gamble for the club.
Birthplace: St-Georges-de-Beauce, Quebec
Date of birth: August 3, 2003
Weight: 190 lbs.
Team: Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
His 2020-21 campaign was split between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Sherbrooke Phoenix, being traded to the latter during the year. In 35 games, he put up 35 points. 21 of those being goals. In the playoffs, Roy was again a point-per-game player with four points in three games.
He has an interesting pedigree, as he was a first overall selection in the QMJHL Draft. He was also one of the youngest players in the 2021 NHL Draft with his birthday coming up in August.
One of Roy’s main tools is his heavy shot. He is primrily a shooter as seen in his uncanny ability to beat goaltenders cleanly at the Junior level. He is often found waiting for his teammates to find open lanes for scoring opportunities to prey on. He is deadly on the power play because of this. He shoots hard and fast and has the reflexes.
He isn’t a small player by any means. His stature and weight allow him to remain a physical threat and an excellent puck-protector. Using his speed and low centre of gravity, He is able to use his size to his advantage to block defenders from stealing the puck from his control. He is not afraid to drive the net to cash in rebounds or broken plays.
He’s also a decent puck-handler, who understands when to thread passes and make plays through heavy physical contact. His anticipation is also good, knowing when to be more agressive or more defensive. He reads the ice well, picking up plays quickly and has a propensity to make defenders create turnovers.
While not being the best playmaker of this draft, Roy has decent vision of the ice, backchecking to support his defencemen and displaying a great awareness in all three zones. He is able to use his IQ to engage defensively and read the defensive plays unfolding before him, but it’s not among his strengths.
At the Junior level, it is often something that has to be worked on a lot. As a centre, he will need to keep developing his 200-foot game if he wishes to reach the NHL and have a real impact on the ice. He makes up for average skating speed by knowing how to position himself, which helps him stay within the plays that are unfolding before him.
I think the Habs got value taking a prospect ranked much higher than where he ended up. He has a lot of interesting tools that could be developed further. His weaknesses are fairly similar to most players at the Junior level and with some time in Laval, he could one day ride his shot to depth role in the NHL.
I’m a big proponent of taking players who already have strong foundational skills and hoping to push those to another level. What’s more, the Canadiens always need more goal-scorers. If they can have one for the future in Joshua Roy, that would be a real coup at this point of the draft.