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Green thumbs blossoming on the blue line

Justin Barron and Jordan Harris showed off their different skill sets on home ice.

NHL: APR 05 Senators at Canadiens Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last night’s game was a tilt between two teams attempting to hand the reins over to their younger players. What made it particularly interesting was that it featured two teams taking entirely different routes.

It’s become obvious that the Montreal Canadiens have decided not to completely tear it down to the studs in this rebuild, opting for another reset. The Ottawa Senators, on the other hand, have taken to heart the old hippie expression: Don’t trust anyone over 30. To underline that point, Montreal had nine players aged 25 and under on the ice last night, and Ottawa had 11.

Coming into this year, Montreal already had a decent group of young forwards, spearheaded by Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, but it was on defence where the team was lacking young talent. Overall I like Alexander Romanov but he’s not the kind of player you build around. Building a prospect stable of young defencemen has been a clear priority for the current management group. They targeted Justin Barron when trading away Artturi Lehkonen, and made absolutely certain to lock up Jordan Harris.

I’m not entirely sure what model of rebuild yields better results with teams having won a Stanley Cup using both models. One thing that I am certain of, however, is that I would not want to be in charge of making cuts at next year’s camp, particularly on defense.

Barron, at five-on-five, scored his first goal, had a 54% shot-attempt share, and was on the ice for one goal against. Harris looked like the real McCoy last night on a paring with David Savard. We’ve been progressively seeing more and more out of Savard since Martin St. Louis took over, but that pairing looks like it could stay together for years to come. Near the end of the first period, Montreal created a long cycle in the Ottawa zone. This was largely due to Harris’s incredible skating, but not lost here was Savard staying mobile and making himself a constant outlet option.

With all of these young skaters taking huge leaps forward and this team committing to developing its young core, I feel compelled to end this article with an FDR quote: “We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can prepare our children for the future.” With talent like this leading the way, the future looks good.