There is plenty of valid criticism one could levy against the Trevor Timmins era with respect to the drafting and development of Montreal Canadiens prospects, particularly as it pertains to those drafted in the early rounds. Amidst this criticism, however, lied an undeniable ability to find some diamonds in the rough later in drafts.
With the benefit of hindsight, there is precisely a zero percent chance that Joshua Roy would have been one of those diamonds in the rough.
After his eye opening performance at the World Junior Hockey Championship, he is arguably the most exciting Habs prospect to come out of that draft. He made believers of many skeptics, forming a trio with Connor Bedard and Logan Stankoven that was absolutely dominant, and piled up points en route to a gold medal.
But it wasn’t just points that had people talking about Roy — everyone already knew he could score at the junior level — it was everything else. His defensive game and penalty killing were invaluable. His intensity, and physicality were notable. And his hockey IQ drew praise from everyone up to and including Bedard, who called him one of the most intelligent players he’s ever played with.
And to top things off, he has made significant strides in the one area of his game that needed improvement the most.
The improvement in Joshua Roy's skating is very evident in this tournament.— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) January 3, 2023
Just look at this back check. A year ago he would not have been this quick to get back. pic.twitter.com/e9NFAtU3KV
While it is unlikely, and unwise to expect that he will become a superstar in the NHL, the progression suggests at least a higher floor than most had expected. It also should mean a higher ceiling. While he was originally thought to potentially become a bottom-six winger, I feel that with how far he’s come, and still with room to improve, top-six upside isn’t a stretch to suggest at this point.
That doesn’t mean he needs to walk right into that role next season. He could easily cut his teeth for a while in Laval, and take his time to get to that next level. If there’s one thing he has proven so far, it is that he has the work ethic to make it happen, given time.
Click the play button below to hear my full thoughts on Roy’s progression so far, and his eventual ceiling at the NHL level. Be sure to subscribe on your preferred platform to keep up to date with all of the content we’ll be putting out, including this new ongoing prospect series.